Amybeth Hale, a Sourcing Strategist (one of those jobs your high school guidance counselor didn’t know existed!) who writes the blog Research Goddess, offers some excellent advice in her post Where do I go to find people?. We translators could replace “people” with “clients” and her advice is directly applicable to our businesses.
Amybeth comments that one of the most frequent questions she is asked by other recruiters and sourcing specialists is “Where do I go to find people in [insert industry]?” I think that the same is true of translators who would like to build up their base of direct clients; translators have a specific type of client in mind, but don’t know where to find that client. For translators, I think that Amybeth’s best piece of advice is to “Think like the person you’re looking for,” and avoid the large and often overused Internet marketplaces.
If you advertise your services on a large Internet portal for translators, you’re competing with many, many other translators, and a lot of those people probably charge less that you’re worth. A company that posts a translation job online is likely to be overwhelmed with responses. However, if you go to a trade show for companies that work in your target industry, you may be the only translator there. If you join and contribute to a discussion list for people who work in your target industry, ditto: you’re suddenly the expert, because no other translators are posting to that group.
So, think like the clients you want. If you worked for a (boutique hotel, law firm, advertising agency, pharmaceutical company, international aid project, financial services firm) and you needed a translator or information about translation, where would you go for information? Then go there! Be waiting to inform your potential clients about your services and the majority of your marketing work is done.