Thursday, 3 March 2011

Working with Direct Clients

We had a Fellow of both the Institute of Marketing and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting talk to almost 50 webinar attendees from all over the world about working with direct clients last week.
Helen Robertson had some very sound advice on the pros and cons of working with this elusive client group. It can seem that in the thrill of the chase, some freelance linguists lose sight of what is involved in working with end-users of translation. Helen provided a realistic assessment of the degree of work required to consistently attract and retain this kind of client.

I was particularly struck by Helen’s way of demonstrating that it can take time for a breakthrough in this area. She provided attendees with a real-life case study to demonstrate the trickle-down effect of various kinds of marketing over several years.

Helen also ran some polls which turned up some very interesting results which we tweeted about during the session. For example:

95% of translators said they derived 50% or less of their turnover from direct clients [corrected - see comment below]. A large majority of translators also said they valued a good working relationship in a client more highly than many other factors.

There seems to be a lot of interest in wring with direct clients, and we'd love to run more session on this topic. Any ideas of what you would like to see addressed in future sessions? Leave a comment below, or email us at

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  1. "X% of translators said they derived a X% of their turnover from direct clients."

    Is this being kept confidential, or should there be something where the Xs are? There is more information on Twitter.

  2. You're right, this is to encourage click-throughs to Twitter. Either that, or I forgot to verify the data - but I'm sure that would never be the case ;)