Translators Struggling to Find Clients - Part 1
So often we hear from freelancers with varying levels of experience saying that they’re struggling to find clients.
So often we hear from freelancers with varying levels of experience saying that they’re struggling to find clients. While agencies can be an excellent option, they’re still looking to find direct clients. They’re stuck and don’t know what to do. If you’re a translator and you find yourself this situation, let’s have a closer look at some solutions.
Choose Your Words (and Your Thoughts) Carefully!
The first problem with this scenario are the words you’re using. And of course this doesn’t only apply to translation – it applies to everything in life: if your mindset is that no translation agencies will pay your rates and that you’ll never be able to find direct clients, then you really do have a problem! And the problem is not what you think it is – the problem is your thinking itself! With this way of thinking you won’t be successful in finding direct clients.
You have two options here –
- The first is to look for a different job; and
- The second is to change your way of thinking!
You’ll never achieve anything if you approach every interaction with a potential translation client as: ‘This is never going to work - they’re never going to choose me’. You must change your mindset – your way of thinking. Instead, why not say to yourself: ‘I’m a very talented translator and there are heaps of people out there who need what I do’, or, ‘Instead of taking low-paying, crappy translation work, everything’s changing for me because I now choose to do the work that I’m not only good at, but the work I enjoy’. Tell yourself that, if the marketing strategies you’ve used in the past haven’t worked out to your advantage, no problems, you’ll start a new marketing strategy and get the results you want. Positive thinking is so very important, particularly when you know what you really want.
If you believe that translation clients won’t pay your rates, ask yourself what that actually means. Remember, you’re not looking for hundreds of clients to build a financially successful translation business. Let’s say you apply to 50 translation agencies and 48 of these agencies say your rates are too expensive; however, two of these agencies accept your rates - that’s success! And don’t forget about the Internet – the whole world is out there waiting for you!
Start with Your Local Market
Most people who start their own business know very little about entrepreneurship; and that’s okay because you’ll learn as you go. In the past, freelance translators used the Yellow Pages, picked up the phone, and started calling translation agencies in their local area asking for an interview. The trick with potential clients in any industry is to get one foot in the door, so your aim is to get an appointment to meet in-person with translation agencies and direct clients. Most of these people may not have any immediate work for you, but it’s still important that you meet with them in-person and learn about their business. Then, when translation work arises in the future, perhaps because their translator is on holidays, or is ill, your name and your face will be fresh in their mind and it’s very likely that it will be you they call upon.
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International Translation Day is held in celebration of the feast of St Jerome, the Bible translator widely considered the patron saint of translators. The International Federation of Translators is the promoter of International Translation Day, and has been since it was first held in 1953.
The translation industry is a relatively small one but it’s also a highly competitive one. Basically, do your research on a translation agency prior to making initial contact and it will certainly pay off; perhaps not immediately because there may not be any work available at the time, so just be patient. Your application must stand out above the rest, and by following these simple steps you should have no problem whatsoever in achieving your translation goals.