Marketing for freelance translators and interpreters who hate marketing Reply

no_more_wheat_karen

A recent survey of freelancers centered around their marketing efforts showed some interesting finds:

  • 55% of freelancers spend 3 hours a week on their online marketing efforts
  • 51% of respondents considered marketing too time-consuming, and 41% felt marketing was too costly
  • 83% are investing financially in online marketing of some sort
  • 72% say they are spending less than but up to 100 USD a month in marketing (those who spend more than that report earning more)
  • The average survey respondent had reached their income goal within two years of starting out

The survey sample were some 2,000 US freelancers of all types, so it is reasonable to expect those numbers to be somewhat different if we narrow it down to translators and interpreters, expand the sample to other countries, or both.

One number in particular that caught my eye was the monthly investment in marketing. 100 USD a month sounded pretty steep to me, but maybe I’m wrong. 1,200 USD in freelancer marketing a year. Do you spend that much on your marketing? If so, drop me a line, I’d be very interested in hearing about it and if you find it to be a good investment.

If you are already a paying ProZ.com member, you are spending between 12 and 18 dollars a month on marketing through your membership, though you get all the rest of the tools and opportunities available along with it. It’s a kind of marketing that is easy to do, what we’d call passive marketing.

Be an ant, not a grasshopper

For some kinds of work, sending CVs, applications, emails, calling or meeting potential clients, printing business cards or flyers, posting ads, and all of that active marketing, can be effective. Many freelance translators and interpreters find that kind of marketing tiring, frustrating, and also expensive, both in terms of money and time. You’d rather be translating or interpreting, right?

You may have to rush to do active marketing if you suddenly find yourself short on clients or workload. This tends to happen when a freelancer has no kind of marketing in place while they are fully-booked, a bit like the grasshopper who watched the ant stock up for winter, unworried during the summer because food was plentiful, and then sorely unprepared for the winter.

Passive marketing is your ant stocking up for winter. It can help save you from the unexpected, even though work might be plentiful now. And sometimes it’s a gateway to new opportunities that can pop up and replace what you’ve got going on with something even better.

Where is your shop window?

As I said, passive marketing is easier to do, if you do it right, and the time/monetary investment is quite different too. It basically consists of opening up a brightly-lit shop window (your online presence) on a bustling street. Many people walk by, window shopping, but if your shop has the right goods (your services, expertise, samples, things that make you stand out), shoppers will pop in to look and talk to you. Some will be interested in buying now, some will simply make a note of your shop for when they do need what you have to offer.

Where is that bustling street, though? Well, ProZ.com is one of them. You should have a professional online presence in any serious work-related venue for language professionals (a profile on LinkedIn, for example). But since ProZ.com is the busiest street when it comes to searching for and finding language professionals, if you are not figuring there as prominently as possible, you are definitely missing out on client contact. So that ProZ.com membership, roughly the cost of a new pair of shoes per year, is all you need to keep your shop window on the busiest street in the industry.
where_is_your_shop
Check your directory ranking in your top language pair and area of expertise. What page of the results are you on? How many pages of results will your ideal client browse through to get to you? They say, “The best place to hide a dead body is on page 2 of Google search results.” Directory results work in a similar way. Chances are, by the time a client has gone a few pages in, they’ve already found the people they are looking for.

Don’t waste my time

Now, when I say “online presence” I don’t mean having a profile registered on a place and having the bare minimum of information filled out there. Nowadays, if I’m looking for a service/service provider online, I don’t even look twice at people who have not put some time investment into presenting their services. No picture? No thanks. No real name? See ya. No details about the services you offer or why I should choose you? Don’t waste my time! This is where the time investment comes in. It’s mostly an up-front investment. Put in the time to craft that presentation, then go do whatever else you want, and let it go to work for you in the background.

Now think about your two biggest clients…

I’ve got all the clients I can handle right now, no need, you might say. OK! But how many times would you try to go back to a shop that was closed every time you went there?

