דפים בנושא:   < [1 2]
Struggling to establish myself
מפרסם התגובה: James Greenfield

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 01:41
חבר (2012)
מצרפתית לאנגלית
Eh? Jun 24, 2014

Frankie JB wrote:

Change your picture Greenhorn, you look like a drunkard or a junkie, how do you want to instill trust and professionalism with that? It looks like a picture taken at a student party, I can almost guess your cropped the glass you had in your hand! Come on!! There are certainly other things to improve but this one springs to mind...


You say that with your profile pic??


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 02:41
חבר (2005)
מאנגלית לספרדית
+ ...
Remove the rates Jun 25, 2014

I also agree with the colleagues about the picture. In my opinion, it gives the idea that you are someone just fresh out of University and with no experience.

I would also remove the rates from your profile, for the reason that they are very low. To the many agencies who never post a job but find their translators in proz.com and similar portals, a low expected rate indicates that you are not really worth it.

Good luck!!


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
סין
Local time: 08:41
מסינית לאנגלית
+1 for networking - offline too Jun 25, 2014

I've had good clients come to me through Proz, but I've had more good clients come through people. Offline interactions with real people build trust and name-recognition much faster than any amount of online marketing. I don't know what your options are for meeting people, but if you can go to some subject-area related events that would be good. (At a translation conference, you're just one translator among many. At a tourism conference, you're the translator they met.) Even something as cheesy ... See more
I've had good clients come to me through Proz, but I've had more good clients come through people. Offline interactions with real people build trust and name-recognition much faster than any amount of online marketing. I don't know what your options are for meeting people, but if you can go to some subject-area related events that would be good. (At a translation conference, you're just one translator among many. At a tourism conference, you're the translator they met.) Even something as cheesy as business cards can work, just putting your name in front of people who might have a need for translation sometime in the future.Collapse


 

Tom in London
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 01:41
חבר (2008)
מאיטלקית לאנגלית
I disagree Jun 25, 2014

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

I also agree with the colleagues about the picture. In my opinion, it gives the idea that you are someone just fresh out of University and with no experience.



No colleagues agree about the picture. I disagree that it makes him look as you describe. A smiling and personable youngish fellow with an impressive selection of sample translations in his profile. I would hire him.

"just fresh out of University and with no experience". Have you read his sample translations? I find them very good indeed, and I'm hard to please.

[Edited at 2014-06-25 07:51 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 01:41
חבר (2014)
מיפנית לאנגלית
Perception beats reality Jun 25, 2014

Tom in London wrote:
"just fresh out of University and with no experience". Have you read his sample translations? I find them very good indeed, and I'm hard to please.

Tom, that may be the reality, but if the photo leads to a perception of youth and/or inexperience the perception may well win out. Consider the case of a potential employer rushing to meet a deadline who simply scans down a list of potential candidates. People are usually not even aware of the heuristics they use in decisions like this.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
צרפת
Local time: 02:41
חבר (2018)
מצרפתית לאנגלית
That's as may be... Jun 25, 2014

Trouble is, Tom, that most clients use professional translators because they don't speak the target language well enough, so they can't tell.

 

Thorsten Schülke  Identity Verified
ארגנטינה
Local time: 21:41
חבר (2012)
מאנגלית לגרמנית
+ ...
a few tipps Jun 25, 2014

1) Do not let anything or anyone discourage you! It does NOT take 3 years to establish yourself as a freelance translator. I personally reached the stage where I could make a decent living from full-time translating in a fraction of that time (without having a degree in translating).

2) Your profile looks pretty good but - already mentioned - change your picture. It's not that I do not like it, you look like somebody I'd really like to hang out with over a few pints and have a good
... See more
1) Do not let anything or anyone discourage you! It does NOT take 3 years to establish yourself as a freelance translator. I personally reached the stage where I could make a decent living from full-time translating in a fraction of that time (without having a degree in translating).

2) Your profile looks pretty good but - already mentioned - change your picture. It's not that I do not like it, you look like somebody I'd really like to hang out with over a few pints and have a good time. Just make it more professional - while keeping the smile

3) In your first post you said you were trying "to do everything possible". That's great, but have you been following a plan? What is your definite goal and how exactly are you planning to get there? And when do you want to be there? Being very organised in your efforts is key, otherwise you waste time and energy while getting frustrated and ending up broke. You need to be convinced that what you are going to do will very likely work. This conviction comes from a sound plan. (And a better way than trying to do things is to do whatever it takes...)

4) Since you seem to have the quality, it might as well be a question of quantity here. After all, it's also a numbers game. So, how many agencies have you written to? I personally needed to e-mail around 150 agencies (and a few direct clients) to get started, but I still send at least one application out per week.

