So how DO I get established? (... no way to get around the giants.)
Thread poster: Alexandru Pojoga

Alexandru Pojoga
Local time: 04:38
Japanese to English
+ ...
Jun 23, 2002

I mean there\'s no way to get around the giants.

I can\'t charge their rates. I can\'t claim their credentials.

I would love the chance to submit test work -- this is the the most direct way to assess a translator, after all. But I\'m among \"and the remaining\" 3000 translators for a given language pair, showing up with a tagline like \"Quality and professionalism\" (duhh).

It would just really be great to put into my resume some day: \"Also did 200,000 word project for IBM.\"


Erika Pavelka (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:38
French to English
Market, market and market Jun 23, 2002

Hi Alexandru,

The only thing to do is to market yourself to potential clients.

  • Prepare a short resume (no more than 2 pages) containing the information they need on your services (in no particular order: language combination(s), experience, education, certifications/accreditations, areas of specialization, software, full contact information).

  • Also prepare a few sample translations to offer. If you\'re offered a test, don\'t do more than 300-400 words.

  • Do some research about the rates for your language combination(s) in the different markets (will vary from US to Europe).

It takes time to get established as a freelance translator, so you need to be patient but perseverant. It took me about a year and lots of phone calls/faxes/e-mails to potential clients.

I hope this helps. Good luck,



Gayle Wallimann  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:38
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
I agree. It is tough to get started! Jun 23, 2002

There is no secret, just be perseverant. Send out your letters and CVs and be patient. Don\'t just count on Proz for your jobs. Even though I\'m platinum, I\'ve only had two jobs this year through proz \'and they were not direct job posts). I only have gotten two of those in the past two and a half years! icon_smile.gif


Alexandru Pojoga
Local time: 04:38
Japanese to English
+ ...
I'm not getting anywhere. Jun 23, 2002

For the most part I\'m stuck in the outsourcing \'niche\'. But hope dies last, as one proverb says.


Oleg Prots  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:38
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
There are two options. Jun 23, 2002

You can either:

charge lower rates while getting established (frankly speaking, that\'s what I did first) - in this case you MIGHT have better chances to get a job


charge top rates anyway - if you are sure you do the job no worse than the top pros on the list - in this case you PROBABLY will have less contracts, but you would earn more for those you get.

There are arguments to support both options, of course, but the only thing that really matters is how you feel about it.

I suggest you take a look at the site, run by Alex Eames -

I\'ve found his resource rather useful.

One more thing (it\'s my personal opinion) - I don\'t think that IBM would ever look at the translator asking 2 or 3 cents per word...

Good Luck!


Elinor Thomas  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other options... Jun 24, 2002

use Google to search for Translation Agencies.

Just don\'t quit. It took me almost 2 years until I could say \"I can make a living out of my profession.\"



Brian Lottino (X)
Japanese to English
CV? Jun 24, 2002

I\'m new to this biz and still need to learn some of the terminology. I\'ve checked other places, but had no luck finding my answer so I\'m resorting to asking here. What does CV stand for? And IMHO? Are there Other\'s I should know?


Tanuki (X)
Japanese to Italian
+ ...
Three tips re your profile Jun 24, 2002

I hope you will forgive me my bluntness.

Three details I would change asap:

1) Your photo. It is not really a matter of wearing a necktie. With or w/o a necktie, I would try a different photo, perhaps with a tiny smile, or an icon.

2) That \"relaxed writing\" catchphrase. Perhaps your putative Client may relax. Perhaps. To date, you do not. Not yet.

3) That background.

IMHO, it is too forlorn.

Accident, luck and fate might indeed play a role in one\'s career...and yet be not worth mentioning. Unless one wants to become a Fortune-teller, that is.

In your place I would rather try and explain first of all my background (like, e.g. studies, working experiences, achievements...) and then perhaps why and what I really do like to translate.

Hope never dies, and anyway it should not be considered as a decisive factor.

Bluntly Yours,



On 2002-06-23 19:50, sandup wrote:

For the most part I\'m stuck in the outsourcing \'niche\'. But hope dies last, as one proverb says.


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:38
English to German
+ ...
CV / IMHO Jun 25, 2002


On 2002-06-24 05:46, Brian Lottino wrote:

I\'m new to this biz and still need to learn some of the terminology. I\'ve checked other places, but had no luck finding my answer so I\'m resorting to asking here. What does CV stand for? And IMHO? Are there Other\'s I should know?