Now, think about your two biggest clients. Would you be in trouble if tomorrow, through no fault of your own, you lost those two clients? If so, why not put your shop window out there, and occasionally field an inquiry from an interested potential client? The worst that can happen is that you’ll make some new contacts while you’re working, and heaven forbid your fully-booked status should change, you’ll have some good leads to work with.

What’s in your shop window?

Now go over to your ProZ.com profile. At the top of your profile you will see a link to “Force visitor view”. Click on that. What you see is what any visitor to your profile will see when they are evaluating working with you. Put yourself in the shoes, or eyes, of your ideal client. Does what you see there look professional, attractive, keep your interest, “sell” you on the idea of contacting this person with a work offer? Does it speak to that person’s strengths, what makes them different from the competition?

shop_window
By the way, if you are looking for ways to build, update, or fine tune your online presentation, many of the same principles of decorating a real shop window apply! Thinking about it this way may also help get your creative juices going. If you need some inspiration, you can find some pointers here:
https://www.appearhere.co.uk/inspire/blog/how-to-dress-your-shop-window

 

 

Translators Plus part 4: On proofs and puddings Reply

ProZ.com Plus membership comes with all the benefits members have come to know over the past nineteen years, plus a lot of new tools and opportunities designed with the serious freelance language professional in mind. This series takes a look at these additional benefits, one at a time.

______________________________

“The proof is in the pudding,” I’ve heard, in response to the question “How do you show potential clients you can deliver what they are looking for, at the quality they seek?”

 

Well, I have a problem with foods of a certain texture, and many serious clients are not willing to risk their clients or their work on how your first pudding for them turns out. They want as much proof as possible, beforehand, that previous puddings have gone off without a hitch, and that the pudding they are buying is the right pudding!

Sorry, I may be writing this from a place of anger, after having found out, years ago, that black pudding was not made of dark chocolate, but something much more sinister. But you get my point.

I’d like to continue ranting about desserts, but the important thing here is that, nowadays, you can show proof before someone orders and eats that pudding. And it’s easier to do than ever. Successful translators and interpreters have strong, professional online presences/presentations that take much of the guesswork out of deciding who is good, or who is right for the job. And they show as much as they can (rather than simply telling clients they are good). Client feedback, project histories, sample translations, detailing your data security procedures, certifications of training or of entry to groups like the Certified PRO Network, or the new expert pools— all of these can help make a difference.

Your ProZ.com profile is one of the most visible presences you can have on the web, especially if you are a ProZ.com paying member. But that visibility is only as effective as what you are showing in your profile. If you have your own website, you wouldn’t leave it empty, would you? No, you make it look good, and pack it with all the relevant information a client needs to decide to contact you for their next project. If you are not doing the same with your ProZ.com profile, you are missing out on client contact in an important way. Details like a strong tagline (visible to clients searching the directory, the main channel through which work is passed), client feedback, a history of previous projects, sample translations, all come together to build a stronger picture of you as a professional for clients to see. If you are doing it right, potential clients will be able to taste the pudding before they order it.

But, sometimes it is difficult to know where to start, or where to fine tune your profile to speak to your ideal clients.

If you want to make sure your profile is really flan-tastic (Sorry! It was the pudding, I couldn’t help myself), as a ProZ.com Plus subscriber you have access to a set of free webinar-workshops with exactly this in mind. These webinars are given by a member of the ProZ.com site team, to small groups of Plus subscribers, which allows for more personalized help and feedback in crafting your online presentation. Sometimes just minor changes in how you are presenting yourself can make a difference, and the ProZ.com site team is trained to detect what those changes might be, and they are dedicated to helping you find new clients and collaborators. And to be clear, most of what we’re talking about here are changes or strategies you can apply anywhere you have an online presence, not just on ProZ.com.

If you are a Plus subscriber and have not already signed up for one of these webinars, you can find them here.

In the meantime, you can also check out this short video, which describes how your profile works to show what you have to offer to clients, and some of things you can do to increase your client contact:

 

______________________________

If you already have a Plus subscription, be sure to refer to your Plus subscriber checklist to see what you can do to get the most out of your investment.

