Monthly Archives: March 2011

The art of cold calling. Strategic advice to fellow translators and others.

Written by Aga Gordon

Most translators, especially beginners, send a large number of CVs to translation agencies to try to get work. This will surely be successful, but at the price of sacrificing the lion’s share of the payment to the agencies for finding this work. I would advise more proactive approach; a bit more challenging perhaps, but as a result more self-fulfilling.

This strategy requires a change in your mindset from passive jobseeker to active enrepreneur. In short, you take your business destiny in your own hands, and start looking for DIRECT CLIENTS.

There are several techniques to achieve your vision, one of these being old fashioned COLD CALLING. I can hear some of you shrugging and thinking: ‘But I am not a sales person!’. You might be proved wrong, if you have a chance to read Pawel Grabowski’s book which contains excellent advice on this. Pawel shows how every small business owner is effectively a sales person, and how to maximize your client database. It is certainly worth having a look at this book.

I would challenge you on changing your mindset about cold calling. It is a fantastic technique, used by many successful entrepreneurs, which we all are, aren’t we? In brief, it is a meaningful, professional approach to clients, presenting them with a valuable proposition.

Depending on your attitude, cold calling can be either an incredibly successful strategy or a necessary chore. Do not think that cold calling is a hopeless exercise, bringing only a small percentage of customers. Such an approach does put it on a par with junk mail. On the contrary, it is an empowering method, enabling you to achieve what you want through gaining new business. It enables you to take control of who and how much you work for (the sky is a limit). It also determines your future in accordance with your own VISION.

Cold calling will give you FREEDOM – you will not depend on anyone. What is more, you will decide on your RATES.

This approach is challenging the status quo, which is the translation industry culture of initially working through agencies – ‘we always have done it like that’. Doing it your own way is truly a trait of an entrepreneur, and I would strongly advocate that every translator behaves in this manner. I have noticed that Judy Jenner from Twintranslations also advocates an entrepreneurial approach, and even published the book ‘Entrepreneurial linguist’, which I have not yet had the opportunity to read.

Here are a few tips to ensure you cold call efficiently and effectively:

  • Make sure you know exactly what you want to achieve.
  • Be flexible.
  • Be proactive in seeking business.

Of course effective cold calling is not easy, as otherwise everyone would do it, and you would not be able to differentiate yourself and achieve a competitive advantage.

Here are some more tips about how to behave while cold calling:

  • Be interesting and helpful – nobody likes boring, pressurizing and repetitive sales pitches.
  • Prepare a straightforward, informative, and professional business proposition.
  • Be enthusiastic about what you do.
  • Be creative and innovative.

In short it is all about changing style and attitude from perceiving a cold call as a necessary chore, to seeing it as an empowering strategy aimed at achieving your vision and goals. You do not deliver junk, you are a strategic enabler.

Tips on cold calling strategy:

  • Ensure your translation services meet the organisation’s needs, and ethical, social, political and cultural standards.
  • See cold calling as a strategic and empowering process, and aim to excel at it.
  • Make sure you are relaxed when you are cold calling
  • Understand your services and environment extremely well. Of course you know what you offering, your strong points, your excellent knowledge and expertise, but you also need to have a deep understanding about the industry specifics, competitors, new entrants, barriers to entry, issues etc.
  • Research the organisation you are cold calling in depth in order to be able to address their needs properly. This also means exploring possible issues related to your proposition, and the ways to address them properly.
  • Prepare a concise introductory speech about your translation services, but do not make it sound like a fixed script, remember to be flexible.
  • Do not try to push or sell. This is the tricky bit. I am sure you also do not like to be forced to buy anything. Therefore, behave more like an advisor to help the supplier to make an informed decision. Naturally, your product needs to be of a superb quality.
  • Educate the client gently and slowly. The ultimate aim is to find the fit between your translation services and the client’s needs.
  • Engage the client in discussion to help them to make a decision.
  • Make sure you have a deep understanding of the whole process right from the beginning (keep notes if necessary) and show a genuine interest in the prospective client.

An example of cold calling could look like this:

‘Good morning, Mr Smith. This is Dr Agnieszka Gordon of acgtranslation. I read in the local paper that you are planning a strategic move into Eastern European markets. I am a professional English to Polish translator, specialising in business translations. I hold an MBA and have an extensive knowledge about Polish culture and market. I’d like to ask a few questions to determine whether my services and experience will help you to achieve your vision’

As you can see there is none of the old technique of pushing the client to take on your services. Do not be tempted to do so. I personally never accept any offer carried out in such a manner.

And finally, be patient and persevere. Most of your potential clients will not take your offer immediately, but make sure you contact them periodically to see if their needs have changed. You might even need several calls, but take your time to build a strong and long-lasting relationship.

Finally, I realize I have not exhausted all the possibilities so I would be interested in the tips and the strategies you use. Please share!


