Finding translation clients is hard.

You can’t deny it. As a translator, you know what the feast and famine cycle is all about. So, when you (finally) get some good clients, you don’t want them to go away, do you?

The problem is, you are not the only translator out there providing services in your language pair. There are many others offering technical, medical or business translation expertise. Sadly, your colleagues are also your competitors.

Have you ever Googled for translators offering similar services in your city/country? If not try with this operator: [language pair] translators in [city/country]. Remember to remove square brackets and use actual text values (e.g. turkish-french translators in cameroon).

finding-translation-competitors_cdlancer

Your search will return a list of directories, corporate websites, translator associations, social media groups or online platforms – including the well-known Proz and Translators Café.

From the client’s point of view, there are too many choices.

This makes them wonder whom to trust. They may want to try their luck with any translator and would expect them to prove they’re worthy. If you are the lucky one, you must be the best translator they have ever worked with, so they can keep providing you with projects.

Below are 7 shortcuts to making your translation clients love you.

1. Be a Professional

With a projected annual growth rate of 6.5-7.5% through 2018, the translation business should be worth $45 billion by 2020. If you don’t take yourself seriously, maybe you should quit translating. Be the professional you are expected to be and play by the game rules.

From the onset of any potential collaboration, show your expertise. Be responsive, trustworthy and knowledgeable about your profession. Be well informed about:

  • industry standards and best practices (contract, rates, invoicing, LQA, etc.)
  • the most common professional tools and resources
  • new trends and the contribution of global stakeholders
  • key facts and industry developments (PEMT, machine learning, cloud-based TM, etc).

A good command of such aspects helps you build trust in your potential clients. They should feel you are the professional they have been looking for. And they will (eventually) fall in love with you.

2. Be Bold

Working with clients has a lot to do with psychology.

This is not a master-slave relationship (unless you want it to be), but a win-win collaboration between two parties having both rights and duties. You bring in your language expertise to solve their translation, editing/proofreading or interpreting problems; they offer you a compensation in return.

They can always look for another linguist, and there will be other clients in need of your solutions.

Make sure you say what you mean and mean what you say. Remember that knowing your value and being bold prevent you from being abused.

This applies to the following:

Translation Rates

If you work with direct clients, feel free to suggest what you usually charge as standard rates. This is to make them understand you are not working for peanuts. One of the best ways is to let them consider the time spent and efforts invested producing the document, website content or app help file they want translated. Focus on the value of the translatables and highlight the importance of the translation phase – regarded not as an isolated solution, but as part of a broader communication campaign.

With translation companies, you are more likely to face resistance if you charge particularly high rates. Because they need to keep a percentage from what they charge to end clients. But, your experience, specialisations and software literacy may help you secure a good rate.

Be prepared to be flexible, but draw beforehand a threshold under which no collaboration is possible. As Corinne McKay puts it, don’t market to direct clients in the same way you market to agencies.

translation-ratemeter_cdlancer
Carlos Djomo. No unauthorized reproduction allowed

Working hours/days

Some translation clients – mostly translation companies – do not respect the translator’s work/life balance and expect them to be operating 24/7. Remember you can always let them know when you are available and when you’re not.

Avoid being the guy who always says “YES”. Don’t be afraid to turn down some projects or ask for a deadline extension, but you’d better use good arguments (unforeseen circumstances, poorly written source contents, format-related issues, or whatever fits your particular context).

Conflict Resolution

When two humans start any relationship, they are bound to face conflicts. Translation is no exception. Conflict resolution implies that both parties make concessions. If you feel all is on you, consider looking elsewhere, because you may not be as valuable to your client as you think.

3. Be Unique

Invest in your Personal Brand.

It is the best way to stand out in the ocean of freelance translators. Get yourself a corporate identity. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-person business owner. Indeed, a study by IbisWorld shows that about 95.1% of the language industry operators in the USA are sole proprietors.

List key values that (will) drive your business, set up a website and design other online/offline marketing materials.

Besides, make sure your branding efforts are consistent across all platforms by:

  • Use the same colour scheme all over your documentation.
  • Feature your logo or corporate symbols on your print and electronic assets.
  • Use custom social media covers to advertise your business.
  • Contribute to business groups (focus on helping others, instead of over-promoting your business).

