Case studies are gold. They are also underutilized in the T&I world. Case studies are real accounts of successful customer experiences. If written well, they could also convince new clients to hire you.
When was the last time you read a customer review before you purchased something, or relied on an app on your mobile phone to see what others thought of a restaurant you were considering checking out?
Your clients do the same. Testimonials are powerful -- no doubt about it. But case studies -- those are like testimonials on steroids.
How Case Studies Can Help Your T&I Business
As translators and interpreters, we don’t often get to tell others about the work we do… at least not the finer details. Confidentiality clauses and codes of ethics make it difficult to showcase our work. But case studies can be a great solution in solving the issue of rarely getting to share our work with those who might hire us. Sure, we can send a potential client a sample. But a case study can show them what you can do for them. And that’s what most clients really want to know.
How to Build a Case Study from Your Clients’ Experiences with You
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to crafting the content for a few case studies for your website or LinkedIn profile, start small. Think of the times when a client complimented your work. What did they say? What did you do for them that caused them to send you those kind words? Make a mental note to follow up with this client and make a request to share their positive experience as a case study.
Here’s an example of content that would be perfect to craft into two amazing case studies.
Immediately after reading this tweet from my colleague, Jamie Hartz, I thought, “Those would make great case studies!” The outcomes Jamie shared in her tweet are the results clients are hoping to achieve when they hire a professional translator. This is the “why” behind the reason they hired her. They each had a goal to achieve, and because of Jamie’s great work, they achieved their desired outcomes.
If you can’t think of a specific compliment from a client that could eventually be turned into a longer case study, create a folder in your email inbox or on your computer to start saving the compliments you receive. Once you receive one that showcases a really spectacular outcome for a client, you’ll have the content you need to write a solid case study worth sharing.
Learn to Write Case Studies from Others
If you’re not sure how to write a case study, start reading some from other industries and professionals who work with clients in a similar way as you (online, for most translators or in-person assignments, for interpreters). These examples can be truly helpful in helping you decide how you’d like to craft your own case studies. The overall message to share in your case studies is how you deliver value to your clients. So, look for this information in the case studies you read, and decide how you prefer to portray this information to your ideal clients.
But What About Confidentiality?
You don't have to break client confidentiality or share the actual content you translated or the assignment for which you interpreted. But you should ask your clients' permission if you want to feature them and their success (largely due to you, of course!) in a case study. Most clients are thrilled with this idea and will give you permission. However, if you are working for a corporate client or even a mid-size company, you may have to make sure you have other correct permissions — like that of the marketing or legal departments, for example. Don't let asking for these permissions stop you. Case studies are really powerful. So, if a client responds with a "No thanks," just move on to another client!
Try to come up with one or two case studies a year if you can. Make them reflect the kind of work you want to keep doing for your clients, not work that you would rather avoid. And start small. Your case studies don’t have to be pages long. In fact, a simple page on your website with testimonials and a few solid case studies is more than sufficient! If you want to get more mileage out of your case studies, you could even share them as a file on LinkedIn (just upload a PDF) or as an “article” that will remain pinned to the top of your profile.
Have you ever thought about creating some case studies to showcase your work?