Archive | August, 2013

Twittering Translators

15 Aug

Twittering Translators.

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Any chance to get direct clients via Internet?

13 Aug

This blog post will be about finding direct clients.

If you’re from a country like mine where translation rates on domestic market extremely (or ridiculously) low (something like two or three US cents per word at best offered by agencies), you’ll find it difficult to find direct clients which will pay you more. I don’t say it’s impossible, still, you have a huge disadvantage in this situation, since agencies can offer a variety of both services and language pairs. Moreover, they can handle hundreds of pages per day, i.e. the speed unavailable to a single freelancer.

In other words, these low rates multiplied by the issues I mentioned result in the situation when this domestic market has nothing to attract you. It can be of some interest to either newbies or amateurs who do not have too much experience and/or specialisation. This market in  my country is flooded with people who “can” translate documents in both ways (in my case from Russian into English). You can also find jacks-of-all-trades taking every text they receive from a project manager. In other words, all these things which deteriorate the industry. This is a game where agencies pretend they subcontract work to professionals, while these “experts” pretend they are able to handle complex documents.

Sooner or later a person who managed to stay in the profession for a year or two realises that she deserves more. People then discover international market of translation services, where rates and standards are higher. oDesk, proz.com and translatorscafe.com are among the most popular portals for translators, were you can easily find projects posted by internationally recognized agencies. Sometimes you can find direct clients, but these are few. This is not the end of the story. You can go further on and try to find direct clients, gradually replacing agencies in your rooster of clients.

And this is the point where you have to make a decision. In case your domestic market isn’t too attractive because of rates, and you can’t just buy a ticket and fly to a country where rates are acceptable to you, you have to find a way of attracting direct clients from these countries while staying in your homeland.

The largest obstacle here is that most direct clients do not search for language service providers among freelancers. In other words, you will have to convince your prospects that it is a huge advantage when they cooperate with a real person, with real name and a real phone number. Once again, most direct clients won’t post ads on different job search portals. YOU will have to detect these clients, convence them and ensure that they send you more work later on.

One way to do this (the way which I employ) is to first detect areas of specialisation, or industries, which your clients can represent. Than you will have to screen out huge corporations – a single freelancer just can`t handle their voluminous projects.

You may wish to find small-scale or medium-sized businesses dealing with companies in countries where your target language is spoken. The next step is find people responsible for marketing, translation, PR, etc. The first step is to make these people hear you, listen to you and understand the benefits you can provide.

One thing to remember: it needs 2 or 3 direct clients to break your back due to the volume of work they send you. You don’t have to spend years trying to find as much clients as possible. You just have to stay focused and don’t distract your attention working for agencies which pay peanuts.

As usual, have a nice day!

Of Course I’d Love To Work For Free

6 Aug

Of Course I’d Love To Work For Free.