As you must know, you never have a second chance to make a first impression.

Think about it, please.

All in all, a translator with a brand looks more professional than one without.

cdlancer-brand-allin1

4. Go the Extra Mile

Clients will love you if you are more than a translator.

Humans always demand more; being able to meet such expectations set some people apart. Don’t just trade your time or knowledge for money. Instead, endeavour to be a key professional or – better still – a partner clients can rely on.

Instead of providing services, help clients find solutions and they will love you for that:

  • advise them on how to improve their processes or your collaboration (what file format is more manageable, how to keep their documentation consistent with their whole corporate vision, etc.)
  • Show them you care about their business (for instance, highlight unclear source contents found, discuss potential solutions and how it would impact the translation, provide some target country facts they could leverage, etc.).
  • Promise less and do more (deliver before the set deadline, provide a PDF version of the target file for quick viewing, share QA insights/reports about the project).

Behaving as such makes you different and more likeable loveable.

online-search-book_cdlancer

5. Be friendly

Translation is a serious business, but this is no reason to behave like a (ro)bot. Nowadays, people are more and more distinguishing between “human translators” and automated ones.

So, let your “humanity” appear in the way you interact with your clients.

  • For instance, send them electronic greeting cards on special events (Christmas Day, Easter period, Ramadan Day, etc.).
  • Remember to thank them for “doing business with you” as often as possible. For instance, do it whenever you complete a project and at the end of each year. Bonus tip: include a “Thank you for doing business with us” line at the bottom of your invoices.

The point is making your clients know there is a real person on the other side. A person who cares and cherish the professional relationship. Try this and you’ll rank up on the “client lovability index”.

6. Be Humble

No human is perfect.

Always be prompt to acknowledge when you are faulty and take the blame on you. You cannot be a good translator/editor/proofreader all the time. One day or another, you’ll perform poorly.

When clients point it out, refrain from shouting at them or throwing your qualifications at their face. Instead:

  • Keep calm (or try your best to) and listen to what makes them angry with you.
  • Promise to look further into the issue(s).
  • Objectively reassess your performance. Feel free to ask for a second opinion from a colleague.
  • Get back to your client and react accordingly: if they were right, apologise and take corrective measures. If they were wrong, be a diplomat. Use reference sources to back your points and show the way forward. Your goal should be to keep your collaboration.

Below is a real-life example where I had to apologise for not being up to the task. Luckily, things went well and I’m still working with that client. 🙂

humble-translator-if-faulty_cdlancer

7. Be Yourself

You will never be someone else, so there is no need to try.

Be yourself and let people like you for the best you have to offer. It is better to be hated for whom you are than be loved for who you’re not.

How does this relate to the relationship with your translation clients?

Hold on a minute, you’ll understand.

On a piece of paper, draw up a two-column table.

List your (personal and professional) qualities in the first column, then your faults in the second. Take enough time and be serious throughout this exercise.

Request some help from your friends, relatives and colleagues. You may use a simple script like this:

asking-for-review_cdlancer

After receiving feedback from your colleagues or relatives, complete the table and analyse result patterns. Build on your qualities to improve your relationship with translation clients. Remember, improvement is a journey, not a destination.

From time to time:

  • ask if there is anything you can do to make the collaboration smoother
  • request your clients to point out what they like/dislike about you assess
  • how better you are now from who you were 5/10 years ago.

For a few minutes now, we have been reviewing some ways to make your clients love you.

There must be other ways to please your translation clients that I don’t know. I would be grateful if you shared your thoughts. After all, translators edify one another, don’t they?

As from early December every year, there seems to be something unique in the air as we slowly – but steadily – get closer and closer to Christmas Day. Sure, it is a magical season, full of excitement and stories about Santa Claus, elves, carols, etc.

But translators are said to be from a different planet. At times, all of this Xmas buzz is part of some faraway, external universe we seem to be disconnected from (unless you have kids to entertain).

Some of us keep themselves busy ahead of the D-Day (or X day), with eyes glued on computer screens until January 3. Neighbours singing carols and fireworks bursting outside can’t disturb them. They consider Christmas a dream period. Not because of the enchantment, but just as it brings in a flow of high-paying, urgent or turned down projects. They make big money and like it. Sorry, Father Christmas, we’re grownups here.

