Scoring your first clients
Thread poster: Vitor Machado

Vitor Machado
Portugal
Local time: 17:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Sep 7

Hello, everyone.
First and foremost, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Vitor Machado and I am 22 years old. As of June 2017, I have finished my Bachelor's degree in Administrative Assistance and Translation.
Since then, I have been working on creating my online profile in various Freelance + Translation websites, in order to score some jobs. I have also started to do some work for TWB(Translators Without Borders) to help the less fortunate while enriching my portfolio.
I have always loved to translate and work with languages, and now I have the academic and (some) professional experience to help me book at least some clients. The problem is that I just can't seem to be able to do that.
Does anyone have any tips for someone who is eagerly looking to enter in the freelance translation market? And maybe tell me what I am doing wrong for this lack of clientele.
Thanks in advance for reading this!


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 00:40
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Profile Sep 8

Your profile page is essentially empty. You could start with that.

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:40
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Where and how are you looking? Sep 8

If you're cold-calling agencies, maybe you either aren't doing it in their preferred manner (many have specific places on their websites to apply) or your letter-writing skills need perfecting, or your CV isn't appealing. Or maybe you're just expecting too much, too soon - keep at it .

If you're looking here on ProZ.com, then there are some things you can do to help yourself. There's a very similar thread that was started very recently that has a lot of the information I'd give you here, Vitor, if I wasn't about to leave for the airport - http://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/318382-getting_work_with_little_experience.html


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Lidija Klemencic
Serbia
Local time: 18:40
Member (2016)
English to Serbian
+ ...
As Lincoln said Sep 8

Just as Lincoln said, you would have to improve your profile. Add some more specifics about your experience, add your photo, polish your profile. And be persistent in pursuing your goals. Best of luck.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 18:40
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Vitor Sep 8

Vitor Machado wrote:
Since then, I have been working on creating my online profile in various Freelance + Translation websites, in order to score some jobs.


Good. Having well-written profile pages help increase the chance of getting selected for a translation job, if the client is the type of client who looks at translator profile pages. ProZ.com tells us that (according to their continued research into this matter) having a well-written, fully completed ProZ.com profile page will help you get a lot more jobs via ProZ.com than you would otherwise have gotten via ProZ.com.

I have also started to do some work for TWB(Translators Without Borders) to help the less fortunate while enriching my portfolio.


Good. Helping out at TWB can help you get more experience, although I'm not sure how it "enriches" one's portfolio.

Does anyone have any tips for someone who is eagerly looking to enter in the freelance translation market?


Yes, you must approach clients directly and offer them your services.

Visit the Blue Board and search for agencies in your target countries (i.e. countries where Spanish, Portuguese, German and English are widely spoken). Use the sort order "LWA average ascending". This will put unrated and poorly rated agencies at the top of the list. In the left column is the date that the agency's details were added to the Blue Board. Scroll down to the most recent entry (e.g. for Portugal it's on page 3) and contact the agencies that were added in the past 1-2 years. After you have contacted all such agencies, you can start over, but this time use the sort order "LWA average descending", which will place the highest ranking agencies at the top of the list. Rinse and repeat. You can expect 10% of agencies to respond, and you can expect jobs from 2% of agencies that responded.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some verbs Sep 8

Vitor,

You've received several pieces of good advice already. Allow me to suggest one more.

When it comes to customers or clients, a professional anything (translator, engineer, architect, etc.) does not “score” nor “book” them. We find, get, acquire, secure, etc. clients. Likewise, we may lose them for a number of reasons. And when we decide not to work with a client anymore, we may say we drop the client.

I would also suggest to continue writing in the languages you intend to work as a translator. You're still young and it's going to take several years until you find your translation legs, so to speak. Put it another way, it's going to be 5-10 years before you find your “voice” as a translator.


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Vitor Machado
Portugal
Local time: 17:40
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Sep 9

Thank you all very much for the feedback. You certainly gave me some valuable advice!

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