Marketing Strategies for Freelance Translators and Interpreters

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Understanding languages is a pretty good industry to get into. Globalization has increased the need for translators and interpreters to continue to break down language barriers. As such, it can be one of the most satisfying careers, as interpreters and translators have a direct role in bridging language and culture and breaking down barriers.

The translation services industry is growing rapidly, and the demand for effective translators and interpreters remains large. The industry is expected to increase to $38 billion by next year and $45 billion by 2020. Additionally, employment rates are expected to grow by 29 percent until 2024. Some of these rates will be within freelancing or contract work.  Many who are looking to freelance can benefit from marketing strategies that look at ways of gaining new clients and new contracts.  Making real life connections is key. Below are some marketing strategies geared to those who are in the business of language.

If you can commit to talking to at least three different people about your business everyday, you’ll be likely see some changes within your clients, your contracts, and your income.

Social media certainly has it’s place in the marketing world, as long as you are using it consistently in order to build an audience. However, not all marketing should be done on the computer, and meeting your potential clients where they are is equally as important. Do your research, find out where your ideal clients go to network, learn, and grow their businesses — and go there too!

Having a speech prepared that briefly describes who you are, what you do, and what you can offer is key during moments of networking. Whether impromptu meetings or planned networking events, preparing what you will say can help ensure you communicate the information and message you wish to convey. Remember to keep your tone level, your language positive, and use accessible, precise, and plain language. Be sure to tell them how to find you, whether it’s online or your physical work address, and be sure to do it within one minute so you don’t lose your audience. 

Now that you have met new contacts, a key piece to networking is following up, rather than relying on your potential clients to contact you. Following up quickly is key, within 24 hours is ideal. Ensure you mention meeting them, and offer to meet up again. If you follow up via written form, ensure you use professional language and edit thoroughly!

Referrals are the most effective, and cost-effective, way to generate new business, yet asking for referrals can feel awkward. It is important to know your client, so generally using the clients you have the best relationship with is important. You may need to be professional and direct, or more personal and out-of-the-box. You may offer incentives for referrals, and be sure to thank your clients afterward.

Anyone who freelances what they do can benefit from learning and practicing some marketing and network strategies. Freelance translators and interpreter, by nature, have careers that rely upon and build relationships. In fact, your very job includes building bridges between culture and language and deepening bonds between neighbours. Now that's a great career.