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Another group consider the year-end period as time for anything but work. It’s holiday, after all, and checking emails is a crime. They set up autoresponder, fly away to some white-sand beach and enjoy life like crazy. They are often referred to by colleagues as the “lucky ones”, who can “afford to go on holiday”. Maybe because they don’t know what feast and famine means. Or maybe they cherish work/life balance and care enough to live a healthy life.

Other linguists feel so lonely they seek company at all costs. Any gathering is just perfect: bars, churches, concert halls, malls, stadiums, etc. They usually realise they have been locked down all year long and think this is an opportunity to meet people – but not for (business) networking purposes. They just want to relax. To feel the “real” world.

A fourth group is a blend of previous categories. If there is work to do, they do it. If there isn’t, they enjoy some good time with friends and family members.

I’m curious to know about you. Before you set your new year’s goals, tell me how you celebrate end-of-year periods. Whom do you celebrate with? At home or abroad? In your home-based office?

I’m interested and am sure other linguists will also be glad to learn from your experience.

translator-christmas_cdlancer

This is a short post aimed at keeping you updated about the release of my book trailer. This showcases the main features of my latest book Search It, Find It: The Translator’s Minimalist Guide to Online Search, available on Amazon.

Below is a quick summary about the book:

  • Author: Carlos Djomo (that’s me!)
  • Foreword: Catherine Christaki
  • Edition: First
  • Format(s): Kindle and Print (.epub available soon)
  • Publication Date: 21 December 2016 (ebook) and 29 December 2016 (Print)
  • Price: $14.99 (Print +Kindle offered) or $2.99 (Kindle Only)
  • ASIN: B01MXIPB8G
  • ISBN: 978-1520210469

book-trailer_search-it-find-it-by-Carlos-Djomo

If you have any observations or words of encouragement, kindly shoot me an email at info@cdlancer.com or comment below.

There are so many translator tools available in today’s digital era.

While some may consider it contradictory to list Google as part of such tools, it is surely because of bad experiences they must have had with Google’s automatic translation service. However, for the purpose of this article, I’ll be dealing with Google Search, because it is an essential component of our core processes as translators – i.e. searching for reliable information and finding it in less time.

Google Search is the number 1 search engine. We use it almost instinctively when searching for anything online. And it is no coincidence it is said to perform 2.3 million searches per second, that is about 100 billion searches per month and 2 trillion searches processed yearly.

These figures illustrate how Google Search has become part of our daily routine, either as mere Internet users or as professional translators/interpreters (advanced Internet users). Moreover, with the advent of the mobile revolution, searching for information has become even easier. Even on the move, we can still perform quick searches on our mobile devices.

Targeted Search Results

Have you ever noticed Google Search’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature? It redirects you to a page considered the most relevant for your search query term(s). This option is available either from Google Search’s home page or within the predictive input text that appears when you type a portion of your search term(s).

For instance, consider this illustration:

google-predictive-search_cdlancer

 

Instead of hitting the Enter/Go button, you can click this to access a page which is trusted by Google for listing interpreting jobs.

As far as country-specific domains are concerned, they vary depending on where you live. Usually, Google services automatically detect your location via your IP address and redirect you to a “localised version” with supposedly more pertinent content. But, if you are not satisfied with the results obtained, you may broaden the scope by using the Google.com option.

pdf-course-for-translators_cdlancer

The All in One Solution?

Among other things, you can use Google Search to check the weather in your location, get a live preview of currency exchange rates, define a word, convert several units (temperatures, lengths, volumes, etc.).

Let us try by ourselves and see if this really works.

In the Google search box, type weather in your city (e.g. weather in paris as illustrated below) and hit enter. You will have a live update of the weather in the desired location, plus a one-week forecast.

weather-paris_cdlancer

 

If you are a US citizen moving to Europe, you might need to know the right volume of fuel your car will be consuming. It may be frustrating to realize people rather measure such volumes in liters. Don’t panic, just input number liters in gallons (e.g. 145 liters in gallons) and voilà!

google-unit-conversion_cdlancer

 

The same is true for other unit conversion, including distance (mile-to-kilometer conversion).

