How to market myself effectively?
Thread poster: Carlos A R de Souza

Carlos A R de Souza  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:55
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dec 15, 2014

Hi, everyone. How are you doing?

I've been working as a translator for 2 years now translating from English to Brazilian Portuguese. While I trust my own skills, but I'm a bit shy and I have trouble finding the pitch to market myself. Can you guys give me some tips on how to reach clients more effectively? How to talk their language in business?

Thank you in advance!

[Edited at 2014-12-15 15:25 GMT]


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Perhaps these books will help Dec 15, 2014

Marketing Cookbook for Translators: Foolproof recipes for a successful freelance career:
http://amzn.to/1yUfnxo

The Book of Standing Out: Travels through the Inner World of Freelance Translation:
http://amzn.to/1zfGeCM


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:55
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A big subject for a post Dec 15, 2014

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:
I've been working as a translator for 2 years now translating from English to Brazilian Portuguese. While I trust my own skills, but I'm a bit shy and I have trouble finding the pitch to market myself. Can you guys give me some tips on how to reach clients more effectively? How to talk their language in business?

I can't personally think of too much in the way of one-liners that would help. I think a training course is really what you want. One link that might point you to what you need to know is this one: http://wantwords.co.uk/school/
Marta Stelmaszak gives training in person at ProZ.com conferences and she certainly speaks a lot of sense. I'm not sure exactly what's available on her website, but I'm sure it'll be worth a look.

I'm not sure I've ever seen much here on exactly what to say in your communication with clients. It's a bit of a personal thing really, though there are certainly things it pays to say, and to avoid saying. Perhaps you could provide some examples of what you're doing that you don't feel is working well?


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Carlos A R de Souza  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:55
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
About resources and my pitch... Dec 15, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:
I've been working as a translator for 2 years now translating from English to Brazilian Portuguese. While I trust my own skills, but I'm a bit shy and I have trouble finding the pitch to market myself. Can you guys give me some tips on how to reach clients more effectively? How to talk their language in business?

I can't personally think of too much in the way of one-liners that would help. I think a training course is really what you want. One link that might point you to what you need to know is this one: http://wantwords.co.uk/school/
Marta Stelmaszak gives training in person at ProZ.com conferences and she certainly speaks a lot of sense. I'm not sure exactly what's available on her website, but I'm sure it'll be worth a look.

I'm not sure I've ever seen much here on exactly what to say in your communication with clients. It's a bit of a personal thing really, though there are certainly things it pays to say, and to avoid saying. Perhaps you could provide some examples of what you're doing that you don't feel is working well?


Hi, Jeff! Hi, Sheila!

Jeff, thank you for these wonderful resources.

Sheila, first, when I write, I like to tell my client how his life can be different by hiring me as a translator. Then, I try to keep messages as short as possible, writing in bullet points. For example:

* Experience in gaming translation. Some of the games I translated include, but are not limited to: [...].
* Knowledgeable in OmegaT, Trados 2011, Wordfast [...].
* I can also typeset with InDesign CS6 and deliver you elaborate desktop publishing [...].

Do you think there's something I should change in my overall approach?


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:55
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Try to Polish your CV/Resume Dec 15, 2014

Americans call it a resume. Almost everywhere else it is called a CV. The Internet is full of millions of articles on writing and improving a CV/resume. I strongly suggest that you try to polish your CV/resume if you want to be successful in business.

On my computer at home, I have a folder named "Career". In this folder, I have more than one hundred files (MS Word and PDF) on CV/resumes. I obtained all of these documents from the Internet. I will try to copy/paste one of them just to give you an idea.


Resume Writing Checklist


_____ Limit your resume to one or two 8 ½” x 11” pages.

_____ Don’t use “I” or “my”.

_____ Write out numbers between one and nine, but was numerals for all numbers 10 and above. If you begin a sentence with a number, write it out.

_____ Don’t include personal information (marital status, social security number, religion, age, height, weight, etc).

_____ Don’t use abbreviations or acronyms.

_____ Check for periods at the end of full sentences, be consistent with your punctuation and don’t use exclamation points.

_____ Use spell check but remember that spell check doesn’t catch everything.

_____ Use jargon and terms specific to the industry in your resume. (keywords will help make resume stronger and more effective.)

_____ Don’t overcrowd your resume.

_____ Appropriate Headings (use job titles and skill headings that relate to and match the desired job).

_____ Easy to read (attractive, employers can find information).

_____ Content is concise and clear.

_____ Highlight communication skills (employers are looking for people with good interpersonal skills. Refer to communication skills and ability to work with others.)

_____ Boast your accomplishments.

_____ Advertise YOU (sell your talents).

_____ Prioritize (put most important and relevant information up front).

_____ Personalize (tweak resume and cover letter to personalize it as much as possible).

_____ No title at the top.

_____ Do not include months of employment only years (example 1997-1998).

_____ Do not include reasons for leaving a job.

_____ Do not include references and there is no need to write “references available upon request”.

_____ Do not include salary or monetary compensation.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Profile Dec 15, 2014

First, I would advise you to spend time working on your Proz profile and making it 100% complete. Then do all the other stuff.

I don't know quite why, but having a 100% complete profile on Proz seems to be the best way of increasing your chances of being approached by agencies.

Maybe someone else can explain why that is !

[Edited at 2014-12-15 18:12 GMT]


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Gaming Dec 15, 2014

Hi!

In addition to the advice already given, for video game projects, you will probably want to focus more on looking for direct clients instead of work from agencies. There are a few translation agencies that specialize in video game translation, but there aren't many of them. Proz isn't exactly a developer's first stop when looking for someone to translate their game. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been great resources for me.

