Welcome back to the second part of the “red carpet” interview with Catherine Christaki, running Lingua Greca Translations in Athens. If you missed the first part, you might want to have a look at it before going on reading what follows. Catherine has already shared with us:
- why she decided to work as a translator;
- how she specialised (and whether it was the specialisation that chose her or the other way round);
- what she would recommend if you wanted to specialise in her same field;
- why she decided to go freelance rather than working in-house.
How was your first client hunting?
Three tips for translators/interpreters-to-be or those who are struggling due to the crisis?
“My first step as a full-time freelancer was to email all the publishing houses and translation companies in Greece. Again, the timing helped me and the latter didn’t contact me for translation work (the rates offered were very low and I would have accepted them for lack of knowing any better), so for the first few years I worked with direct clients mostly. When I was confident enough with my work, I emailed thousands of translation agencies abroad (using Proz’s Blue Board mostly), I spent 2 hours on that task every Saturday for a few years.
For linguists-to-be, I think an in-house position or an internship for few months is the best choice to learn a lot in a short amount of time and start looking for clients in their spare time.
For more experienced translators who might have trouble due to the crisis, I think targeted marketing is a good option. That means attending events/expos where their ideal clients would be, writing a language-related article for a trade magazine and in general contacting their potential clients after research and with personalized emails, rather than using cold calls/emails.”
How significant are or have been social media and personal branding for your current position?
“I think they’ve contributed significantly. The main benefit has been networking with colleagues, sharing with them and learning from them. As for clients, some (not a lot yet) have found me through social networks and many know about me because of my social presence. I think I’ve built a good online presence which will serve as the foundation for my current and future marketing efforts.”
How did you make your name in the translation and/or interpreting industry? Any dos and don’ts?
“My clients love me because of the customer service I offer; that means I very rarely complain (for complex projects, too many instructions, even late payments) and I always try to find solutions (even if it’s something I can’t do, I recommend someone who can). I won’t say my quality work and the fact that I respect deadlines and follow instructions, because those are prerequisites of being a professional linguist.
My colleagues love me because I always try to help them (by sharing useful resources, recommend potential clients and so on) and I never regard them as competitors (I believe we are all unique in what we do and how we offer it).
That said, to be successful in any field, including translation, you have to put in the hours and do the work. You have to consistently try to get better (with so many CPD options and online resources available nowadays that’s very easy and mostly free).”
Thank you very much again, Catherine! You can definitely add me to the list of colleagues who love you! 😉 Personally, I particularly like your insight on not looking at colleagues as competitors and the clear values you run your business with.
If you’d like to read any “red carpet” interview you might have missed, just click on the corresponding name and get inspired!
As always, feel free to leave any comment. Have a great week everybody!