[bctt tweet=”#Google: An all-in-1 solution for online search, unit conversion, calculations and more.” username=”cdlancer”]

From the previous search, you can change units to be converted. Just click the “volume” dropdown list to see other units available (see picture below).

google-units_cdlancer

 

Go on now, and try it for yourself. Have fun converting among units and see how easy it is.

Google Search Operators

Search operators are special ways of inputting search terms so as to return targeted results. These are similar to filters you can set to tell Google Search the type of results you need.

Here are some of the most popular search operators, with corresponding examples.

Search Operator Description Example
* Placeholder for any unknown, missing or wildcat terms as * as
Excludes a site or a category from your search results jaguar -car

joint -site:wikipedia.org

.. Defines a range to search within. May also be used to indicate the upper/lower threshold of a range Cars $1000..$2000

Laptops ..€1000

“” Return results from pages with the exact search word/phrase appearing in the same order “content marketing tactics”
 
site: Return results from a specific website or domain tech specs site:apple.com
related: Find websites similar to the one specified in the search query related:lefigaro.fr
OR Find sites containing one of the search terms entered. Note that OR is written in caps. cars OR motorbikes
AND Find sites containing both search terms entered. Note that AND is written in caps. cables AND instructions
info: Provides information about a given website, including the cached version, related sites and backlinks. info:bbc.co.uk
cache: Access a cached version of a website (i.e. how it looked like the last time Google crawled it). This operator is helpful to access a site that is unavailable for maintenance purpose. cache:yoursite.com
define: Provides a definition of the search term. define:o-ring
filetype: Return results containing only the specified file format. filetype:pdf free course
allintitle: Restrict results to websites containing search terms in their page titles. allintitle: resources for translators
allintext: Restrict results to websites containing search terms in their body copy. allintext:advanced marketing tips

Besides, keep in mind the following:

  • When typing your search query terms, capitalization doesn’t matter (i.e. New York MLS and new York mls will return the same results).
  • Target specific key terms for better search results (search for used car parts instead of typing old components from cars with 2 or more owners).
  • Consider the Voice search option, especially when using a mobile device (you may need to fine tune your device’s voice recognition settings).
  • For exact results, place your search terms in quotation marks (“”).
  • Review your results in terms of numbers (how popular are search terms as formulated by you?) and authority of sources (how relevant are websites containing results? Are they primary sources?).
  • Define the search category in advance and go to specific sections (Books, Images, News, etc.) of Google Search for better results.
  • Have fun performing your searches. If not satisfied, try again until you find what you need/expect.

All in all, it should be noted that you are ultimately responsible for the quality and suitability of results you choose.

Basically, search engines return indexed pages that supposedly match search query terms you enter. But always cross-check results from two or more authoritative sources to ensure a minimum of suitability to your purposes.

Over to You Now

There must be other tricks that you use to make Google search one of your best translation tools. I am eager to discover them. Feel free to share in the comments.

how to search onlineThis article is a premium extract from my book, Search It, Find It: The Translator’s Minimalist Guide to Online Search. To buy a copy from Amazon, click here.

Translation is a multi-billion industry which provides jobs to millions of qualified professionals and empowers millions of companies (from startups to Fortune 500) and brands through bilingual and/or multilingual communications. Translation offers several career choices, including freelance – i.e. work-from-home – as well as in-house positions (usually referred to as 9-to-5 jobs). If you are a translator or often work as such, chances are that you’ve experienced the versatility and dealt with the complexities of that profession. If you have ever thought about quitting translation, review these warning signs to make sure you decide wisely.

You consider translation as a hobby

Some people regard translation as a hobby or second-choice, extra source of income. This, certainly justifies why they claim to be translator because they understand a few words in another language and can struggle to form one or two correct sentences. They rely on dictionaries, provide word-for-word rendering and mostly opt for “translation software” like Power Translator or free, online services such as Google Translate. If you recognized yourself in this description, please, do yourself a favor and quit translating now!

