Poll: In general, do new clients contact you first, or do you contact them?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:17
SITE STAFF
Jan 4

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In general, do new clients contact you first, or do you contact them?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
They contact me Jan 4

I've never looked for work; never even reminded a client that I was "back from vacation." It's not in my nature to go out and try to sell myself.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They contact me Jan 4

I did contact a good number of potential clients (translation agencies, European Community Institutions, chambers of commerce, public and private companies) in the very beginning (1986) and that’s how I built my customer base. Over the years some have left me and I have “divorced” a few others, one has stayed with me since then (I’m particularly proud of that) and others have emerged (mostly through my website, word-of-mouth, translators associations I belong to and… Proz).

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Oh, darling, no Jan 4

I've had to install a ten-foot electrified razor-wire fence to keep the beggars out.

I offer such a superior service that I have no need for self-promotion.


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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:17
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Bit of both Jan 4

When I first set up as a free-lancer I contacted all my former colleagues now working at other agencies, and that's how I got started.

A couple of clients came looking for me when they saw that they were no longer getting the same level of quality from the agency once I had left.
Before you all start seething, the no-compete clause in my contract was null and void because of a technicality in French labour law, so I was free to work with them. I didn't actively steal clients from my former employer though, I'm not like that. (Besides, most of the clients had needs I couldn't cater to!)


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Platon Danilov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 07:17
Member (2014)
English to Russian
+ ...
Let's be honest Jan 4

I am not a member of a translation association. I have a website, but it is not on the first page of search engine results, so it's rather a visit card. The same with my well developed profile on Proz. Blogging is good when you have something new to tell your customers, so it's not for everyone. I haven't experienced anything like word-of-mouth effect yet, but it doesn't mean my clients are not happy, you can find their positive feedback in my profile here.

I started out only 3 years ago, when all agencies already had their preferred translators for combinations of specific language pair and specialities. It means I can count only on occasional jobs from them. At my very start, I offered my service to all my foreign business contacts from my previous job in another industry: nobody used it. The same is with my attempts to reach out to potential direct clients. Agencies keep adding me to their data bases, but do not provide a sustainable job flow. Unfortunately, I still have to do job search more than I translate. For me, it is about a daily struggle between making my own success story or a fail.

Another option, which is not an option for me, is going out to the local market, which pays 5-6 times lower than the international market in my language pairs.

Let's be honest, only some well established professionals with over a dozen of years of experience can afford themselves never look for work. For all the rest, competition is very hard.

[Редактировалось 2018-01-04 16:44 GMT]


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Romina Eva Pérez Escorihuela
Argentina
Local time: 01:17
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Definitely both! Jan 4

Platon Danilov wrote:

I am not a member of a translation association. I have a website, but it is not on the first page of search engine results, so it's rather a visit card. The same with my well developed profile on Proz.

I started out only 3 years ago

Unfortunately, I still have to do job search more than I translate. For me, it is about a daily struggle between making my own success story or a fail.



In Latinamerica, it takes almost 10 years for a freelancer to be fully established in the market... So I fully understand your struggle and frustration. That's why interpreters need to translate, or translators need to teach their working languages to managers and executives in different companies to make a living at the start...

I think we should stay active in social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook groups, Facebook page), publish our website in local and international directories (such as ProZ or others not only connected to the translation world), and always carry your business cards with you: I once handed one after a funeral... you never know! It is very important to continue to study and develop specializations, even if you don't belong to any professional translators' association you are always welcome to join their courses and conferences! You will always meet at least one colleague who to stay in touch with and start working together later on... It's a matter of being patient.

I like the idea of reaching out to potential customers (like "cold marketing", so they say) but after analyzing carefully why my services could be necessary for them. I tried this many times, and got a positive answer even after one year of sending that e-mail out. Really!


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:17
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They do, usually Jan 6

I have worked my way around keeping detailed and updated CVs and profiles in a few sites. I make sure I figure among the top 20 in these sites when clients search for translators. That's basically what it takes to have enough work to refuse the peanuts.
I have never heard translators confirm that associations, unions and the like would help in that sense, so I'm not a member of any such entities.
Sometimes I do send CV's, proposals, etc. to potential clients that explicitly announce they are looking for translators, not to anyone or people who did not ask for it, as this has also proven to be 99% useless. Actually, clients do not like receiving dozens of CVs. The application/CV/job pages most company sites have are precisely to prevent e-mails and letters with CVs, so they can ignore them automatically.


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