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3 Tips For Finding Suitable Translation Agencies

Translator Tips
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Many freelance translators aspire to build their own business, establishing long-term relationships with direct companies and other organisations that will hopefully provide them with a steady stream of profitable work.

This is not always possible early on in a translator’s career, when, as well as earning a living, it is important to develop a good knowledge base and to gain experience in the various types of work that are available.

It is true that whilst some translators will start to specialise early on in their career, becoming particularly proficient in one or other of the fields, many others, perhaps the majority, will want to build a wider general knowledge base first and may indeed continue to seek work across all fields.

The work provided by translation agencies, or LSPs (Language Service Providers), can therefore be of paramount importance to the freelance translator. In some case, work from an agency may be the primary source of income, in others it may also be the source by which a translator gains experience and develops his knowledge base.

Even established translators, who have strong relationships with direct clients, may use agencies as a backstop in seasonal troughs or, indeed, work routinely for them as a means of keeping the line open to more easily counter difficult economic times.

As to whether an agency is “suitable” for you, depends very much upon the language services it provides, the rate at which it can offer you work, how long it will take to pay you and whether it is likely to offer you regular work.

Likewise, the translator will need to meet the agency’s criteria, in terms of language pairing, experience and the capability of turning round translations within the time stipulated. After all the agency’s reputation is dependent upon the translator’s ability to deliver work to a high professional standard.

There are a number of ways to target suitable LSPs, avoiding those that do not offer work in your particular language specialties, or who only occasionally have work in those languages.

Three such methods are considered here:

Method 1: Researching agencies from their Google Adwords focus.

For this example, let us assume that your mother tongue is English and you translate texts from Portuguese into English.

Begin by entering a relevant search term into Google, such as:

Portuguese to English Translators

We can of course look at the organic search engine results page and see if there are any suitable translation agencies in the first 3 SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), but what we are really interested in with this method is to see which language service providers are using Google Adwords to target potential clients. (NB. The Google Adwords are the three adverts above the SERPs and also the smaller sized adverts down the right-hand side of the SERPs).

If a translation agency is actively targeting customers and paying Google each time a visitor clicks on their advert, then it is logical to think that they are specialising in your language pair.

Once you have taken a note of the various ads by agencies using Google Adwords, you can try different variants of your keyword phrase, such as:

Portuguese to English
Portuguese to English Translator
Portuguese to English Translation
Portuguese to English Translations

Once you have exhausted all the variants of the keyword phrases, then you can update your client database with the different language service providers that you have found, together with all their contact details.

Method 2: Researching other translators

Another very targeted method of selecting potentially suitable translation agencies is to research the language service providers that other translators in your language pair(s) are working for. The primary resource here is provided by ProZ, which is the world’s largest community of translators.

Although membership to ProZ is highly recommended as a worthwhile investment for all freelance translators, you do not actually need to be a paying member to take advantage of the following tip to research suitable agencies.

Every ProZ member, whether they pay for a subscription or not, has the opportunity to seek feedback from translation agencies that they have worked for in the past and include it in their translator profile. This benefits the translator, as positive feedback from previous clients makes their profile more attractive to future clients.

However, it also means that they are making public those agencies that they have worked for, which means that you now have access to the details of companies, who in the past have offered jobs in YOUR particular language pair, and you can update your client database accordingly.

Method 3: Let the agencies target YOU!

By far the most effective way of not only finding a suitable agency, but actually getting a strong targeted lead, is to let the translation agencies find you. And this is where a paid membership to ProZ really comes into its own.

ProZ is the go to place for translation agencies who are looking for a suitable translator to work on a particular project. They will usually do a search, corresponding to the parameters of the job, and then write to a shortlist of translators that they consider suitable.

In order to get onto that shortlist, it is essential that you make your ProZ profile as attractive as you possibly can to potential suitors. This can be partly achieved through writing in detail your translation experience (including the number of words translated for projects) and qualifications, as well as including those agency testimonials we spoke about earlier.

