Translation Agency Tips: #2 Applying to work with a client – the best approach

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Thanks for checking out our blog series on tips for language professionals! While we appreciate that freelance linguists are of course experts in their respective disciplines, we’ve learnt a thing or two since we opened for business in 1991, and so we wanted to put together this list which will hopefully be of help to freelancers of all levels of experience. And if you have anything to add to the conversation, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page!  This week we look at applying to work with a client and what the best approaches are.


As the Director of a translation agency, I have many approaches each day, from people who are applying to work with us. So let’s see, what’s in my inbox today and every day?


  • Impersonal applications – dear Sir
  • Applications CC’d to 100s of other agencies
  • Spelling errors and lazy typos
  • Poor quality CVs and CVs not showing skills


And that’s the ones that make it through my spam filters


Agencies like mine want to work with you. So what is the million dollar secret when applying for work?! Where should you start?


  • If you want us to love you, woo us.
  • Prepare – CV and personal, tailored covering letter – PERFECT
  • Research clients/agencies – ask around, look online
  • Ask for recommendations
  • Who has a good reputation?
  • Who has interesting work and pays on time?
  • You are a business person, so do think like one


First approach


  • Pen, paper, ready to make notes
  • Pick up the phone
  • Smile
  • A very quick call to research the possibilities – do they work in your languages and subject areas?




  • Link up on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ – whatever you use
  • Use a personal approach and remind them of your conversation
  • Start a file for the client so you can note anything discussed, contacts, rates
  • Now try another client – 2 or 3 a day?



Recap – when applying to work…


  • Research
  • Targeted applications
  • Being polite
  • Asking questions
  • Following up
  • Great communication
  • Social media interaction
  • Visit if local!


I hope this has given you some ideas, and would welcome any comments about what’s worked for you when applying for work. Look out for a new blog from me about compiling the perfect CV.



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