How to find new jobs/customers?
Thread poster: Costanza T.

Costanza T.
Italy
Local time: 16:39
English to Italian
+ ...
Oct 3, 2005

Hi all!!
I have a simple question to ask....WHich is in your opinion the best way to find new jobs/customers?
I am not speaking about translation agencies but direct customer. I think the sending of CV is only a waste of time. Have you a good method?Thanks a lot in advance for your suggestions!

[Oggetto dell'argomento modificato dallo Staff o dal Moderatore 2005-10-03 14:17]


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lenkl
Local time: 16:39
French to English
Advice with a disclaimer Oct 3, 2005

I always refuse to translate CVs, and when people ask me why I explain that if I knew how to write a good résuméI wouldn’t be killing myself at this menial job. All this to preface my remarks by pointing out that, if I knew a sure way to get customers, I would perhaps have retired by now.
I have a friend who lives in a bilingual country and who secured a huge contract with a very large company there by sending it corrected translations of their printed material and offering to do a better job. I’ve sometimes thought of doing the same thing with Websites that are poorly translated, or perhaps with the European Commission, which sometimes puts out stuff in the most appalling prose.
In the end, I find it more comfortable to work mainly for one or two agencies, with one or two private accounts on the side. My friend’s single client ended up going bankrupt. Also, one of the drawbacks of going it alone is the risk that someone else will come one day and underbid us.
Good luck.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:39
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Meet potential clients face-to-face Oct 3, 2005

There is only one way to meet clients, and that is face-to-face. You can use this information to do anything you like. You can, for example, visit companies in person, or you can go to seminars and conferences. These seminars and conferences should not be ones for translators, of course, but be for professionals in the field in which you work, or wish to work and have at least some experience/knowledge of the trade.

In the world of business, it is simply too risky to contact an unknown individual translator (from the perspective of the client). If a client approaches an agency, he is approaching a business that specialises in translation, and he assumes (whether correctly or not) that there will be certain guarantees. One guarantee is the fact that it is a proper business, will therefore presumably negotiate in a business-like manner, and will be aware of the importance of business deadlines. The other guarantee that the client sees is that the agency is specialised in translation, and that the translation will therefore be correct. If the client approaches an unknown sole trader, however, there are no guarantees at all - he takes a chance (and I have noticed that, in other fields of self-employment at least - which the client may have experienced - many sole traders certainly are unprofessional in their attitude). Therefore, the client will only do business with an individual translator whom he has personally met and acquired confidence in. He will acquire confidence in the translator by the translator behaving and negotiating in a businesslike manner, dressing in a businesslike way, and producing an impressive business card, symbolic of his/her efficiency.

I wish you every success as you get out and meet people. Being a translator is not a lone occupation, as many people think, because successful marketing requires a strong social factor.

Astrid


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 17:39
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
Good Idea ... BUT Oct 3, 2005

lenkl wrote:

I have a friend who lives in a bilingual country and who secured a huge contract with a very large company there by sending it corrected translations of their printed material and offering to do a better job. I’ve sometimes thought of doing the same thing with Websites that are poorly translated, or perhaps with the European Commission, which sometimes puts out stuff in the most appalling prose.


Well, I thought of doing that several times, but I just couldn't! I'm sorry but I think of this method as against my business ethics. I would never accept the idea of hitting another colleague (even if I didn't know him/her) in the back. I know it may sound like "it's business we're talking here so stop it", but this is just me

lenkl wrote:

In the end, I find it more comfortable to work mainly for one or two agencies, with one or two private accounts on the side.
so, one of the drawbacks of going it alone is the risk that someone else will come one day and underbid us.
Good luck.
[/quote]

Well, I guess the question remaining here is where to get those one or two clients from in the first place

I'm having the same trouble here ... getting jobs and/or clients. I submitted my resume to many agencies and posted quotes for several job offers. Most of them sent me back asking for more information and tons of copies of my IDs and certificates ... and that's it! They never send me back ... I'm just a registered member in tons of translation agencies ... but not a working member yet

This is getting boring ... if things kept going on this way, I may start thinking of considering another career

Oh ... back to the main question: how to get clients or jobs?

Well, that was the only thing I could do; posting my resume. I may also suggest having more connections with other colleagues. Some of them seek assistance from time to time, they may consider you.


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Paola Dentifrigi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:39
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Read Proz! Oct 3, 2005

Well, I guess there's so much to read on Proz.
I built up (and building up) my career thanks to this
great place.
Sorry for the long link, but it's worth:
http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/categories/Business-of-Translation-and-Interpreting/Marketing-Your-Language-Services/

Paola


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 09:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Personal contact Oct 3, 2005

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

There is only one way to meet clients, and that is face-to-face.

Astrid


It's great that it works that way for you, but it's not a universal lemma. Even though most of my clients live in the same city as I do, I have hardly met any of them in person. I think that Constanza and anyone else interested in this topic might want to know that there's more than one route to the same destination.

To answer the original question, I get most of my new clients by referrals from existing clients. Thus what has worked for me is to do an excellent job on every translation, both in terms of linguistic quality and customer service, so that the client will not hesitate to recommend me to someone else.


