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.
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.
In the past, the creation of a website to promote one’s freelance language services would have had to involve a team of professional web designers, developers and graphic artists. Nowadays, making a website to showcase your knowledge, skills and expertise as a translator or interpreter is as easy as ever, and possible to do without professional help.
In a poll featured on Nov 2, 2012, 35% of those who responded stated that they had their own professional website dedicated to promoting their translation or interpretation services. Another 27% said that they did not currently have a website, but that they would like one. Additionally, it was noted in the State of the industry: freelance translators in 2012 report that having a professional website was ranked as the third favorite channel for translator marketing, behind online platforms and emailing.
This is the eighth post in the ten-part series providing information on ten different strategies for staying competitive and growing your translation business.
Eighth strategy: Building an online presence
In addition to social networking, language professionals are encouraged to build their online presence through their own professional websites.
Creating a website geared towards building or expanding your business means creating a professionally designed website that attracts visitors, optimized and updated regularly to beat competition.
Professional translators should approach their website with a client’s eyes and make sure the essentials are there (language pairs, services offered, contact information, testimonials, sample translations or recordings, important clients, past projects, formal training, among other details). A distinctive and unique domain name showing seriousness about the services being offered will set any professional translator apart.
How can I create my own website using ProZ.com?
ProZ.com members enjoy comprehensive web hosting services for free. Professional translators can register their domain or subdomain name and create their professional-looking website in minutes without knowing any HTML. The ProZ.com website creator assembles a fully functional website in minutes using the content from profiles. Find out more about ProZ.com hosting service here.
Do you have your own website? Share it below! Did your business improve after you set up your website? How?
Don’t forget to check the next post in this series on Attending translation industry events, to be posted shortly.
I saw a blog post by Catherine Translates last week which was basically a short list of articles on things to keep in mind while preparing your website. The articles are useful, check them out.
One of the articles in particular, on writing a good About me/About us page, caught my eye, and got me thinking about an area of the ProZ.com profile which can represent a sort of “white bull” for the translator establishing or maintaining an online presence, the “About me” section. Most other fields in your profile are “easier” to fill out, since you know which services you provide, the languages you work in, the projects you’ve completed, etc. But what should go in the “About me” section? Here are some points to keep in mind when crafting or updating yours:
- Approach your “About me” and your profile in general as if you were a potential client looking for a professional in the languages and field(s) you work in.
- Try not to copy and paste your CV into the “About me” section. Your profile has an area where you can upload CVs in various languages and formats, and a potential client who wants to see your CV will look there (you can also see how many times each CV has been opened). Rather, select some choice information that highlights your area(s) of specialization, qualifications, services– things that make you stand out as a professional. What makes you different from others in your field? Why should a client choose you for a project over your colleagues and competitors? Use your “About me” to make sure these things jump out at the visitor to your profile.
- Avoid using phrases such as “never missed a deadline” or “professional and reliable”– serious clients take this as a given when contacting serious translators.
- Keep the format of your “About me” simple but attractive. If you don’t know a little html, there’s a tutorial in the interface to edit your “About me”, and plenty of other guides online. Avoid overusing different fonts, font sizes, and colors, since this can make your presentation harder on the eyes.
- Spend some time crafting your “About me”. It is part of your online business card, and a thoughtful and useful presentation is easy to detect. So are haphazard ones.
If you are a professional translator and do not have a website that represents you and your business, look into getting one. It’s worth mentioning that ProZ.com members have access to free web hosting and can set up their own website relatively quickly. A website that reflects what you have to offer professionally is another storefront for your online presence. If you have a ProZ.com profile, be sure you are treating it as you would treat a website that represents your business, because that is basically what it is, and it also has much greater potential for high visibility on the web.*
Has anyone found any good strategies that could be applied to crafting a great “About me”?
* ProZ.com currently ranks among the top 3,400 websites worldwide, according to Alexa. This means that pages on the site, profiles included, have a visibility on the web that is difficult to achieve with an individual website. Member profiles receive this exposure and resulting client traffic at a rate that is far greater than that of non-members. Compare this exposure to the cost of setting up and hosting an individual translator website, and factor in that web hosting is free for members, along with a range of other benefits (risk management, access to clients and job flow, networking, etc.).