Most clients are looking for someone to solve their communication problems.
Marketing Yourself as a Problem Solver
The nature of your chosen career as a translator makes you a problem solver, and most clients are looking for someone to solve their communication problems. In fact, translators are in a rather unique position to solve problems due to not only the complexity of their work, but the level of skill required. Realistically, a translator changes roles many times during the process of their job – from researcher, writer, and customer service representative, to cultural expert, editor, word-processor, bookkeeper, innovator, colleague and mentor; not forgetting the fact that translators must be experts at negotiation, sales, running a business, soft skills, and so on.
Your translation clients are asking you to take tasks off their hands: tasks that they know are important but ones they don’t understand completely. The sad truth is, though, that when you work with clients who have little or no idea of what’s involved in translation, you’re not on the road to a successful freelancing career. Yes, freelance translators work with clients who are not from the world of words, meaning writers, linguists, editors, and so on, and all professionals need to explain what they do; but when you’re working with clients who have a general understanding of what you actually do, and why what you do is so important, then you’ll be able to do business more productively, faster, and definitely more successfully.
In a nutshell, you should be looking for clients who appreciate the value of translation! It’s so helpful in many ways when clients have a little knowledge about what you do. This knowledge may come because perhaps they’ve dealt with other translators in the past, or perhaps they’ve had a bad translation experience. Maybe it’s the marketing section of a large company, where they understand that translation is vitally important to their business but they’re not fully au fait with everything that’s involved in translating text from one culture to another. Whatever their experience, the types of clients you direct your marketing to makes all the difference.
It’s important also that you market to a large number of clients. Ideally, you should be trying to get anywhere up to 5 times the number of leads you can handle, because the ultimate goal here is that at the end of the day you’ll have choices to make. Make sure you have various types of samples, professional documents and website pages available to attract direct clients, so that when clients are seeking information about you and the services you offer, your document are ready to send out – documents that explain your approach and both highlight and describe your value as a translator. These documents may include the traditional example where many company names don’t work in target cultures, or perhaps documents showing how historical miscommunications have, in the past, led to very expensive errors.
Show How You Can Help
If you really want to grab your client’s attention, explain how your cultural knowledge can save them both money and time. They’ll be impressed if you can find translation blunders in their own industry! Your clients will gain new insights about the culture of their suppliers and customers, and they’ll learn how localizing content is vitally important to the success of their business.
Write Your Own Book!
And finally, in order to describe your vast specialty knowledge, consider marketing yourself by writing a pamphlet, handout, paper or e-book. The more your handouts are spread around, the more you’ll begin to gain a reputation as an expert, and clients will begin coming to you. You’ll be boosting your exposure and your authority when you’ve written and handed out your book on a specialized sector. These books should be sent to all your current and potential clients, because, as we know, professionals in every business must explain what they do.