Making the shortlist of translators does not necessarily mean that you will be selected for the job (that is where CVs, covering letters and of course your rates will all play their part), but nonetheless it is probably one of the most effective methods for getting work through suitable translation agencies.

I hope you found 3 Tips For Finding Suitable Translation Agencies to be of interest to you and if so please take the time to share on your favourite social media channels. If you have any additional comments or advice, then I would love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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About the author: David James Ault is a Freelance Translator, Travel Writer, Publisher and Internet Marketer and has created Euro Translations as a resource to help freelance translators make a living from translating – If you have enjoyed this article, then why not sign up to Premium Tips and Tools for the Freelance Translator (and get a great FREE gift while you are at it).

A Word Of Warning To Freelancers Everywhere – Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

Freelancer Tips
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If you have read my article, “7 Reasons Why Freelancers Should Think Seriously About Eggs” (and if you haven’t, then you really should do – as it is eggstremely informative), then you will know that I didn’t actually deliver on the title and only told you about six egg-related idioms.

The reason for this is that in my opinion the 7th egg-related idiom is by far the most important and so I decided that it needed an article of its very own. An eggslusive one, if you will (Sorry!!!)

Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket

If you should only take away one piece of advice from the 7 Reasons Why Freelancers Should Think Seriously About Eggs, then it should definitely be this one. I know all too well from personal experience that having “all your eggs in one basket” is not a good idea at all for a successful business.

It was as an Internet Marketer that I first suffered from falling fowl (okay, I promise that this was the last one!!!) of not following this wise advice, when my “one basket” at that time was Google.

More specifically, I had got rather good at creating websites to rank high in the Google search engine. So good in fact that I began to neglect other marketing avenues and concentrated all my efforts on what Google wanted.

I never employed any so-called “black-hat” techniques. In fact, I never even employed any grey ones either. My online marketing techniques and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) were all “as white as the driven snow”.

Then one day Google introduced a new update, by the name of Penguin, and all my top rankings in the Organic SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) for my particular language pairs suddenly disappeared over night, only to be replaced by those annoying FREE online dictionaries. Great work Google!

At the same time all those lovely new direct clients that for so many years had been coming to me and asking me to translate their projects suddenly stopped over night.

I hadn’t done anything wrong, had I? After all, I hadn’t cheated the system. I had been employing the best practices at the time.

The truth is, I had been doing lots wrong. The truth is, I had got lazy and had stopped marketing my business.

I had been guilty of putting “all my eggs in one basket”.

So, did I learn from this lesson?

Fortunately for me, I still had all my existing direct clients, which were certainly providing me with more than enough work. One of my clients in particularly was beginning to give me more and more translation projects and at a high rate to boot.

This was all great stuff and I had soon forgotten all about my Google misery and concentrated all my efforts on being the best translator I could possibly be and began to take on more and more work from this premium paying client.

Having a great relationship with one big client, who also happens to pay very well, is of course the dream for any freelancer, but as with everything in life there is also a downside.

One can only do so much work and I was now working at pretty much full capacity from this one client. It basically meant that I had to keep on turning away work from other clients, who were not offering me such high rates, nor the luxury of regular work.

After a while though you don’t have to turn clients away anymore, because eventually they stop coming.

Although I may have been somewhat aware of this at the time, I was probably too busy to step back and assess the situation properly. As well as neglecting my “lesser” clients, I was also neglecting marketing my business again. I just didn’t have the time.

So, had I learned my lesson? No, I had not!

Then one day, something changed. I won’t go into detail, but sometimes situations just change and there is nothing you can do about it. Perhaps a company goes bust, or perhaps they are taken over by a bigger organisation. There are so many factors that are out of our control that we are often helpless to do anything except just take it on the chin.

