When you work freelance, particularly in the field of professional translation, reputation is everything. A good reputation can make it easier for you to find clients. It also means that you can charge more for your services than translators with less outstanding reputations. As such, here are a few ways in which you can ensure that your reputation is everything it should be.
At the heart of any translator’s reputation is the quality of his or her work. The translations you deliver to your clients need to be accurate, delivered on time and professionally presented. These are the very minimum standards required of freelance translators, so if you can’t meet them, it might be time to question your choice of career!
When you first start providing translation services, you do so with no reputation to prove your worth. While you can promote your academic qualifications, it is good to back those up with testimonials from clients. If you’re in a hurry, volunteering to translate a document or two for a charity can be a great solution. The charity benefits from free translation, while you receive a glowing reference that you can publish on your website. Translate for several charities at once when you first start your career and you’ll quickly have a raft of testimonials that you can use to establish your reputation.
Indeed, on the subject of testimonials, never be shy about asking clients for these. They don’t have to be long – two or three sentences should be enough for the client to cover how great your work is, how well you meet deadlines and what exceptional value for money you offer.
You can also use sites like LinkedIn to ask clients for endorsements. That way you can build your reputation from multiple sources at once – and then copy and paste endorsements from one place to another.
On a similar note, be sure that your online presence is absolutely word perfect and professionally presented. From a business-like photograph on LinkedIn to an ultra-modern, well-designed website, your online presence speaks volumes about you. Making sure that it looks and sounds professional will help to build up your reputation as a decent, reliable freelancer. If you work through online job marketplaces such as Upwork, you can also take tests and publish the results on your profile page, to demonstrate the breadth of your skills.
This is an old trick, but one of the best when it comes to building a solid freelance reputation quickly. Always over deliver on what you have promised the client, whether that means a faster turnaround time for work or a cheaper bill than he/she was expecting. This approach will see your reputation flourish in no time.
Another tool you can use in relation to this is to run a series of client offers to ensure that your clients get good value for money. Just be sure that you don’t give away too much of your time in exchange for building up your reputation!
Finally, take the time to focus on your customer service skills. A client who feels listened to and understood will be much more likely to write you a ringing endorsement than one who has received a good quality translation but accompanied by a brusque service. Place the customer at the heart of what you do and they should be happy to not only write you an endorsement, but also refer you to their colleagues and friends – and word of mouth can be a powerful tool when it comes to finding new clients. After all, it’s not what you know, but who…
What steps have you taken to build your reputation as a freelancer? What more do you need to do? Share your thoughts via the comments.