There are various ways that you can boost your freelance income when you work in the professional translation sector. You can cut your costs, work extra hours or increase your rates. This last option can prove particularly lucrative if done right – but it isn’t always easy in a competitive market place. As such, we’ve rounded up five top tips for attracting higher paying clients, so that you can increase your income without having to work every hour of the day.
Research has shown that it takes just seven seconds for the people you meet to make up their minds about you, from how trustworthy you are to your level of confidence. Whether you’re meeting potential clients in person or virtually, creating the right initial impression is essential.
For those offering freelance translation services, this means have a digital presence that stands out from the competition for all the right reasons. Do some research and review your competitors’ websites. Do they look professional? Are they easy to navigate? Can you find all the information you need about their skills, availability, prices and so forth? Your own site needs to be a cut above those of your competitors in order to create the right first impression. If you use business cards and speculative letters as part of your marketing, the same rule applies.
If you want to attract higher paying clients, offering specialist services is an excellent way to do it. Translation clients are prepared to pay more for services such as legal translation and medical translation, so if you don’t know your otoscope from your occiput, it could be time to invest in a good medical dictionary and begin honing your skills.
As a general rule, big corporations have more money to spend than small, local businesses. That means that you can usually charge higher rates to corporate clients with large operations. Bear this in mind when devising your marketing strategy and be sure to do your research. Spending a little extra time tracking down the right contact within a large company can be a far more lucrative use of your time than sending out marketing emails to local businesses whose budgets may already be stretched.
Remember that services such as LinkedIn can be extremely useful when it comes to making business contacts. You can usually try out a superior, premium level of service for free for a limited time, so take full advantage of that to build up your network of relevant corporate contacts in order to maximise your chances of tracking down the purse holders with the big budgets.
When it comes to translation, languages are far from equal. If you offer a common language pairing, chances are your rates will need to be low in order to compete. There may be a steady stream of work, but if the rates aren’t high enough you’ll need to put in an awful lot of hours in order to generate the income you want.
Therefore, why not take on the challenge of learning another language? Consider a language that commands a higher translation rate than the one you already speak, in order to set the stage for higher paying clients.
As a professional linguist, learning another language can be a fantastic personal challenge, as well as a way to up your game professionally. It’s not a quick win solution, but it can be a great long-term strategy, so if you plan to work in freelance translation for the foreseeable future, this is a great step to take.
Many clients see translation as a single task. They don’t consider that, as well as the actual conversion of copy into another language, it can involve localization services, desktop publishing services and certified translation. If you spell this out in your marketing materials, you then have the option to offer a ‘premium’ translation package that includes all of these services for an elevated price.
You could also include an express translation option as a premium service – just be sure that you have the time available to meet the rush translation timescales that you’re offering!
Create a profile on reputable freelance websites such as Hubstaff Talent where you can connect with businesses looking for translators
What are your other top strategies for attracting higher paying clients? What has proven particularly effective? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.