Market your translation services with the help of a practical marketing plan 1

In this guest post, ProZ.com professional trainer Tess Whitty shares some advice on how to create a marketing plan for your freelance translation business.


You are a freelance translator looking to grow your business and find those ideal clients that you enjoy working with. In order to do that we need to have some sort of a plan, a marketing plan.

In my experience there is no need to create a lengthy business plan (that will just end up in a drawer and never be put into action). Therefore, I recommend working smarter (not harder) and pulling from a variety of other tools such as mind-maps and whiteboards to create your plan.

customerIf your translation business is already up and running, the idea of adding more to your to-do list can easily feel overwhelming. As business owners, particularly when we are a one-person office, it’s easy to get buried beneath the day-to-day tasks of servicing clients and completing projects. I often hear translators say that it’s hard to find the time and energy to focus on implementing marketing tools. I know it’s hard, I have been there.

Now, because your time is scarce and precious, it is critical that you use it wisely. How are we going to ensure you get stuff done? Easy! We are going to create a list of marketing activities that will benefit your business. That way, every time your marketing appointment rolls around, you will know exactly what you need to tackle that day.

Here are the questions you can answer to begin crafting your marketing action plan:

  • How many new clients or projects do you want and in how much time?
  • How much more do you want to earn?
  • Where will you find your new clients?
  • What marketing methods will you use? (Be as specific as possible)
  • How will you market and provide service to your existing clients?
  • Can you offer additional services to your existing clients?

Based on these answers, you can make a master list of marketing actions that you need to take in order to grow your business. This master list should contain every task – big and small – that you need to execute. Then, prioritize all the actions you need to take and estimate approximately how much time you need to spend on each one. Finally, plug them into a calendar of activities you can do every week and every month. If a certain action requires long-term effort, break the task into milestones and mark the milestones on your calendar as well.

Be realistic with yourself and be careful not to try to do everything all at once. Remember that professional chefs don’t run around the kitchen and throw everything into the oven at the same time. Instead, they recognize that every task requires a different temperature and cook time. They plan their tasks strategically and never take on too much at once.

Follow up with yourself regularly to see what is working and what you need to change – perhaps you tried to tackle too much or too little, perhaps you noticed that your priorities were out of order. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to the calendar, and remember that it exists for your benefit. After a year it will be fun to look back at just how much your business, income and client list have changed over the course of only 12 months.

If you would like to get a template for a one page marketing plan to help you on the way, please go here: http://forms.aweber.com/form/16/530744816.htm


This post is a short excerpt from Tess’s new book, “The Marketing Cookbook for Translators – For a Successful Freelance Career and Lifestyle,” now available in the ProZ.com books section: http://www.proz.com/books/95/The-Marketing-Cookbook-For-Translators.

Thanks for sharing, Tess! As always, feedback and comments can be posted below or via Twitter @ProZcom

 

How to succeed in the industry: An interview with Marta Stelmaszak 2

Marta_StelmaszakAn immensely successful trainer in the area of professional development, Marta Stelmaszak‘s advice is sought by language professionals throughout the globe who are searching for ways to expand and improve their businesses. Marta utilizes her vast knowledge of marketing and entrepreneurship – as well as linguistics and translation – to offer freelance translators a unique perspective on how to succeed in the industry.

For the second year in a row, Marta has taken home more ProZ.com Community Choice Awards than any other recipient. This year alone she received five awards in the fields of best blog, website, trainer, conference speaker, and mentor. Her “Business School for Translators” professional development course also received the Community Choice Award in the category of best translation-related training course.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Marta about her success as a trainer, the impact of social media on her own business, some marketing techniques that she employs as a language professional, and the future of the industry.


MK: First of all, congratulations on recently winning six ProZ.com Community Choice Awards! One of the awards that you received this year as well as in 2013 is in the category of “Best Trainer.” Why do you think people are drawn to the advice you provide? How is your message different from that of other industry professionals?

MS: Thank you so much! It’s a great honour to have been entrusted with so many votes. I must admit that I never expected to win as many as six awards. The “best trainer” category award means a lot to me because it’s a great piece of feedback on the work I’ve been doing together with eCPD Webinars for almost two years now.

Throughout my course, the Business School for Translators, I aim to pass on the solid business knowledge I acquired during a number of business courses and a degree in management and then applied it to my own freelance business. Of course, I’m sharing my experience and how I found my clients, but the most important part of the course involves strategic thinking to develop a long-term plan. To do that, the experience of one person isn’t enough. The big strategies and tactics that I share with my students help us navigate through the freelancing landscape and build successful businesses.

