Translators: How to Find Direct Clients

Translators: How to Find Direct Clients | One Hour Translation

In an ideal translation world all translators would only work for high-paying direct clients, so-much-so that we’d only need to work two or three days a week and the rest of the week would be spent relaxing.

In an ideal translation world, all translators would only work for high-paying direct clients, so-much-so that we’d only need to work two or three days a week and the rest of the week would be spent relaxing. Many translators wonder how to attract direct clients, and it’s a hurdle that many struggle to overcome. Most translators would love to work with more direct clients, but the question still remains: How and where do you find direct clients?

In this post, we’ll take a look at some suggestions for finding direct clients.

If you’re looking for direct clients, the first thing to point out is that you’re not going to find them all in one place. In fact, you’ll probably have to think of many ways to find just one direct client. Most translators who start their translation career off by working with agencies did this by applying to agency after agency after agency. So our point here is that you’re probably not going to find your direct clients in the one place – you’ll probably find them one of the time.

Sometimes direct clients will find you! And this is when it will feel like you just struck gold! You need to make sure that you’re easy to find when clients need you, so make sure you’re easy to find!

  • Start writing articles for translation industry websites;
  • Keep your profile interesting and updated in the online directory of whichever associations you belong to;
  • Make sure you’re on LinkedIn - and other websites for your non-US countries;
  • Make sure your website is professional looking and always current;
  • Write a blog;
  • Join associations that are related to your specialization, and so on.

Your aim should be that, when direct clients search on Google for a translator with your specialization, it’s your name that comes up. When a direct client has an urgent job and suddenly need a translator, it’s your name they’re looking for! These are called ‘cold contacts’ but, if the client turns out to be happy with your translation work, they could well turn into long-term loyal direct clients.

Set yourself up to be the translator your colleagues refer clients to. Once you’ve been in the translation industry for a while you’ll find that you might inherited direct clients from other colleagues. This could happen for any number of reasons: perhaps the colleague has accepted a different position and no longer works in the industry, and of course you’ll receive lots of referrals through people you meet at seminars and conferences. Of course, it does mean networking at conferences, but that’s one of the main reasons we attend conferences and networking is a very important part of running a successful freelance translation business. Again, we can’t emphasize enough that, for the continued success of your business, it’s really important that you attend translation conferences and seminars.

Look into creating a website that’s only in your source language. From a potential client’s point of view, it must be a huge relief to find a website that’s exclusively in their own language. It would certainly make you more approachable to the potential client. It doesn’t cost a fortune to create a new website, and this strategy has been known to work very well.

Of course, you can always direct your marketing strategies to direct clients and there’s every reason to believe that you could win one or two direct clients this way; however, it appears that pull marketing, whereby the client comes to you, is more effective than push marketing, where you find the direct client yourself.