Again it was no fault of mine. I had actually exceeded expectations, hence why I was getting all their business, which is why I now found myself in the position where 80% of my income had suddenly been ripped away from me.

Although the circumstances were totally different, I had not learned my lesson from the Google affair. Once more I had put all my eggs in one basket.


That is not where the story ends and as it turns out it may well have been the kick up the ass that my freelance business needed, but that (for now) is another story, for another day.

What we as freelancers should take away from this, no matter what business we are in, is that we should never neglect the ongoing marketing of our businesses, we should never rely on just one source of income, no matter how convenient that may be, and we should never ever put all our eggs in one basket.


I hope that the article A Word Of Warning To Freelancers Everywhere – Don’t Put All Your Eggs In One Basket has been of help to you and if so please take the time to share on your favourite social media channels. Also, if you have any similar personal experiences to mine or indeed any advice on this topic, then please put your thoughts in the comments section below, as I would love to hear from you.

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About the author: David James Ault is a Freelance Translator, Travel Writer, Publisher and Internet Marketer and has created Euro Translations as a resource to help freelance translators make a living from translating – If you have enjoyed this article, then why not sign up to Premium Tips and Tools for the Freelance Translator (and get a great FREE gift while you are at it).

7 Reasons Why Freelancers Should Think Seriously About Eggs

Freelancer Tips
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This article takes a look at how the wisdom from 7 egg-related idioms can be applied to a freelancer’s business.

As this is primarily a blog with tips and advice for freelance translators, many of the real life examples mentioned in the article specifically relate to the freelance translation business. However, the general concepts discussed below can be applied to most freelance businesses.

So, at the risk of “teaching my granny how to suck eggs” (for some of you at least), here are 7 reasons why freelancers should think seriously about eggs:


egg-1A Chicken And Egg Situation

Those of you just starting out as a freelancer may often find themselves in “a chicken and egg situation”. Companies will not let you work on a particular project, because you do not have the right experience, and of course you are unable to get the experience you need, because you are not accepted for any jobs.

Possible ways to overcome such a chicken and egg situation is to somehow gain the necessary experience, without actually getting it from a paid job. For example, a student might agree to do certain work for their university at a reduced fee, or an inexperienced freelancer might work for a charity.

When I was starting my career as a freelance translator I actually did some jobs in exchange for barters. I particularly remember one small project, where I was paid for my work with a carp for the Christmas dinner.

Barters don’t pay the bills, but they are far preferable to working for free, and as well as placing some value on your hard work, they can be a good way to get testimonials and some much needed experience.


A Nest Egg

Once you have gained that initial experience and begin to get paid jobs, you will soon find out that the freelance world is quite a bit different to that of a salary paying job.

Some months you will earn relatively large amounts of money, while in other months you may well experience lean spells. It is therefore extremely important that, during those months when you are earning a lot of money, you get into the mindset of saving up for a rainy day. This is easier said than done, but it is important that you try.

Building up a nest egg, not only means that you will be able to pay the rent, but it also means that you won’t necessary panic when there is not a lot of work about and start accepting projects at lower than your usual rate.


Walking On Egg Shells

There are many times as a freelancer that you find yourselves “walking on egg shells”, but none more so than when the subject of rates rears its ugly head with a new client.

Some freelancers are in the position where they can stick fast to their rates, with a take it or leave it attitude towards new clients. However, many freelancers, especially those at the start of their career or those who are going through a lean period, have to tread more carefully when negotiating rates.

I strongly believe that each translation project is unique and thus should be priced on its merits. Of course, one should bear in mind a standard rate based on experience, skills and the language pair, but then other factors should also be taken into account, such as turnaround time, the difficulty of the text and the quality of the source material.

As much as you find yourself treading carefully on those eggshells, you should nonetheless set yourself a minimum rate that you will never go below and always try, however carefully, to set the rate at your ‘standard’ rate.

Remember, it is very difficult to increase a rate with a client in the future, so never set your rate at a level you are not satisfied with, however tough a period you are going through.