Plus, the course has a wonderful community around it. We’re sharing, commenting and helping each other almost every day, and we often meet up at industry conferences. The Business School course led to the creation of a few collaboration projects, partnerships and service exchanges.

I also believe one of the things that makes my course so popular is the fact that I remained a freelance translator and interpreter and I don’t outsource work. This, perhaps, gives students the confidence that it’s possible to be successful and be a ‘true’ freelancer at the same time. It is and it feels great.

MK: How has social media effected your career? What social media platforms do you use professionally?

MS: Overall, social media had a positive effect on my business. LinkedIn was undoubtedly the most useful platform when comes to making contacts and reaching out to potential clients. This social network is a gold mine of information and market research. For Continuing Professional Development, equally important in my eyes, Twitter is my main platform. I think it’s a great way to stay abreast of all industry news and follow events which you cannot attend in person.

MK: Your blog offers practical tips and advice for language professionals at all stages of their careers. To what do you attribute the popularity of this resource?

MS: I’d like to believe that the main reason why my blog is read by colleagues is the fact that it’s based on solid business knowledge, research and careful application of the concepts I talk about to my own business.

As I studied business and management, I’m combining this field with languages. This is why I mainly specialise in translation and language consultancy aimed at small and medium enterprises growing their own activities in Poland or in the UK. But at the same time, I’m trying to bring this business knowledge to the world of translation and interpreting.

I took this approach even further and in late 2014 I published The Business Guide for Translators, the first book aimed at the translation and interpreting industry sharing essentials of business strategy and solid knowledge in economics.

MK: Your professional online presence is associated with the name “WantWords.” How important has branding been as part of your marketing strategy? Is it something you would recommend to everyone?

MS: In my opinion, branding is the way others perceive our brand, or if you like, our business. To have a brand doesn’t mean that you need a logo, a great website or give out gadgets. These elements can help you build the image you want to project but they’re not absolutely necessary. And sometimes the lack of them is precisely the essence of the brand.

My brand was built on careful research into my target market and was then executed following a branding strategy fitting into a wider marketing plan. The current image of WantWordsWantWords is what works best for my potential clients and for my business at the same time.

Anybody considering improving their branding or even re-branding should first think about the target market, i.e. the group of clients they’re trying to reach. Learning about potential clients will make the brand sharper and more effective. I’d also suggest preparing a good strategy of how the brand is going to benefit the business owner.

I would say that every translator and interpreter needs a brand, be it a strong association with quality, indication of a specific kind of work, or uncommon attitude towards work. The way this brand should be communicated is of course a whole other story.

MK: Could you define what it means to have a good online presence, and why is it important for freelance translators and interpreters?

MS: The way I see it, good online presence doesn’t mean being everywhere all the time. I believe that online presence is effective when it allows to reach the right customers, inspire their trust and reflect the business owner behind the online persona. In this sense, online presence is an extension of a business.

Freelance translators and interpreters who’re considering finding clients online should invest their time in energy into establishing the right online presence for themselves because it will definitely make their marketing efforts more effective.

MK: How do you envision the future of the language industry? Is there one piece of advice that you would give to your colleagues to help them stay relevant in this profession? 

MS: In my opinion, translation is becoming more and more integrated with the context in which it appears, and the future will accelerate this trend. My one piece of advice would be to see our work in the wider business context and react to changing business needs.


I hope you enjoyed this interview. To learn more about Marta Stelmaszak and her Business School for Translators, visit: http://wantwords.co.uk/school/

Feedback can be posted below or via Twitter @ProZcom

Standing out as a translator: A conversation with Andrew Morris 2

Andrew_MorrisIn less than a year, Andrew Morris‘ Standing Out Facebook group has become an active place for discussion and engagement for language professionals around the globe. The experiences shared there by both Andrew and his colleagues – the themes of which center around self-empowerment in the profession, healthy business practices, developing an attitude that fosters a successful career, to name a few – have been categorized and compiled by the group’s founder, and will be released as “The Book of Standing Out” at the end of this month.

You may remember Andrew Morris from the Bright Side of Freelance Translation project, an e-book that he co-authored with Nicole Y. Adams, which took home this year’s ProZ.com Community Choice Award for best translation-related book. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Andrew on his new project, the Standing Out community, how the book evolved from the discussions that took place there, and on some of his personal views on how to be successful and “stand out” in the industry.


MK: To what do you attribute your success as a freelance translator, and how has your success in the language industry carried over into the Standing Out project? What spurred you to create the initiative?

