Finding good paying translation jobs and securing quality clients are two of the biggest challenges for translators.
Most people understand the importance of networking, and yet very few realize the essence of networking is to build a relationship with your potential clients.
The internet has provided translators with unlimited opportunities to get virtual assignments from almost anywhere in the world.
You can join online translator directories, or regularly look through online freelance job boards.
But the fundamental things are never going change – clients still want to do business with people they know and trust.
So if you assume that tons of translation jobs will smoothly come to you with just a computer connected to the internet, you will be disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong, the internet is great and important tool. If used properly, you can create a top-of-mind awareness to your potential clients with a small fraction of the time, cost and effort you otherwise would have to take.
But the internet is only part of the solution. You still need human contact to establish that trust.
Whether it’s sending out emails or making phone calls or meeting over a coffee, you have to reach out to people and show you care about them. You never know who’s going to give you a big contract or freelance job down the road!
Just remember, don’t be pushy. Don’t talk about yourself too much and make sure you spend as much if not more energy listening. It’s about THEM! When people like you and trust you, they want to bring business to you.
Don’t be afraid to show you are the go-to person, the expert in your field. And that you take pride in what you do. Give them real valuable information on the topics you know well.
You may want to submit a well written resume and a few clips of sample work to the reputable translation agencies. But beware about their practice, policy and professional standards.
Read their contract before you sign it. Do not undersell yourself.
You should also try to keep regular contact with your translator friends to share tips, experiences and each other’s overflow work.
Network with other freelancers and businesses in complementary industries such as writers, graphic designers, printers, website designers and conference planners, etc.
These people may have contact with people that might also lead to translation jobs.
Get connected with your target market. Talk to them and pre-educate them by sharing your expert tips on your understanding of the language and providing them with some background information.
Send articles with tips and advices to websites, newspapers and blogs.
For example, if you provide English/Chinese translations on business marketing subjects, you could write about effective language use in Chinese culture and North American culture.
Show some examples of bad translations and misunderstandings in real life. Let readers realize why it is so important to have documents translated professionally.
Most high paying translation jobs are not advertised. The more you get out there, the more people know you, the better chance you will have of finding them.
Do not limit yourself to waiting for job offers. You can always create work and jobs if you know your target market well enough. And this is where the gold is buried.