Practical tipps on marketing myself needed
Thread poster: Helena Diaz del Real

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
German to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 29, 2013

Hi fellow translators,

I am already a couple of years working as a translator. I love this job and I want to keep on doing it for years and years.

However, for unknown reasons, I do not get much work. So I definetely need to get more clients. I prefer direct ones, but agencies are OK.

The "usual suggestions" such as complete your proz profile fully, apply to the offers that appear on my pair and my spezialization, help others when they need it (KudoZ), attend social meetings (powwows, conferences,...), try to get more professional in terms of learning (and using) CAT-tools,... I do it all, as good as I can. In fact, I think I'm using all profits proz gives me as a paying member.

My question to you is: Besides this and besides proz, which suggestions can you make in order to gain more clients?

I thank you very much for your help!

All the best,


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:52
Member (2007)
+ ...
Maybe this will provoke thought Jun 29, 2013

Hello Helena,

Sorry to hear you aren't bursting with work. I can see you're doing a lot of the good things, but we can always do with help to see our image from the exterior. Four things strike me:

(1) Your specialisations are sending out a rather confused message. I can understand that people may work in diverse areas but to specialise in engineering, tourism, medical, law...

(2) Are you using as your sole marketing window? It's a great site and you do appear to be using it to its full advantage, but there are an awful lot of potential clients who've never heard of it. I met someone locally the other day who's been a professional Spanish to English (oops: edited to add here that all-important "translator" wordicon_smile.gif) for several years, and even he hadn't heard of it! So I hope you're also marketing yourself through other portals, directly to agencies, locally to businesses, at trade fairs...

(3) One thing you aren't doing is giving clients a feel for the 'real you'. They have the dry information about qualifications etc, they have very good testimonials and they have samples of your work, but they don't know how you write for yourself, how you see yourself. Anyway, I think that if you aren't going to make your CV available to download, you should at least give them enough information about you to justify the claim that you can translate their text.

(4) I wonder if there's a shortage of work in your pairs - could that be part of the problem? Would it be worth your while adding English to Spanish and/or Catalan (if your English is up to it, of course)? I really don't know - it's just a thought. Maybe just seeing those pairs might encourage some agencies to contact you for your primary pairs - I can imagine cases where a PM speaks English but not your other languages, and doesn't get in touch with you because s/he risks having communication problems. Just a thought!icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2013-06-29 17:26 GMT]


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
English to Polish
+ ...
Hi Jun 29, 2013

Hi, Helena. I know you asked for leads other than your Proz profile, but I still need to say you should try to write an interesting, engaging copy. If you don't feel like going through the motions again: filling in stuff, repeating your degrees, past employments and so on – great, just write an engaging story. Perhaps use some pictures. Heck, whatever, even if you write about the weather on the coasts of Catalonia, that'll still be engaging to many people. Don't wate this opportunity.icon_smile.gif

Also, I would provide sample translations and get some credentials verified. Clients can be smart, but they can also be tired, hurried or new to the industry or new to the Internet even, or any combination of these. In short, you really want to provide them with accessible, easily reached information that doesn't force them to stop and think. You want them to stop for a while, but that's like stop and drop you a note, not stop and think what you meant to say.icon_smile.gif

Next, for something easy to digest, I'd recommend visiting Marta Stelmaszak at Wantwords. She knows what she's talking about, and she talks in such a way that you also know, right from the get-go. In short, it's easy to follow. She runs a blog that's called Business School for Translators, and she has a dozen-odd five-minute presentations in her YouTube channel. That, and somewhere on her Facebook page there should be a lovely 1.5-hour presentation on getting out of the cutthroat 'red ocean' and moving on to your own personal 'blue ocean', i.e. finding or creating a sweet spot for yourself where you're you and you don't have to compete based on low price, fast turnover and short deadlines. The presentation is quite powerful, you really should watch it and try to implement the advice. Her friend, Valeria Aliperta, gave another good one about branding. Branding is basically creating and projecting your own, individual image that personifies your business.

Have fun!

Oh, and you may want to look at lawyer marketing. Translator marketing is a new field and rather scarcely populated. On the other hand, lawyers are a very similar profession and they've already been there, done that. Not to mention that in some places (e.g. the USA) their market is really competitive to the point of needing to struggle to find work, for some of them. Actually, the same is true of German lawyers. I'm currently reading a law marketing book that's composed of sections written by a wide selection of German professors, some of them lawyers. Again, law marketing is a gold mine for translators.

Edit: One more: Go to your prospective clients' business meetings, events, chambers and whatever else there is. If you're the only translator who's there, then that's precisely what you want and why you came to the place. Take a stack of business cards and practice your 'elevator' (i.e. 1-minute) speech.

[Edited at 2013-06-29 17:16 GMT]


Peter Smedskjaer-Stenland
Faroe Islands
Local time: 02:52
Danish to English
+ ...
Simple and short advice Jun 30, 2013

Cold call companies and talk with them. Do not worry about souring a few or even half of the companies to your services. Either they will forget about your call or they will see you are legitimate and will be more likely to contact you than before.
Grab a phone book and start calling companies in a market up and see what you get out of it.


Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:52
German to Spanish
+ ...
I thank you all so much for your comments! Jul 5, 2013

Dear fellow collegues!

I thank you very much for your thoughts and comments!
I will take these tipps to heart!

However, since I posted the question, this situation is getting changed! I'm very happy about, but I can't really understand why so suddenly. But I do not complain! Not at all!


So, once more thank you very much and I will remember your tipps very well, for the future.

All the best for you,


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