For a freelance translator, marketing your skills to clients and agencies can sometimes be half the work. Failing to consistently seek out new clients and present your skills set can eventually lead to an empty inbox and no work. Your greatest obstacle may be that there are dozens of other translators doing the same thing every day. When sending out emails asking for opportunities to collaborate, there are some techniques that will put you above the rest and increase the likelihood of an agency or client getting in contact with you.
It is important to recognize that for every legitimate email that a project manager receives from a translator, it is likely that he or she is receiving two or three false ones. Your first objective as an honest freelancer is to make it clear that you are real, and not a scammer. One way to do this is make sure that the email address reflects either your name or your company, preferably including the word “translation” or a variation of it. jason@Jasontranslation.com looks a lot better than email@example.com.
Another way to quickly stand out as a legitimate and skilled translator is to mention the agency or client by name in the first few sentences. Briefly explaining how you found that company you are contacting, or what you’ve heard of their reputation will go a far way to convincing whoever is reading your email that you have done your research and that you mean business. For example: “I’d like to collaborate with ____(Name of company)_____ because I believe my experience is in line with the specializations you offer, namely ________”.” If possible, try to find out the actual names of the project and vendor managers and use their names instead of “Sir or madam” to make the email more personable. Nobody likes shotgun emails sent out to everyone in the industry, so at least try to figure out which is the correct email address to send your resume to first.
One other way you can polish the presentation of your email is to have a customized footer at the bottom of the email outlining your name, your contact information, the URL for your website, and perhaps any qualifications you might have (ATA certification, university degrees, etc.). This helps demonstrate that you are an established translator; not a novice trying out translation for the first time.
Putting these tips into practice in a well-written (and edited!) email outlining your skills and experience won’t necessarily increase your workload overnight; but if done consistently, you are much more likely to receive replies. At the very least, your email will be dragged into the “Potential professional vendor” folder rather than the “Junk/Spam” folder, and this can lead to prospective collaboration in the future.
Lastly, please double check on the prospective company’s website to make sure you are using the correct email address. If you purchased a list, there is a possibility that you’re sending emails to the wrong address. CommGap only accepts resumes at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anything else is deleted. So always double check to make sure you have the correct recipient email.