There are a lot of ways to find more translation clients.
And we all know that finding clients is one of the most important things that a translator needs to do in order to have success.
On this site alone, I’ve written about a bunch of different ways of finding clients:
But one thing that I haven’t talked about much before is the importance of marketing your translation servcices locally.
As translators, we often think that we should be looking for work online, from clients that are all the way on the other side of the globe.
We forget that there are usually clients that need translation work who are living right where you do.
Local Translation Marketing
OK, so why should you worry about local translation marketing?
Well, for a couple of reasons, actually.
For one, it’s a lot easier to meet and market your services to people over the phone or face to face.
When you meet someone in person, you are able to more easily interact with them and engage with them. You can talk through their needs and desires, as it relates to translation.
Another reason is that you are more invested.
It’s one thing to do work for clients that are on the other side of the world that you never even meet.
It’s quite another to find more translation work through businesses within your own city or town.
Another reason about working with local clients is that it is another avenue to find work. As I’ve mentioned before in other articles, finding translation clients is one of the most important things you will do as a translator. I mean, without clients, you don’t have a translation business, right?
Benefits of Marketing Locally
So, if you’re a translator and trying to decide if you should market locally, here are some benefits.
First, marketing locally is easier. You don’t have to search online and shoot in the dark trying to find clients.
When you market locally, you can literally drive down every street in your city and stop and every single business seeing if they need the help of a language professional.
You can open the yellow pages (remember those?) and call every business in the city and do the same thing, asking them if they need your assistance with any language issues.
Another benefit to marketing locally is that your potential clients will likely feel more comfortable hiring you than they will contracting out to some unknown face online.
Since you are a member of the community with a local address and phonen number, you can play up the community aspect of the relationship. The client will be paying a “real” person to do the job, and not some nameless entity.
Finally, it can sometimes be easier to market your services locally becasuse it’s easier to understand your clients needs based on the market they’re trying to serve.
If you know that a local bank is trying to serve their Spanish-speaking customers, you can then put together a specific proposal for that bank that addresses their needs and concerns with regards to their customers.
Drawbacks of Marketing Locally
OK, so there are some great benefits to marketing your translation services locally. There could also be some drawbacks that might keep you from pursuing local marketing.
The first is that marketing locally will make you go out of your comfort zone. Translators have a reputation for being introverted. Maybe this doesn’t apply to you, but for some translators, doing in-person marketing can be stressful.
Cold calling, showing up at businesses, talking to people on the street. All of those can cause a good number of translators to be anxious.
The second is that you’ll have to do your research to find clients that need your language and area of expertise.
Some wannabe freelance translators are extremlely lazy.
They think that being a freelance translator is easy and that all they need to do is send out a few resumes, email a few people, conctact a couple of agencies and then boom… clients galore.
That might work for some lucky translators, but for most translators, that doesn’t happen.
And working at being a translator means that you’ll have to do your research to find the clients you want to work for. You’ll have to find clients that are in need of your language. You’ll need to find clients that need your expertise. And that will take time and effort. More so than just sending out random emails.
The third is that you’ll have to expand your efforts, especially if you live in a small town.
What I mean about expanding your efforts is that you might have to take a bunch of no’s from people before you even get a yes.
And not only that, you might have to even talk to businesses and individuals multiple times over the course of weeks or months before you get to the yes. If you want to get the business of your local customers, you have to be willing to expand your efforts. Don’t take no for an answer.
Find More Translation Clients by Marketing Locally
OK, so let’s say that you’re now convinced that you want to try marketing your freelance translation business locally.
What are your steps?
There are multiple ways to approach it and there isn’t necessarily a best way. Just the best way for you to accomplish it. And this is how I would suggest going about it.
Make a list of businesses in your city (or section of city, if you live in a large city) that work in your area of expertise. That means that if you work in finance, you make a list of every bank, brokerage firm, investment office, tax preparer, and accountant in your city.
If you’re a medical translator, you should contact every hospital human resource office, doctor’s office, and medical clinic in your city.
You get the idea.
Next, once you’ve defined your list of businesses and their contact information, it’s time to do some research. Figure out everything you can about each business. Thing like:
- who their clients are
- what services they offer
- how much marketing they do to clients who speak your translation language
- how much they could increase revenue by marketing to those clients
Research and write down all the information you can.
- Once you have all the research you can find, it’s time to put it together in a presentation. Offer it to the company in question. Really know and understand the information. Most importantly, however, understand how the information you have can be beneficial to the company.
- Time to contact the businesses.
In order to find more translation clients, you want to find the decision makers. Usually this is the most senior person at the company. You might have to go through a few gatekeepers before you get there. Eventually you want to talk to someone about what you can provide.
Now, sure you can email the person or company but let’s be real. Nobody responds to blind emails.
I’ve personally received emails from lots of potential translators that are looking for work. Besides being generic emails that don’t contain anything related to my business, I just don’t have time to respond.
Almost the same thing can be said for telephone calls.
Instead, if you want to make sure that you put yourself in the best possible position for getting to a yes, you’ll want to try to talk to the person in charge, in person.
This means that you’ll have to go to each business and present yourself.
This will be hard. Especially if you are an introvert and have a hard time talking to people, and even more so strangers.
- Once you’re able to get in front of the person in charge, it’s time to present your case. This entails presenting who you are (briefly) and what you can do to help strengthen your potential client’s business.
- Rinse and repeat.
Not everyone is going to say yes. In fact, most people will probably say no. But if you present your case well and get a maybe or a not right now, feel free to follow up in a week or a month. Refresh their minds that you are a great solution to the problems they are facing.
That’s the way you find more translation clients.
P.S. If you want to learn more on how to become a successful freelance translator, be sure to check out my free and paid books and courses.
P.S.S. To get your free guide on becoming a highly paid translator, click here.