Should you chase agencies?
Thread poster: Emily Scott

Emily Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:16
Member (2018)
French to English
+ ...
Oct 16, 2018

Hi everyone,

I'm at the point in my career where I am sending email after email looking for work. As advised, I've targeted agencies that specialise in my area of expertise (pharmacovigilance). As this is quite a niche area of the pharmaceutical/medical industry, there aren't many agencies out there looking for linguists with experience in this field. So far, I'm on the books with two agencies specialising in pharmacovigilance, one who sends me regular work and another who has yet t
... See more
Hi everyone,

I'm at the point in my career where I am sending email after email looking for work. As advised, I've targeted agencies that specialise in my area of expertise (pharmacovigilance). As this is quite a niche area of the pharmaceutical/medical industry, there aren't many agencies out there looking for linguists with experience in this field. So far, I'm on the books with two agencies specialising in pharmacovigilance, one who sends me regular work and another who has yet to send me anything. I've applied for about 10 more in the field but have had no response and my question is - do I chase them or take the hint? I only ask because I feel I'd have more luck getting work from these agencies than I would applying for agencies with a more general pharmaceutical/medical requirement (although I am doing this too).

I'm just not sure on the etiquette here so any thoughts on this would be much appreciated
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Anna Augustin
Germany
Local time: 15:16
Member (2018)
English to German
+ ...
Dancing the dance Oct 17, 2018

When it comes to client acquisition, one of the most important things imho is friendly and active communication.

The fact that they're not replying might be a hint, yes, but there's no way of knowing. So, why not ask? I usually follow up after a few days. And, as I said above, I am super friendly when following up and usually say something along those lines "Did you receive my e-mail from [date]? If you have any more questions for me, I'd be happy to answer them for you. Have a grea
... See more
When it comes to client acquisition, one of the most important things imho is friendly and active communication.

The fact that they're not replying might be a hint, yes, but there's no way of knowing. So, why not ask? I usually follow up after a few days. And, as I said above, I am super friendly when following up and usually say something along those lines "Did you receive my e-mail from [date]? If you have any more questions for me, I'd be happy to answer them for you. Have a great day."

Some clients may find it annoying, others simply don't care and delete your follow-up mail instantly. But others may be delighted about your vigilance and interest. And those are usually the nicest clients

So be active, friendly, and professional.

Good luck!

P.S.: One more thing that I find helpful: Ask questions in your first e-mail. Usually, you don't know much about the project, so there are plenty of questions you could ask. It engages your client and shows them that you didn't just copy/paste a standard e-mail.

[Bearbeitet am 2018-10-17 08:47 GMT]
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Carmen Blazquez
Chris S
Susan Murphy Lamprecht
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
points Oct 17, 2018

First, do you really need those greedy* middlemen abusing their Power-Time-Information leverage? The more I know about agencies, the more I'm biased against their "discounts", "best rates", "flexible payment terms", and other absurd demands and requirements. How I wish this irregularly opaque translation market went under control and became more transparent and really free, so all those fatty go-betweens disappeared...

Second, if you're a decent translator and a business-lady, then
... See more
First, do you really need those greedy* middlemen abusing their Power-Time-Information leverage? The more I know about agencies, the more I'm biased against their "discounts", "best rates", "flexible payment terms", and other absurd demands and requirements. How I wish this irregularly opaque translation market went under control and became more transparent and really free, so all those fatty go-betweens disappeared...

Second, if you're a decent translator and a business-lady, then why not team up or start a private company--on your own terms?

Third, the more talkative you're, the more you show your neediness--a very bad sign for wanna-be bottom-feeders.

Fourth, why not search and contact local offices of related foreign/international companies? Many translators can confirm that finding a direct clients with a lavish hand is a serious "upgrade" in the biz.

