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Practical Tips for Freelance Translators


Welcome to the world of freelance translation! You can count on some tough competition out here. The truth is that there are many translators just as qualified as you – and, to be brutally honest, some even more qualified than you.

This information is not meant to break your heart, but rather to strengthen your resolve, because you will need it to cope with your competition. And rest assured, your tactics, talent, and skills will enable you to compete and get your fair share in this field – and there is surely a share for you!

Diversify your operations

It is important to build a strong client base, and the best way to start is locally, if possible. But keep in mind that local clients will probably not sustain you for long. You will eventually need to diversify and find clients beyond your borders.

This is where the Internet comes in, because you will need it to market your skills to the outside world. Create a website focused on attracting the many prospective clients who are out there seeking translation services, and learn how to market it properly in order to drive the necessary traffic to your website.

It will take time to build your own client base by marketing your services through your website, so in the meantime you might consider going the translation agency or language service provider route. It makes sense to keep making a living while you are in the process of building your client base.

Reach out to new clients

You can land new clients by using your current client base as a resource. One way might be to ask a new client how they learned about you, and then to capitalize on that information. Go for repeatable results: for example, if you meet a client through a networking event, then seek out other networking events to attend. Or if a client finds you as a result of one of your Twitter posts, then keep Tweeting! You can reach many new clients simply by utilizing your existing channels.

Keep your current clients

While it is vital to attract new customers, it is even more important to ensure that you win their loyalty so that they come back to you the next time they find themselves in need of translation services. Keep in mind that this is a necessary effort in order to retain a continuous client stream. It costs much less to retain existing clients than it does to find new ones.

Exceed expectations

Promote yourself by giving clear explanations of your services, charges, and the extras you can provide to ensure clients will be satisfied. Most important, always exceed client expectations. You can do this by delivering ahead of deadline, by flagging issues in the source documents, and even by catching typos or grammatical errors. These seemingly small acts will keep your clients happy, making it harder for the competition to snatch them. A satisfied client will be a repeat client.

Get testimonials

If your clients are happy with a project, encourage them to provide you with a testimonial. Client reviews are extremely important, as more and more prospective clients check for them. A 2013 survey by Dimensional Research found that 90 percent of participants surveyed claimed that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions.

Client testimonials can come in many forms. They can be written quotes that you can post on your website or marketing materials, or public reviews such as LinkedIn or Google+ reviews, which is an excellent way to help drive traffic to your website.

One potential problem is that Google doesn’t make the review process as easy as it should be. To remedy this, we have developed a graphic that you can download and use on your website or email to your clients to show them how to leave a Google+ review. It is free to download and can be customized for your business for small fee.

Click here to download

You can learn more in the article “How to Get (and Use) Testimonials.” Click Here

Watch the competition

Look to your competitors for ideas on what you can do to further promote your services. By keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry, you can find new and improved ways to market your services and attract more customers.

Another approach is to actually reach out to your competitors in order to join forces and land larger-scale projects. Sometimes two minds really are better than one, especially when it comes to attracting clients, building a strong rapport, and eventually running a strong business.

Good luck with your freelance translation endeavors. As we mentioned earlier, your fair share of the field awaits – you just need to be strategic in your approach to winning the work!

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