From A.S.: I’m struggling with finding new companies to send my CV to. I’ve sent out several hundred e-mails to different companies, and the result was… well, uncertain. A major number of recipients just hadn’t responded at all, some responded with rejection, some – with “we’ll call you back” and only very few are sending me 2-3 tiny assignments a month. As I plan to make translation my main job and source of income, such ratio is undoubtedly unacceptable. I’m literally running out of companies to write to in my area of specialisation. A Google search can only yield a certain amount of contacts. Once I work through them… what’s next?
Next step forward
From J.V.: Recently, I was added as an EN>ES contributor in two agencies, however, I rarely receive invitations from them. The thing is that agencies actually seem to be interested in my profile but I’m afraid that my language pair is overwhelmed nowadays. Not to mention that I am a psychologist and such a field is not highly demanded. Fortunately, I have worked in marketing agencies so I’ve got an additional “field experience” that is more known and demanded. What do you think it is the best step? To be patient and wait? Do some free top-notch translation work?
The traditional way
From T.T.: Would you recommend contacting clients in a traditional way, e.g. handing out a leaflet, phone call, etc.?
The Translator’s Aunt: Dear T.T., there’s no globally right or wrong way to contact potential clients, the right approach for one client might be the completely wrong one for another! And crucially, you also need to find an approach that’s right for you. Just because some translators love being active online and spend their time on social media interacting with potential clients doesn’t mean that you have to join Twitter and do the same.
From A.R.: Some direct clients and agencies ask me to do a trial translation, but rarely get back to me. Should I ask them for the result?
The Translator’s Aunt: Dear A.R., a lot of agencies will indeed ask for a test translation, this is part of their standard hiring procedure, and personally, I have always done them in the past but set a limit of about 300 words. If you don’t jump through this hoop, the agency is unlikely to consider your application. They should however always get back to you, even if it’s just to let you know whether or not you’ve passed.
From S.R.: How can I handle the fear I feel when looking for the direct clients, for example, fear that I cannot satisfy their needs?
The Translator’s Aunt: Dear S.R., beginning a new career, a new activity, working with new people, those are almost always nerve-racking experiences. So first of all, tell yourself it’s normal, and that it’s good to feel a bit of adrenaline.