Make yourself searchable
You can register with one or more of the various translation portals – it never hurts to be searchable in a database. Some of the biggest translator portals are:
- ProZ: http://www.proz.com/
- Translators Café: http://www.translatorscafe.com/
- Translators Base: https://www.translatorsbase.com/
When we at Semantix are looking for translators into the Nordic languages, we often look here:
- SFÖ – The Swedish Association of Professional Translators
- Kammarkollegiet (authorised translators in Sweden)
- Translatørportalen (Government authorised translators in Norway)
- SKTL – The Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters
Gain specialist expertise
Another tip for attracting a potential customer’s interest is to gain specialist expertise. Expertise within one or more subject areas is an advantage, but be honest about your knowledge. Having too many specialist areas doesn’t look good, as quality is more important than quantity.
Update your CV
Always have a good CV ready to send to customers when they ask for a copy. Ensure that your CV is in English and includes references, and that you have letters of recommendation, degree certificates and other relevant documentation readily available. If you have previous translation experience, it’s worth mentioning which types of text you’ve translated and roughly how many words you’ve translated within different subject areas. Remember to include clear contact details so you can be reached easily. Other than this, your CV should also include information about:
- your native language and the languages you translate from
- your education
- your professional experience (other than translation work)
- CAT tools you can use, such as Trados Studio 2014, Across or Memsource.
As a translator, it’s important to act in a professional manner and to respond quickly when contacted by customers. If you leave a potential customer waiting for an answer, there’s a risk that you will come across as unprofessional or that you don’t have time for new customers. You should also be clear about your prices so that potential customers know whether they are compatible with their budget.
One more tip is always to read through the source text or sample text from a customer before accepting an assignment. It is important to ensure that you are happy with the content and are able to work with the file format. Accepting an assignment and then changing your mind never looks good. And of course, my final piece of advice is always to meet the deadline!