Practical guide to optimize your bidding process on crowdsourcing site for freelance translators


key to winbidding oncrowdsourcing

Sales on crowdsourcing site is a numbers game.

I bid on 3-5 projects every day and I get maybe one good project every month, even though I am the most popular translator on

I have completed more than 50 projects with positive feedbacks and the second best native Japanese translator has completed less than 15 projects.

Even with that strong profile, getting clients is hard.

However, it’s totally worth it. I spend less than 5 minutes for sales a day which is less than an hour a month.Toggl

How did I achieve this?

I made so many templates message for bidding on different projects, so my bidding message looks like tailor written just for the project which gives better not only better impression to clients but also it also shows that I have relevant skills to the project.

In this article, I will explain how I made an easy-to-customize template for translation projects and how I organized them.

Categorize bidding message by required skills of projects.

Bidding message should show that you have skills that are required to the project, and it should be something that anybody I say.

For example, “Hi, I have 10 years of experience and I can do it” is the worst. Even if you have no experience, you can lie about it.

Instead of telling bragging about yourself, gives them you clients tips of translation. For example, I tell clients that web contents translation is no easy translation that any native speakers can perform because it requires copywriting and SEO skills. I also add a link to my business website.

The purpose of this is not only to get new clients, but also to educate clients that real good translation is more expensive, and that they should not hire amateur translators.

Required skills are different depending on the different possible character of each translation project. So you need bidding message templates for different required skills, as well as bidding message templates for projects without enough details.

Categorize your bidding message by duration, length, urgency, and format.

Translation projects can be categorized by 5 elements: format, subject, length, urgency, and duration. Those elements are also important to your quotation because they can impact the time you are going to spend on your translation.

Based on those elements you can make your bidding message more relevant to the client’s project.

Therefore, you want to pay careful attention to the following elements.

The format of the document.

For example, MS word file is easy to edit. MS powerpoint, HTML, handwriting, text on image files are more difficult, so you should charge more.

The subject of the document.

Medical translation requires knowledge of medical term as well as knowledge of medical law if you translate description on labels. Making a statement like “100% effective” is illegal in many countries. Marketing translation requires knowledge and skill of copywriting, also sometimes design skills. Experience on a specific subject adds more value to your work, meaning you can charge more.

The length of the document.

You need to spend some time for sales communication. Sales time is non-billable time. It would not make sense to spend 1 hour on sales for 100 words or 10 minutes translation and get paid for only 100 words. You want to spend 10 minutes on sales and get a big project of 10,000 words. The bigger the project is, the more you will spend time on the promotion of sales but it’s not proportional. If the project is bigger, sales time should be marginally smaller. Remember: translation is never only about translating a document into another language.

Duration of the project.

The same logic as for the length applies to the duration. Is the project one-off or continuous? You might consider offering some discount for longer and continuous project.

The urgency of the project.

Creating a sense of urgency is the first page of every textbook of sales. Even Leonardo Di Caprio said that in his movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

Not all clients provide you details you need.

More urgent the needs for translation is more desperate the client is so that you can charge more.

Not all clients will offer you all the information you need because they don’t want to or they don’t know they should.

They don’t want to because it’s confidential or because they don’t want to share information that can negatively affect price negotiation. You need to get that information to not to be ripped off.

If they don’t know they should it’s because they don’t know how translation should be done. You need to educate clients because that would make you look more professional and trustworthy. Also to prevent machine translation using scam translator to get win projects.

Modular bidding message system to create semi-customized messages in less than 10 seconds

It looks like there are tons of variations in translation projects but you need less than 10 bidding templates to answer them.

First, you have to write bidding message templates for each skill you have. Don’t bother writing templates for urgent projects or long projects.

In my case, I write templates for many different skills: web content, PPC, SEO, copywriting, finance, app users interface, etc

If you write templates for all of those elements in different configurations like long urgent big web content project, short urgent big web Web content project etc., you will end up having more than 100 templates.

Instead of writing all these, create a modular bidding message template system: a template for required skills as the root of your message and short sentences for urgent, long, short, big and small projects which you insert to the bidding message.

Here is an example.

Hi <<Insert name here>>,

My name is Masaharu Hayataki, and I am a native Japanese translator/marketer with the following skills.

  • on-site SEO
  • Copywriting
  • web design (HTML, CSS, Photoshop, WordPress, and Bootstrap)
  • Google Adwords
  • Google Analytics

My portfolio:

Why Me?

“If you build it, they will come.” That line has worked in Field of Dreams, but this is a bad web marketing strategy.  Search engine optimized content is effective to attract right audience to your website, and then “they will come”.

I know many tricks to improve your website SEO so that your Japanese page will finally attract the right audience. Building it for them to come using SEO technique is important, but what’s more important is that they like your website.

You might find my offering expensive, but, in fact, it’s lower than the market price of real translators, which is 0.09 to 0.13 USD per word.

<<Insert message about urgent/non-urgent project.>>

<<Insert message about small/big project.>>

Kind regards,

If the project is urgent, I will copy the following template from my Evernote and paste it into my main template.

“The deadline is pretty tight. I need to prioritize this project over my other projects and postpone them. I am afraid I have to charge 10% more than my non-urgent translation projects. Quoted price includes an urgency fee.”

If I don’t know the deadline, I will copy this other template from my Evernote and paste it into my main template.

“Please let me know the deadline. I need to know the deadline for the project before accepting this project”

Just like that, I have created many templates for many possible scenarios.

This modular bidding message template system allows to minimize the number of templates while bidding message relevant to projects requirement. Hence, more clients and less sales (non-billable) time.


Winning projects on crowdsourcing is a numbers game where not many players play well. I know it because I won it and because I am also an employer.

You invest some time to create bidding messages templates and I can guarantee that you will get some good projects.