Twitter for translators? 24

I dismissed the whole Twitter thing at the outset. I had been through MySpace, and was already getting tired in Facebook of reading about what everyone had eaten, or was going to eat, for dinner. So when people started talking about Twitter, and tweets, whatever those were, my first reaction was, “Another social network for people to spam each other with information I don’t need? No thanks.”

Then I remember hearing about Twitter in the forums, and people were talking about being able to add a Twitter feed to your profile. One of the most vocal in favor was member Erik Hansson, who has been an excellent example of the use of Twitter by an industry professional. Professional translators were using Twitter? What were they using it for? I decided to go ahead and create an account and poke around and see what was going on.

At first, on a general look around, I saw a lot of the same stuff you will see on any other social network. Ugh, I thought. Let’s see what translators are doing.

This is where it got interesting. I saw people in the translation industry using it (as they use other social networks!) to network, share information, stay informed, promote themselves and others. Work was even getting passed and done through it.

I had felt obligated to add friends and people I knew to my group of friends in Facebook, but I decided to use Twitter in a different way. I would only “follow” those whose tweets I found informative or useful. And I would try, at least try, to only tweet information which I also found informative or useful.

The tweets I follow are now just as useful, if not sometimes more useful, than many news services or my Google Reader when it comes to hearing about some of the latest in translation, or issues facing translators and how they are dealing with them. And there’s an advantage to this format: the character limit means that I get short, concise snippets from different people, and I decide whether to follow the link to the full story or investigate further. A time-saver. People at industry events tweet throughout those events, so that even if I am not there, I get a taste of what is going on, what is being discussed, what is striking a chord with attendees (and the fun they’re having that I’m missing out on!). In a collaborative effort, everyone contributes what they have, what they know, what they have read or seen, to the mix. By selecting with care those you follow, you create a powerful way of staying informed and in communication with colleagues, with a minimum of time invested. By sharing with care what you find useful and informative with others in the industry or by passing the word on by “re-tweeting”, you are helping do the same for others.

I’d like to mention here a few Twitter users who I have found particularly informative. This is by no means an exhaustive list:











and @ProZcom of course!

Check them out, and if you have not already, try forming a list of people you follow which you find useful and productive. Then try your hand at returning the favor to those who might follow you.

I’m focusing here on the informative-collaborative aspect of using Twitter, and the benefits I have found. I’m sure there are pros (pro translators and pro tweeters) who can expand more on other beneficial aspects for their businesses of using this medium.

Comments >>


  1. Thank you very much for including me in this great list Jared 🙂 Do you mind if I add a few highly recommendable Tweeps? (based on my latest “Tweep per day” follow recommendations)

    @lingocode (Rose also participated in last night’s CertPROs powwow very actively, offering great suggestions and ideas)

    Have a lovely weekend and thank you for the very interesting blog posts!


    • Catherine,

      Thanks for the shout-out!

      I’ve started participating in Twitter at the end of last year, and I have found it to be extremely rewarding in terms of networking with other colleagues. Moreover, one of the downsides of being a freelancer is that we are basically on our own. These past few months I’ve felt the support from many of my colleagues not only a professional point of view, but also from a personal perspective.
      In terms of work, I’ve found myself recommending many of the colleagues I’ve met through Twitter, such as Catherine, and I know that they have done the same for me (thanks Rose, aka @lingocode). One thing that we were commenting the other day is that, even though may of us are “followed” by many agencies, not many of them interact with us. Not sure if many of you out there feel the same, but I think it would be nice to take advantage of Twitter to engage in conversation, which will allow us to know what they expect from us and vice-versa, a fact that I truly believe could improve the virtual relationship between employer and employee.
      What do you think?



  2. Hi Catherine, thanks for the great additions, and thanks for the new vocab (I wasn’t familiar with “Tweep”)! Can anyone else recommend good Tweeps for translators to follow?


  3. Thanks a lot Jared for mentioning and for publishing this great article about Twitter.
    As Catherine said, there are so many translators and other linguists around the world who always contribute with interesting and helpful posting. By the way, I would call ourselves tweeters, sending tweets on Twitter 😉 But there is not yet any standard terminology within this field..

    Thanks again Jared and keep up the good work!


