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Tips for beginners in freelancing translation

9 June 2022

Freelancers commonly run into problems finding clients. This is especially true for newcomers to the profession, those who have only recently decided to devote all their time to freelancing. Those to whom this applies, I must reassure you - it is possible to find sources of regular orders, but you will have to work very hard. How long? Depends on how hard you work. I was able to reach a more or less steady stream of orders from 3-5 customers after a year of hard work. I must admit that the sense of uncertainty that accompanied the initial stage is quite depressing. I thought a lot about how to simplify this stage, how to help myself and perhaps even others. As a result, I managed to create a service for translators-freelancers, where we collect job offers from dozens of resources. Freelanly saves a lot of time for those who are searching for new projects, because we select the best projects and send them to the user by email.

Subscribe to Freelanly
Really, tip #1 - subscribe to Freelanly - it will help you to increase your lead base and be aware of the available projects without any searching effort.

Extend your outreach
Word of mouth is the most reliable and best way to attract clients. The more people know about your translation business, the better. First of all, inform all your contacts: colleagues, friends and relatives. Everyone has their own network of contacts, and you never know where your services might come in handy.
Get to know as many LSPs in your city in person as you can. Make a resume, print it out, and personally distribute it to the translation managers in your city. Although you will be doing translation remotely from home, consecutive interpreting is always easier to outsource to a local translator, and there is always more credibility with someone you know in person.
Don't stop at your city only. In every, even a small town, there are a dozen translation agencies. Send resumes to as many companies as possible around the world, but do not turn it into spam, always personalize your applications. To do this you can explore the team on the website or in Linkedin, there you can also establish contacts with the managers. I will give more tips on cooperating with translation agencies in a separate article.

Next tip - KYC, know your customer. As part of this tip, it makes sense to mention the need to specialize in a narrow niche. Being Jack of all trades and master of none is a luxury, a freelancer cannot afford. Find a niche that you know best or find beneficial in terms of translation, and be sure that you know all of the companies in your area that work in that market. Look for online and offline trade shows and attend them, get to know the managers of the companies, and be on their radar. I can tell you about a non-standard approach: a colleague of mine collected a database of his potential clients and carefully studied all their published materials in the language in which he translates for errors and shortcomings in translation. Then he did a linguistic analysis to prove his version was better than the published one, which is how he was able to win several major orders. I agree that this case could have been debated in terms of professional ethics, but in fact the goal was achieved.
No matter which way you choose to work with direct clients, the most important thing is the desire to solve the customer's problem, not just to sell your services. Build a long-term relationship and become a reliable partner.

Be active on the Internet. There are quite many opportunities to spread the word online. Here are several examples:
- Blog or podcast of freelancer-beginner - Talk about your journey in translation. Success stories are interesting to everyone.
- As an expert in a foreign language, talk about the peculiarities of translation and localization in that language.
- Subscribe to as many profile channels and social media groups as you can and participate in discussions.
- Become a professional at what you do - learn new technologies, keep up with the latest trends in the translation industry and the one you specialize in.

These are just some general rules for promoting your services. In future articles, we will explore each of the above methods in more detail and provide new tips for freelance translators. But by starting with these simple, albeit not always easy steps, you are guaranteed to get a decent steady income, which will allow you to enjoy yourself and your favorite business. By the way, some additional pieces of advise you will find in our previous article here.

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