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How to Find and Apply to Translation Agencies

3 August 2022

Translation agencies and LSPs are default customers of language services. Though their needs depend on their clients, the probability of getting new projects from such companies is higher than from direct clients, especially for freshers. Moreover, most agencies operate internationally offering a wide range of language combinations, thus their language needs do not depend on the geographical location.

Simply put, today an agency located in Finland may have permanent needs for translations from Spanish into Portuguese. The main advantage of collaboration with agencies is that these clients can assure more or less permanent orders volumes. This is the reason why freelance translators and interpreters benefit from working with middlemen operating in the market of language services. One can predict the workflow and plan it in an effective way. Such type of cooperation is a good start for those freelancers who make their first steps in the industry. It is an answer to the most common question: how do I find my first translation client? Many experienced language professionals continue collaborating with agencies to avoid idle periods when their direct customers do not require their services.

There are two ways how to get more clients as a translator or interpreter among LSPs and add more agencies to the client base. Ideally, freelancers should combine them to reach better results.

1. Freelancers send their proposals to various agencies

Today, agencies and LSPs reduce their in-house teams doing their best to create robust supply chains consisting of freelance vendors. Such approach helps them to expand the range of services and languages on offer. This way such companies can cater for the needs of more clients. For LSPs, the process of onboarding new freelance language professionals is continuous. On the one hand, their volumes grow, on the other hand, a wide network of freelancers is a key to seamless project management.

So, when language professionals send their applications to agencies, they know that even if there is no need for the offered services right now, the customers may get back in the future. Everything depends on the client’s needs.

Those freelancers who prefer this way of getting new customers among agencies should follow a simple algorithm:

  1. Agencies and LSPs can be found in every country. So, first of all, a language professional should choose the first country to start with.
  2. On various web platforms, there is information about agencies sorted by country. One should just find the list of LSPs for the selected location.
  3. Afterwards, a freelance language professional should contact them all one by one.

When all agencies located in the chosen country have been contacted, it is time to move to the next country. This is an extensive approach: the more LSPs receive proposals, the higher are chances to receive new projects. That is why one should not spend time on deep research and analysis. Focus on quantity instead of the quality of potential clients. The qualitative characteristics should be assessed later when agencies get back with requests about new projects. However, there is one essential point to remember: every LSP has its own onboarding procedures. Some agencies ask new freelance vendors to fill in forms on their websites. In such situations, one should start with filling such forms instead of sending emails with proposals. It is not a good idea to violate potential customer rules before the beginning of collaboration. Still, follow-up emails sent after completing onboarding procedures may bring fruits too.

Initial emails to LSPs should include the following:

  • Email itself with some information about the vendor and proposed services;
  • CV/presentation as an attached file;

Portfolio and/or letters of recommendations received from clients (attachments or links to corresponding websites). It is also a good practice to keep a record of sent proposals to review them later and send follow-up emails.

2. Freelancers reply to publications about new projects

Many agencies publish information about their needs for various services on platforms and portals for language professionals as well as on social media. Such announcements provide freelancers with great leads and information about potential clients. Naturally, the chances to start a collaboration with new clients are higher when they are in search of vendors of corresponding services. Replies to such publications about new projects are similar to the initial emails described above, however, it is strongly recommended to refer to the information about specific projects shared by clients.

Quite often, responses to such announcements lead to long-term cooperation with agencies. The main difficulty is that different LSPs use various platforms to find freelance language professionals. Obviously, it takes time to monitor all of them including social media.

Freelanly is a tool designed to solve this problem. The engine aggregates new project announcements published on various resources and presents them in one feed. Users can also set up notifications to stay informed about the new projects that correspond to their language combinations without the need to interrupt their work on ongoing projects. Freelanly is intended to save freelancers' time and facilitate their work on getting in touch with new clients!

Pavel Elin for Freelanly

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