You are not passionate about translation

I blame you if you never realized that translation is first and foremost about passion. Sure, you need to pay bills, but above all, you must be passionate to be part of a “bigger” thing. Have you ever thought about how the technical manuals you translate help millions of end users operate their devices? Can you feel consumers’ satisfaction whenever they glance at your (translated) copy on a huge billboard and keep loyal to a given brand? What about books, articles, website copy that you translate to help people and nations meet and cross language borders? If all of this means nothing to you, please quit translating!

You don’t get in the business mood

Passion is what fuels your translation business. Did I just say “business”? Yes. Translation is a business and you are a business person. As a translator/small business owner, you must get into the “business mood” or you won’t survive. So, you ought to search for clients, suggest language solutions to their problems, negotiate rates, charge for services provided, market your expertise, get posted on industry news, attend events, plan for office supplies, get software equipment, buy CAT tools and try them, translate, edit, proofread, keep your family happy. And there are much more to do. If this is too much for you, fine. You know where the exit is.

[tweetshare tweet=”Translation is a business and every translator is a business owner. #xl8″ username=”carlosdjomo”]

You never meet set deadlines

Deadlines are capital. This sounds like a Gospel truth within the translation world. I don’t know about other trades, but when you consistently miss set deadlines, there must be something wrong with you. It is true that unforeseen circumstances exist, but a professional translator is trained to mitigate them. Your background and field experience must have taught you how to take precautionary measures to deal with possible obstacles. Keeping in touch with your Project manager is a way to discuss possible deadline extensions based on justifiable reasons. Setting priorities and implementing time management strategies are other ways to ensure you deliver on time.

You always complain about stress

Stress is part of our trade, buddy. Nothing else to add. Either you deal with stress or you stop calling yourself a translator. As simple as that.

[tweetshare tweet=”Either you deal with stress or you stop calling yourself a translator! #xl8″ username=”carlosdjomo”]

You don’t care about confidentiality

Are you sharing the same computer with your old friends who read your mails and documents? Do you discuss the details of your translation projects in bars or during after-work parties? Do you boast about the manuals you just translated for company X, or brand Y’s new brochure? Do you remember you signed NDAs? Have you even read them? Translation may not be your best fit. This is just my humble opinion. After suffering two judicial cases and severe fines, you may not say I didn’t tell you. Reconsider your relationship with confidentiality or quit translating!

[tweetshare tweet=”A translator who doesn’t care about confidentiality should quit translating. #xl8″ username=”carlosdjomo”]

Technology is your worst enemy

When St Jerome translated the Holy Bible, there was no Internet at the time. There is no point in working nowadays as back then. Things have evolved and we should adapt. Better still, as translators, we ought to leverage the power of technology to work smarter and faster. If you think CAT tools are what entertain felines, or believe Twitter is the name of an endangered species, you might not be fit for the translation world. Do yourself a favour.

You always say “No”

No matter the project scope, domain(s) to tackle or timeframe, whatever opportunity coming your way is rejected. You always say “No” to stressful situations related to translation project management, you don’t like complicated texts, you hate learning new software or dislike working under pressure. In such a context, I just wonder “Why on earth did you become a translator?” It may not be late to consider a career in football (soccer) or mechanics.

[tweetshare tweet=”You hate #technology and dislike working under pressure. Are you really a translator? #xl8″ username=”cdlancer”]

You always say “Yes”

You are always prompt to accept any jobs, in any language combination. After all, you are a translator, aren’t you? Wrong. Professional translators work into their native language only and decline offers involving domains they might not have a good command of. Plus, nothing forces you accept rubbish services like #PEMT (Post-editing machine translation) or to translate 100 words buried in 25 thousand non-paid repetitions.

I may have forgotten some warning signs. Depending on your experience and that of other colleagues, you can have additional stories to tell. Feel free to share in the comments.

At the beginning of each year, it is a ritual to take resolutions and set goals for the next 12 months. Translators are no exception to this tradition. But it proves worthless to set unattainable goals. New Year resolutions are to be supported by well-thought considerations. Below are a few tips on how you can set yours.

Assessment – Achievements & failures

1. Never plan for a new year without assessing the previous one. 2. Be as objective as possible as you list past failures and successes. You may use the 5-question approach by Corinne McKay. 3. Try to understand the cause(s) of your previous year failures and the factors that have helped you succeed. 4. Understand that each year is unique and set attainable goals. Consider the SMART approach for more efficiency.

