A Beacon In a Sea of Clients

Even though becoming a freelance translator is synonymous with freedom, it also involves somewhat of an instability. Every freelance translator fears not having (enough) clients. This fear is even more present when one has just graduated from school and is faced with diving into the working world.

So what should you do ?

The answer is simple : canvassing.


Messages in a bottle

Even though it seems like a basic thing, the first step of canvassing is sending emails.

The issue lies in this method’s rate of success : for every 25 emails sent, how many will be read at all ? How many of them will be saved ? How many will lead to employment ?

The answer fluctuates between hearing back from possible clients and nothing at all.

In her book The Freelance Content Marketing Writer, Jennifer Goforth Gregory tries to answer these questions to help translators approach canvassing calmly : they shouldn’t be afraid of quantity. If the number of answers is low, they just need to send more emails. According to her own experience, getting at least one positive answer for every 50 emails and at least one client for every 100 emails is doable. As such, it can lead to a pretty astounding number of emails. However, translators should remember that this is only a point of reference : it is possible to find clients quickly but they shouldn’t give up and keep at it, even if a good number of their emails remain unanswered.

How many clients ?

Many translators think that anywhere between 20 to 30 clients is enough, but they shouldn’t stop there. Given the nature of the job, it is crucial that translators keep canvassing at the pace of one or two emails a day in order to maintain some leeway. Building up their client base takes time and for every client lost translators should double their efforts with canvassing. This holds even more true for newcomers : the first few weeks of being freelance should mostly revolve around establishing contact.

Managing their image

There can be several reasons as to why your emails remain unanswered. It is very important to check their content and the way the email, the resume, or cover letter was written. Despite how tedious it might be, systematically tailoring your emails to each client can prove to be effective. Translators should also remain aware of what is possible for them : limiting themselves to only a few domains can be another reason why they find few clients.

To conclude, to be a freelance translator is to be a driving force in your own success, or at least, your visibility. Even if the main goal is getting clients, becoming an « option for a future translation » is just as important. Canvassing is a crucial phase for any freelance translator and can be a source of anxiety. There aren’t any risks at offering your services, so dive in !

Clément Lagarde

Revissed by Fanchon Morin

Translated by Céline ECHILLEY


Source  : http ://www.thoughtsontranslation.com/2018/08/13/much-marketing-enough/

Teleworking : How to Do It Right

Working from home, at a coffee shop or a coworking space is not uncommon among translators and technical writers, whether they are freelancers or not.


In general terms, working from home is more and more common. Indeed, the number of remote jobs keeps increasing, and the French Labor Law, which was enacted late 2016, promotes teleworking. In France, 17 % of employees were telecommuting in 2016, and 41 % wanted to do it fulltime.

This type of work enables employees to increase their well-being (according to 96 % of people surveyed), lower absenteeism (5.5 fewer off days per teleworker), gain in efficiency (+22 %), time (37 min dedicated to family and 45 min of sleep) and money (related to means of transport).

However, remote work cannot be improvised : it is essential to be prepared.

The right skills

The more time spent working from home, the more it is necessary to develop essential skills in order to feel fulfilled by this type of work.

Adrienne Jack from Lionbridge presents six skills required to get started :

  • Time management : learning how to value one’s time, and how to say “no”, combining one’s work and lifestyle.
  • Self-discipline : avoiding distractions, self-training, delivering the project on time.
  • Independence : not cutting oneself from the outside world and knowing instead when to meet others to develop one’s empathy.
  • Reliability : delivering quality work on a consistent basis, keeping managers updated on one’s progress, asking for feedback, offering help to colleagues when it is possible.
  • Flexibility : adapting to customers’ needs and urgencies.
  • Joy for the work : remote working does not make one enjoy working.

The right tools

Apart from owning a computer equipped with a good setup and the right software, it is also important to have a good internet connection with access to online resources, but also to facilitate the customer relationship and the delivery of information or projects.

In addition, some tools can make remote teamwork easier (such as Trello or the new open source platform Crust) and others simplify work organization.

For example, author and translator Lionel Davoust made an inventory of the most relevant tools on his blog to create a “toolbox”, ranging from spell checking software to applications allowing for faster typing, and including software to avoid distractions.

The choice of telework is not random. It isn’t a miracle but, if you are prepared enough, it can provide great opportunities.

Alexane Bébin

Translated by Sarah Deville

First Working Experiences : Asking the Right Questions

For the first year students of the 2018/2019 class of the CFTTR’s Translation and Technical Writing Master’s degree, the time to get in touch with companies for the first time draws near. Indeed, they have to fix the specifics of a possible internship following their second semester.

Diversity is at the core of our line of work and greatly contributes to the interest we hold for specific fields of expertise. However, our working experiences also find themselves impacted by this diversity.


As translators or technical writers, what do we need to be mindful of when interacting with clients or companies in order to establish a strong basis when taking up a position ? Below are a few tips to help answer that question.

The cornerstone of discovering what your role within a company entails lies in trying to understand how the company operates. Of course, you should research the company beforehand and be aware of its field of expertise so you do not find yourself at a loss when confronted with a vocabulary that is, for example, overly specific.

If this assessment seems obvious to you, don’t hesitate to go beyond and conduct a more indepth search about the company’s particularity : 

  • Which kind of client is it aimed at ?

This question is essential as it will help guide your work. The answer will help you adapt the terms – whether they are specific or general – as well as the register you should use. 

  • Is the company used to working with people whose resume is similar to yours ? Why do they need you ?

That will help you better understand your role in the company.

  • What tools will you be using ? 

Some companies will indeed impose you to work with specific CAT tools or file formats, while others will let you work as you wish. For this matter as for many others, you can assuredly suggest some solutions in order to improve the team workflow. But you always must stay flexible and understanding.

  • What will be the legal status of your work ? 

A few of your assignments will perhaps be protected by a confidentiality clause. Being an efficient professional, it is necessary to inquire about this topic as soon as possible to avoid information disclosure (e.g. with informal conversations or web searches).

  • Is there an expected deadline ? Is it negotiable ? Will you work alone or as part of a team ? What are the steps preceding the final delivery of your work ? 

You must keep all those questions in mind to build your professional integrity and avoid many obstacles and casualties that would prevent you to prosper in the company and in your relations with the customers.

For a young professional, enthusiasm is required and often valuable. But it is also fundamental to adopt a true reflective position so as to get the foundation right, instead of diving head down into a blurred project. Therefore, the company and yourself will be able to engage in a deliberate and quality business relationship.

Maxime Cicurel

Translated by Céline Echilley and Sarah Deville

Source : https ://www.gala-global.org/blog/15-questions-ask-new-client