Guest post: Effective email communication with the customer for a translator Reply

Anastasia Kozhukhova is an English to Russian language professional specializing in legal and marketing texts as well as website localization. In addition to being a successful freelance translator, Anastasia is also a professional trainer, sharing insight that she’s gained throughout her career with the community. In today’s guest post, Anastasia shares some tips on how to effectively communicate with clients. 

“A good business letter can get you a job interview, get you off the hook, or get you money. It’s totally asinine to blow your chances of getting whatever you want with a business letter that turns people off instead of turning them on.”

Malcolm Forbes

Anastasia_KozhukhovaFor the last three months I have been thoroughly studying the issue of communication with clients from the point of view of translation business and discovered a paradox – though Translators usually make their translations in a clear and concise manner (at least, they are expected to), very often their business writing and communication with the clients lacks this persuasiveness and conciseness. As a result, many Translators do not get the results they want when cooperating with their customers.

Being Language Specialists, we must understand that each email we write is a snapshot of our writing skills. Without well-written communication it is unlikely a Translator will achieve success in the translation business on the whole. The thing is that many Translators do not know the difference between usual writing and business communication. Meanwhile, good business writing implies more than simply following the rules of Grammar. In today’s age of digital job hunting and endless online searches, email communication implies:

  • Expressing your ideas in a clear manner so that you reach your objective in each email (reach the client you want to cooperate with or win the project you want to translate);

  • Impressing your clients so that they hear your voice among the noise of hundreds of other applicants;

  • Understanding your target audience perfectly (you should know who is going to read your email).

On the whole, business communication experts describe business writing as follows:

  • Conversational but not too chatty;

  • Crystal clear, but not too simplistic;

  • Professional and polite, but not too formal

  • Action-oriented (it should encourage the reader to take specific actions)

However, it is not that easy to use these principles in practice and many freelancers keep on making the same mistakes when writing cover letters to their prospective clients. The most common of them are as follows:

  • Using ready-made templates from the Internet (When applying to a job post many Translators use cut-and-paste emails for every application. However, using one and the same template for all of your clients will never increase the number of your projects.)

  • Not mentioning the name of the Recipient (emails starting with Dear Sir/Madam)

  • Talking only about yourself, your skills and experience without linking these points with the client’s needs

  • Writing too long emails with long paragraphs without highlighting any key words (causing problems for Hiring Managers who tend to scan emails instead of reading them thoroughly)

  • Making dull endings without call to action (e.g. Thank you for your time. Please feel free to contact me at

  • Lack of proofreading which results in typos and lazy writing (e.g. pls, thanks) which is unacceptable in business communication

Today I will tell about one aspect which I consider to be one of the most important ones in communication with clients when you just start cooperating with them and want to prove that you deserve being their reliable partner when it concerns supply of translation services.

This aspect is about being READER-FOCUSED in each email you send to your customers. I am sure that you have already heard and read a lot about focusing on your client. But how can we achieve this in practice? This remains a confusing question for many freelancers.

This is true that people like reading only about themselves and their problems. They are not interested to know about your professional experience and skills even if the latter are really outstanding. The clients only want to know how you can solve their problems and make their life easier. To achieve this and motivate the prospective clients to read your emails, I suggest focusing on using You/Your pronouns instead of I/My in each email you send. Below you will find some examples of how in one and the same idea we can shift the focus from ourselves and our achievements to the customer’s needs and problems.

So, please compare:

  1. Responding to a job post on (beginning of the cover letter):


Dear Tom,

I am writing to apply for the position of a Freelance Translator published today on Let me introduce myself. My name is XXX. I am English to Italian Translator with 10 years of experience and excellent language skills. Since 2006 I have cooperated with many companies…


Dear Mr. Smith,

I am contacting you concerning your job posting at As I understand, you are looking for an EN-IT Translator to translate your marketing brochure in a compelling manner by March 14th

As you see, in the first sample the Translator applying to a job post focuses only on himself and does not make an attempt to link his skills with the requirements of the company mentioned in the advertisement. In the second sample the Translator does his best to emphasize that first of all he carefully read the job post and understood the customer’s problem and main requirements.

  1. Asking the customer for further details of cooperation:

Please let me know your time zone so that I take it into account for my convenience

Please let me know your time zone, so that you can receive translations from me at the time convenient for you.

From these samples you can see how you can shift the focus to your customer even when asking such simple and routine questions like these. Please mind the usage of pronouns I and You in these samples.