Branding – How do people perceive you?

5. Define a few core values you want to be associated with (professionalism, creativ0ity, reliability, etc.) and reflect them in whatever you do during the year.

6. If you don’t have a logo, ask a graphic designer create yours.

7. Use consistently your brand colour(s) across all your communication (letterheads, business cards, email signature, social media covers, blog illustrations, etc.).

[bctt tweet=”Use your #translator brand consistently in all your contents”]

8. Include hashtags (e.g. #cdlancer) related to your brand in some news you share on social media.

9. Let your audience (blog readers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, for instance) comment on brand-related activities: industry events (you may be interested in the Open Translation Day), courses or other Continuous Professional Development activities you organise.

Marketing – Translator’s Expertise for Sale

10. Draw up a marketing calendar and review/update it on a regular basis. Get started by downloading this one-page marketing plan for freelance translators.

11. Analyse both your online and offline marketing channels and try to intensify the most efficient ones.

[bctt tweet=”Review your #translator’s marketing channels & intensify the most efficient ones”]

12. At least once a month, seize or create an opportunity to market your services solutions to a given audience.

13. Encourage people to spread the world about your expertise (via word-of-mouth, blog sharing, social media referrals, etc.).

Capacity Building – Keep Learning

14. Point out your weaknesses as a professional translator (time management, CAT proficiency, QA checks, client search, etc.) and plan for remedial actions.

15. Plan to attend a given number of translator training opportunities (webinars, online tutorials, e-courses, etc.) and set your agenda accordingly.

16. Plan to search and follow influencers within the language industry. Consume what they write and say (on blogs or social media) and feel free to react (questions or suggestions). Follow this guide and you’re good to go.

Client Base – Review Sources of Income

17. List all your clients and classify them per status (prospects, past, current), type(translation companies, direct clients, individuals).

18. Pledge to contact past clients and try to reactivate them.

[bctt tweet=”Always contact past #translation clients to reactivate them”]

19. Draw up a personal checklist to ensure you always give the best as a professional translator (email receipt and confirmation, awesome services, post-delivery suggestions, etc.).

20. Review your payment methods and align them with client preferences.

21. Review and update your payment terms, as well as frequent accounting issues. If necessary, set new directions.

22. Plan for weekly/monthly expenses as well as long-term investments.

Authority – Be(com)ing the Expert

23. If you have a blog, think about packing your best posts into a downloadable asset.

[bctt tweet=”Packing your (best) #translation blog posts into a downloadable asset is a good idea”]

24. If you don’t have a blog, consider writing guest posts on other people’s blogs.

25. Think about organising at least one event that will profit translators and/or other linguists (informal meeting, online gathering, conference, webinar, podcast, etc.

26. Plan to write an e-book or run a mini-course. This guide may come in handy.

Work/Life – Work Happily

27. (Re)Arrange your workplace and make it more ergonomic. You may want to follow the OSHA guidelines.

28. Plan for holidays and make sure you go really go in OFF mode when you take them. This is important to avoid burnout.

29. Offer your spouse meaningful gifts to calm her/him down and remind her/him about your love (emphasise that your computer isn’t a lover).

[bctt tweet=”(Re)Arrange your #translator’s workplace and make it ergonomic!”]

Well, I didn’t realize I would give so many tips to help you take your New Year resolutions. I still believe there may be aspects I forgot or didn’t emphasize enough. Feel free to add them by commenting below.

PDF Translation is a popular nightmare.

This free email course introduces you to the basics about PDF files, from a translator’s perspective. It is all about identifying types of PDFs, preparing them for translation, handling various restrictions and going for the creative approach to handling the intricacies of PDF documents.

PDF Translation Course Outcomes

At the end of this course, any participant should be able to:

  • Identify the main types of PDFs
  • List the properties on any PDF file
  • Prepare PDFs for an optimal translation process
  • Use our creative approach to handle just any PDF document.

Free Registration

Register now and start right away. Just fill in the form below. [optinengine_promo promo_id=”2″]

P.S. Share the link and invite your friends and colleagues to take our free course.