If you are still considering membership at ProZ.com, this is the full list of membership benefits.

If you have questions or need help, feel free to drop me a line.

 

 

Translators Plus part 3: Get connected Reply

ProZ.com Plus membership comes with all the benefits members have come to know over the past nineteen years, plus a lot of new tools and opportunities designed with the serious freelance language professional in mind. This series takes a look at these additional benefits, one at a time.

______________________________

 

An advantage, and, let’s face it, sometimes a disadvantage, of the world we live in now is that everything is connected. Or it should be. Or could be.

On a professional level, this connectivity can be a great way to stay ahead. If you are in your CAT tool working on your latest project, why should you need to stop what you are doing and go somewhere else when you need help with a difficult term, for example? In another post I mentioned that you can send your query straight to the KudoZ term help network and get answers back without even leaving CafeTran Espresso, if you are using it. You can even get notified of future potential projects of interest while you are working on that project, and you have not left your CAT tool. You can log in to ProZ.com with your Facebook or Google account if you want to. This sort of inter-connectivity is what we have come to expect. Things that don’t connect to other things intelligently, that stand alone (not the same, obviously, as standing out!), will lead an increasingly lonely and inefficient life online nowadays. And basically, we are talking about how well you are reaching and serving your clients, right? How many hoops does a potential client need to jump through to find out about what you have to offer, and contact you for work? Are you making it as easy as possible for this contact to happen?

Many of the tools included in your ProZ.com Plus subscription are geared towards allowing you to more efficiently be seen, be screened, and be contacted by potential clients. Now with a click, a client can call or otherwise contact you from the directory or your profile. You can choose to receive priority messaging from potential clients, on your computer or on the go via ProZ.com Mobile. You can show clients current and past projects in real time, allowing them to see you are an active pro and to further verify your areas of expertise, in your profile, or on your website. You can provide the option for potential clients to add you to their lists of interesting candidates, on ProZ.com and on the web in general.

The “call me” button

If you have configured a way for someone to call you, a “call me” button will appear in your profile and in your directory listing. Clicking the button will open a window that shows any contact information you’ve chosen to share, and provides a “click to call” option to authorized users.

Get the “Call me” button »

Click to call

With the “click to call” feature you can allow authorized people to phone you, while keeping your phone number private.

If configured, a “Click to call now” button will appear in your “call me” box during the times you’ve specified. The caller will use a browser-based app to call your phone number (you will talk on your phone, while the caller will use the browser-based app). Your phone number will not be revealed to the caller.

Set up “Click to call” »

Widgets

The “What I’m working on” feature allows you to share projects you are working on, creating a project history as you go. Clients can search and find language professional through their “What I’m working on” histories. It’s also a great way to network with colleagues!

You can add a “What I’m working on” widget to your own website, to show potential clients the kind of work you do, in real time.

Check out the widgets available so far »

 

______________________________

If you already have a Plus subscription, be sure to refer to your Plus subscriber checklist to see what you can do to get the most out of your investment.

If you are still considering membership at ProZ.com, this is the full list of membership benefits.

If you have questions or need help, feel free to drop me a line.

Participate online in Elia Together 2018 (free for Plus subscribers) Reply

As you may have already heard, the European language industry association (Elia) and ProZ.com have teamed up to broadcast this year’s event, Together 2018Together is an annual two-day event from Elia, where language service companies and independent professionals convene for open dialogue on industry trends, to learn mutually-relevant new approaches, to update technical skills and, ultimately, develop lasting relationships to serve their end clients better. This year, the event will be held on February 22nd and 23rd.

If you are a ProZ.com Plus subscriber, you will have access to the broadcast and recordings from this year’s event for free.

All you have to do is:

  1. Make sure you are logged in to your ProZ.com account.
  2. Go to ProZ.com/TV at https://www.proz.com/tv/Together2018 (also found under the “Member activities” section of the site menu).
  3. Enjoy.