  1. And one more example – Sending an update informing your customer about the new services you can provide):

I am pleased to inform you that now I have built my team consisting of Professional Translators, Editors and a Designer and that we are open and ready to accept larger projects and provide translations in a timely manner. Your projects will be turned around more quickly and you will enjoy a higher degree of accuracy than was previously available, because I have built my own team of Professional Translators, Editors and Designers which is now ready to work for your business.

So, now you see how powerful the usage of pronouns and shifting the focus to the customer can be in business communication with both your prospective and recent clients.

Start applying these easy-to-use principles in your daily business communication and see how quickly your results and effectiveness will increase and how many new projects you will get!

If you are interested in making your email communication even more effective (especially with your prospective customers), you are welcome to attend my Webinar on which will take place on July 28 and which is called “Effective Email Communication with the Customer for a Translator”.

During this Webinar you will receive many more examples of making your business writing reader-focused and learn how to provide solutions to the customers’ problems so that they choose YOU as their translation services partner. You will also find useful tips on how to effectively communicate with the customer in other situations:

– when submitting a quote via ProZ

– sending your CV to a prospective direct client

– accepting or rejecting a job offer

– sending an update on your skills and services, so that to keep your customers engaged.

I will be glad to see all of you on July 28th and wish you good luck in improving your business writing right after reading this article!

Thanks to Anastasia for sharing this information with us!proz-101-events

There are still a few more seats available for tomorrow’s training session, which will elaborate on some of the communication strategies touched on in this post. To register, please visit:

Be sure to check out upcoming training sessions and on-demand videos offered by Anastasia – covering topics ranging from CV writing to finding high-end clients – here:

I hope you enjoyed this guest post. As always, comments, feedback, and suggestions for future topics can be submitted below or via Twitter @ProZcom

Getting the most out of industry events: Part ten 2

This is the tenth –and last– post in a series of weekly blog posts with tips to get the most out of translation industry events (click here to see a full list of previous posts). As explained in the first part, tips are grouped into “before the event”, “during the event” and “after the event” for easy reference. Please feel free to post below and share your tip(s)!

After the event

Tip 10: organize your own event

As mentioned in the first part of this series, translation industry events are probably one of the most important parts in the marketing strategy of many language professionals. By attending conferences, workshops, seminars and other industry events, translators and interpreters not only get the chance to learn about new industry trends, but also to network with colleagues while promoting themselves. The same principle applies to organizing translation industry events, where organizers can not only learn and network with colleagues, but also do something different that enhances their translation business and professional profile.

So, what are the benefits of organizing a translation industry event? Why would anyone want to devote time and effort in setting up a conference, a seminar, a workshop? Initially, language professionals who have organized at least one translator event have reported the following benefits:

  1. Interaction with people from all around the globe.
  2. Networking not only within the local community, but also within the international translation community.
  3. Acquisition of new interpersonal and organizational skills.
  4. Relationship with companies, associations and other major players in the industry.
  5. Gained exposure.

Organizing an event is not for everyone though -it requires a great deal of time, responsibility and dedication. Willingness to interact with other language professionals and form relationships with them is a must, but organizers should also meet other criteria if they want to organize an event that has the purpose of providing language professionals with the opportunity to network, learn, expand their businesses and have fun. These criteria include:

  • Experience with industry events (as attendee, co-organizer or organizer).
  • Active participation in the translation community.
  • Reactive, responsive and collaborative attitude.
  • Task orientation.
  • Business understanding (keeping in mind that the organization of an event is a business investment for all involved, including for event attendees).
  • Creativity.

If you believe that you have all of the above and you would like to learn new skills, network with colleagues and market yourself, you may consider organizing an event for translators in your country. There are several ways to do it either individually or with the support of colleagues, private companies or associations.

Becoming a event organizer

Rather than seeking to organize events on its own in locations around the world, or on a variety of topics, normally seeks to provide others with the tools, support and promotion that they need to organize events.

Applied in varying degrees for various events and event formats, this “enabling” approach make it possible to offer low-cost events that have a local focus, or that delve deeply into a given topic. It also makes it possible for events to be held in many languages.

ProZ.comEvents conferences, powwows, workshops and virtual events.

Utilizing both online and offline approaches, a variety of specific event formats have evolved at

Powwows – informal meetings, usually carried out in-person, often over a meal.

Virtual events – events with planned agendas, carried out primarily online using video, chat, etc. (sometimes with a corresponding real-world component).

In-person events – events with planned agendas, carried out primarily in-person (and ideally streamed and recorded).