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
build a reputation.... Oct 4, 2005

inch by inch...... do everything you can to learn, improve, and when you obtain jobs, do them well...it takes time...blood, sweat and tears......but if you are serious and professional, it will eventually happen:-)

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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 17:39
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
National Translation Associations Oct 4, 2005

My experience has been the best source of direct clients is the job offer board of the ITA, Israeli Translation Association, where I live. The matter of distrust is limited because they assume, for some reason, that anybody who is a member must be a professional translator. These are serious offers for the most part. Once you get a few of these, you have the chance to build a reputation and get referrals. The ATA (American) job board seems less active to me, but I admit to not regularly checking it. Good luck and be patient.

Stephen Rifkind


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xxxAWa
Local time: 16:39
English to German
+ ...
Agree with Astrid Oct 4, 2005

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

There is only one way to meet clients, and that is face-to-face. You can use this information to do anything you like. You can, for example, visit companies in person, or you can go to seminars and conferences. These seminars and conferences should not be ones for translators, of course, but be for professionals in the field in which you work, or wish to work and have at least some experience/knowledge of the trade.
...

Astrid


Meeting potential customers certainly is the best way to establish contact. People somehow need to know you personally.

My first clients were the company I had worked for as an in-house translator and friends who, by the time I started freelancing, had jobs where they needed (and fortunately still need) translations. Knowing that I am reliable and know both the subjects and the language, they hired me. In one case it took almost a year and I had to do two sample translations for a friend's boss, who used to do the translations himself, before the first paid job.

Since then, I have also begun to contact potential customers at industrial fairs in the fields that I specialize in. Of course, this takes me away from my desk for a whole day, but where else can I talk to representatives of roughly 50 companies or more in just a few hours? Of course, I am aware that when attending a fair, I am the representative of a company (my translation business), too, meaning: I dress smart, don't use to much make-up, think about how I'll start the conversaton/introduce myself.

The results so far this year: at 3 fairs, I contacted about 150 companies, had a positive reaction (left business card, brochure) from about 60-80 companies - and at two occasions, I even got a translation job right after the end of the fair.

Another Astrid


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Costanza T.
Italy
Local time: 16:39
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks a lot! Oct 4, 2005

I thank you a lot. So many answers.....so this is a matter that concerns a lot of you. My question was about a "concrete" way to find job. Some of you suggest to improve my "translation education" but this does not concerns my original question.
However I thank you a lot for your opinion!!!!!!!!


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:39
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
That's not quite true! Oct 4, 2005

I have dozens of customers and I only know about 3 personally.
I exploit any opportunity to make a contact but that is mainly proz (by networking with colleagues) and contacting agencies who advertise my language combination.
Each of us has different skills and different contexts.
I wouldn't dream of going to a fair and approaching people with a "cold sell". I tried it in the past and it failed miserably so I wouldn't ever do it again. But that's me.
Angela

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

There is only one way to meet clients, and that is face-to-face. ...


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:39
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Offer only the skills you can guarantee Oct 4, 2005

Yes, Costanza, that's true, but finding customers is difficult and the better your skills the greater your hope of success.
I notice you offer Italian-English as a combination and I would suggest you consider at length whether translating out of your native language is going to increase or decrease your chances of being considered as a potential services provider. This is now off-topic, but I suggest you read the countless threads about the traps of cross-translating.
Regards
Angela (who only translates into English!)


Costanza T. wrote:
Some of you suggest to improve my "translation education" but this does not concerns my original question.
However I thank you a lot for your opinion!!!!!!!!


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:39
German to Italian
+ ...
Satisfied clients and personal acquaintances Oct 4, 2005

GoodWords wrote:

To answer the original question, I get most of my new clients by referrals from existing clients. Thus what has worked for me is to do an excellent job on every translation, both in terms of linguistic quality and customer service, so that the client will not hesitate to recommend me to someone else.


I couldn't agree more: a satisfied client is the best advertising. Personal acquaintances can also be an important source of jobs IMO: now and then someone calls me saying "Hi, I'm a friend of your cousin X/a colleague of your friend Y/etc., who told me you work as a translator: could you please...?" etc. Having a profile with your CV in many sites around the web is also useful: a couple of times agencies called me just because they had found my cv through a search in the web. So, the more people know you are a professional translator, the better it is. Good luck!


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Costanza T.
Italy
Local time: 16:39
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree with AWA Oct 4, 2005

......yes AWA is right.
I think to go to fairs for a personal "promotion" can be a good idea. You can obtain a lot of addresses, info, contacts, and why not you can give your CV. Maybe nobody will contact you, but I think this is not a waste of time. Nobody knows if you "exist" until you do it. A bit of "self-advertising" cannot be dangerous!
Yes Angela, I agree with you about the subject of constant learning, improvement and so on...but you check the quality of a translator's work only after having read it!


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:39
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
A client makes a decision BEFORE giving you a job Oct 4, 2005

Based on the information you provide, references and test translations. The client doesn't expect, afterwards, to have to decide if it's good or not. S/he expects it to be good. But this is off-topic.
Angela


Costanza T. wrote:

Yes Angela, I agree with you about the subject of constant learning, improvement and so on...but you check the quality of a translator's work only after having read it!


[Edited at 2005-10-04 10:21]


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