Nothing to do with translations, really... \"CV\" stands for \"curriculum vitae\", aka (=\"also known as\") your résumé. IMHO means \"in my humble opinion\".

For more of these, have a look at


Alexandru Pojoga
Local time: 04:38
Japanese to English
+ ...
Thanks will make those blunt changes Jul 2, 2002

Actually I put that cheerful nonsense in there for lack of more sensible ideas. Will make the appropriate changes -- and blunt comment is sorely welcome.

Many thanks,



Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:38
French to English
Decide what you want to translate. Jul 10, 2002

Once you have got your CV/résumé together, you need to draw up a short efficient letter.

Decide what you want to translate, this decision being based on what you can translate. You must have certain knowledge and skills with which you are at ease. Those are the ones to concentrate on. You can only write convincingly on subjects you know something about.

Decide what sort of clients you would like to work for. Think whether there are any local to you and approach the whole thing as if you were looking for a job.

A word on rates. Don\'t sell yourself short. A high rate is easier to justify than a low one. You can get yourself stuck in a low rates trap. Don\'t oversell yourself either though. Charge the going rate, do a good job. You will be slower in the beginning anyway which will lower your potential revenue enough as it is without lowering your rates!

The first couple of years are tough. Once you get yourself established, you will find yourself turning work away.

Good luck,



Intergraf  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Advice on rates Aug 30, 2002

I\'ll give you the best advice I ever got, and from someone outside the translation profession at that - set your regular rates to be in line with what the market will bear, be it local or not, then offer a discount to clients if you wish.

As the person giving me the advice put it: it\'s seldom a problem to reduce a discount, but raising your rates is a totally different matter!

Good luck!



mmachado (X)
English to Portuguese
any good client is a giant client Nov 30, 2002


I agree with all previous opinions on this subject. I just wanted to add that all clients that pay the rates we ask for, that respect all business terms and that know the difference between the good and the \"not so good\" work should be considered giant clients. In my opinion, if we consider them that way and put them first, whatever size their company is, they will also do some marketing for us. And that really pays.

All the best



Herbert Fipke  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:38
English to German
+ ...
Answer especially to Tanuki Dec 3, 2002

Hi folks!

I would like to give my comments especially to Tanuki\'s remarks on how a \"good\" reputation should look like. This is not intended to offend him (or her) personally. It\'s just an opportunity for me to express my thoughts on certain \"clients\" and attitudes.

1. The photo (and/or appearance).

Working with (or in) the Asian hemisphere forces us to behave like macho maniacs, for example (as a male) not to talk to females as long as there is a possibility to make conversation via a male.

There are many other experiences I have made in my job as a PR manager (with translator background) especially on trade fairs where you are \"bluntly\" ignored by those \"important\" and \"divine\" business managers from (almost) all Asian countries when you don\'t wear a dark grey or blue suit and tie and behave as servile as a slave back in the Roman Empire.

Each individual has to decide for him/herself whether to obey to these archaic rules which should have been gone for centuries.

2. Relaxed Writing

The same servility can be expressed by a so called \"politically correct\" style of writing. Puh! People that insist on being addressed as a Godfather would not be my clients anyway. They can live according to their \"samurai style\" back home. I understand that Asian societies tend to be archaic but this should never be a standard behaviour guide line for a liberal European citizen.

Always have in mind: If they want a translation into German (for example), they want to do business with Germany. And if so, THEY should obey to European style and not the other way round!!!!

As for me, I like to test the attitude of a potential customer by writing \"relaxed\" e-mails or letters on purpose. If the potential doesn\'t like that, he/she will cause lots of problems later on anyway by being picky or not \"donating\" the full fee etc.. So I stay away from him/her.

3. Background

I agree that without having a serious background with proper skills and growing experience it will be difficult to establish. But this cannot mean to be servile.

Again, each individual has to decide as to which life style to follow, but there has always been one important point for me:

\"Among the four billion people on earth, there is NOBODY ranking higher than me, and there is NOBODY ranking lower.\"

The only difference lies in friendly or unfriendly behaviour.

Unfortunately, Tanuki is right that there are lots of \"Godfather\" businessmen all over the world who try to force us behave strange. All I want to say is: Don\'t exaggerate! Stay yourself!

Translation is mainly a question of style. And if your style doesn\'t meet your client\'s, the coop will not work anyway.


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