How To Get Translation Jobs From Direct Clients

October 31st, 2013 by Victoria Racimo

Many translators want to get translation jobs from direct customers but it is too much work. If working with direct customers were both easy and very lucra­tive, everyone would be doing it.

While it is very important that you go to professional development events that focus on translation or interpretation to improve your skills and network with your colleagues, it is also critical that you attend events where your clients will be. Determining what more information events these are will take some research and trial and error. Before you can make the determination, you have to know who you are targeting. For instance, if your area of spe­cialization is public relations, a part of your customer base might be composed of public relations agencies. Those agencies and their click it employees will tend to attend industry-specific events, such as meetings of public relations associations. It is there that you will be able to make valuable contacts. Some of these meetings and networking events might be restricted to professionals in the field, but many are open to anyone. Depending on the event, there might be a fee involved.

There is nothing wrong with going to a networking event to sell your translation services. In fact, that is what these types of events are for. It might be intimidating to walk into a room full of people you do not know with the objective of promoting your services. If the thought of this frightens you, team up with a colleague, either in the same field or someone who offers a completely different service. If you are still anxious, go to a mixer or other event without the goal of talking to anyone – just soak in the atmosphere, look around, and get comfortable with your surroundings. Per­haps the next time you go you will be ready to make some contacts. Many of us are introverts, so do not be too hard on yourself if you feel like a fish out of water. These events will become easier and more routine the more you go to them. In terms of the contacts you make, what matters is the quality of the contacts, not the quantity. Walking away with a large stack of business cards is not necessarily a good thing. When you meet a potential client and get a business card, take time to research the company before you send a proposal or information about your services.

The more you know about your potential client’s company, the better. Show that you are informed and offer a solution to a potential language problem that read more your po­tential client did not even know she had. Word will spread quickly.

The only way to get more translation jobs is to meet more people, both online and of­fline. You need to combine these two strategies in order to continuously grow your circle and the number of people who know about you. The offline strategy will include moving out of your comfort zone and your familiar home office and to network, network, network. While any one person you meet might not need your services, perhaps that person’s brother-in-law does. Once your name is out in the community, hopefully it will be on the tip of potential clients’ tongues. The person you met at the mixer a few weeks ago might tell his contacts that he recently met a very professional language service provider. You never know what opportunities are out there for you, and if you do not try to make contacts, you will never know. You might be quite surprised by the wealth of translation and interpretation opportunities that exist, including things you never would have considered or thought of. And success breeds success, so keep at it.

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