2nd Easter fun day in Canterbury


Written by Aga Gordon

I have just finished making a leaflet and putting the joint press release together for a joint community event in Canterbury. I am very excited about it, as we ran it last year for the first time and it was a good FUN.

For those who don’t know what it is about I shall explain briefly. Easter fun day is a fun packed, family oriented day organized jointly by the Polish Association in Kent ( in which I am actively involved, Canterbury Library and Canterbury Museum. Last year Spring Lane Community Centre was involved, but this time we invited Riverside Children’s Centre to take part. One of the reasons for this is that I have developed close links with them, through organising a Polish mother and toddler group on their premises, sitting at their Operational Board as a parent representative, and of course using their excellent services together with my little girl.

The idea of the event is to bring the British and Polish communities closer through learning about their mutual customs and ,and most importantly just to have FUN!

So if you live in or around Canterbury , know anyone who does, or simply fancy a good day out, you are WELCOME TO JOIN US!

Below you will find some more information, both in English and Polish. PLEASE PASS THE INFORMATION AROUND!

Free Easter Fun Day for Families

Discover how Easter is celebrated in Poland, United Kingdom and around the globe in Canterbury’s free Easter Fun Day, Saturday 16 April.

The fun begins at the Riverside Children’s Centre, Kingsmead between 10am and 12 noon, where families with children can experience Polish Easter customs led by members of the Polish Association in Kent.

  • Decorate an egg or cake and Easter basket
  • Make traditional Easter palm
  • Discover Polish Easter Traditions
  • Taste home made Polish cakes

Activities continue at Canterbury Library, 35 Pound Lane between 2pm and 3pm, with traditional stories read in English and Polish for 3 to 6 year olds.

Round off the day with an entertaining visit to the Museum of Canterbury, Stour Street.  Drop-in anytime between 2pm and 4pm.

  • Decorate eggs and take part in fun and unusual Easter customs from Britain, Poland and around the world.
  • Complete a treasure hunt around the galleries to win a small prize.
  • Included in museum entry charge. Free to Canterbury District Residents Card holders and their families.
  • Age 3 to adult.

The Easter Fun Day is a partnership event led by Polish Association in Kent, Riverside Children’s Centre, Canterbury Museums, and Kent County Council Libraries & Archives.

For further information please call 01227 475550 (Riverside Children’s Centre;; 01227 463 608 (Canterbury Library); or 01227 475 202 (Museum of Canterbury); 07878957519 (Aga Gordon,; Polish Association in Kent;


Chcesz się dowiedzieć jak obchodzi się Wielkanoc w Polsce, Wielkiej Brytanii i na świecie? Przyłącz się do nas i weź udział w Wielkanocnej Frajdzie, darmowej imprezie dla rodzin z dziećmi, 16 kwietnia w Canterbury.

Pierwsza część imprezy odbędzie się w Riverside Children’s Centre (Kingsmead) w godzinach 10.00-12.00, gdzie Członkowie Zrzeszenia Polaków Okręgu Kent wraz z pracownikami Riverside Children’s Centre poprowadzą zabawy i zajęcia plastyczne o tematyce wielkanocnej.

  • Udekoruj pisankę lub babeczkę wielkanocną i zrób dla nich koszyczek
  • Zrób tradycyjną palmę wielkanocną
  • Zapoznaj się z polskimi tradycjami
  • Spróbuj przepysznych ciast domowego wypieku

Następnie przenieś się do Biblioteki Miejskiej (35 Pound Lane), gdzie w godzinach między 14.00 a 15.00 możesz:

  • Posłuchać bajek po polsku i angielsku (dzieci w wieku od 3 do 6 lat)
  • Udekorować własną zakładkę do książek

Dzień zakończy się w Muzeum (Stour Street, Canterbury). Możesz tam przyjść kiedy chcesz między 14 a 16.00.

  • Udekoruj pisankę i zapoznaj się ze zwyczajami wielkanocnymi, nie tylko w Polsce i Wielkiej Brytanii, ale i na świecie.
  • Weź udział w poszukiwaniu ‘skarbu’ w zakamarkach muzeum.

Dla posiadaczy karty rezydenta (Canterbury District Residents Card) wstęp wolny;  Osoby spoza regionu uczestniczą po okazaniu biletu wstępu do muzeum. Wiek powyżej 3 lat

Wielkanocna Frajda jest imprezą zorganizowaną wspólnie przez Zrzeszenie Polaków Okręgu Kent (, Riverside Children’s Centre , Muzeum w Canterbury oraz Biblioteki i Archiwa Hrabstwa Kent.

Więcej informacji udzielają: Riverside Children Centre, tel. (01227) 475550; Biblioteka w Canterbury, tel. (01227) 463 608 ; Muzeum w Canterbury, tel. (01227) 475 202; Aga Gordon (Zrzeszenie Polaków Okręgu Kent) tel. 07878957519