Avoid Getting Egg On One’s Face

This particular egg-related idiom is perhaps very suited to freelancers in the translation industry, due to the fact that attention to detail is such an important quality for a translator. Silly typos and bad formatting can ruin an otherwise perfect translation.

Meanwhile, there are many other opportunities for the translator to end up getting egg on their face and ultimately losing clients. High quality translations alone are not enough, if you are guilty of poor communication with the client or worse still being late with deadlines.


You Can’t Make An Omelette Without Breaking Some Eggs

In my opinion, this egg-related idiom can be applied to key points in the career of a freelancer, where perhaps in order to get to the next stage, you have to take some risks to reap the potential rewards later on.

It might be that you need to invest some of your hard earned money in an academic course to help strengthen one of your translation specialties. Perhaps you need to build up the courage to get out and start networking in your chosen industry, attending trade fairs and perhaps even trying your hand at public speaking.

These new events in your freelance career may bring you either financial or personal discomfort in the short term, but ultimately they may be necessary in order for you to get to where you want to go.


Try And Be A Good Egg

The rather archaic British expression “A Good Egg”, which basically means a decent human being, is the last of the egg-related phrases in this article.

I personally find that being ‘a good egg’ in the translation industry really helps your career in the long run, and I am sure it is the same for many other freelance industries.

Of course, it should go without saying that you should be pleasant and polite to your clients, but try and make sure that you are not only ‘a good egg’ with your existing and potential clients, but also with your fellow freelancers.

Perhaps the translation industry differs from other industries in this regard, but more often than not you come into contact with other freelance translators who, far from being competition for your business, can actually help you. Even fellow translators in your language pair, might specialise in a totally different discipline from you, so are not perceived as a ‘threat’.

Instead, there are often many opportunities for freelance translators to help each other out. For example, I often recommend to my clients suitable translators for projects that do not fall under my particular skill set and then there is always the opportunity for freelancers to share advice on how to best market their services.

So my advice is certainly to always try and be a good egg, because as the well known non-egg related saying goes: ‘what goes around comes around’!


egg-questionWhat’s this I hear you say? All this talk of being a good egg and he hasn’t even delivered on the title of this article! Where is the seventh egg-related idiom?

Well, in my opinion the 7th and last egg-related idiom is so important that it needs an entire article to really do it justice. So if you would like to read on and find out just what that seventh idiom is all about, then please take the time to read the article, “A Word Of Warning To Freelancers Everywhere“.


I hope that the article 7 Reasons Why Freelancers Should Think Seriously About Eggs has been of help to you and if it has then please take the time to share on your favourite social media channels. Also, if you have any additional thoughts on any of these topic, I would love to hear them in the comments section below.

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About the author: David James Ault is a Freelance Translator, Travel Writer, Publisher and Internet Marketer and has created Euro Translations as a resource to help freelance translators make a living from translating – If you have enjoyed this article, then why not sign up to Premium Tips and Tools for the Freelance Translator (and get a great FREE gift while you are at it).

How To Create A CV For The Freelance Translator That Actually Works

Translator Tips
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A freelance translator’s CV or resume should look quite a bit different to a regular CV, but more than anything else, it needs to stand out from the competition.

Shortly, we shall look at the different components that will make up your professional freelance translator’s CV, but before we do that please take the time to sign up to our Premium Tips and Tools email list so that you can get your hands on our effective CV template.

Once you have signed up for FREE, you will get a download link, where you will be able to download a template that has been especially designed for your Freelancer CV.

This way you can populate the necessary information given in this article, directly into the template as we go.

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Okay, once you have downloaded the translator template CV, open it up in Word (or an equivalent Word Processing software) and we can get started.

1THE CONTACT BOX. Remember this is the first thing that the Language Service Provider will see when they open your CV. You need to grab their attention with the following important details.

