How to Become a Client Finder

I just received a postcard in the mail from a real estate company. I read it and filed it for a possible future use. What would have happened if the real estate company had sent me an email instead? Chances are it would have ended in the spam folder. If not, I probably would have deleted it, since right now I am not ready to buy or sell my house.


Most translation agencies today boast of having thousands of linguists aboard. Some do advertise for rare languages freelancers. If you do go to their websites, as I have been doing for the past year, you will see the one slot (label varies) they all seem to desperately need to fill: “A Sales Development Person.” That is, one who can find them clients.


Translators and interpreters, particularly of Spanish, seem to be a dime a dozen. A good ‘Client Finder” is not as easy to recruit. Yet, we solo-flying freelancers, translators (generic use) or writers, are targeted with webinar ads that teach us how to find direct clients and live happily ever after. Costs vary, but I have seen some as high as $385.


To save you time and money, let me tell you what you will probably learn. 1) you are a brand, 2) have a niche, 3) imagine your ideal client, 4) match X number of real clients to your imaginary one, 4) research them, 5) determine their use of your type of services, 6) identify who contracts your type of services, 7) establish a relationship with the person on social media, 8) sent a cold pitch email to him or her asking to chat, 9) talk on the phone or in person and sell your services…


10) You will also probably learn that you need digital and print products to support your sales effort: Postcards (like what the realtor sent me), brochures, flyers, posters, coupons (for discounts), media kits, e-books (to establish your authority), infographics, social media business pages, professional-looking websites, several different résumés.


If you want to become a “client finder,” you can do all the work yourself, or I can help you at Spanish Shield Designs. The modest cost is NOT in addition, but instead to what you would pay for a webinar, and it is a great return on investment. Email me to identify what digital or print products will help you the most during these uncertain times.


How to Minimize Translation & Interpreting Mistakes

During my previous life as a university professor I wrote an article on “Errors in Translation” that was published in Hispania, the journal of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. There I argued that the primary cause of errors is not understanding the terms and implicit messages of the source language.

To translate we first need to know what a word or phrase means in a particular grammatical and cultural context. “Chino,” for example, does not translate as “Chinese” when used in Colombia simply to refer to a child of whatever ethnic heritage. In a medical context, “Ampollas” on my feet does not mean my feet are full of “bottles” or “ampoules.” In the language of the police and courts, “to be charged” does not mean my credit card is going to be invoiced.

Medical and legal interpreters and translators whose language pair includes English, for instance, need to understand medical and legal English terminology before they can accurately and faithfully render it into or from the other language. I always tell my students that, as a start, they need three good dictionaries, one English only, one bilingual, and one in their other language.

For a medical interpreting or translating class, I would today require them to have Medical Terminology: A Short Course - Elsevier eBook on Vitalsource by Davi-Ellen Chabner. “Medical terms are introduced in the context of human anatomy and physiology so you understand exact meaning, and case studies, vignettes, and activities demonstrate how they're used in practice. With writing and interacting with medical terminology on almost every page, you'll learn the content by doing the work. In addition, an Evolve companion website reinforces understanding with medical animations, word games, and flash cards.

For judiciary interpreting or legal translation, I would go with what the court reporters use, Legal Terminology and Usage: For Court Reporters and Paralegals by Ted H. Gordon. “The purpose of learning legal terms is not for you to memorize the words for a test and forget them two days later. Rather, it is the ability to study the words in proper context so that you have a deep and sustainable understanding of the terms five years later. The goal of this book is to make learning more obtainable, and to create a platform for long-term recall for court reporters, paralegals, and anyone who wishes to understand legal terminology.

(Aside: Court reporters’ academy tapes were invaluable during my own preparation for the Federal Exam and the classes I later taught.)

Two other Legal Terminology books I would consider adopting for my classes are:

Legal Terminology by Kent Kauffman and Gordon Brown.

More than 1,500 legal terms in context, with extensive practice

Lively and easy to read, Legal Terminology introduces students to more than 1,500 legal terms, contextualized within the legal field. Styled like a workbook, the text promotes active learning through a concise, engaging presentation of narratives, definitions, study aids, and application activities. The 7th edition has been revised to improve accuracy and currency. It includes a new chapter on the Uniform Commercial Code, new material on e-Contracts and cyber law, and new features demonstrating the practical application of legal terms.”

and Legal Terminology by S. Whittington Brown. Described as having “over a thousand complex legal terms defined in accessible language and further explained through the use of succinct examples. In contrast to a dictionary format, the narrative format employed groups related terms by topic-specific chapters. For example, in the chapter on domestic relations terms and phrases, students will follow a relationship from a couple's first meeting, to dating, moving in together, marrying, having children, contemplating divorce, and divorcing. This book gives legal professionals insight into the many terms and phrases they will be expected to know and use in order to succeed in their field.”