ProZ.com has been good to me. I get a lot of work through this channel, and I think the options you have for making a quality profile are quite good.
They often host webinars for translators, where they explain the best ways to get the most from your ProZ profile in terms of attracting clients to you. Compared to a traditional offline business, your profile is your shop window, where people walk by and get a sense of what you provide.
When people visit your profile, you’ll have a chance of letting them know a little bit more about who you are. You can fill out the description of your business, so they can read about your background.
There’s also an option, where you can provide a link to LinkedIn. This is also a great site to have a profile on, and this profile can be seen as a live CV, which will let the potential client find out even more about you.
You can be contacted via your ProZ profile and start a discussion with a potential client this way. This is where the selling starts, now that they have found you through your profile.
But how do they know if you can actually provide them with the translations they want? Well, they can’t, but the ProZ profile has another feature which can help them – the portfolio.
The free in freelance translation should not be underestimated. Yes, you have the freedom to decide, when you want to work and in what fields you want to work.
But on the other hand, there’s a crazy free world out there, with all kinds of expectations when it comes to price per word and quality. If you ever see someone expecting, or claiming to deliver, the highest quality at the lowest rates and in no time – you should start running.
At least if you want to succeed as a professional. You will of course gain some translation experience although you won’t get paid much at the lowest rate, but if you put yourself in the shoes of a potential client, it may be difficult for this person to trust you, when you say you know what you’re talking about, now that you have translated so much (for what might just as well have been charity).
I agree with with ProZ.com that it’s better to show it. And this is what the Portfolio feature is about.
Here, you can choose a source text, translate it, and publish this sample translation next to the source. It’s a way of showing what you can do instead of only talking about it, so that a potential client may find it easier to trust you, and actually order a professional translation from you.
I know it’s not perfect in the sense that people will always be able to copy and paste a source and translation that they didn’t do themselves, but it’s the same problem a potential client would face with their own translation sample – people could just hire someone to do the test, and not do it themselves anyway.
The portfolio option allows you to put your name on niche translations that you actually did. If you translate for next to nothing in the name of gaining experience, why not publish a portfolio instead?
You’ll still gain translation experience, and you’ll get your name on published samples, making it a little easier for a potential client to trust you and send over that juicy order.