AM: Before I ever developed this recent more public profile, I was already beavering away fairly happily as a translator, and running a boutique agency on top of that, so things were going OK from about two or three years into my practice onwards.

The way I see things right now, I’d attribute that early success to 25% linguistic and technical competence, plus a few presentational skills, and 75% attitude and mindset. The 25% is crucial, if you can’t actually translate you’ll get nowhere, but it’s everything around that basic competence that fascinates me.

And then four years after I started out, the Standing Out project began with a few random contributions to the Watercooler forum on Facebook, which ultimately led to launching my own page, which has now turned into a book.

The whole endeavour was in a sense spurred by an attempt to work out the nature of that X factor that helps people thrive, once they have the requisite skills. It’s a complex set of answers and any analysis is going to include a fair amount of hypothesis. But it’s an engaging quest all the same.

MK: How did the “Standing Out” book come about?

AM: Well after that initial involvement in fora, then on my own page, the initiative gathered momentum and the page itself seemed to attract lots of readers. Meanwhile, the book came about as a result of a chance conversation with my brother, who pointed out the ephemeral nature of all things Facebook and the undeniable prestige and indeed joy of producing a real book.

From that conversation, and a few explorations online, I soon found my way to the Createspace self-publishing subsidiary of Amazon and it was just a matter of weeks before I was holding that real book in my hand.

MK: The Standing Out Facebook page sees a high level of community interaction and engagement. What do you think draws people to participate?

AM: It’s exceeded all my expectations, with readers often writing thoughtful and thought-provoking comments, asking probing questions and, it seems to me, feeling a strong sense of both belonging and ownership. I think a number of things explain this:

First of all, I think there was possibly a need for discussion of what we might call the ‘softer’ side of translation. The 25% is well covered in many books and blogs, ranging from the linguistic to the technical and Standing_Outmarketing aspects, but to my knowledge there was no-one writing in depth about the whole attitudinal dimension. It popped up now and again, with people referring in passing to ‘passion’ or ‘commitment’, but it was never the focus of anyone’s writing in its own right.

Second, the focus is by and large on the more uplifting and motivating aspects of our job, rather than on constant complaints. I don’t deny the existence of problems, but I do question the benefit of circling around those issues day after day and month after month, just for the sake of it. Where we do look at challenges, the focus tends to be on manageable solutions and not on lamentation. The feedback I’ve received suggests that readers like and appreciate this stance.

Third, I set out from the beginning to create a safe, non-confrontational space, in which there are debates and disagreements, but none of the vitriol that characterises certain online discussions. And certainly none of the personal invective. It’s about issues, not people.

Fourth, I respond to each contribution and wherever possible to every single person, so that people soon feel validated and encouraged to write more. And of course they all interact happily with each other, in an atmosphere of support and mutual respect.

Fifth, people tell me they enjoy the way I write.

And finally, my previous career was in teaching, so I have a strong pedagogical instinct and I try to frame my observations and questions in ways that will draw people in.

Those six things put together probably go some way to explaining the growth of the page, but I guess the readers would all offer their own explanations.

MK: Apart from online fora, in what other ways do you maintain relationships with your fellow language professionals?

AM: My whole online life is still less than a year old, but it’s true it takes up a fair amount of mindspace now. Still, I have developed more personal friendships with quite a few readers around the world, and one or two face-to-face relationships too with translators living locally. On a grander scale, the recent ATA conference in Chicago was a fantastic chance to put faces to names, and I have a few more conferences lined up now, including ITI and ProZ.com. I’ve been bitten by the bug!

MK: The discussions on the Standing Out Facebook page touch heavily on the idea of having the right mindset and attitude in professional practice. In your opinion, what kind of thinking should one avoid in order to be successful in this industry?

AM: I think the most important thing is to avoid a victim mentality. From my reading of those who seem to be suffering in their careers, they appear to feel powerless in the face of demands from clients. It may very well be that there are other areas of their lives beyond work that need attention, but in strictly professional terms, they tend to express that suffering through hostility towards clients and colleagues, as well as towards the ‘system’ in general.

There’s also a great deal of fear around, of future technology, of falling rates, of exploitation. I have the sense that many people feel disempowered, and that they see the world of translation in a certain way as a direct result of that.

Paradoxically, this means that their experience of the world is the consequence of their frustration, rather than the cause of it.

There are so many realities out there: from so-called bottom feeders to premium clients, but I firmly believe that our perceptions are subjective filters based on our own emotional experiences and beliefs.

Of course in the book I try to address these from all sorts of angles. The content started out as random posts but has since coalesced into an approach – a philosophy even.

