Finding work translating certificates
Thread poster: Kevin Dunn

Kevin Dunn
United States
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 10, 2016

Hi all,

For a while now, I've been working with a few great US-based agencies, large and small, and it seems like there is an almost limitless demand for certified translation of official documents for immigration and other legal purposes. I know it's not the most interesting work, but I enjoy it and it seems like it can be moderately lucrative if you have a high enough volume and charge a flat rate.

I've been trying for a while now to drum up my own end clients with this sort of work: I've taken out ads in Hispanic publications and written to law offices specialize in immigration, but with relatively little success. I know that this work is out there, but how do I access it? What marketing techniques are folks using to connect with this community?

I realize not everyone is itching to share their trade secrets, but as a relative newcomer to freelancing I'd be grateful for a push in the right direction.

Thanks a lot!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:48
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Google searches? Aug 10, 2016

Kevin Dunn wrote:
I've been trying for a while now to drum up my own end clients with this sort of work: I've taken out ads in Hispanic publications and written to law offices specialize in immigration, but with relatively little success. I know that this work is out there, but how do I access it?

Not something I get involved with but I imagine most would do a simple Google search. You're going to have your work cut out to be in there ahead of the big agencies. The other route I'd have thought lucrative is the ATA, but I see you're already covering that one. Does that not get some of them to spot you? Maybe Embassies have lists?


 

Kevin Dunn
United States
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not yet Aug 11, 2016

Nothing has come through the ATA yet, but I've been a member for less than a year. Embassies might be a good place to check...

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:48
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Yes, embassies have lists Aug 11, 2016

Sheila Wilson wrote:
Maybe Embassies have lists?


Yes, I don't think Google is people's first port of call. They usually just ask the agency that requires the translation if they can recommend anyone. So these agencies/bureaus etc do tend to have lists.


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:48
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Embassies are a good idea Aug 11, 2016

A friend of mine in an Asian country does this successfully by being registered at the German, Austrian and Swiss embassies. Consulates are another option. Having worked at an international personnel and management consulting agency for quite a few years (involving a LOT of translating CVs, testimonials and certificates, among other things), I would also suggest trying big, international headhunting companies and possibly the various foreign Chambers of Commerce and trade/commerce associations, which should all have branches in D.C., since you are located near there. I would also think about advertising on big online job agencies, like Monster, or having a look at possibilities on LinkedIn, which is good for networking among professionals. Have you tried any government agencies? I would think the State Department is always looking for good language service providers, but I obviously don't know about their need for certificates translation. It might be worth a try, though.

Good luck!


 

Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Add it to your profile Aug 11, 2016

I took a look at your profile, and I don't see "birth certificates," "transcripts," or anything of the sort in your key words. So no individuals seeking such translations will find you through ProZ.com. If they did, your motto, "Expensive translation (that's worth it)" would probably scare them off. Most average Joes and Janes, who have no experience in contracting for translation services, and who are looking at 20 pages of transcripts, good behavior certificates, and bank statements to take to an immigration interview are not looking for "expensive."
In addition, my own experience of the certificate sector is that if it's not from an agency, it's local. I'm not sure why that is, exactly, but I think ordinary individuals are more comfortable with a known quantity (either a big agency, or someone recommended to them by a friend or lawyer). Here where I live, there a couple of immigration lawyers who recommend me to their clients, as well as certain word-of-mouth circles. If I wanted more of this type of work, I'd take my card around (in person!) to all the local immigration lawyers, plus address political/cultural organizations related to my source languages--- I belong to the regional Alliance Française, for instance, and have received a few jobs as a result. However, since your profile mentions that you are nomadic, this might not be a tactic that is useful to you.



[Edited at 2016-08-11 20:17 GMT]


 

Kevin Dunn
United States
Member (2014)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the suggestions! Aug 12, 2016

Thanks, everyone, for the tips! I'm nomadic at the moment but hope to be more firmly rooted soon--and in a part of the country with a sizeable immigrant population--so I'll be sure to get in touch with local immigration lawyers as well as embassies, consulates, etc.

 


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