Customer service is so vitally important to any business.
Remember, from their point of view, it’s very difficult starting off with a new translator so they’re not really going to want to go through that experience. So, be confident in your translation skills, and raise your rate as you deem fit. Quality agents and direct clients are more than happy to pay for top quality work, so don’t be concerned about the bottom feeders in the industry. Have a look at the No Peanuts! For Translator’s website; they offer great reasoning and good arguments to use when you’re being pressured by low paying agencies or direct clients.
Register on Non-Payment Sites
You can check out agencies on non-payment sites like Translator-Client Review, Payment Practices, Translators Café’s Hall of Shame, and the Proz.com Blue Board. Also, register for non-payment listservs like WPPF, and this will ensure you won’t get caught by unscrupulous nonpayers who prey on inexperienced, less-informed, and sometimes desperate translators.
Don’t Stop Learning!
Attend your local college or university or enroll online for courses that will expand your knowledge and skills in the field you’re interested in, and of course, you should let your potential clients know that you have completed these courses. No, you don’t have to get a degree, but, besides the valuable information and new skills you’ll learn, it does show your commitment to becoming a better translator. So check online with your local colleges and universities to see what they may be offering in terms of subjects to assist your freelance translation business, like translation theory, terminology, and computer applications, documents in multilingual contexts, and other hands-on translation courses whereby you practice translation, and so on. Our advice is that, if possible, you take the time to visit these universities and colleges in-person and so you can discuss exactly what you’re looking for. Alternatively, there are many online universities offering thousands of different courses, and this should be a simple matter of sending an email to enquire about courses they may be offering people like you.
Work When Other Translators Are Not Working
Professional and experienced translators must take time away from their business when they’re on holidays, attending professional conferences, or even just on weekends. Market yourself as being available to work during these busy times, until such time as you’ve established yourself. Sometimes translators are not available to work for agencies when they’re either away on holidays, they’re overbooked, or they or a family member are sick; and agencies are sometimes desperately trying to find a replacement translator. Accept these translation projects when they’re offered, do a great job, and if they’re suitably impressed they should continue offering you work.
Are You Prepared to Work Hard?
We already know the answer to this question, because if you weren’t prepared to work hard you wouldn’t be reading this post. Understand that it will take at least 12 months to establish yourself as a translator, so it may be wise to take on a part-time job until such time as your translation workload demands your full time.
Offer Great Customer Service
In fact, this should probably be at the very top of the list, because customer service is so vitally important to any business. Your clients are looking for great customer service, even more so than your rate; so do everything in your power to keep your existing clients happy. Always deliver top-quality translation work, deliver on time (earlier if possible) and, if you can afford to, hire a proof-reader to check your work prior to delivering the completed translation to your end client. It will definitely pay off in the long run!