It takes more than free time to succeed at freelancing.

People usually say that freelancers enjoy more flexible schedules than regular employees working from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sure, as a freelancer, you can work from the comfort of your bed or sofa. You set your own working hours and freely plan your life. But it is important to stress that free time alone won’t make you a successful freelancer. Below are 6 important ingredients of freelance success worth considering.

1. Expertise

As a freelancer, you are paid to provide services external expertise. And “expertise” goes far beyond a mere diploma, because a diploma in Literature does not automatically make you a good creative writer. The same applies to other freelance fields, including web design, translation, programming, etc. Being an expert is a key advantage over the competition. So, in a drive to achieve – and maintain – that status, make sure you seize any continuous professional development (CPD) opportunity coming your way: seminars, webinars, online courses, books/ebooks, etc. Attend industry events (conferences, trade fairs, book launches, etc.), meet like-minded people, connect and exchange experience (as well as business cards). If you are a translator, you may be interested in the Open Translation Day. Otherwise, just search on Google.

2. Planning

Every business needs a plan. Freelancing is no exception. Stop calling yourself a “Freelance X”.You run a small business and provide great service that help others succeed. So, make sure you reflect on how you will deliver these awesome solutions, crush the competition and stand out as the go-to professional. Draft a business plan and review/adapt it on a regular basis to ensure you are still on track. By so doing, always anticipate where you want your business to be in the next 5/10/20 years.

3. Resources

I know you have been – at least once – in a situation where you wished you had some tools/resources/knowledge in order to complete a specific task. If you had the requested/desired tool/resource, I guess you would have worked faster/smarter. In fact, in every field, there are must-use tools which complement your expertise and boost your productivity. Since you are your own boss – responsible for both your success and failure – take necessary measures to be on the safe side: power banks, UPSs, online backups, external hard drives, etc. To learn more and get posted on the freelancer’s resources, you might want to learn from these 10 established freelancing sites or consider this list of 100 resources for freelancers and entrepreneurs.

4. Visibility

Here is a simple test: type your name in Google and hit the Search button. Take a few minutes to examine what shows up: number of results, main sources, etc. Now you may see how popular visible you are in the Internet universe. The worldwide Web has made it possible to reach thousands/millions of people from all over the world. To leverage the power of the Internet and use it effectively, you need a proven visibility plan. For a detailed process, check out this award-winning article that shows you how to gain more visibility in 6 simple steps.

5. Criticism

As controversial as this may seem, constructive criticism is a key ingredient of freelance success. Whenever you complete a project, kindly request a feedback. This will help you humbly acknowledge your weaknesses (as part of your SWOT analysis) and look for ways to improve. You surely know that “No human endeavor is perfect”, but always make it a principle to provide a better experience to your clients, colleagues and partners, based on their criticism. Mark McGuinness tells us how to handle criticism and rejection as freelancers. But, you should distinguish between constructive feedback and personally-targeted & condescending criticism (“Your whole work is crap”, “Are you really a professional?” “What kind of producer/translator/designer are you?”). The latter is only useful as it helps you know people you should stop working with.

6. Patience

The saying goes that “Nothing good comes easy”. Freelancing is no exception. You have to be patient in order to achieve long-term freelancing success. Keep on working hard and make sure every project is an occasion to show how great you are.

Do you think there are other ingredients that make up a good success sauce? Feel free to let me (and other freelancers) know in the comments.

Believe it or not, translation companies are main sources of income for translators, editors, and desktop publishing (DTP) specialists all over the world. As the number of these companies is always growing, unscrupulous people tend to create their own under the same umbrella in a bid to scam linguists, stealing their work, time and/or identity. You don’t want to be one their victims, do you? Below are some aspects that will help you spot an untrustworthy company in less than 10 minutes.

1. No website

Seriously, nowadays, anyone can afford a professional website! Can you imagine a translation company hiring people, doing business, earning money, but not affording to set up an online interface that tells a bit about its history, values, references, and shows its contact details? As soon as you’re approached by a recruiting/vendor/talent manager, just google their company’s name and start checking before even replying to the offer. Better safe than sorry.

