Starting out as a freelance translator can be a trying time:
You’re competing against a lot of other linguists for business – without necessarily having the huge body of professional work to back up your skills.
This series of articles will show you how to get hired as a freelancer. We’re going to be talking about getting yourself noticed as a freelance translator specifically, but many of the tips will be applicable to freelancers in any industry.
In Part 1, we’re going to take a look at marketing yourself. Which for a lot of freelancers starting out, can feel like a bigger and more daunting job than it needs to be. In Part 2, we will provide you with some insightful tips how to prepare your cover letter and CV.How to get hired as a freelancer – marketing yourselfOne of the most important parts of making a start in a freelance career is to learn how to market yourself effectively.
It’s the same as starting any small business:
You simply have to spend time on sales and marketing. It can’t be avoided, and it shouldn’t be put off – even if you don’t see yourself as the “sales type.” In fact, this is especially true if you don’t see yourself as a sales person…
Here are some simple marketing tips for translators:Make a simple plan and stick to itFollowing a sensible process for your marketing means this vital early aspect of your job doesn’t need to be traumatic. The more you plan, and the more you engage with this part of your work – especially when you’re first getting yourself established – the more you’re setting yourself up to succeed later on.
Once you have established yourself, and you’re regularly producing high quality work at decent prices, you should find that you can pick and choose your clients and even turn away work which doesn’t sound interesting or profitable.Register with translation directories and portalsThis is one of the easiest steps to take. Simply creating an account and getting your name out there on the most important translation directories is one of the simplest marketing tips that all freelance translators should be aware of.
You might like to try the following directories:
Be active on social mediaThis doesn’t mean posting a lot of pictures of your cat! Your professional freelance profile page should be active and, most importantly, relevant.
On Facebook, for example, consider posting links to your latest blog post if you blog (see Tip 5 for why you should), and links to your website if relevant. You should also be re-posting, commenting on, and generally interacting with popular content from highly regarded or popular industry pages.
Getting the highly coveted “very responsive to messages” badge is an absolute must for a professional Facebook page too.Find your audience onlineFinding your audience by seeking out the websites they read is only part one of this tip. The next part is being visible to them. This means joining forums and online groups, and remaining an active part of these communities even if it sometimes feels like a chore.Set up a website (and a blog if you can find the time to blog)Buy your own domain name if you can. Display any positive comments you receive – these can be recommendations and/or feedback sent from a client. If you intend to add your client’s name, make sure you ask for their permission first.
Blogging is a highly recommended activity, and can give you a great way to show off your language skills as well as display a little bit more about yourself. This latter part gives prospective clients an idea who you are both inside and outside of the field of translation, which can be beneficial come hiring time.Get business cardsThese are often overlooked by freelancers of all kinds, but they’re an incredibly useful business communication and marketing tool. Consider making yours bilingual.Attend exhibitions and networking eventsGo to events both within the translation industry and in your specialty or chosen field. For example, if you’re a translator specialising in agriculture you could attend agricultural exhibitions. You never know who might need translation services.Join a professional associationEspecially one which runs exams or has other methods to certify the capabilities of its members. In Australia for example, NAATI accreditation is expensive and challenging for translators. However, a large proportion of translation projects in Australia require the translator to be NAATI-certified, and clients pay a significant premium for the privilege of hiring someone who is. Translation agencies often find themselves obliged by a client to use NAATI-certified translators, and may pay double or triple the rates charged by translators who are not NAATI-certified.
It’s advisable to get accreditation from an association in the country from which you expect to receive the most work, since clients who require a translator to have accreditation are most likely to want it from a local association.Bonus tipOne final tip for freelance translators:
Always put your best foot forward. Your worst enemy when marketing yourself are poorly written communications. Pay extra care to avoid typos and grammatical errors in any social media posts, your blog, and most particularly in any job applications you send. Ask friends or acquaintances for help if necessary!
You always want to make sure, especially when working in a language-based field, that your own language use is picture-perfect.Asian Absolute – Marketing Tips for TranslatorsHaving provided cost effective professional translators to multinational clients and small business across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for over sixteen years, Asian Absolute knows what to look for when it comes to hiring skilled translators.
We know what to include in translator job applications too, and we’re often looking for linguists just like you.
Contact your local Asian Absolute team today to learn more. Or to find out how much it’ll cost to get your own translation project completed by professionals, get a free quote now.