Events have been held with various other formats, and more formats (for example, hybrid formats that combine virtual and in-person elements) can be imagined and explored.

If you would like to give it a try at organizing an event with the support of, go ahead!

In the end, the translation industry is like other industries, in that it is important for professionals to have opportunities to learn, network and socialize among peers. Then why not get the most out of an industry event by organizing it yourself?

Have you ever organized an industry event or considered organizing one? 

Please share.

Risk management in translation: knowledge base for translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry 2

Every business type is exposed to risks influenced by numerous factors and the translation and interpretation business is no exception. Regardless of the type of activity involved, everyone either offering language services or looking for language service providers is exposed so several types of risks that should be acknowledged if a reliable and successful service provider-outsourcer relationship is desired.

With this in mind, has been creating content and developing new tools with the purpose of helping translators, translation companies, and others in the language industry to learn about the different risks involved in doing business online and how to prevent them.

One of these resources, and probably the most widely used by service providers when assessing risks, is the Blue Board. The Blue Board record is the complete, searchable database of records made up of feedback entries posted by language service providers in connection with outsourcers they have worked with. For service providers, the Blue Board record has proved to be a great tool for assessing the reliability of specific outsourcers before accepting a job offer from them. For outsourcers, being listed in the Blue Board record with a good number of positive entries from service providers represents a great marketing tool. Outsourcers with a good Blue Board record report a higher degree of trust and shortened project launch cycles among those service providers who reference the Blue Board. More information about using the Blue Board record is available here.

Another great source of information in connection with business risks in translation is the Wiki. The translation industry wiki is an ever-evolving collection of articles about relevant, industry related topics, written and updated regularly by translators themselves. In this wiki, there are several articles on risk management, addressed both to language professionals and to outsourcers. Risk management-related wiki articles include the following:

For more information about the industry wiki, visit this page.

A recently released scam alert center is another potentially valuable resource for those seeking to manage risk when it comes to false job offers and other scams. The Translator scam alert center is an area used to provide organized, concise information regarding false job offers or requests and other scams which may be aimed at or are affecting language professionals and outsourcers. Information provided in the center is based in part on reports made by members through the online support system and in the Scams forum, and members have the option of subscribing to receive useful news and alerts of new scams as they are detected. The scam alert center is available here.

Finally, also offers its members a free webinar on “Risk management for translators and interpreters” on a monthly basis. This training session enumerates and explains risk management procedures that translators and interpreters should follow as part of their everyday professional activities. The schedule for these webinars is available here.

Regardless of the number of years a service provider or an outsourcer has been in the translation industry, risks are everywhere when doing business. However, the above-listed resources and tools have been made available by to promote not just professional practices, but also clear and concise information on the steps that should be taken to avoid risks when participating in the language industry. If you have any questions about these tools and resources, or if you need assistance with using them, contact site staff through the support center.

Podcast: marketing and communicating your linguistic talent and business services Reply

Here’s a new podcast. These podcasts are designed to provide an opportunity to hear the week’s news, highlights of site features, interviews with translators and others in the industry, and to have some fun (see announcement).

In this week’s podcast you will find:

Feedback and comments are welcome. You can reach me at romina at or via Twitter @ProZcom .

To listen to previous podcasts, check the podcasts tab in this blog.


Music: Kevin MacLeod

10 strategies to expand your translation business: Part 5 Reply

This is the fifth post (already!) in the ten-part series that provides information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.

Fifth strategy: Expanding your knowledge

Knowledge acquisition and business expansion go hand in hand in the translation market. Improving translation and business skills is a must for any language professional, specially if they want to meet new clients and increase their income.

Professional translators should never stop looking for new ways to expand the list of services they can offer to clients, learning how to use new translation tools and software, for instance, and constantly improving their language skills, and expanding their knowledge on translation essentials and theory.

How can I expand my knowledge at offers different types of training courses, webinars and educational resources available to translators and interpreters. Take training courses on:

Learn more about training sessions here.

What other ways of expanding your translation and business knowledge do you know? Have you ever taken a translation-related training course? Were you able to apply what you learned later on?

Make sure you check the next post in this series on Staying abreast of industry news and trends, to be posted in the next few days.

January in translation Reply

January is coming to a close already. The newsletter for this month is on its way out, and if you have not received it already you should be getting it shortly.

Some highlights worth mentioning from this newsletter:

By the way, you can view the full archive of newsletters at

The first month of this year also brought some interesting industry news. Here are some highlights of translation-related news for January:

You can follow these and other translation industry stories through the Translation news service.

Have I forgotten something? Let me know!