Getting started as a free-lance translator: help...
Thread poster: Safia Salem

Safia Salem  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
English to French
+ ...
Aug 21, 2006

Hello,

I have just registered as a ProZ member and I am finding it a bit hard to get started, in terms of finding my first customers. I applied for a number of jobs but no success, not sure what I'm doing wrong. Or is it just that I should be more patient?

Any tips and tricks I could use to finally get in the swing of things?

Thanks so much in advance for any suggestion!

Safia


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Sophia Hundt  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:25
Russian to English
+ ...
A few tricks Aug 21, 2006

Dear Safia,

I started relatively recently, and by now I have a couple of regular clients and I have done a lot of translations in the five months I've been working through proz.com. These are important things I found about applying for jobs:

1)Stay patient and just keep applying. I would say that out of 7 jobs I apply for I get maybe one. And that's plenty, since I apply for a lot and there are a lot of them out there.

2)In the subject of your quote, as well as in the quote itself, it is important to be specific why you are competent to do this particular job - proving that you have the necessary background or expertise, and quoting the jobs you'd done recently on that very same subject.

3)Not quote the lowest possible rate or the highest - quote somewhere in the middle (you can check community rates in your language pairs).

4)I have my full resume on my profile, complete with photo and a list of selected translation projects, as well as testimonials from my past clients. (I don't have my personal contact information displayed, though.) I believe that helps.

5)I paste my resume on the bottom of each quote I place, so people see right away if I suit them or not.

6)I always spell check each of my quotes just in case.

I hope that was somewhat helpful, and I wish you the best of luck with getting established! Seems like there's enough work out there for everyone.


[Edited at 2006-08-21 17:19]

[Edited at 2006-08-21 20:52]


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GoodWords  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:25
Spanish to English
+ ...
A frequent question Aug 21, 2006

You may find other recent answers to this and related questions helpful:
http://www.proz.com/post/402900
http://www.proz.com/post/400476
http://www.proz.com/post/398744
http://www.proz.com/post/397228
http://www.proz.com/post/347079
http://www.proz.com/post/330523
and many others in the "Getting Established" subforum.

There are also several articles on this topic in the Article Knowledgebase.


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Teresa Bento  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:25
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Give it time Aug 21, 2006

Hello Safia,

I'm also relatively new in here and from my personal experience, what I can say is: you should take your time and choose wisely the type of jobs you apply to. Remember that if you apply to many, you'll have more chances of getting a reply. Anyway, if you'll apply to those you know you're able to do with little obstacles, you'll eventually get positive feedback. So start with subjects you are interested in (and have knowledge in) and tasks you know you are able to accomplish, even if they are small jobs. From then on, you'll start building a reputation and if you keep getting regular clients, your network will expand.
Good luck!


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:25
German to English
+ ...
Welcome to ProZ! Aug 21, 2006

Hi Safia,

If you haven't tried this yet, you might want to start with translation agencies in Singapore (check the BlueBoard under ProZ "Directories" tab at the top of this page), just to get a better feel for the business, and it's an advantage to have personal contact. Obviously they don't pay as well, but it will give you experience to point to when acquiring direct clients. Another tip might be to register as a translator with the French and Swiss embassies. A friend of mine in Singapore is registered with the German, Swiss and Austrian embassies for German to English translations, and a lot of his work comes through them. Don't know what the procedure is, though. If you want to get in touch with him, e-mail me through my ProZ e-mail address. He might be interested in a cooperation with you.

Your profile doesn't mention previous experience. This could be a little difficult, but with patience and perseverence, the jobs should start coming in.

Good luck,
Woodstock

On edit: Naturally, your profile mentions in-house experience, I meant freelance experience in particular. Can you get translation work from former employers, and/or use them as references?

[Edited at 2006-08-21 22:54]


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Teresa Bento  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:25
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
About embassy registering Aug 21, 2006

I would also want to know more about embassy registering. That's an excellent idea! Unfortunately, I don't know about the procedure, but I'm willing to ask.
Thanks for the tip!


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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:25
German to English
+ ...
I don't know the procedure, either Aug 22, 2006

Teresa Bento wrote:

I would also want to know more about embassy registering. That's an excellent idea! Unfortunately, I don't know about the procedure, but I'm willing to ask.
Thanks for the tip!


One can be reasonably certain that the requirements are different in different countries, or that it may not even be possible in some. It just happened to work for him, and he has 20 years' experience. Anyone interested has to make his or her own inquiries.

[Edited at 2006-08-23 05:50]


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Safia Salem  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:25
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Aug 22, 2006

Thanks all for the help and tips! I'll keep at it until work starts trickling in. And good idea about the embassies and prior employers, I'm already in the process of contacting them.

Cheers!


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xxxIanW
Local time: 01:25
German to English
+ ...
Quality Aug 22, 2006

I would say the bottom is that the quality of your work is your main advertisement - if your work is good, your customers will come back for more and word will spread, so that new customers will seek you out as well.

So don't take on too much - only as much as you can do very well.


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