Name: It may seem obvious, but this is where you need to proudly put your name in a large clear font.

Language Pair: Opposite your name, again in a large clear font, put your primary language pair (or the language pair that you are specifically applying for).

Contact Details: Make sure all of your up-to-date contact details are here, including your mobile phone number, your primary email and your physical address.

Translator Website: If you have a website about you and your translation services, then put it here. If you don’t have a website, WHY NOT ???

Other Online Profiles: It is a good idea to also put other online profiles that present your translation skills and experience in the Contact Box, such as your ProZ and LinkedIn profiles.

2INTRODUCTION. The next component in your freelance translator CV is an introductory paragraph or two about yourself.

Key Benefits: Try and write your key benefits as a professional freelance translator, including your specialist fields and the number of years that you have been translating.

This is your opportunity, in just a few sentences, to convince the translation agency or the company that you have written to, that you are the best fit for the job.

Succinctly summarise your experience, qualifications and qualities, using facts and figures (e.g. “1 million words translated in the last 2 years alone”), but tell the truth, try not to exaggerate and also try to include something a little bit original that will help make you stand out from the crowd.

Strap line: Write a strap line about your core strengths and qualities as a translator. Again try and be original and avoid using clichés.

3SKILLS BACKGROUND. Next up is the area where you describe your skill set. Obviously, for a professional translator’s resume, the LSP are going to be mostly interested in your Language and Computer Skills.

Language Skills: Name each of your language pairs (in order of your proficiency), together with a short description, which will help explain your level, especially in the target text of the language pair.

NB. Any translation agency worth their salt will only consider translators, who are a native in the target language. Therefore, if you are not a native speaker, you better have a convincing argument as to how and why your proficiency is at a native level).

Computer Skills: Here you need to state your competency in various different software applications, such as Word Processor packages, Spreadsheets, Presentation packages, DTP (Desk Top Publishing) packages and, of course, Cat Tools (Computer Aided Translation Tools), such as SDL Trados and Wordfast.

You should as a minimum be proficient in at least one Office Suite of applications, such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel and PowerPoint), Open Office or Apple’s iWork suite (Pages, Numbers and Keynote).

Preferably, you should also have experience with a DTP application, a website creation software (e.g. Dreamweaver) and know at least one CAT tool to a high level.

Other Skills: Try and only include other skill sets in your CV if they are relevant to your role as a freelance translator. You should certainly include skills connected with a particular discipline that you specialise in, but it is probably not worth listing generic skills that have no relevance to your translation business.

4SPECIALITIES. This is of course the section where you list your translation specialities.

Translation Specialities: There is a fine balance here between trying to hook as many potential job opportunities as possible and being seen as a Jack Of All Trades. As a general rule, just be truthful. There will be subjects that you are more comfortable translating and areas where you have had more experience.

If you are just starting off as a freelance translator, then it is probably best to list all those fields, which you have had experience translating in until now. However, as your career develops and you begin to specialise in one or more specialist fields, then you may want to change your CV accordingly.

N.B. For a generic translator CV, it should be sufficient to list the top level categories here (e.g. Medical Translations). For a specialist translator CV (see more information at the end of this article), you would need to drill down these specialities (e.g. Medical Reports, Handwritten Medical Reports, Instructions For Use, etc.).

5HOBBIES, INTERESTS AND PROJECTS. We are approaching the end of the first page of your CV and this section fits quite nicely at the bottom of the page.

Hobbies: Try and list your hobbies that naturally compliment your career as a translator, for example, hobbies such as reading and writing.

Interests: Likewise list complimentary interests, such as travelling, learning languages and learning about new cultures, etc.

Projects: This is by far the most important part of this section and should be an opportunity for you to link to recent projects that you feel are relevant to your job application.

NB. Perhaps you can show your knowledge of the subject matter through a recent project, or perhaps you can link to an article, or even a book, which you have written and has been published.

