Stop selling translation on quality!

bestqualityWhat makes you different from other translators? If you said “quality” or something like that, you are NOT attracting clients, you are not differentiating yourself. You are becoming part of the big “herd” of translators that are struggling to get work but are being forced to reduce their rates because their only differentiator is PRICE.

Quality does not sell! Quality is a given!

Stop claiming that you offer quality translation! It does NOT sell. If you are a professional translator, quality is a given! In the translation industry, where there are more options than ever, especially in certain language pairs, everyone demands quality from everyone they buy translation services from. Thus, quality is something you are expected to provide in exchange for the compensation you require for your language services.  It is a “must” in order not to lose clients, but it is not a selling point.

And I have news for you: all of your competitors claim to provide quality services, even if you think or know that they don’t.  Out of curiosity, go visit 10 different websites, either from translation agencies or translators, and count how many of them promote their services based on “quality.” How many did you find? Thus, you can see that quality is not a differentiator.

What’s your edge?

Marketing 101 teaches you that, in order to differentiate yourself from your competitors, you need to offer your clients something that is different. If every other translator is offering quality, what are you offering that is different? What’s your “edge”? What makes you unique and a “stand out” from other translators?

The role of branding

Have you thought about the impact you may have when you do things? What do you want people to think of when you network with them, sell to them, consult or help them, or when you come to them looking for business, a job, or whatever it is that you need? What is it you do that makes you, or your work, stand out in other people’s minds?

Whatever that stand-out factor is, it becomes part of your personal brand.

But where to start? How you brand yourself and your language services define what your edge is and how you demonstrate it to others. So, work on discovering and building on what makes you unique. Market yourself based on how you differentiate from your competition. Don’t copy or repeat the same “claims” that other translators are using to promote their services. Reas­su­ring the quality of your translation services is indeed a great thing to do, but definitely not something to hinge your marketing strategy on.

5 responses

  1. Quality is something the client shouldn’t even think of – it is indeed a given. The main reason why people buy from you is because they LIKE you (and thus your brand).

  2. Provided, of course, that you would want to “market” your translation skills in the first place. In many societies freelancers are not expected to market themselves – in fact it was prohibited in Germany for freelancers, like lawyers, doctors and accountants to advertise until very recently. Translation is not a service like window cleaning. It is free-lance work similar to journalism, tech writing, accountancy. Many of us have neither the skill set, nor the desire to sell their services on the free market. We rely on agencies to do that for us. Only those who want to avoid that route need to start worrying about self-marketing.

  3. […] Competition is just as prevalent in the language industry as it is in other industry sectors. You may be competing on price, language pair, additional services, product promotions, or brand name. In some language combinations, competition is a serious threat that could affect profitability and sustainability. The key to breaking away from the competition is finding what makes you and your services unique. […]

  4. […] Renato Beninatto has been saying the same for years, at least since 2007, and anyway long before Marcela Reyes, the last in time. Even though a traditional approach can be typically found among language […]

  5. I would have thought its a mix of various factors really. All the above are just a few of the full long list!

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