MK: Your book will be released at the end of this month. If there is one thing that you’d like your readers to take away from it, what would that be? How is the “Standing Out” book different from other professional development resources for freelance translators and interpreters?

AM: I’d like readers to feel empowered, and to realise how much they can do to affect their own professional destinies. And thus to pursue their own path with even greater conviction, towards a fulfilling working life that leaves them feeling inspired.

I certainly don’t offer a blueprint in terms of what to specialise in, how much to charge, or who to work with (or not). However, I do urge people to take a good look at themselves, start to make decisions more allied to their own characters and needs and sculpt out the career they want and to trust that the rest will follow.

It’s what happened to me and I don’t see what should prevent it happening to anyone else.

I’m just an ordinary translator – I know people even in my immediate circle who are more gifted than me. But when it comes to, self-knowledge, a sense of autonomy, confidence and attitude, I suppose I’m doing all right…


You can learn more about Andrew’s mission by visiting the Standing Out project’s dedicated Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/standingoutasatranslator

The “Standing Out” book will be released at the end of this month, and will be available for sale via the ProZ.com books section.

I hope you enjoyed this interview. Questions or comments can be left below, or via Twitter @ProZcom

Resumen del seminario regional de ProZ.com en Córdoba, Argentina (2014) 1

IMG_8177Apenas pasadas las ocho de la mañana del sábado 8 de noviembre de 2014, los asistentes al seminario regional de ProZ.com en Córdoba, Argentina ya se agrupaban sobre una de las veredas del dinámico barrio de Nueva Córdoba. Iban llegando solos, en grupos, con mochilas en las espaldas, anotadores en las manos y algún que otro bostezo pendiente. Algunos de ellos estudiantes, otros profesionales con años de experiencia a cuestas. ¿Qué tenían en común todos? Las ganas de aprender, conectarse con colegas y divertirse.

IMG_8214Una vez hecha la acreditación de más de 130 asistentes, fue Juán Manuel Macarlupu Peña el que los recibió con un enorme abrazo con perfil de traductor profesional. Y ya antes del desayuno, así, con hambre de conocimiento y de medialunas, Juan Manuel los invitó a trabajar juntos para descubrir a la traducción como profesión y como negocio, delineando posibles salidas laborales, enumerando diferentes habilidades indispensables del traductor y detallando estrategias para no parecer novatos.

Finalmente, el café no se hizo esperar más, y antes de dar paso al resto de los módulos del programa, actuó como un perfecto punto de partida para que los asistentes se conozcan y comiencen a sacar mayor provecho de asistir a este evento. ¿Cómo te llamás? ¿En qué año estás? ¿En qué te especializás? Estas preguntas iban de traductor a traductor, de estudiante a estudiante, de colega a colega, actuales y futuros.

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El seminario continuó con información sobre la situación del mercado laboral, tácticas para encontrar clientes, estrategias para determinar honorarios y negociar efectivamente, y una extensa discusión acerca de las diferentes posibilidades de cobro –nacional e internacional, culminando con una foto grupal cargada de buena voluntad y de amenaza de lluvia (que no tardó en hacerse efectiva).

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¿Qué faltó? ¡Nada! Si hasta nos reunimos luego del seminario para verificar identidades y credenciales en los perfiles de ProZ.com, y compartir una merienda en un bar de la ciudad mientras conversamos sobre las ventajas y desventajas de la traducción automática, las diferentes formas de especializarse, los métodos de enseñanza en las diferentes instituciones educativas de la República Argentina, y, como si fuese poco, sobre la posibilidad de volver a vernos pronto, muy pronto.

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Lo que resta…

  • Compartir fotos y videos a través de redes sociales con el hashtag #CordobaProZ1, y ver las fotos y videos que otros han compartido:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1470141453256774/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?f=realtime&q=%23CordobaProZ1&src=typd

ProZ.com: http://www.proz.com/conference/652?page=image_gallery

  • Ver y descargar los certificados de asistencia en la sección “Participación en conferencias” del perfil de ProZ.com (sólo asistentes al evento): http://www.proz.com/profile

Gracias, Juan Manuel Macarlupu Peña, por la organización de este evento y a todos los que asistieron y aprovecharon la oportunidad de aprender, conectarse con colegas y divertirse. Aquí les dejo un video-resumen del evento y espero verlos muy pronto!

Celebrate International Translation Day with ProZ.com! 1

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International Translation Day is almost here, and it’s time to celebrate.

ProZ.com will be kicking off the festivities on September 29th with its annual virtual conference series. This is a two day event, the first day being dedicated to CAT tools and software training. The sessions on September 30th will feature a wide variety of panels, discussions and workshops geared towards professional development, business management, and more.

