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Best way to find your first customer ?
Thread poster: Mireille BOULANGER

Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
Feb 5, 2014

Hi,
Just starting as a freelancer, but being available only on week-ends or holidays as I am still working full time this year in another area, what is the best way to look for customers ? Browse jobs (most of them are urgent..or the delay to quote is very short), send applications to Translation agencies, find a peer who is overloaded and offer help ? Most of the outsourcers ask for references but you have to start to get one so...
Whatever advice you can give me will be welcome...


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Anna Spanoudaki-Thurm  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:31
Member (2009)
German to Greek
+ ...
Well, to be honest... Feb 5, 2014

I do not think you have good chances if you are only available on weekends and holidays.
Buy a smartphone to check for e-mails and new projects while you are at your other job if possible (I think it would suffice to take a break every 2 hours to do that) and a laptop to answer/quote. Then stay up in the night and work!
Not easy, but possible.

[Έγινε επεξεργασία στις 2014-02-05 13:15 GMT]


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Mark Sanderson  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 01:31
Chinese to English
Friday night is your key time Feb 5, 2014

I would guess that timing will be critical if you want to get the cases that need to be completed over a weekend ready for Monday morning. Be logged in and ready to reply to offers on Friday afternoon/ nights.

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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Got it Feb 5, 2014

Thank you for answering. I have got a smartphone so I can check my emails and send quotes if necessary but I admit I have not choosen the easiest way...

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:31
Member (2008)
French to English
All of the above Feb 5, 2014

BOULANGER MIREI wrote:

Hi,
Just starting as a freelancer, but being available only on week-ends or holidays as I am still working full time this year in another area, what is the best way to look for customers ? Browse jobs (most of them are urgent..or the delay to quote is very short), send applications to Translation agencies, find a peer who is overloaded and offer help ? Most of the outsourcers ask for references but you have to start to get one so...
Whatever advice you can give me will be welcome...


If you don't have clients when you are available, spend your time marketing. Sending applications to agencies might be the most fruitful, while answering job requests for work to be done over the weekend might produce something quickly - it just depends on what is being called for. While many outsourcers want references, quite a few don't, and if you get on their database they may come to you when they are in a bind for some weekend work.


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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Good point Feb 5, 2014

I have spent time last week filling up my profile with samples, cv in english, and so on...so I am on for sending applications to agencies next week. It is encouraging....Thank you for your time...

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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
I will...thank you Feb 5, 2014

Mark Sanderson wrote:

I would guess that timing will be critical if you want to get the cases that need to be completed over a weekend ready for Monday morning. Be logged in and ready to reply to offers on Friday afternoon/ nights.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Give them your USP, loudly and clearly Feb 5, 2014

You're available late evenings, public holidays, Saturdays, Sundays - at a normal rate, no surcharge? Lots of us aren't so push that to your advantage. Don't tell them what you can't do (at least, not in too obvious a way); tell them what you can do.

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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Ok I will.. Feb 5, 2014

Thank you Sheila, this is so very encouraging. I will do some marketing this week-end using my availability on week-ends as a plus!!

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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:31
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Are we a bunch of idiots? Feb 5, 2014

My aim is to write a posting that will not offend anybody and will not be censored. Give us one good reason why you want to make a living in translation. A very good reason … because you’ll compete with us.

Success,
Gerard

[Edited at 2014-02-05 21:42 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-05 21:43 GMT]


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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
what do you mean ? Feb 5, 2014

Hi,
Translation is something I have been wanting to do for years but mainly for money reason I could not do it before. That is all about it... It is some sort of a life dream.. A third career in a way...

Thanks anyway for answering..


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Is that really how you feel, Gerard? Feb 6, 2014

Gerard de Noord wrote:

Are we a bunch of idiots?

My aim is to write a posting that will not offend anybody and will not be censored. Give us one good reason why you want to make a living in translation. A very good reason … because you’ll compete with us.

Success,
Gerard

It's always a good idea to ask aspiring translators what their motivation is, but where is the idiocy of which you speak?

How is the OP your competitor? She will be working in the EN > FR pair; not one of yours. Even if she was in exactly the same pair, and the same specialisations, there's room for more than one translator in each pair/subject combination - we might want to be a little more cagey if we're targeting exactly the same clients, but even then we can afford to help a fellow translator a little, can't we?

Or do you have some other problem with this thread? I'm not at all sure I understand your feelings here.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 19:31
English to Polish
+ ...
... Feb 6, 2014

Cover the basics first. Prepare a nice CV, fill in profiles online, get some accreditations, participate in a contest, spam translation agencies.

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Mary E. Sutton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:31
Spanish to English
Patience and Persistence Feb 7, 2014

Welcome to the world of translation, first of all!

When I first started in translation (about 6 years ago), I applied for everything I saw in the language pair I work in. I didn't find a lot of work to begin with, but I just kept applying and kept posting, sending my CV to any translation agency that I could, and eventually that started to pay off. It's a long-term process, but you can find regular clients that keep you busy and that you enjoy working with as well. Just be patient and don't give up!!

I agree with some of the other posters, make sure you're marketing yourself as much as you can and focusing on the positives, like your weekend availability. I've found it useful to answer emails about postings as quickly as possible, if not immediately. Even if I wasn't available to work on the translation at that particular time, I'd try to touch base with the poster and let them know that hopefully I'd be able to work on another project of theirs. Speaking from a project manager's perspective, a quick response is always much appreciated!! Communicating quickly and being available consistently will go a long way toward getting you clientele.

Hope that helps a little, all the best in your new career path!!!


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Mireille BOULANGER  Identity Verified
France
Member (2013)
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Feb 7, 2014

Thanks for your advice, I will try hard not to fall into pits...

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