Marketing for freelance translators and interpreters who hate marketing Reply

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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.
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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?

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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.

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“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:

 

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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.

 

 

Tablet interpreting, remote interpreting platforms, and tips and tricks for interpreters Reply

Since 2009, ProZ.com has hosted an annual, free, online event for language professionals in celebration of International Translation Day (ITD), September 30th. You can see past events at ProZ/TV. The name of the day notwithstanding, interpreters also deserve some of the spotlight at these events! Here is a selection of some recorded sessions from past ITD events which may be of interest to you if you interpret, or are considering getting into the interpreting field…


Tips, tools and apps to make the most of a tablet while interpreting

In this video from the 8th annual ProZ.com International Translation Day conference held online, interpreters Alexander Drechsel and Josh Goldsmith talk tablets and how interpreters can leverage them for their work:


The evolution of remote interpreting platforms

Also from the 8th annual International Translation Day celebration, Barry Olsen provides this overview of emerging technologies and platforms enabling remote interpreting:


Tips & Tricks for Remote Interpreters

Claudia Brauer is an English – Spanish translator, interpreter, trainer, conference speaker, and member of the Certified PRO Network. In this video, she shares some tips and approaches to help remote interpreters:


If you are a professional interpreter, you can use ProZ.com Pools™ to connect with new clients.

Profiles in interpreting: Giampiero Lungone, Italian – Spanish – English, industrial-technical interpreting 2

Giampiero Lungone is an industrial-technical interpreter in engineering training, working in Italian – Spanish – English. He recently joined the ProZ.com Interpreter Pool, one of the new pools of screened language designed to make it easier for clients to find experts. In this post, Giampiero talks about how he got started in interpreting, a bit about his work, and some considerations to keep in mind if you are thinking of starting a career as an interpreter.


 

570b5cf58ce4b7b52a5a0c0c3f0bf489.pngI started working as an interpreter almost by chance. I was already working as a translator and one day I received this call asking me to replace an interpreter who was ill. I had never done the job, but since this was a very good client and it was a two-day job, I decided to accept. And it opened a whole new world to me. I was really very nervous, but this first experience went extremely well. And it went so well that I have been doing it for the last 20 years. Basically, I accompany an engineer who delivers a training course for operation and maintenance of industrial machinery. These courses go so well that sometimes the trainees call me the “boss”, in the sense that without me the course could not be done.

 

I work translating from Spanish to English or Spanish to Italian and vice versa for both linguistic combinations. Spanish is spoken in 23 countries and each one has it own way of naming a certain piece of machinery. On the first days of training, the trainees are usually adapting to the course, to my voice, to the engineer. But after some days, we become friends and they start telling me that this is called this and that is called that. I always ask them to tell me the local names used in their work, so I can incorporate them in my work as an interpreter.

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The daily confrontation with distinct cultures and customs means that professional growth, especially in tackling hard times and situations (Patagonia, Argentina; Nigeria; Colombia), is constant. For example, the way one can explain something can be friendlier, whereas in other countries it would be better to be more formal. Another thing is that in warm countries the trainees might not be used to work long hours and sometimes a break can take a lot longer than 15 minutes, especially when you work in the plant. The trainees are sometimes called back to work for an emergency and the course has to wait for them. This can be a shock or considered as a negative aspect regarding the trust that is still building. My role is to mediate this whole situation. Furthermore, after working hours you confront yourself with the locals’ daily routines like driving, eating in local restaurants, going to the bank, etc. and you always have to remember that you are not in your country and you have to learn to do things as the locals do. If I can give some advice, always have some cash (dollars or euros) and credit cards and you will be fine in any part of the world.

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For an interpreter who works in this field, certain comforts are set aside, and it is a must to adapt to situations that are anything but comfortable. Once I stayed in a container with no running water (this is one of the reasons some places are not recommended for women). Another time I was in a hotel by the beach. Food can sometimes be challenging, especially when the local food is not quite acceptable (I have already contracted e. coli three times). And finding a good Italian restaurant can be very challenging too (I love Italian food). You simply cannot trust a sign written in Italian – like “La Pasta” or something of the sort. So, my recommendation is to always go to 5-star restaurants, especially if you like rare or slightly rare meat. A friend of mine contracted salmonella eating rare meat in a local restaurant. Trips usually last from one week to a maximum of three months, but then I am back home. It is always a great sensation coming back home and bringing along all those memories and experience the job offered me. There are always spectacular sunsets and breath-taking panoramas that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Working hours are also challenging. Usually I start working from the moment I wake up until almost the moment I go to sleep. Accompanying someone on the job means to be by his side always, at least for the first days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner explaining the local food, getting him in and out of the installations, providing all the necessary tools to accomplish the work, and of course, delivering the training course! After 6 hours of work, you almost totally lose your concentration. Actually, in a training course, the interpreter is the first student the engineer trains, and he has to learn and understand everything in a very short period of time. Of course, I prepare myself before travelling with the material the client furnishes me and this is an enormous help. Personally, I think two breaks in the morning and one in the afternoon are enough to not make me lose my concentration and at the same time, rest. Too many breaks make me lose concentration and don’t help the trainees because it leaves them distracted.

Even in these cases, there is always something to learn about the people you work with and work for. I work in close contact with people and this inevitably gets us talking about so many things: local food, shops, language, politics, etc. But of course, I would never change this job because of everything it taught me to this day. And, I hope very much, to still discover other places and other situations or even go back to places I have already been to.

 


Thank you, Giampiero!

If you are a professional interpreter, you can use ProZ.com Pools™ to connect with new clients.

 

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.

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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 »

 

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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.

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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/

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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.