Fifth, did you consider other incomes and professions too? I find that transcreation, re- and ghostwriting (let alone interpreting and mentoring/consulting) bring more than mere translation/proofreading.
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Cynthia_B
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:16
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Two thoughts Oct 17, 2018

I think you need to have something new to give them in your second email, otherwise you risk coming across as needy. Maybe wait until a bit nearer the end of the year and then announce that you'll be available for their projects over the period when so many of their regular translators will be unavailable (if it's true, of course). Or take the opportunity to tell them you've gained some new qualification or added a new specialisation. Or maybe tell them you've read that one of their clients (the... See more
I think you need to have something new to give them in your second email, otherwise you risk coming across as needy. Maybe wait until a bit nearer the end of the year and then announce that you'll be available for their projects over the period when so many of their regular translators will be unavailable (if it's true, of course). Or take the opportunity to tell them you've gained some new qualification or added a new specialisation. Or maybe tell them you've read that one of their clients (they usually publish logos) has just put a new drug on the market that will need increased resources in an area that you can cover.

You also need to think about spreading your net wider. In the beginning, you're going to have need of far more than your "perfect" jobs and clients. At the moment you need to play the numbers game and get yourself on many agency reserve lists in the hope of getting half-suitable work. Only later will you be able to afford the luxury of picking and choosing the best.
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Christine Andersen
Kay Denney
Carmen Blazquez
Chris S
Teresa Borges
Emma Page
Vera Schoen
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Depends Oct 17, 2018

If you have dealt directly with a specific person then I would definitely email them again and try to establish a rapport (maybe use the "just had a big project cancelled, trying to plug the gap" line).

But if they just have a central email address or online form, I suspect you just need to wait for them to be caught short and need you. That one urgent job (often in completely the wrong field) can often be the crucial foot in the door.

I also feel that you should widen
... See more
If you have dealt directly with a specific person then I would definitely email them again and try to establish a rapport (maybe use the "just had a big project cancelled, trying to plug the gap" line).

But if they just have a central email address or online form, I suspect you just need to wait for them to be caught short and need you. That one urgent job (often in completely the wrong field) can often be the crucial foot in the door.

I also feel that you should widen your net a bit.

If you've got the personality for it, you could always try turning up at their door with doughnuts and jump the queue that way!
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Stuart Hoskins
Susan Murphy Lamprecht
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:16
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
EMA/CdT Oct 17, 2018

Have you tried the European Medicines Agency (EMA)? As far as I know their translations are managed by the CdT (Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union) and they periodically launch calls for tenders (https://cdt.europa.eu/). Good luck!

 

Emily Scott  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:16
Member (2018)
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone! Oct 17, 2018

Sheila Wilson wrote: You also need to think about spreading your net wider.


Oh don't worry I am! I have applied to bigger more general agencies but no luck with them. The only agencies that I've got on the books with are two local ones and two pharmacovigilance specialists. As I was successful (in that they actually replied and registered me) with the local agencies, I've tried to apply to agencies more in the north of the UK (where I am) as they may get less applications than agencies in London etc.?

Chris S wrote:If you've got the personality for it, you could always try turning up at their door with doughnuts and jump the queue that way!


Trust me Christ I would if I could! Unfortunately I live in the middle of nowhere and am currently already registered with the only two agencies in the 'local' area

Anna Augustin wrote:Ask questions in your first e-mail


Thanks Anna, this is a good tip!

Teresa Borges wrote: Have you tried the European Medicines Agency (EMA)?


What great advice! Thank you so much! I'll have a look now!

[Edited at 2018-10-17 10:13 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
In memoriam
Give and you shall receive Oct 18, 2018

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I think you need to have something new to give them in your second email, otherwise you risk coming across as needy.


As you do have a specialty, you probably have some valuable information about translation. Check your FAQs, those that prospects ask - or should ask - you. My entire web site began with answers to these.

It's worth mentioning that blogs didn't exist when I built the very first version of my site. If you don't want to invest time and money on a web site, a freely-hosted blog should do.

If your content is deemed useful by many people (exclusively thanks to well-chosen keywords), IOW if it attracts many visitors, search engines will naturally "lift" it on searches without any cash investment in SEO or pay-per-click deals.

Though it is relatively recent, and not so much to the point, a clear example of what I mean by "giving" is http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/pm_videotools.html


 


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