5) In the beginning, e-mail mainly agencies, not so many direct (one-time) clients. With agencies it is more likely that you get a constant work flow instead of just one single job (long-term success via short term success).

6) Use the principle of overwhelming force. If your CV and other marketing materials are good (as you say they are), send out a MASSIVE number of applications in a very short time. One month should be enough: 30 days x 5 applications = 150 agencies applied to. Even a low success rate of only 4% will give you 6 new agencies...

7) ... then make sure that your very first job for every single one of them is extremely well done. In most of the cases there will be more work coming in if your first translation is convincing. And in the end, you will probably not have more than 5-6 major clients/agencies anyway!

8) Keep cool when agencies/clients do not get back to you after your first job. Sometimes they simply do not have anything to offer. On several occasions agencies and direct clients contacted me again after more that a year of silence. If you delivered a good translation on your first job, they will eventually remember you.

9) Contact agencies again after a while. Give them enough time to reply to you, but if they don't just send them a short reminder (without getting on their nerves, of course). You can also do that after a negative response. You can always come back a few months later and try again, showing them that you've gained more experience in the meanwhile. They will appreciate that and get the impression that you are really interested in working with them.

So that's just a few things to think about, hope I could help. Good luck!
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James Greenfield  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 01:41
מצרפתית לאנגלית
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks very much everyone Jun 25, 2014

Thanks very much everyone, that has been a great help. One thing I was wondering was whether my new email address made me seem like a translation agency and maybe that was why I was being ignored. It is james@greenfieldtranslations.com and I seem to get less responses to when I used to send applications using my old yahoo address. I changed email address to seem more professional but it occurred to me that it might be possibly ... See more
Thanks very much everyone, that has been a great help. One thing I was wondering was whether my new email address made me seem like a translation agency and maybe that was why I was being ignored. It is james@greenfieldtranslations.com and I seem to get less responses to when I used to send applications using my old yahoo address. I changed email address to seem more professional but it occurred to me that it might be possibly be hindering me.

@ Rachel Waddington
Thanks, I am now considering visiting translator conferences and events. I think it would be useful to meet translators and agency owners in person.

@ Sheila
Thanks, I am now trying to be more active with kudoz questions. I think I will become a member of the CIOL as it seems like it boosts your credentials and it is a good source of information. I am also looking at rewriting my profile text to better refelct my specialisms.

@ Terrence Noonan
Thanks, I spent a year living abroad as part of my university programme and have also been on many exchanges. I think this is something I need to highlight more in my profile text.

@ Tom in London
Thanks, it's great to hear that my translation samples are of good quality. I'm thinking of tourism as my main specialism and need to change my profile to reflect that.

@ SBlack
Thanks, that's a good point, I will think about these other organisations that I could contact.

@ Texte Style
Thanks, yes I am going to change my profile picture to something more serious. I'm not sure I really suit a beard haha. The picture is from quite a few years ago, so I look quite young, I will replace it with a more up to date one.

@ Sarah Silva
Thanks, yes I am thinking of joining the ITI or CIOL. I've been trying to set up a wordpress website but am struggling a bit.

@ Peter Shortall
Thanks, I still undertake work in the financial and legal fields but am trying to take on more tourism related translations.

@ Tom Gale
Thanks for the advice on my CV, yes I think I do need to pad it out a bit more.

@ Tomás Cano Binder
Thanks, I've removed my rates, they're a little low anyway.

@Phil Hand
Thanks, yes I'm thinking about opprtunities to meet translators and agency owners in person.

@ Thorsten Schülke
Thanks, I think you're right about forming a plan and trying to contact a large volume of agencies. I'm going to try and contact about 5 agencies per day.






[Edited at 2014-06-25 13:23 GMT]
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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 01:41
מפורטוגזית לאנגלית
+ ...
Hi James, Jun 25, 2014

You've got some excellent advice here. I just wanted to say that if you're struggling with Wordpress, you should try Weebly and see how it goes, as it's a lot more user friendly. Good luck

 

Frankie JB
צרפת
מאנגלית לצרפתית
+ ...
Correction Jun 25, 2014

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

Frankie JB wrote:

Change your picture Greenhorn, you look like a drunkard or a junkie, how do you want to instill trust and professionalism with that? It looks like a picture taken at a student party, I can almost guess your cropped the glass you had in your hand! Come on!! There are certainly other things to improve but this one springs to mind...


You say that with your profile pic??


It's not me who's complaining about not getting jobs, and my picture is a deliberate choice, like it or not...