Elia Together 2018

This event has been approved for up to 7 ATA Continuing Education points. Important: in order to earn CE points, you must click the “Get credentialed” button on the timer above the video player on https://www.proz.com/tv/Together2018.

Translators Plus part 2: Smart translators and interpreters are wearing sunglasses Reply

ProZ.com Plus membership comes with all the benefits members have come to know over the past nineteen years, plus a lot of new tools and opportunities designed with the serious freelance language professional in mind. This series takes a look at these additional benefits, one at a time.

______________________________

The future looks bright for a certain type of translator, interpreter, or anyone providing language services.

These are the language professionals who are able to adapt to the changes that affect us all in general, and the changes that affect how things work in the industry. Some of these changes are related to globalization, some are tech-based, others have to do with how we have come to expect a service to be delivered, in terms of time, cost, and quality, and very often without even having met the person or persons providing the service.

Tomorrow’s translator and interpreter is continually improving. They are staying up to date on what’s new, both good and bad. They are able to accurately inform their clients about what’s new, what the best solution might be, and deliver a service that really meets those clients’ needs. They are learning and incorporating the technology, processes, and tools that allow them to do this.

That brings us to today’s topic: watching videos on the internet.

Wait! Did you just open a tab and go to YouTube to watch cats and dogs doing funny things?

1. You did the right thing,
2. Stick with me a bit, because I was talking about something else.

Call it what you want– professional development, continuing education, training, “what every professional should be doing”– tomorrow’s translator and interpreter is taking in new information about all different aspects of the business, and putting it to work for them, in order to stay on top of their game.

ProZ.com has been offering language professional training for more than ten years, and the ProZ.com community is full of experts on all different facets of the business. This expertise and knowledge has been collected in the new Plus subscriber video library. If you want to learn more about translation software, or the art of translation or interpreting, or negotiating with clients, or finding new clients, or a particular field within translation and interpreting, the video library is a good place to start. It’s free with your ProZ.com Plus subscription, and you can watch what you want when you want, on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone.

At the moment, the video library contains over 1,000 hours of content, in various languages. If you were to pay for access to all of that content separately, it would run you around 20,000 USD, which, even if you have that kind of money just burning a hole in your pocket, you’re going to want to spend it on something else, right? Granted, not every course in the library will be of interest or applicable to you, as tends to happen with most libraries. But it could be a very valuable professional resource to have in your set of tools, and again, it’s free with your Plus subscription. And as the number of Plus subscribers grows, so grows that library of knowledge.

If you have not had a look yet, I encourage you to check it out, at http://videos.proz.com/

______________________________

If you already have a Plus subscription, be sure to refer to your Plus subscriber checklist to see what you can do to get the most out of your investment.

If you are still considering membership at ProZ.com, this is the full list of membership benefits.

If you have questions or need help, feel free to drop me a line.

Translators Plus part 1: Cats drinking coffee? Reply

ProZ.com Plus membership comes with all the benefits members have come to know over the past nineteen years, plus a lot of new tools and opportunities designed with the serious freelance language professional in mind. This series takes a look at these additional benefits, one at a time.

______________________________

Today we’re going to talk about… cats drinking coffee!


Well, not quite. Maybe later. I’m curious about how that little guy reaches the cup, or if he takes it with sugar.

I meant to say we’re going to talk about a CAT tool that comes with ProZ.com Plus membership, by the name of CafeTran Espresso.

First, some CAT tool basics for those who may not be initiated. Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) software are programs that translators use to create their translations. CAT tools can use and generate translation memories (TMs), which the translator leverages for efficiency and quality in their translation. Upwards of 90% of translators use a CAT tool. Of those using a CAT tool, around 80% use more than one tool. If you are wondering which CAT tools translators are using most, this article may be of help.

If you are on the market for a CAT tool, you get one for free with your Plus subscription: CafeTran Espresso. The latest version of CafeTran Espresso, Acua, was released this year.

Even if you are not currently looking for a new CAT tool, this is a good opportunity to test drive something different to see how it compares to the tools you are currently using, and to add it to your arsenal if it works for you.

