How to Work for International Clients

How to Work for International Clients

There are two main options:

  • Direct clients
  • International agencies or language service providers (LSPs)

To find direct clients in other countries, I would suggest that you travel to such countries or to apply to a graduate or undergraduate program.  Friends and relatives can also help you contact such international direct clients.

In this blog, I will mainly focus on how to work for international LSPs.   I will describe what has worked for me.  One of the proven methods is “word-of-mouth” marketing, but for this you first have to find a few international clients.

– Create a complete profile in several websites such as proz.com, translatorscafe.com, traduguide, LinkedIn, Facebook pages, etc.

– LSPs often ask translators to work with a specific CAT tool. (CAT is the acronym for Computer-Assisted-Translation.) The main purpose of such tools is to store what translators have translated. These tools are not machine-translation software. The main CAT tools are SDL Trados Studio 2015 or 2017, Swordfish, Wordfast, Deja-Vu, and MemoQ.

– Many international LSPs have their own online CAT tools and might require that you use their proprietary tool.

Payment Methods

The main payment methods are:

  • Checks
  • PayPal, Skrill, and Payoneer
  • Wire Transfers
  • Western Union or similar money transfer services

PayPal (www.paypal.com). We believe that it is a good idea to associate this account with a banking account in Europe, the US, or the countries accepted by PayPal. This will allow us to withdraw money from ATMs. Otherwise, a check can be sent to any address that the user will specify. Fees charged by PayPal to receive payments: 5% of the amount sent plus US$ 0.30.
Advantage: The translator does not need to provide banking information to clients. Such information is quite confidential. Disadvantages: you have to pay US$ 11 to receive a check, if your country is not included in the list.

Bank wires.  This payment method should be avoided due to high bank fees, but for large projects, it is a good option.

Checks. Advantages: The fees that are charged are not so high. Disadvantage: Some LSPs do not like or cannot send checks, especially if their country does not have the same currency as your country.

Warning: Please read this before accepting checks: http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Detecting_and_reacting_to_false_job_offers_and_other_scams

Do not accept checks from unknown persons and never refund money if a check has not been cleared by your bank. It is safer to accept PayPal payments.

Western Union. This is another method that works well. Payments are received within a few days. Translators only have to provide their name and city to the LSP. The only disadvantage is that you have to pick up the money yourself.

How Can We Work for LSPs?

There are three main factors: experience, education, and professionalism.

Experience. This is very important when we are considered for a job. Clients will expect us to have translation experience in specific fields. If you don’t have enough experience, I would recommend that you provide translation services to NGOs, or to organizations such as Translators without Borders.

If we have sufficient experience, we can determine how long it will take to complete a job, how we can translate charts and drawings, how to convert PDF files into Word, etc.

Education. Continuous education, training, and specialized courses are need so that you can learn more about each field of specialization. You should also have excellent writing skills in the target language, and always read newspapers, magazines, literature, manuals, reports, etc., in your source and target languages.

Another recommendation is to contact the local translators association, in order to find out about courses and events. The School of Continuing and Professional Studies, New York University, is one of many options.

Professionalism. Translators should also frequently check their email, and respectfully answer all messages. They should never disseminate the contents of confidential documents.  Translators should stay current on technology issues, and access forums and blogs for translators.

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