How to get clients?
Persoa que publicou o fío: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:18
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Jul 7

I would like to know how to boost my chances of getting jobs, especially clients outside Brazil, as Brazil has been hit particularly hard by the Covid epidemic (both in terms of cases/deaths from Covid and also in terms of the effects upon the economy). In the jobs board I apply regularly but no luck as yet. I regularly answer KudoZ questions and participate in forums, and am a regular participant in and organiser of Powwows.
The crisis in Brazil has been going on for at least five years,
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I would like to know how to boost my chances of getting jobs, especially clients outside Brazil, as Brazil has been hit particularly hard by the Covid epidemic (both in terms of cases/deaths from Covid and also in terms of the effects upon the economy). In the jobs board I apply regularly but no luck as yet. I regularly answer KudoZ questions and participate in forums, and am a regular participant in and organiser of Powwows.
The crisis in Brazil has been going on for at least five years, and Covid has made things worse.
I wonder if my prices are too high, as nowadays many jobs are at hypoinfrasubpeanuts rates?
I translate PT>EN mostly.
The situation here is very, very bad.
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:18
Membro (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Paul Jul 8

(Also here, here and here.)

Paul Dixon wrote:
The crisis in Brazil has been going on for at least five years, and Covid has made things worse.
I wonder if my prices are too high...?


I don't think your prices are too high, but you should consider adjusting your prices to the market. For example, your prices would be too high for Middle-Eastern and Asian translation agencies, but it should be quite all right for US and North Western European agencies.

I'm sure you're currently working your way through the Blue Board, contacting agencies as you go along. These agency PMs may visit your ProZ.com profile, may look at your résumé, and may visit your web site, and when they do, it may have an effect on whether they consider you to be a likely candidate for their team.

Your ProZ.com profile is fine, but your résumé focuses too much on your life before you became a translator and does not focus enough on your particular skills that agencies may find useful. Your résumé tries too hard to show clients that you are an upstanding person who have had great achievements, instead of telling clients what you can do (and what you have done so far, specific to translation). Also, try to use language that would be understood by non-native or non-British speakers of English.

Your web site is a blog on which you did not post in the past 5 years. I suggest you create a new web site that focuses on selling your services, or redesign the current one so that the front page is an advertisement of your services, or alternatively, do not tell clients that you have a web site (and remove it from your ProZ.com profile).

I have no idea what percentage of clients actually look at a translator's web site or résumé, or what percentage are swayed by them, but I suspect it may be in the single digits. Still, this is something practical that you can do.

You mention in a previous post that you do not use CAT tools, so this would obviously be to your disadvantage.

[Edited at 2020-07-08 07:24 GMT]


Sheila Wilson
Jorge Payan
Morano El-Kholy
 

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Membro (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Times are hard Jul 8

Hi Paul

Your per word rates are lower than mine and fine and/or even a bit lowish for a pro translator imo, your hourly rates are about twice mine so maybe time how many words you translate in an hour, calculate how much you'd charge at your per word rate and that's your hourly rate more or less.

Last time there was a big lull in work I tried contacting some clients who hadn't sent me anything for a few years to see if we could start working again and they were happy to
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Hi Paul

Your per word rates are lower than mine and fine and/or even a bit lowish for a pro translator imo, your hourly rates are about twice mine so maybe time how many words you translate in an hour, calculate how much you'd charge at your per word rate and that's your hourly rate more or less.

Last time there was a big lull in work I tried contacting some clients who hadn't sent me anything for a few years to see if we could start working again and they were happy to do so but said the bottom had fallen out of the market and we'd have to work for slightly lower rates than before. They do tend to have slightly more work than better paying clients but not much, and they have no more than anyone else at the moment which amounts to next to none.

I live in Spain and work mostly with European clients from Italian and Spanish to English. I've been working happily for over 20 years almost always having to turn down jobs on a daily basis as I had too much. There have been slow times and this is one of them but work has always picked up again and imo it has nothing to do with price. If there is no or very little work, dropping your prices won't bring more in.