CafeTran has all the features you would expect from a CAT tool, and possibly some you would not! It is interoperable with files for Trados, memoQ, Wordfast, and other major CAT tools. It also integrates with ProZ.com services– you can keep an eye on job offers, or get KudoZ term help, right from within your CAT tool.

Support for CafeTran comes from the software’s developer himself, as well as an extensive knowledge base for those just getting started, and the CafeTran group, made up of users helping each other and also guiding feature development.

See more about what CafeTran can do at https://www.cafetran.com/#features

Your Plus subscription provides you with a floating license to CafeTran. This means that no matter where you install or use CafeTran, all you need to do is log in with your ProZ.com account to activate the full set of CafeTran features. Versions are available for Windows, OS X, and Linux.

You can also download and try out CafeTran for free to see if you like it at https://www.cafetran.com/.

______________________________

If you already have a Plus subscription, be sure to refer to your Plus subscriber checklist to see what you can do to get the most out of your investment.

If you are still considering membership at ProZ.com, this is the full list of membership benefits.

If you have questions or need help, feel free to drop me a line.

See what ProZ.com Plus has to offer »
 

Guest post: Paula Ribeiro on APTRAD’s 2nd international conference (May 17 – 19) Reply

Translation challenges over the next decade and how to address them

Today’s guest post was written by Paula Ribeiro – president and co-founder of the Portuguese Association of Translators and Interpreters (APTRAD). Paula is a long-time ProZ.com member and part of the Certified PRO Network. APTRAD will be holding its second international conference on May 17th, 18th and 19th in Porto, Portugal.


APTRAD, the Portuguese Association of Translators and Interpreters, was established in February 2015 by a group of freelance professionals in response to a perceived need for a modern, creative and innovative approach in order to achieve greater cohesion and exchange of information at a national level within the profession. After almost one year of hard work we are proud of achieving some of the important goals we initially set.

APTRAD’s motto – Interpreting the present to translate the future – reflects the Association’s aim to promote and foster the growth of its professional members, and to support the integration as professionals of all future translators and interpreters into the market.

Pursuing this thought, APTRAD is to hold its 2nd International Conference from 17 to 19 May 2018 in Porto, Portugal – a bilingual event full of opportunities to explore, learn, share, and of course network! The conference, based on the theme Translation challenges over the next decade and how to address them, will explore the challenges of a professional freelance translator and/or interpreter during the next decade and how to address and overcome them.

As in 2016, where we welcomed more than 300 participants from all over the world, we are all trying to turn this event into a big party for translators, interpreters and linguists in general joining us in our beloved hometown – Porto.

The organization of this event becomes much easier with the valuable help of our partners, in which ProZ.com is included as an essential reference in the career of so many professionals. Thank you for your support!

Feel free to visit our website at and more specifically the conference website and drop us a line if you need help or some extra information about the event!

And if you are still considering, see what participants had to say about APTRAD’s 1st International Conference in 2016 here.

Also, and because an event is just not work time, be sure to check out the amazing fringe events awaiting you in Porto

See you this May! We promise you an unforgettable event and lots of fun!

For more information:

APTRAD website: www.aptrad.pt

APRTRAD conference: www.aptrad.pt/conference/conference

Facebook event page: www.facebook.com/events/2019483394940324/


About Paula RibeiroPaul Ribeiro

Paula Ribeiro started translating in 1997, and since then she knew that this was the career she wanted to pursue! She graduated in 2006 with a Master’s Degree in Specialized Translation and Interpretation with English and French as her working languages, and later Spanish as her third language. She is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Computer Assisted Translation.

In 2010, Paula decided to create her own company – Crossingwords – and to undertake translation and interpretation as her main occupation, always maintaining her education and training as a key part of her professional and personal development.

As an event organizer, Paula has planned several conferences on both a national and international scale, including the 2013 ProZ.com International Conference.

Since February 2015 Paula has been one of the founders and the President of APTRAD, the Portuguese Association of Translators and Interpreters, a formally constituted non-profit organisation based in Porto.