Never work with a #translation company that has no website! Click To Tweet

 

2. Gmail/Yahoo/AOL addresses

Professional website packages usually include a hosting plan with Cpanel and several built-in features: custom email addresses, FTP access, website builder/importer, script auto-installers, etc. The point here is that if a translation company does not care to get custom email addresses (e.g. info@companyabc.com), then it is not taking business seriously. Why should you give them credit?

Custom email addresses are part of a #translation company’s reliability indicators. Click To Tweet

3. No Clear Recruitment Process

From the first contact (either you applied or they got in touch with you), the translation company representative (recruitment/vendor manager) should provide you with some information about their standard recruitment process. This usually feature some basic steps, including but not limited to: CV review, test piece, reference check, legal formalities, full registration into the database, and start of work, etc. If the Manager is itching to start working with you right away, your inner red lights should switch on.

A #translation company having no clear recruitment process isn’t serious, is it? Click To Tweet

4. NDA or Contract

When starting business with any contractor, serious translation companies usually required their external vendors/suppliers to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and/or a contract as part of their recruitment procedure. In general, the NDA informs the freelancer about how confidential data should be treated and states the remedies/penalties relating to any unauthorized disclosure. Contracts complement NDAs by specifying rates, payment terms and methods, working conditions, termination clauses, etc. Upon signing these documents, both the translator and the company are legally bound.

5. Amazingly Low Rates

Serious translation agencies value translators’ work and expertise. They consider translators as their most valuable assets and understand the importance of human resources in the success of their business. On the contrary, untrustworthy companies don’t care to know whether translation is a business or a hobby. They hire bilinguals as translators and when they get in touch with professional linguists, they offer them terrible rates. From the onset, you’d better run away from these. I recently received a “request” from a world’s leading translation agency offering incredibly low rates. I couldn’t believe how bad they treat their translators. In a subsequent post, I’ll share the reply I served them.

6. Multiple Identities

Please, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying some companies are suffering from schizophrenia. But some are close to. Seriously. I sometimes receive “offers” from “leading translation companies” having multiple identities. The name indicated in the email signature is different from that on the email address. The Vendor Manager claims they are based in a country, but their address is pointing to a city in another country, plus their IP address is from a third country. Well, once you notice all this inconsistent information, you know what to do, don’t you?

You may have your own signs that usually ring the alarm bells and make you run away from translation agencies. Share these in your comments and let others benefit from your experience.

 

It is an open secret that blogging is a trending activity nowadays. But, believe it or not, there are some people out there who are still afraid of taking the leap into blogging and all sorts of reasons are used to justify their choice: I am really busy; I don’t know what to blog about; how can I make people read (and enjoy) my posts on a regular basis; how to be inspired so as to keep my blog up and running; and so on. I myself have gone through this and if you are reading me right now, it means I’ve somehow overcome my “blogophobia”.

Translation, writing and blogging
Being a professional translator, I must say I earn a living by rewriting English content in French. From another perspective, I am always writing and, basically, I meet the requirements to be blogging (writing for a blog). Besides, I wrote a guest post about handling issues relating to the translation of PDF documents and another post on translator’s visibility. I am grateful to both blog authors (Olga Arakelyan and Catherine Christaki) for accepting my guest posts. I have been passionately reading their articles, as well as those from many other leading authors in the translation blogosphere. I felt so honored when the second guest post won the 2015 Proz Community Choice Awards (#ProzCCA) for Best translation-related article. This motivated me into letting the inner blogger shine.

Just another blog?
All blogs are not created the same, although many specialize in the same industry and target the same kind of readers. Most of the time, the reader wonders “Is this just another blog?” The direct answer is No! Each blogger has their stories to tell, with special emphasis, a particular style and approach that make them unique.

[bctt tweet=”All blogs aren’t created equal, each blogger is unique. #blogging”]

In this quest for uniqueness, I will focus on a visual approach to all stories published here. Remember the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand word”? Well, I’ll be dealing this way. More pictures, few texts, as inspired by Mox blog and Zen pencils. So get ready to start a new adventure in the wonderful worlds of translators as entrepreneurial linguists, freelancers, and related writing professions. Feel free to suggest topics, blog posts, ideas, pictures, so we can make it together.