Finding Translation Clients
For a freelance translator, clientele consists of two types: translation agencies, which are companies that act as an intermediary between the freelance translator and the final client and direct translation clients, where the translator directly interacts with the final client and there is no involvement of an intermediary.
Both approaches entail their own bundles of pros and cons. While the translation agencies may provide a translator with regular and steady flow of work, it can on the other hand pay as less as 50% of the earnings to the freelance translator. A direct client may be good as far as payments are concerned, however, they would require you to perform additional tasks such as editing, proofreading etc., which may otherwise have been done by the agency.
Whatever mode you are following to find yourself your first client, there are a few things that you must remember.
Since you are applying for a translation job, your application must be error-free. When applying for a job or sending inquiries via email, mention the languages in which you translate clearly in the subject line.
Your message must look like a response to the agency. You must also be very explicit and let them know your language pairs. If applying to an agency, fill up their translator application form, available under the ‘contact us’ or ‘opportunities’ section on their website. When you are looking to work with a direct client, you must be aware that you would be solely responsible for translating, editing, and proofreading, which can be omitted when dealing with an intermediary. In areas where there is a shortage of translators, direct translation clients may choose from the ones that are locally available.
A good practice to follow is to maintain a log of all the people you have spoken to in regards to translation inquiries. You can note down client details and from time to time drop them an occasional line or two just to let them know that you are still there and may be interested to do some translation for them.
Life becomes easier once you have your first client and you have something to tell your prospective translation clients. As a good practice, every freelancer must spend at least 10% of their time on marketing himself or herself, and this figure should be much higher for beginners as this would mark the beginning of their freelancing career.
As for ways to advertise yourself and your services, a website or a blog would work wonders if you’re good at writing. Social media is another venue, and maintaining a constant activity on your social media channels could bring in some clients.
There are many ways to follow if you want to promote your services, you just need to try a few and see what works better for you.