As a new freelance translator, you will want to make yourself visible to potential clients. There are basically two approaches to getting clients. Either you work for or with an already existing translation company or work entirely for yourself. If you opt for the latter, you will be aiming to pocket the benefits of earning what you charge clients, rather than accept a wage or salary or pro-rata payment from a manager.
The downside is that you have to find clients yourself and that means you will need an effective website which will become the crucial intermediary between you as a translator and any individual or business that is looking for someone to do translation work for them. This article explores some of the key points to creating your own translation website.
The aim is to have a professional, clear, easy to navigate SEO friendly website. There are hundreds of other translators who can probably do what you do, so your website must demonstrate why potential clients should choose you rather than someone else. The first step is to decide whether to spend more on an initial investment or save your start up finance and invest your own time on creating a website by yourself.
There is no end of web designers who would willingly take on the job of creating a website that sells your services to the wider market. It won’t be cheap, but it will certainly get you started. One drawback is that control of the design and content of the website won’t be in your hands, so if you want to add or change something on it, you have to pay someone else to do it.
The alternative is to create a professional website on your own. This is certainly a viable option if you haven’t yet got a lot of business and have time on your hands. Let’s face it, if you are rushed off your feet with work, then you are likely to have the money to pay a web designer to do the website creation for you, whereas if you are only just starting off, it may be better to learn a new skill and spend some of your spare time perfecting a website. You can always turn it over to a website designer later if you start getting more work.
If you have never created a website before, long gone are the days when you needed to lean code. There are many website tools that you can use to develop your own website as well as tutorials to help you through the process. Platforms like WordPress and Weebly are cheap to use and easy to work with. They provide a variety of templates and drag and drop methods of adding text and graphics. The advantage is that you have full control over what goes on to the website and usually you can monitor the ‘hits’ on it.
Here are some tips to focus on if you do choose to create your own website
- Keep your Website Simple and Easy to Navigate
If your website is too full of detail, it could confuse anyone looking at it and they are more likely to give up and keep on searching for what they want.
- Keep your Website Design Consistent
Website construction should not have too many different fonts, text colours or navigation tools. Stick to a common theme throughout your website. If you want to change it later down the track, that’s fine, too.
- Download Speed should be Monitored
The faster a web page downloads, especially the landing page, the more likely that a potential client will spend looking at it. Any website that has a complicated design and too many unrelated images will be too slow to download. The easiest way to check this is to imagine you are a potential client. Make a list of competitors’ websites and compare yours to theirs.
- Use Quality Images
Humans are visual creatures and using good quality images that enhance your website and provide meaningful information about your services are an important way of selling yourself as a translator.
- Clarify Who you are and What you can do
Potential clients will want to know what you can do for them. Emphasise your key points. The languages you can translate. The content you can handle, e.g. if you have any specialisation which you can offer. How you charge for projects. What your turn around times are. Why anyone would choose you rather than another translator.