I'm very happy for colleagues who still have/brag about lots of work but imo there are also lots of people in the same boat we're in with little to no work or work that's on/off to say the least. I've been on the Spanish state benefit since March and will probably be applying for it again this month as work is just not picking up. There was an optimistic increase in May after I'd spent the whole of April learning to use other CAT tools and subtitling software and promoting an update in services with my old clients, with even some new clients coming along. I was expecting this increase to continue as companies came out of lockdown here in Europe but in June everything went quite again and July is the same so far, very little happening. In August most people are usually on holiday here so... hopefully things will pick up again in September/October. I'll be available for work also in August as we've been on holiday for months already but I'm really not counting on much coming in, then again you never know.

A lot of people have started doing other work until this blows over. I've been working on another project since last year, something I can do while translating. Imo a lot of people/companies are in the same boat we're in so counting pennies and maybe not spending on things that aren't totally essential = language solutions. Perhaps that's something they will do later when there's more financial stability in the economy and people feel safer spending more.

If you want to start using a CAT, MemoQ server is free if your client has a license, same for Memsource. Just take the time to learn to use them with a dummy project before doing it for real. Studio is still my CAT of preference, don't know if there's a free version of that.

Applying for jobs on the jobs board is imo an almost complete waste of time for a pro but if we haven't got anything else to do can't hurt. Almost all the jobs will be swamped with low price offers of "Delivery yesterday no problem" and that's what most of the job posters are looking for, so...

You could send a short, personal message to touch base with your clients telling them you'll be available this summer.

[Edited at 2020-07-08 08:29 GMT]
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Josephine Cassar
Tom in London
Jorge Payan
Morano El-Kholy
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Look elsewhere Jul 8

Given how very, very bad you said the situation was in Brazil even before it got ten times worse and then nosedived into a tail spin before plunging off a cliff into an abyss and getting sucked into a black hole, maybe you should look for work elsewhere?

For a Portuguese to English translator, the US, the UK and Portugal spring to mind...


Jorge Payan
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:18
Membro (2007)
English
+ ...
Try looking at your marketing materials from the client's point of view Jul 8

I totally agree with Samuel on the website and CV, but I think there are also some things you could improve on in your profile. Your profile is mega-important if you're using ProZ.com as your shop window.
-- Your specialisations are certainly eclectic. You may well work in all those areas, but it's normally better to promote your services as a specialist, whatever you end up accepting. After all, with so many thousands of EN>PT>EN translators in the world, why wouldn't clients look for a s
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I totally agree with Samuel on the website and CV, but I think there are also some things you could improve on in your profile. Your profile is mega-important if you're using ProZ.com as your shop window.
-- Your specialisations are certainly eclectic. You may well work in all those areas, but it's normally better to promote your services as a specialist, whatever you end up accepting. After all, with so many thousands of EN>PT>EN translators in the world, why wouldn't clients look for a specialist? Your top specialisation is actually listed as sport, which isn't mentioned in your text at all, so you're confusing the message. The same specialisation idea normally applies to language pairs, but I can see that your text clearly justifies your decision to translate both ways.
-- Do you really translate and check a thousand words every hour and then only work 3-4 hours a day? Maybe you could lower that hourly rate. It might well be putting clients off.
-- But maybe the lack of CAT tools and other software is the main problem here. In an increasingly tech-rich world, even I'm finding my lack of IT expertise a real handicap -- and I specialise in marketing luxury goods and services. I'm turning down loads of jobs because clients insist on more than my basic Wordfast Classic CAT tool skills.
-- A minor point, but I'd get rid of that flag counter. Who's interested in that space-waster? Certainly not potential clients.

Why do you suppose it's more difficult to attract clients from outside Brazil? You're working in a profession that's truly international, and web-based. I have just one client at the moment who's based in Spain, and I've worked with clients in more than 30 countries the world over during the last 8 years. In your PT>EN pair, I imagine you can translate from all variants of Portuguese? I believe that gets you a good 10 countries around the world where the language is at least a semi-official one? And English is of course spoken just about everywhere. Anyway, translation agencies don't just deal with the languages in their own country -- far from it! I've done FR>EN translations for clients in Bulgaria, Japan, etc., as well as in the more obvious places.

