Even with the help of the Internet, it makes sense to come to term with the fact that building a sufficient client base may take some time, perhaps 6 months to 1 year. However, that is no reason to become discouraged, even when you do not receive an immediate response to query letters sent to agencies; remember there are thousands of translators doing exactly the same thing. In addition, a response from an agency doesn’t automatically mean that it is a project that matches your skills.
As you work through the process of securing clients, the best advice is to focus on marketing your services, refining your skills and staying abreast of industry developments that you need to remain competitive!
There are many ways to promote your freelance translator services; weblogs (blogs), yellow page advertising, online translator databases, listings with translator associations, and translator job lists. You need to think “outside of the box” in terms of finding translation assignments, for example, take some time to research websites that could benefit from being translated into your target language.
Organizations that work with a variety of individuals from different countries such as consulates, embassies, or chambers of commerce who usually have a list of companies in your area that are affiliated with a certain country and occasionally need translation services.
Look to your area of specialization for leads; legal or medical organizations are prime candidates for translation services as are the groups that serve the expatriate community. Many of these organizations have community bulletin boards where you can post your business card and/or brochure.
Inquire regarding translation services at the county courthouse for the social service division, contact the law library and send your information to local police stations and law offices. For medical specialization, you can send a mailing to doctors in private practice, insurance companies, hospitals, medical libraries and support groups in your area.
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