Marketing tips for translators

Translators are similar to other self employed professionals like lawyers, accountants, architects, etc. when it comes to marketing their skills / services. It is particularly true in case of freelance translators. Here are some marketing tips that translators may find useful. Marketing involves communicating with prospective customers to bag a translation project, asking for clarifications during its execution or sending invoices at the completion of the project. Some points to note while communicating with customers are:
  • Keep in touch with customers by sending out reminders of availability to prospective customers at the beginning of the month not just once but as many times as may be necessary
  • Use auto responders while out of office
  • Send out personal hand written notes to each customer instead of a general circular
  • Collect information on prospective customers to know their needs through tools such as Google alerts
  • Use social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook etc for networking with prospects, other translators etc and join relevant groups
  • Blogging, twittering, releasing news worthy press releases are other means to make your presence felt in the cyber world and build a brand of yourself
  • You may use Google adwords to link to your landing page if you can afford it
  • Accept payment medium as preferred by customer like paypal, check etc. in order to save customer’s time
Pricing and negotiation are important aspects of marketing. Pricing depends on the task on hand viz. translation, editing, proofreading, etc. It also depends on whether it is a rush job (generally involves more than 2500 words of translation or 7500 words of editing or 10000 words of proof reading per person per day), weekend / holiday job etc. Word counts for translation jobs are generally made on source text except when the source is a hard copy or in non editable PDF format when it is done on target text. Differentiation is a key item while offering your services and get the price you want. Offer something more than others for example being flexible in your working hours to adjust for different time zones of the customer; specializing in a particular field etc. Experts caution against selling your services too cheap: ultimately your reputation will suffer in the long term as you may have to make up with large quantity of work in order to increase the revenue leading to poor quality work. Good translators are always in demand despite competition. Direct clients are generally less price sensitive compared to translation companies. Some points to note during price negotiation are:
  • Be firm with your price after benchmarking yourself with the competition
  • No need to justify your price
  • Fix your bottom line with regard to price, deadlines, payment terms before starting negotiation
  • Educate the client regarding your plus points like domain knowledge, relevant references, written testimonials, etc.
  • Do not hesitate to walk away from bad customers and do not sound desperate
The above tips would help in marketing yourself better in this increasingly borderless world of translation.