Daniel Freedman, web strategist for LinguaLinx, concludes his two part series by discussing how translators can best use the Web to establish themselves as professionals who solve business problems.
In the first part of this series, I provoked some lively discussion with the provocative suggestion that translators should reject much of the conventional wisdom about web marketing.
The advice was to de-emphasize Facebook, Twitter and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). My contention was that if you are a translator, your attention should be focused instead on just two key things:
1. Establishing yourself as a translation expert
2. Making sure you have a website that proves your expert status
Let me begin with a personal anecdote.
In a previous life, I was an executive at a prestigious and well-funded NGO in New York. A colleague knew that I was an Anglophone from Quebec. She had heard me speaking French to a French diplomat at a conference, and had evidently been impressed. She therefore leaped to the entirely unwarranted conclusion that I should be the person to translate an important letter to a French government minister.
A news item that has been commented on and shared widely recently had to do with eleven translators who spent nearly two months in an underground bunker in Italy, translating Dan Brown’s latest novel for simultaneous release in different languages.
“You will of course be expected to perform the translation on our proprietary platform. It can take a while to learn to use it correctly.”
As the story goes, eleven translators from Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Spain worked long days, seven days a week, for almost two months in a high-security basement. They gave up their mobile phones, and their only Internet access was through a supervised communal computer.
Maybe it was to help ensure no spoilers were leaked before the novel’s release, maybe it was a gimmick, perhaps a combination of the two.
There are bunkers, and then there are bunkers…
Let’s say you can choose the author or the book, and let’s say you will be handsomely rewarded for the work. Would you be willing to spend two months working in a secret bunker, with no contact with friends and family? Give your opinion in the poll on the right side of the screen, or in the comments section below!
Another video that has been around a while but that might be worth sharing (again). Some common misconceptions about translation and freelance translating, followed by a few clarifications:
Can you think of other common misconceptions about translation or what it means to be a translator?
Daniel Freedman, web strategist for LinguaLinx, writes today’s guest blog post, the first in a series on web marketing for translators:
Do you hate marketing? Are you overwhelmed with contradictory advice from so-called Web experts, none of which seems to have much to do with translation? If so, this blog post is for you.
I’ll offer some surprising advice on a few of the highest priority, do-it-yourself things you can act on right away to get more business – without spending much money.
I’m going to advise you to disregard generic advice that doesn’t apply to you and to focus instead on just two key things:
- Establishing yourself as a translation expert
- Making sure you have a website that proves your expert status
Is your priority doing great work? Does marketing feel like a burden that gets in the way of that? If so, you’re in good company.
* back translation of “This blog post title was machine translated and not checked” using MT.
I’ll begin a sentence with “and”, but I’d be hard pressed to end anything with it. The best back-translation of “This blog post title was machine translated and not checked”, though, was “This blog title was too mean and not checked.” You have to watch out for those mean blog titles.
This video has been out for a while, and there are pages and pages of similar compilations of failed translation out there, but if you have a few minutes and need reaffirmation that a good human translator is needed to ensure a good translation (or know someone else who does), here you go.
Warning: If you are the kind of person who cannot hear “Baby Elephant Walk” without getting it stuck in your head for the rest of the day, this may not be for you.
Have you seen other compilations or examples of failed translation worth sharing? Feel free to post them in the comments section and.
Make more money, have more free time, translate, translate, translate. This seems to be the extent to which many freelance translators and interpreters would define their business plans.
In a poll featured on April 9, 2011, 19.5% of respondents said that they did not have a written business plan. This number decreased further in a similar survey run on September 6 of last year, in which only 8.4% of respondents stated that they had a written business plan.
Interestingly, over 37% of those who responded to yesterday’s poll answered “Yes” when asked if they had a specific plan or set of goals for their freelance businesses. Another 25.3% of participants said that while they did not currently have a concrete professional plan or set of objectives, they would like to develop one.
One might wonder what this difference in results means. Why did the minority of respondents say that they did not have a written business plan, but the majority of those polled said that they did in fact have, or would like to have, a specific plan or set of objectives for their business?
In general, the criteria used by translation agencies and end clients for choosing the appropriate translator or interpreter for a given job are well-known: specialization in a given language pair and field of expertise, years of experience, rate range, availability, credentials and client feedback, among others. But outsourcers are not the only ones in a position to set the parameters for a given job and working relationship. Translators and interpreters too can –and actually should– have their own set of parameters to decide when to accept a job offer made by a new client or decline it.