The program for the event on September 29th is as follows:

…and the sessions for the event on September 30th are:

Attendees will have access to on-demand content, special discounts and software savings, as well as a platform to chat live with event exhibitors. Those who attend on September 30th will also be eligible to use their certificate of attendance towards 10 ATA Continuing Education points.

The event is free to attend, and those who are registered will be able to view all listings from agencies and LSPs that have recruitment needs.

You can register to attend the virtual conference here: http://www.proz.com/virtual-conferences/group/23/register

While you’re at it, be sure to check out this past blog post for tips and advice on how to get the most out of your virtual event experience: http://prozcomblog.com/2013/07/24/translation-events-101-virtual-events/

Hope to see you all there!

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Did you know the virtual event series coincides with the announcement of this year’s winners of the ProZ.com Community Choice Awards? Keep an eye on http://www.proz.com/community-choice-awards to see who won!

Última semana para el evento de ProZ.com en La Plata Reply

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Falta solo una semana para el seminario de ProZ.com en La Plata para estudiantes de traducción y traductores noveles, que tendrá lugar en la Ciudad de La Plata, Bs. As., Argentina, el día sábado 16 de agosto de 2014.

Programa del evento

Este seminario de jornada completa está orientado especialmente a estudiantes de traducción y a traductores independientes que estén en la primera etapa del desarrolo de sus carreras y negocios. Se tratarán los siguientes temas: marketing personal y profesional para traductores, desarrollo de un plan de negocios sustentable, formas de cobro y facturación para clientes locales e internacionales, gestión de proyectos para traductores, control de riesgos a la hora de tomar un proyecto de traducción, negociación de tarifas, recursos para traductores y herramientas CAT, primeros pasos para una carrera exitosa y mucho más. Para conocer más sobre el seminario y el programa hacé clic aquí.

Powwow post-evento

Al finalizar el evento, estarán todos invitados a un powwow en Café Benoit, Coffee & Grill en Plaza Paso N° 161 a las 17:00 horas para conocernos mejor. Los powwows de ProZ.com son reuniones informales de traductores para hacer contactos y relacionarse con otros profesionales de la lengua. Es una manera de conocerse detrás de los perfiles de ProZ.com. Serán bienvenidos los asistentes al seminario y también quienes no hayan podido asistir. Para anotarte al powwow post-evento hacé clic aquí. Para aprender más acerca de los powwows de ProZ.com, visitá la sección de preguntas frecuentes.

Reservá tu lugar en el evento

Muchos estudiantes de traducción y traductores noveles ya han confirmado su asitencia en el evento.

Para registrarte y reservar tu lugar  hacé clic aquí.

5 things you should know about the ProZ.com Community Choice Awards 1

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With the nomination phase of this year’s Community Choice Awards in full swing, let’s take a look at the who, what, when, where, and how of the competition. Here are the 5 things you need to know about the ProZ.com Community Choice Awards:

What are the ProZ.com Community Choice Awards?

They are a means through which members of the ProZ.com community are able to publicly recognize those language professionals who are active, influential, or otherwise extraordinary in various media throughout the industry.

There are two main award categories: translation-related and interpretation-related. Within these categories are various sub-categories such as best blog, best website, best trainer, and best conference speaker, to name a few.

The Community Choice Awards are hosted by ProZ.com on an annual basis, this year being the second one of its kind.

Who can participate?

Nominations, voting, and winners are determined entirely by the ProZ.com community. If you are a member of the site, you can participate in the Community Choice Awards.

Don’t have a profile with ProZ.com yet? You can register with the site for free here.

How can I nominate recipients for this award?

Simply visit http://www.proz.com/community-choice-awards/nominations to get started in nominating this year’s award recipients, or to propose additional award categories (you will need to be logged-in to participate). Don’t wait, the nomination phase will be ending soon!

When will I find out who won?

Nominations may be submitted through August 14th. The voting phase will then commence on August 20th and last until September 22nd. The winners of this year’s Community Choice Awards will be announced on September 30th, just in time for International Translation Day.

Where can I go to see last year’s winners and learn more about this event?

You can see last year’s winners here: http://www.proz.com/community-choice-awards/community-choice-awards/vote

You may also want to have a look at a past Translator T.O. post featuring the winners of the 2013 Community Choice Awards in the “Best blog” category: http://prozcomblog.com/2013/12/03/the-proz-com-community-choice-awards-translators-anonymous/

For more information on these awards, be sure to check out the FAQs: http://www.proz.com/faq/158083#158083