Poll: Have you ever met a client thanks to your networking with colleagues?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:57
SITE STAFF
Sep 17, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever met a client thanks to your networking with colleagues?".

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Networking is essential Sep 17, 2011

I am an active participant in 5 lists on Yahoogroups for translators having Portuguese as one of their working languages. This means I know many colleagues, and many colleagues know me. We know a lot about each other's specialties.

Now, a specialist in ANYthing is specialized in nothing. In other words each translator has their unique set of specialty areas. As Socrates said, we don't know what we don't know. So part of the process of acquiring experience is learning what we don't know, in both senses. Either we learn to do something we don't know how to do, or we learn that we don't know enough about it to do it.

I've made some progress in the 38 years I've been translating professionally: I've identified so far 5 clearly defined areas of human endeavor where my knowledge does not suffice for translating. So I've identified colleagues that I know personally who specialize in these areas, and I divert any such translation requests to them, directly. I am not a translation outsourcer, so I put the prospect in direct contact with them, wish them all good luck, and gracefully step out.

To quote a specific example of the reverse process, I know a brilliant legal translator who admittedly will call her husband to insert a DVD in the player for her to watch. Whenever any client or prospect mentions the word "video" to her, she'll recite my name and e-mail or phone number, pronto.

So networking referral is not about personal payback, referring who already referred some client to you, but payback to the networked community. You get referred by your network members whenever a specialist in X is requested, and likewise you refer requests made to you for Y, something outside your comfort zone, to the specialized network member you know.

Sometimes it's work you can do, however the client requires an expert reviewer. That's the time you'll often know exactly who, within your network, would be the ideal person to polish your output.

Advertising, web sites and SEO are great; you can tell people a lot about yourself. However a referral as a specialist from a professional colleague is priceless. The only cost is never botching it up or letting anyone down, nevertheless this should be easy, as you'll be working within your specialty.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:57
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Many times Sep 17, 2011

At least half a dozen, maybe more.

Two of these clients turned out to be lucrative over the long term. The others, less so.


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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 12:57
English to French
+ ...
Very often Sep 18, 2011

As a matter of fact, I owe most of my clients to networking: keeping in touch with former fellow students, helping out colleagues in need when they were overloaded, taking over while others were on holidays is how I got started. Never "stole" a customer from anyone, just found my place in the network.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Sep 18, 2011

Through the years my colleagues have been a good source of clients. If for one reason or another they cannot serve a client, they will send that client to me. Networking with colleagues is quite valuable.

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Melissa McMahon  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 20:57
Member (2006)
French to English
Surprised at the results Sep 18, 2011

Surprised the top answer was "no" to this.

As others have mentioned, I've directed overflow/not-my department queries to other translators, and vice versa, but also got leads from translator colleagues who do not work in my language pair - that's a situation where there need be no background anxiety about "stealing" business.

I recommend getting out there and meeting colleagues. At best you'll get some work leads, you'll probably at least get an insight into how others work, and at worst you'll have got out of the house!

Melissa


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