As a Freelance Translation Specialist, working remotely, you are an independent contractor or company employee that telecommutes. For our readers that have chosen to work independently, you are experiencing the freedom of being self-employed.
Do you find that you need help acquiring translation clients?
Our strategist and freelance translation coordinator Sherif Abuzid shares his vast knowledge and expertise with Remote Writer's freelancers, explaining the top five ways of contacting new translation clients.Professional
You will learn how to use each method, and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. All of them worked for our renowned strategist and students/clients. You can use all of them or just choose 2-3 and test them out.
FIVE BEST METHODS OF CONTACTING NEW TRANSLATION CLIENTS
By Sherif Abuzid
This is by far my best recommendation tool to contact new translation clients. We all write emails every day, if not every hour of the day.
Freelance translators already have access to email tools, such as Gmail, Outlook, etc. You can write and reply to them at your desk or with a smartphone.
Another cool thing about emails is you can send them at any time of the day, even outside of your clients’ business hours. You can even schedule them to be sent later at a specific time using email applications, like Mailtrack if you are using Gmail or Saleshandy for both Outlook and Gmail.
To use email effectively, you need to know how to write an email to sell your professional language services. You need to know the person you are sending the email to, write a grabbing subject line, and organize your email to ensure all information is clear.
Advantage: Easy to use. You can do it any time of the day or night, no matter what your time zone is.
Disadvantage: It is a long process and you need to grab the attention of the client.
I use phone calls to market, sell, and solve problems with my translation clients.
Phone calls are very effective when used to communicate with clients as you can sense the emotions of the other person by listening to their voice.
You can also gain plenty of information by talking to someone in person by using verbal communication signals, like tone of voice, etc.
All freelance translators have stories about how a client misunderstood them when they asked for something via email. Maybe you added a question mark where it is not supposed to be, maybe you used capital letters in an email and the client thought you were angry, but you were not. All this can be eliminated with phone calls.
However, you should learn how to use phone calls in a smart way to win new translation clients.
Obviously, you need the direct phone number of the person you are calling, as going through an assistant gatekeeper is another story.
Also, you need to have scenarios of what may happen. I am not talking about scripts here. I mean you need to know what to say when an operator, a project manager, a gatekeeper, a vendor manager, or any decision maker replies. Each person may have different questions to ask from their unique perspectives.
Calls need training and courage. They are not as easy as they seem. You will be hesitant in the first few calls (may be 100 calls!), then it will work like a charm!
One of the main drawbacks of using phone calls is you need to be in the same time zone as your translation client. So, you need to check your client location before calling to make sure they are in their office. In some countries, calling someone you do not know for business (referred to as “cold calls”) may have some legal restrictions. Check with a legal consultant before using this approach.
Advantage: They are quick and put you in direct contact with the decision maker.
Disadvantage: They need a lot of courage and training. You need to work during the client’s business hours. They may not be legal.
Social media is here to stay. You can either use it for fun, for business, or for both. I use it for both.
To succeed in using social media for your translation business, you need to know which social media platform your target clients use most. If your clients are on Facebook, be there, if they are on LinkedIn be there, etc.
So, how can you make the most of social media to contact translation clients?
The short answer would be, it depends on your situation with the potential client.
If you have not contacted the client before then your main objective will be to grab their attention. This would be done by liking, sharing, and commenting on their status updates. Your comment needs to add something to the posts they publish. Do not just say “nice article” or “thanks for writing this good article.” Tell them what you have learned from the post, or give another perspective on the post. Show them you read the full post and that it got you thinking.
Be authentic and personal when you are on social media. Show yourself and do not be shy. Understand you are talking to real people, not brands.
After the potential translation client notices you, you can start talking with them about a potential cooperation.
This can be done by sending them private messages on their profile. You can ask them if they work in your language, specialization, or ask who is in charge of hiring new language service suppliers in their company.
Social media is great, but it needs a lot of work and a great amount of patience. It is a long-term game. You need to work on it daily or weekly at least to achieve good results. So, it may not be a good strategy if you are just starting out as a freelance translator, but it will pay off later on if you started to use it in a professional way.
Advantage: It shows you to be an expert in translation and may attract clients who are ready to buy translation services.
Disadvantage: it is a long-term game. You will need to be patient.
Translation Job Platforms:
These are online marketplaces for translation jobs, such as websites where translators create profiles and translation clients ask for offers for their translation jobs.
Translation jobs platforms are always a hot topic among translators in different social networks. Some translators don’t rate them as many people there are looking for cheap translation services, others say there are tons of jobs available so why ignore them.
Both teams agree these platforms do have plenty of potential translation projects. Freelance translators can use them to scrape for potential translation clients. Any company that asks for offers in these platforms is a potential client for you to contact.
You can use these platforms in two ways:
1- Submit offers for translation bids
2- Look for names of potential translation clients
Which way you chose depends on your current status as a freelance translator. If you are just starting out, I recommend bidding on translation projects heavily, which may land you some jobs and will show you how to make an offer. You will miss many jobs, but will get assigned a few of them.
The main disadvantage of these translation marketplaces is pricing your service. Usually, the job poster receives similar sales offers, but with different prices. So, many of them will just go for the lower price.
Advantage: You find real clients who have jobs and are ready to buy. Good for starting translators.
Disadvantage: It depends on price competition. There are many offers in these portals.
Translation Companies Websites Forms:
This is a very direct way to contact potential translation clients.
Do a Google search for translation companies in your country or companies that may need your language services. Browse their website, go to their career page or contact us page, and send them a message.
Not all companies publish their jobs on translation jobs platforms. Many build lists of suppliers in different domains, like translation services, and will use them whenever they have an assignment. This may be a good option for your business.
Usually, you will need to complete an online form or contact the careers centre via email and from there you can proceed with the recruitment process.
I like this way very much as it has generated many business opportunities for me. I have become the preferred language services supplier for Arabic translation with many companies using this approach.
However, it can take time. Some companies may not contact you immediately after your application, some may already have a current language services supplier, but the situation may change at any point and then they can check their database of applications and see your name.
Also, some companies may ask you to complete many forms and papers for inclusion in their database, but it is worth it.
Advantage: The client may depend on you for their upcoming jobs if you become their preferred translator. Less competition on the price.
Disadvantage: : It takes time, a lot of paperwork and forms to complete.
Now, Your Turn.
Choosing the right approach for you depends on different criteria: your years of experience, country, language pairs, or the legal requirements in your area. You can play the long game, or start faster.
Leave a comment and let us know if you have another way of contacting clients. Let’s all share our knowledge.
For more information about Sherif Abuzid, visit: www.SherifAbuzid.com @sherifabusiz on Twiiter.
Author, Sherif Abuzid
Edited for RWJ, Le Williams