  4. I have been using Twitter for nearly a year and, to me, is the quickest way to share anything about our industry. Unfortunately I only have one account, which I use for my personal stuff, my translations, my passion for photography, videogames (I am a videogames localiser) and any geek stuff that I learn. I thought about having different accounts, but if I start thinking to create one of each, because people who like photography might not b e interested in videogames, or people within the translation industry might not be interested of new recipes to cook tonight, I thought it would be better to have one, than 6 accounts. I also thought that, well, somebody might not be interested in cooking, but if I once post a recipe that I have just cooked, I might help that person to say: “wow, that looks nice, I am going to cook it”. Even though they follow me only because of my translations news 🙂

    So yes, I recommend everybody to have an account, even if they don’t like tweeting, to know everything about the translation industry, news, tips, blogs or even meeting other translators within your area to go out from time to time 🙂

    BTW, I am @Currixan


  5. You reflect my exact experience, Jared. I too rejected Twitter, and only by pure chance discovered that it provided “live” access to the day-to-day world of the translation industry. It’s the global village come of age. Even those of us who live in far-flung corners of the planet can actively participate in the affairs of our profession, exchange ideas and keep abreast of all the exciting developments which are most certainly shaping the future of our profession. For me, Twitter has been a profound learning experience – I’ve been exposed to more information about developments in our industry in the past month than would ever have been possible over the past year.
    A great post on a truly remarkable influence on our professional lives!


  6. I was dismissive at first, but then, I was also dismissive about translation blogging, and look how that changed!

    I love having a network of lovely colleagues to exchange thoughts and ideas with. They are my inspiration and solace! More than that, I feel genuine warmth for these colleagues, as we discuss work and other matters through the day. We have such an unusual profession that few people understand (my neighbour thought I was a bit like the ‘translator’ on Star Trek: Enterprise, and able to understand ANY written language), and so it is great to have a whole network of people who really DO understand the daily dilemmas, frustrations and joys of our industry.

    I would also like to add some lovely tweeps (I quite like tweeps…) who I regularly exchange thoughts, ideas, links and advice with, further to those already mentioned.

    @brandelune (OmegaT representative who found me through the #OmegaT hashtag after I was singing its praises!)

    And many more! Sorry for inevitably missing some people out!


  7. Hi there! I fully agree with you on everything you say on this post, though I might not be totally happy with some of the names you’re suggesting to follow because I think that some of them are quite harmful to translation industry, especially when it comes to us, the freelancers.

    However, I do agree that almost every user you mention generally offers a great deal of useful information and links.

    Furthermore, regarding the use of Twitter, I think that the hardest part of it is actually separating it from your personal life. I don’t know about you, but I have non-translators friends on my TL, and they couldn’t care less about translation. So, I think it’s OK to do a bit of everything: a few tweets on translation, and a few tweets on real life. =)

    And I also discovered that translators themselves are useful for a lot of things and are always willing to help with every-day life situations that might come along. Moreover, I agree with Curri on the fact that we should probably have one Twitter account for each of our passions and friends, but is that really possible? Tweeting and reading other tweets is already a great time-consuming activity.



  8. Like most of you, I was a bit skeptical about Twitter until I start actually using it! It is a faster way to exchange information with collegues and retrieve information about the industry, and the possibility of inserting #keywords in your tweets allows you to also exchange with people who are not part of your network but are looking for/using the same keywords.

    My tweets: @francejapan

    I follow:

    – Translators (some of whom I know in real life) and associations such as @ITITranslators, @andytrans, @2mlanguages, @atanet, @TrishTransl8 (and many more)

    – Tweets for freelancers in generalm such as @FreelanceMentor

    – Quality newspapers in my working languages, such as @mdiplo (monde diplomatique) or @Yomiuri_Online (Yomiuri shinbun)

    – Publications and stakeholders in my fields of specialization such as @AmericanAnthro, @lettreehess or @funabikitakeo.


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  12. Thanks for the shoutout! I agree with Silvina that I would also like to see increased conversation between agencies and freelance translators. Perhaps we freelance translators need to take the first steps. Thank you also for all the recommendations on other tweeps to follow. Happy tweeting!


  13. Thanks Jared for a really interesting blog post, which I read about on Twitter! I am a newbie in the world of translation and translators and Twitter has been incredibly useful in helping me starting up. Reading translators’ tweets (@ATGTranslations, @Tesstranslates, @HindiTrans, @NTceline, @rainylondon amongst many others) has allowed me to get familiar with translation-related words/topics/issues etc. I’ve been absorbing a lot of useful and interesting information, though I have to admit that I feel like I’m taking more than I am giving on Twitter! Being new to translation, I tend to think I don’t have enough to tweet about yet that will interest people who have been working in translation for years!

    Thanks again for the great post,

    Marie (@LagardeLanguage)


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