Finally, a hint for the CV: have a look at the Wiki here on this site. You'll find it under the Marketing Wikis. Full disclaimer: I wrote it .
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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:18
Portuguese to English
+ ...
INICIO DE TEMA
Comments Jul 8

Thank you to all who have contributed so far. Some comments:

1. Regarding the blog, I stopped posting because something funny happened to the site, somehow another link got onto my account (don't know why) so the blog is now accessible but not postable. I could start a new blog but cost is a problem and don't know if sites like Blogger let the same person have two blogs. I do have a professional page on my FB account, I'll post more on that for the time being.
2. Regarding the
... See more
Thank you to all who have contributed so far. Some comments:

1. Regarding the blog, I stopped posting because something funny happened to the site, somehow another link got onto my account (don't know why) so the blog is now accessible but not postable. I could start a new blog but cost is a problem and don't know if sites like Blogger let the same person have two blogs. I do have a professional page on my FB account, I'll post more on that for the time being.
2. Regarding the hourly rate, the problem is that no-one (at least here in Brazil) charges by the hour. I would leave out the hourly rate, but it seems this is not possible. The counting of words in an hour would be a good idea, I'll give it a try. I'll base it on 700 diracs (words per hour) rather then 1000 and change it again when I count my real hourly production.
3. I can see the advantage of specialising, but with very little work wouldn't this make the situation worse? And my specialist area of Mathematics has not yielded a single job since I graduated over 20 years ago.
4. The problem is not that of 'being more difficult' to find clients outside Brazil. The problem is that clients in Brazil often pay low rates and want discounts. And, as the profession is not yet regulated, there is always someone who will accept hypoinfrasubpeanuts rates. Of course there is the ISO issue, agencies increasingly ask for proof of certification, experience etc. outside Brazil more then in the country.
5. I do focus on Portugal, Australia and the UK as well as Brazil. Translating into English the dialect of Portuguese is not too much of an issue. I would probably be hesitant about translating into PT-PT though, although I do have a contrastive dictionary (VILLAR, Mauro - Dicionário Contrastivo Luso-Brasileiro). I will write to more agencies in the US though. I also have Martha Steinberg's comparative dictionary of EN-UK and EN-US.
6. Sheila: Why do you recommend removing the flag counter? I would have thought having a large number of hits, and visits by people from many countries (102 at last count) would be seen well by clients.
7. I'll try to redo my curriculum, as it was done by a headhunter in the UK when I did not have translation in mind, and adapted by myself when I became interested in translation. I'll try to gear it more to translation, it should be on my profile within the next couple of weeks. Maybe I'll print off some CVs and look at the format.
8. CAT tools: I'll look at a free one to start with, mainly due to the price of licences. Matecat seems to be the easiest, but not sure if it is well accepted by the market. I have heard there is a free version of Wordfast, maybe that is more marketable?
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:18
Membro (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Paul Jul 8

Paul Dixon wrote:
I could start a new blog, but cost is a problem and don't know if sites like Blogger let the same person have two blogs.


You can get a Wordpress.com site for free, with no advertising.

I do have a professional page on my FB account, I'll post more on that for the time being.


The important thing is that people can find these sites. If you feel that your FB page is your professional page, then put your FB page's URL on your ProZ.com profile and your résumé.

8. CAT tools: I'll look at a free one to start with, mainly due to the price of licences. Matecat seems to be the easiest, but not sure if it is well accepted by the market. I have heard there is a free version of Wordfast, maybe that is more marketable?


Yes, Wordfast Classic, Pro 3 and Pro 5 all have generous demo limits, but they are not easy to learn. If you are going to learn one of them, I suggest Wordfast Pro 5. OmegaT is free. Besides MateCat you can also try out Wordfast Anywhere, which is also online and also free.

Are you sure you are ABRATES certified? You don't appear on their list:
https://abrates.com.br/find-a-translator-or-interpreter/?lang=en


 


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