6EDUCATION BACKGROUND. Here is a chance to list your professional and academic qualifications, in the following order.

Professional Qualifications: Professional qualifications and post-graduate degrees in your specialist field are considered to be the most important by translation agencies and so should come first.

University Qualifications: If your university degree is related to your specialist field, then this should be listed next. If your university degree is unrelated to your speciality then you may consider placing it beneath the translation qualifications that you have.

Translation and Language Qualifications: List your translation and language qualifications next, but remember that if all your qualifications are just translation or language related, it will be far harder for you to specialise in a particular field.

Additional Qualifications: Complimentary additional qualifications, such as TEFL for example (if you are translating into English), should come next.

School Qualifications: You should not need to list your school qualifications, unless they are an early indication of your specialist field.

7EMPLOYMENT HISTORY. This section is where you should put all your employment history, both translation and non-translation related.

Freelance Translator: At the top of the Employment History, it should clearly show your role as a professional freelance translator, from the year you started to date. Do not list any actual translation projects that you have worked on, as that will be included in the next section of your CV.

Employment: You should then list each of the positions you have had, starting with the most recent. You should include dates of employment, the name of the employer, your position in the company and a brief description of your duties.

NB. Remember to tell the truth, but try and emphasise all roles and duties that compliment your translation specialties, while highlighting your most important achievements.

8TRANSLATION PROJECTS. In this part of the CV you should list recent translation projects that you have worked on.

Recent Translation Projects: Ideally, you should list the company you worked for, the actual translation project, the software you used during the project and, of course, the language pair itself.

Always use specifics wherever possible, especially the number of words that you have translated (e.g. Medical report – Patient with cardiovascular problems – French to English – 4,500 words). This is very important, as it is one of the things that the LSP will be particularly interested in.

NB. It is vitally important that you get permission from the company that you worked for, before you put their translation project on your CV. Quite apart from being good practise, it might be that the company considers the project to be confidential.

This is even more important when you wish to put a project on your CV, where you have worked for a translation agency. You will almost certainly have signed a Non Disclosure Agreement with the LSP, which will have a clause stating that you need to explicitly ask and be given permission, before you can put any translation project on your CV. If in doubt, leave it out!

9PROFESSIONAL REFERENCES. We should now be approaching the end of the second page of your CV and this section will neatly conclude your professional translator CV.

References: You should include two professional references, with details of the person’s name, role, organisation, as well as details of the project that you worked on for them. It is probably best to try and use references from companies that you have directly worked for, as opposed to agencies.

NB. A word of caution when providing references. The majority of LSPs are professional and trustworthy, but there are always exceptions. It is always best to include professional references, where you either have a very strong relationship with the person in question or where you worked for a one-off big project that has finished and there is no chance of further work in the future.

You should never risk losing an important client, from whom you currently get a lot of work, by putting them as a reference, only for a disreputable translation agency to approach your client and try to win their business from you by offering far lower rates. It is better to be safe than sorry!

Some final thoughts…

It is good practice for a freelance translator to actually have a number of different CVs, according to the number of different fields that the translator specialises in.

For example, a translator who specialises in business translations, marketing translations and human resources translations, may choose to have four different CVs; one for each of his specialist fields, as well as a generic CV.

You can customise each of the CVs as appropriate, highlighting the relevant qualifications, experience, projects and even interests accordingly. That way each job application is far more focused and, therefore, you should have a better chance of success.

I hope that How To Create A CV For The Freelance Translator That Actually Works has been of help to you and if so please take the time to share on your favourite social media channels. Also, if you have any additional ideas and advice, then I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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About the author: David James Ault is a Freelance Translator, Travel Writer, Publisher and Internet Marketer and has created Euro Translations as a resource to help freelance translators make a living from translating – If you have enjoyed this article, then why not sign up to Premium Tips and Tools for the Freelance Translator (and get a great FREE gift while you are at it).