Episode 131: Solving Common Marketing Problems – Interview by Corinne McKay and Eve Bodeux
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Episode 132: How to Travel the World While Working as a Freelance Translator – Interview with Paul Kortman
June 5, 2017

How to Kick Start an Effective Freelance Translator/Agency Relationship

This is a guest post from Tom Robinson

Successfully marketing yourself as a freelance translator to potential language services providers is far from simple. It’s a challenge to get ahead of everyone else and stay there. But it’s obtainable.

We’re an agency which works with hundreds of freelance translators every day. We’ve seen them succeed and we’ve seen them fail – there’s always room to bounce back though. The freelance translators that we keep on our books and use more than others know how to successfully market themselves to an agency.

Be proactive on social media

In this digital age we live in it really is shrewd, most would agree essential, to have an online presence. Be dynamic on social media – use Twitter and Facebook. Keep your LinkedIn account up-to-date and start a personal blog, this’ll give you the platform you need to share your body of work. Agencies have a cunning eye for freelancers who boast an active online presence, it might give you a better chance of being seen and considered for future projects.

Furthermore, follow agencies on social media and interact with them online. Agencies tend to communicate with freelancers via social media on a regular basis – we certainly do. It’s an accessible way of keeping up-to-date with each other.

What’s going on in the industry? Keep up-to-date with all the developments in your field. This will help you to appear reliable and equipped to do the job. Joining any pertinent courses and attending conferences will give you an impressive marketing proficiency.

Get technical (well know the basics at least)

A great way to market yourself to potential agencies or clients is to have a good technical knowledge. You can start by getting to grips with the very basics of Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. These tools are used by more than 250,000 translation professionals so a good understanding of what they are and how to use them could indeed come in handy.

CAT tools deliver a range of refined features to help you complete tasks more speedily and effortlessly.

Consider sending some kind of newsletter out to a small group of clients or agencies who are familiar with you. This’ll keep you in their peripheral vision and is a great way for you to market yourself with personal updates and examples of recent work.

A marketing strategy which goes way back is networking. It’s a respectable way to get your “brand” out there. Agencies often throw networking events for freelancers to attend, events like these are great ways to meet new people and create new and exciting opportunities.

So the next time an agency you’ve worked for in the past invites you to a networking event, or small get-together to celebrate the launch of a new service etc, go and make the most of it – might just be worth your time.

Make note to…

Be passionate about translation, agencies value freelancers who are as passionate as they are about languages and translation. Stick to deadlines, if you can’t then let the agency know well in advance and keep in contact.

To conclude, play to your strengths, but acknowledge your weaknesses and be open about them. Market yourself as an expert in a specific field – if you specialise in something in particular that is – let the agency or client you’re working with know what you can offer in your marketing strategy.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I just wanted to shine a light on some of the marketing strategies freelance translators can concoct in order to get themselves out there and seen by agencies.

Tom Robinson is a digital marketing and communications executive at translate plus, a Global Top 50 language services provider by revenue, offering a full range of services, including translation, website localisation, multilingual SEO, interpreting, desktop publishing, transcription and voiceover, in over 200 languages. All this is complemented by our cutting-edge language technology, such as i plus®, our secure cloud-based TMS (translation management system).

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