I think the most important thing when dealing with a game developer, and the best way to get those projects, is by showing that you share their passion. If you can show your passion, and earn their trust, clients will come to you


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:55
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Maybe OTT (over the top)? Dec 15, 2014

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:
Sheila, first, when I write, I like to tell my client how his life can be different by hiring me as a translator. Then, I try to keep messages as short as possible, writing in bullet points.

The bullets seem fine but I'm not sure hiring you can really bring about a change in a client's life, can it? It sounds rather inflated to say the least, and you could perhaps be coming over as a little pompous and self-important. But it all depends on how it's worded, of course.

Your profile and CV can of course be improved but they seem pretty good to me. Your CV shows you're a little light on experience, but if that's reality there's no harm done. At least it's an appropriate CV for a freelance translator.


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Carlos A R de Souza  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:55
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting insight! Dec 15, 2014

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:
Sheila, first, when I write, I like to tell my client how his life can be different by hiring me as a translator. Then, I try to keep messages as short as possible, writing in bullet points.

The bullets seem fine but I'm not sure hiring you can really bring about a change in a client's life, can it? It sounds rather inflated to say the least, and you could perhaps be coming over as a little pompous and self-important. But it all depends on how it's worded, of course.

Your profile and CV can of course be improved but they seem pretty good to me. Your CV shows you're a little light on experience, but if that's reality there's no harm done. At least it's an appropriate CV for a freelance translator.



Sheila, thanks for the insightful criquique. Honestly, I don't know how I can say that I can make a difference to my client while not sounding pompous and self-important. Do you know how I can keep this balance?

Atil, thanks for the tips on the CV. Sometimes we are so worried about the big picture we forget about essential stuff. Should I keep the same tone for companies from other countries as well?

Triston, my problem with social media is that it's really hard for me to communicate with my clients and focus. Social media requires lots of maintenance. You need to keep talking to your followers, think of the communities you follow, and so on. How do you manage that?


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 12:55
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Countries Dec 15, 2014

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:


Atil, thanks for the tips on the CV. Sometimes we are so worried about the big picture we forget about essential stuff. Should I keep the same tone for companies from other countries as well?




Well, that is what I do. I use exactly the same CV/resume content for all countries. To get into the details, we use A4 size paper in Turkey but Americans use 8 1/2" x 11" size paper. So, the paper size is different between US and Europe, including Turkey. If you want to be 100 % precise, you can change the paper size in a particular CV/resume by going to

File > Page Setup... > Paper

in MS Word. That way, you can have one CV/resume for the US and another one for elsewhere. CV/resume is one issue that you do not stop improving/updating. Once you get the hang of it, however, it is not that difficult at all. Like everything in life, it just takes some practice. There is an enormous amount of information on the Internet. Good luck!


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Video game translation Dec 16, 2014

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:

Triston, my problem with social media is that it's really hard for me to communicate with my clients and focus. Social media requires lots of maintenance. You need to keep talking to your followers, think of the communities you follow, and so on. How do you manage that?


I usually only post or upload something once a week, sometimes twice if I feel inspired. Most marketing methods are going to take time to develop and grow. My favorite marketing mentor always tells us that marketing isn't selling; marketing is building relationships. Many times the community will provide opportunities to participate and contribute.

Of course, social media isn't the only channel. Check out local game developer groups and universities that offer any related courses on game development.

These might help:

http://www.opl10nt9n.com/blog/how-to-break-into-video-game-translation

http://www.opl10nt9n.com/blog/8-places-to-register-to-pick-up-video-game-translation-projects


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 17:55
Chinese to English
Cover letter is not a resume Dec 16, 2014

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:

Sheila, first, when I write, I like to tell my client how his life can be different by hiring me as a translator. Then, I try to keep messages as short as possible, writing in bullet points. For example:

* Experience in gaming translation. Some of the games I translated include, but are not limited to: ...
* Knowledgeable in OmegaT, Trados 2011, Wordfast...
* I can also typeset with InDesign CS6 and deliver you elaborate desktop publishing...

Do you think there's something I should change in my overall approach?


All of this information is stuff to put in your CV, not a cover letter. (Also, I should point out: none of these points are about the client, they're all about you.) A cover letter should be tailored to the individual, and need not include specifics.

FYI, here's a cover letter that I used yesterday:

Dear XXX,

I'm writing in reference to the ad you placed on XXX (link).

I'm a British translator, long time resident in China. My work is consistently of publication quality: it has appeared in academic journals, fiction magazines, non-fiction books and corporate advertising. I also have plenty of experience with contracts, plans, reports, regulations, technical documentation and all the major corporate genres. It may be relevant to you to know that I have done some work with clients from XXX-speaking countries. This includes contracts and project plans for XXX partners. (This last sentence was because the agency is from a non-English speaking country and positions itself in a specific national market.)

My rates are XXX, and turnaround speeds typically XXX.

I very much hope that we can work together, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Information on specific projects, software, educational background, etc. is all in my CV, not mentioned in the cover letter.

As you can see, most of the letter is generic, but I tailored one little part to the client. This was in response to a general call for partners. If it had been for a specific job, my two sentences on experience would have focused on projects similar to the job being advertised.

Conventions vary from country to country, but I've had reasonable success with this kind of letter. A PM can read it in about 10 seconds flat, it sends the message that I'm experienced, gives my rates, and leaves them to browse the CV if they need more information. I got a response from the agency - but I don't know yet if it will turn into work.

[Edited at 2014-12-16 06:53 GMT]


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