Now, my choice of words was poor. I dropped a line hastily, I was trying to render the French word "fêtard", which means "party-goer" in theory, but this latter sounded too soft (not the same connotation I think)... So, I will correct that to "Your picture looks like a party-goer who's tipsy and sloppy".

Maybe I'm in the minority in thinking that it's more a picture for your friends on Facebook than for a professional site (*if we consider you'd like to find clients here, which is not the case of everyone), but even so, if you really want to maximize your potential you've got to take care of the minority... Just because of that, it's likely that if I were a direct client, I would be very wary and skip you, if I were an agency, I'd question your seriousness/reliability and if I were an outsourcer, well... I may look beyond... or not.

Do you know what's the proportion of people who don't look further than the very first result link on Google? I don't, but I know it's massive. People don't want to make efforts and look beyond appearance. They won't bother to read what you have to say if they don't like your pic...

Also:

- You say your marketing material is "solid". I don't know exactly what you refer to, but if that includes your ProZ profile and your CV, I beg to differ...

- As many said before me, making clients is a numbers game, i.e. the more you cast lures, the more you'll catch. But what's often not said is that there's a trap: if your profile is not adequately polished / convincing / complete, you run the risk of discrediting yourself for a long time, so my own advice is: take your time before launching the assault, try and see what others do, how they sell themselves, how they highlight their assets, how they manage to position themselves as higher-end translators, etc.

- You say you specialize in finance but if you don't give specifics re. what is is that you translate (text types) and are knowledgeable about (subject matters), it's not very encouraging...

- You don't have a lot of experience / objective assets to leverage = granted, but that doesn't mean you can't get people's confidence through other means, for example through "subjective assets", such as: what are the personal quality standards you hold yourself to, what are your core values as a translator, how you see your profession, what's you mission statement, etc. - anything to showcase your writing skills and language mastery. (Sub-advice: avoid irrelevant commonplaces like "I have always been passionate about languages"...)

- As a rule, I think that the best advice I can ever give to rookies like you is: rack your brains until your head smokes in order to visualize precisely who your clients are and empathize with them to understand what they expect/need from you. Yes ...it's very abstract, not a practical tip, but that's my idea of sound marketing for lasting success. I don't know what would think the pros about that, but I personally consider marketing a subfield of psychology. There are more and more translators who call themselves marketing gurus and (unashamedly) sell their unsophisticated and superficial "tips and tricks"... well, this one is not only more than a tip - as it's a timeless wisdom - but it's also FREE, so ENJOY buddy

[Edited at 2014-06-25 17:46 GMT]


 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
קנדה
Local time: 20:41
חבר (2011)
מסינית לאנגלית
+ ...

מנהל פורום זה
Constructive criticism Jun 25, 2014

I personally don't think OP's picture looks too much like a fetard- if anything, to presume that OP is a sloppy and tipsy fetard (and yes, I omit the use of the circumflex here) is a bit harsh, isn't it? Plus, instead of a "party goer", calling him a fetard is more like saying that he's a party animal...anyhow. I am sure by now it's quite clear how some readers could perceive his profile photo to be, and those are good points to note, so let's stop at that.

I don't have a very profe
... See more
I personally don't think OP's picture looks too much like a fetard- if anything, to presume that OP is a sloppy and tipsy fetard (and yes, I omit the use of the circumflex here) is a bit harsh, isn't it? Plus, instead of a "party goer", calling him a fetard is more like saying that he's a party animal...anyhow. I am sure by now it's quite clear how some readers could perceive his profile photo to be, and those are good points to note, so let's stop at that.

I don't have a very professional photo either. While it was taken by a professional photographer, it's a cropped picture we took while preparing a photo shoot in the storage room..

I've always been freelancing on a part-time basis while having a part-time job. It was first done so out of practicality - I needed some source of income to ensure that bills are paid. By now, I am doing this still because I like having a mix of different types of work, and my part-time job allows me to network "offline". As another post has mentioned above, I likewise have had clients referred to me by local networking. I've been lucky enough to secure a few clients who have given me ongoing projects, but it does not necessarily take 3 years for you to secure a living. I was very lucky- took me about 6 months to start getting a steady flow of work - but indeed, that initial feeling of uncertainty and "what am I doing wrong" persists.

Keep trying. Email your past clients to inform them of what you are doing and also send them a friendly reminder that you are still available to work. Try not to email agencies out of the blue- sometimes those emails gets sent directly to trash. Instead, go on the agencies' website, and see if they have a page where you can send in your information to be added to their roster instead. Usually agencies who have those pages available might be more inclined to contact you. Go through proz.com's postings and approach agencies who put up job postings.

Don't forget to network in your local community! And yes, you should never, ever, use your yahoo email as your main form of contact ... best of luck!
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