How to Successfully Market Yourself as a Freelance Translator

As a freelance translator, you need more than competent translation skills to stand out – you must also know how to market yourself effectively. 

The translation industry is highly competitive. According to the Translators Association of China (TAC), there are approximately 640,000 translators worldwide, and 25% of them work as freelancers. Acquiring new clients can be one of the most challenging parts of a freelance translator’s work, and self-promotion is vital if you want to be successful. 

If clients don’t know you exist, they can’t hire you, and the job will go to someone else. Actively promoting your translation services allows prospective clients to discover you, which gives them the option to engage you for their translation needs. Effective marketing also helps you to attract the right clients and stand out from the crowd.

With that in mind, here are our eight top marketing tips for freelance translators.

1. Know your audience

The first step of marketing is to identify your target audience. This will vary based on the type of translation services you offer. Are you a specialist translator in legal, medical, judicial, technical or other industries? Once you’ve identified your potential clients, you need to study and understand them. This will give you crucial insights into how to brand yourself and stand out from others to win them over. 

2. Boost your social media presence, especially on LinkedIn

Billions of people worldwide use social media, including your potential clients, so it’s a good idea for you to be there too. You don’t need a presence on every platform, just focus on those likely to help you pick up jobs and leads. It’s crucial to be active and engage with others on the platforms. Lurking around on social media and not contributing is akin to turning up at a networking event and spending the time standing in a corner by yourself – you’ll achieve nothing.

The largest professional network on the internet is LinkedIn, and it is most likely where many of your prospective clients are searching for freelance translators. To make LinkedIn work for your freelance career, you need a strong profile with searchable keywords (so people can find you), a network of connections and an active presence (through activities such as writing and commenting on posts).

3. Create a website

As a freelance translator, you are a business, and your business needs a strong online presence. After all, the internet is probably where you will pick up most clients. So carve out your own little piece of internet real estate and create a website for your freelance business. A website can be a platform to showcase your portfolio and testimonials by past clients, which helps to build your credibility and allows potential new clients to find you.

4. Own your niche

A great way to promote your translation services and win more clients is to be an expert in your specialized area or industry. People are more likely to trust you – and therefore do business with you – if you are seen as a voice of authority on a particular topic. Showcase your expertise by writing a regular blog for your website, guest posting on other sites and engaging in relevant forums and social media groups. Create engaging and informative content that answers pertinent questions and offers new ideas about your chosen field.

5. Build an email list

Email marketing may seem a little old-fashioned, but it is still a useful tool for connecting with new leads and rekindling old client relationships. It is one of the most direct and personal ways to reach your target audience. When you deliver high-quality content to your subscribers, they’re more likely to connect with you and share your emails with others.

To build your email subscriber list, you can have an opt-in box on your website where people can provide their email address in exchange for information. Alternatively, you can include an opt-in link alongside your email signature.

6. Ask for referrals and reviews

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to promote translation services and generate new business. People care about the opinions of others when searching for and purchasing goods and services because they want to know that their money will be well spent. If you’re searching online for a new restaurant or a product for your home, you’ll probably check out what customers are saying. The same is true when people are looking for potential translators.

When clients are referred to you by existing clients, industry peers, colleagues, family and friends, that referral carries a lot of weight. It’s validation that you are good at what you do. Therefore, after finishing a project for a client, ask them if they can refer others to you. Don’t be shy about making the request. A good time to ask for a referral is when you send a thank-you note after receiving payment.

Referrals work. A study by G2 Crowd and Heinz Marketing revealed that 92% of buyers are more likely to purchase a product or service after reading a trusted review.

7. Participate in communities

Translators worldwide converge in social media groups and online communities to share tips and job leads. You should actively participate in those communities, such as a Facebook group for translation professionals of your target language. You can write and share helpful posts, answer questions and interact with other members. Doing so helps you gain more visibility in the community, and you will be seen as an authority and trusted figure.

Other benefits of participating in forums and communities are access to valuable industry information and job opportunities. Members will often post details of jobs they are unable to do themselvesamong these opportunities may be a right one for you.

8. Connect with other freelance translators

Building relationships is a key part of marketing, including connecting with other freelance translators. It may seem counterintuitive to network with the competition, but it’s an excellent way to improve your chances of success. You can share information about how to succeed as a freelancer and stay up to date on industry news. If you´ve built enough rapport with others, they may even pass on projects to you.

Final Thoughts

We hope you have found these tips helpful for your career as a freelance translator. Marketing yourself and promoting your translation services may feel uncomfortable at first, but if you don’t sing your own praises and get out there, potential clients will not get to know you. So, consistent and effective marketing will help to ensure your translation business grows.

Take your first steps by joining our freelance translators’ community today!

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