Mistakes: Applying Translation Agencies / Quoting
Thread poster: Maria Conrrero

Maria Conrrero  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Sep 16, 2017

Hi ! my name is Maria and need some advice as how to get work from Translation Agencies or individual Customers.
Just don´t know what else to do or what am I doing wrong !

I´m professionally reinventing myself as an EN>SP Translator, don´t have a degree as a Translator, but attend courses since last year, with postgraduaded degree. Ajusted my +20 years CV in American Banking industry, using my pair of languages throughout my career.

On a daily basis I apply to 8/10 Translation Agencies searched in the internet, quote at Proz and still can´t find a job. Upgraded my Proz membership, apply to many different freelance sites (Up Work, TM Town, Smartlation, etc.)

What else can I do ? or What am I doing wrong ?


Harvey Utech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:08
German to English
Some things to try Sep 17, 2017

Hi Maria--

If it's any consolation, even experienced translators have the problem you describe. That said, I have a couple of suggestions.

1. Try to get "pro bono" work, i.e. translations for which you do not ask (or get) payment. Churches and non-profits will be grateful for your help. While such work does not provide remuneration, it does give you more credibility because you can cite it in your profile, advertising, etc. and who knows, someone in the organization might volunteer to help you find paid work.

2. If you have a specialty (and you should if you don't), try going to a trade show in that specialty. Show some interest at the displays, ask questions, etc. Sooner or later, the person to whom you are talking should start asking you questions. Be totally honest and tell him/her that you are looking for work in translations. I did this when I was starting out and it got me work that was free at first but led to paid work, once they saw how good I was.icon_smile.gif Of course, it won't work at every booth but you only need one to declare the effort a success.

Keep in mind that the question you asked is constantly on the minds of many of us.

Best of success in your efforts.



Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:08
Member (2007)
+ ...
Maybe the content is letting you down? Sep 17, 2017

It does sound as though you're putting in a great deal of effort. How about the timeline? Are you expecting too much, too soon, perhaps? Very often, agencies will accept applications in complete silence and then pop up with a job several weeks, months, or even years later. Of course, you must use their preferred channels - often via their own website application page.

Then there's the content to consider. Maybe your applications and quotes aren't doing you justice. I don't know what you write, but I imagine you write in English, and therein could lie the problem. Your post above is littered with mistakes and although it's understandable it doesn't look good in a text from a professional translator who has spent so long using English. So I suggest you get some help with that side of things. It may not be the solution - I have no idea - but it certainly wouldn't hurt.


David GAY  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
your worst mistake Sep 17, 2017

I think your worst mistake is to have left the banking industry.

[Modifié le 2017-09-17 08:32 GMT]


Maria Conrrero  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Thanks ! Sep 17, 2017

Sheila, Harvey !
I really appreciate your comments !!! thanks so much !!

David, never regretted it, too many years there. Had a great time but needed more time with my kids.


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Local time: 17:08
Member (2016)
English to German
Patience and specialisation Sep 17, 2017

Maria, even if you left the banking industry for whatever reason, you should capitalise on your knowledge of the industry and its terminology. There are many translators in your pair, therefore you need to give the clients a reason to choose you before all the others. Knowledge in a specific field can be a very good selling point. You need to find the clients and agencies which need this kind of expertise. And if you have found them, don't try to compete with low rates. Ask for professional rates from the start, sell your work as the work of a professional, be 100% reliable and helpful, deliver flawless work, make the life of your client easier. Build long lasting relationships. It must be obvious to the client that you are the go-to-person whenever a translation in your field is needed.
It is obvious that you will not get many offers at the start, but even if it takes months, at some point the first offer will come. (Not counting the many bottom fishers that will address you in the meantime - of course you have to check the background and the respectability of every prospective customer). But if you finally have a contact with a serious client or agency, it's up to you to provide such a perfect and convincing service that they will never want to lose you again.

By the way, you could try your previous employers as possible clients for a start.


Maria Conrrero  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Good points Sep 17, 2017

Your suggestions help ! Will follow your advise.
Thank you !


Maria Conrrero  Identity Verified
English to Spanish
Rates Sep 17, 2017

Something I learned quickly is avoid working for low rates ! we have to look for each other ! Rather do it for free !


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