The successful marketing your services as a freelance translator, starts with your curriculum vitae (CV) that you will need in order to pursue either registration at an agency for freelance translators or for direct referral clients.
For an easy start, using an agency for freelance translators provides you with a number of resources; a large database of clients, and a project fee depository to ensure you are paid. You can register with translation agencies at no charge. Make sure that you understand the rules of the agency regarding accepting work and receiving payments before you register.
The American Translators Association at http://www.atanet.org/ carries a list of agencies for freelance translators in the United States. For a list of European agencies for freelance translators, Translation Directory.com is an excellent source at http://www.translationdirectory.com/. In addition, they offer a newsletter and a listing of agencies to avoid.
However, you with have to compete with hundreds of other freelance translators for the same project. Without project references, you will have to convince the client of your ability; provide sample translation or letters of recommendation. In addition, once you win the project, the agency will take a percentage of award fees, in some cases this can be as much as 50%.
On the other hand, when your freelance translator services are recommended to a client directly, you have potential to earn more. However, you may be required to perform the type of tasks that agencies provide for clients; job quotes, editing, proofreading and formatting. Keep in mind that you also will be on your own in terms of ensuring payment for the work; make sure that you receive a written work agreement for your freelance translator services that outlines the terms of the project; the nature of the work you are to provide, the schedule for delivery and the compensation before you begin the project.