(continued from part 1)
Q:- You meet lots of freelance translators regularly in your business, so what do you see as the common mistakes they make in seeking quality jobs?
Sall:Among the mistakes, I can cite: lack of self-confidence (this results in under-pricing, always saying “yes”, etc.), no marketing, and no follow-up (getting happy clients to recommend you)…
Q:- In your view, what are the things freelance translators must do to obtain quality clients and translation jobs?
Sall:In addition to portals*, directories and Translation Agencies, use ads, email marketing, article-writing, postcards, publicity, social media, networking, forums, and all the rest of it.
You must also learn how to be an excellent communicator and master ‘people skills’ to create an atmosphere in which people will spontaneously refer you to their friends and colleagues.
Register with translator associations, both national and international (such as the NCTA and ATA, your own national association…)
also suggests “registering at consulates as a language translator, joining and advertising in expat associations’ publications, contacting your local embassy, consulate or chamber of commerce and requesting a list of companies in your area that are affiliated with a certain country and then contact those businesses”, among many other things you could do.
Set up your own website, which is a full-blown medium in its own right.
Combine online and offline marketing, direct response marketing and image marketing.
Q:- When you look at those translation job sites posting freelance jobs, you see a lot of low pricing games going on. Some freelance translators feel they have to lower their fees to compete with others. What do you think the best strategy is?
Sall:Make sure you don’t come across as ‘needy.’ Don’t speak and/or behave in a way that makes your prospect believe you are desperate for work. If your prospect thinks you need them more than they need you, you’re lost! “Don’t undersell yourself either – charge what you feel you are worth”
See ‘commoditization’ in the following question.
Q:- How can freelance translators set themselves apart from others when everyone claims to be experienced, professional and never misses a deadline?
Sall:First of all, make sure your translation service is not ‘commoditized’ and competition with you is not on price. You do this by differentiating your translation services so that prospects will unhesitatingly turn to you even though you may be more expensive than some of your competitors.
See my post on Translator Power. It gives you some suggestions on how you can do this. It’s almost 3 years old (June 8, 2007), but still going strong!