Pathway through the social networking jungle

Signpost in blue sky with clouds“Don’t judge a book by its cover”. The social networking virtual world is a true jungle and the wide range of offerings available can be overwhelming: as a translator, which networks should I use? Which ones are useless? What do I need? What can I realistically expect from each network and which networks can help me reach my objectives and/or respond to my needs? Many colleagues have decided – arbitrarily I shall add – that social networking and social marketing are “a waste of time”, “useless and stupid”, “for desperate amateurs” and the like. Is that really so?

This webinar version of my presentation at the ITI conference 2013 and the ProZ.com Porto International Conference has two objectives: hopefully break some prejudices by showing that nothing is black or white, and provide a neutral yet hopefully thought-provocative overview of the main social sites, which ones don’t make sense for our profession, which ones do make sense and are useful , what can be realistically expected and achieved with them.

The aim is to provide students with concrete and translation profession-oriented information. For both industry newcomers as well as seasoned translators – any translator wondering about social networking, considering doing it but not sure how or already doing it.

Date: July 23rd.
Complete info and registration: click here

Individual LinkedIn profile reviews for translators

385960_265050020213274_264923873559222_829098_1029931420_nIt has been on my mind for a while, finally it is there: using the Alexandria platform to offer individual LinkedIn profile sessions for translators.

A very powerful and efficient way of promoting your services to the world, your LinkedIn profile should be a true shop-window of who you are, the services you provide, your expertise and your skills. With the new LinkedIn profile rolling out, many things have changed!

If you’re interested in a tailored, interactive and private review and help with your translator LinkedIn profile, this is a good opportunity – it will take place on April 16th.

There are 5 slots of 30 minutes each available throughout the day in the virtual classroom. Registration is limited to one person per slot, so there are only 5 seats available. If the concept works and if there is further demand, such an afternoon may be organized on a regular basis again.

Make sure you have a microphone – it will be very interactive!

Complete information and registration here

I’m looking forward to help you boost your LinkedIn profile! ;)

7 myths in using Facebook for business (and in general)

amis-facebookRandom thoughts… 7 myths or mistakes you may be doing, without knowing it, on Facebook.

Myth 1: no, it is not possible to know who has seen your Facebook profile, so pleeeaaaaaase stop installing apps that claim the contrary and that post status updates to your profile calling your friends to install it. Really, please, stop.

Myth 2: no, sharing your tweets on your Facebook Profile/Page is not such a great idea. It is counterproductive and extremely annoying for anyone following you on Facebook. And for those following you on both: even worse. Facebook has a very different netiquette from Twitter. You don’t tweet on Facebook. You tweet on Twitter Same goes for “RTing” people on Facebook, by the way: huh?

Myth 3:  no, the copyright and privacy disclaimer that you have to post as a status to prevent FB from using your data is not for real. It’s a hoax, and it’s been ciruclating for months. Please, please, stop sharing it. (“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communique, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.”)

Myth 4: no, your professional contacts don’t care about your workout stats, so pleeeaaaase stop sharing the runtastic report of your latest run (or any other sport tracking app, for that matter) with said business contacts (your personal contacts are a complete other matter –  you do what you want, personal stuff is personal stuff. But there is personal stuff your business contacts really don’t need to see/read. No? )

Myth 5: no, the status update asking your Friends to hover over your name and change their settings so that friends of friends of friends don’t see what you like or post is a fake too. This is a hoax that has been circulating since May 2011. (“To all my FB friends, may I request you to please do something for me: I want to stay PRIVATELY connected with you. However, with the recent changes in FB, the public can now see activities in any wall. This happens when our friend hits “like” or “comment”, automatically, their friends would see our posts too. Unfortunately, we cannot change this setting by ourselves because Facebook has configured it this way. So I need your help. Only you can do this for me. PLEASE place your mouse over my name above (do not click), a window will appear, now move the mouse on “FRIENDS” (also without clicking), then down to “Settings”, click here and a list will appear. REMOVE the CHECK on “COMMENTS & LIKE” by clicking on it. By doing this, my activity amongst my friends and my family will no longer become public. Many thanks! Paste this on your wall so your contacts would follow suit too, that is, if you care about your privacy.”) – and similar ones, there are some variants of it.

Myth 6: no, Facebook will not become a paying service anytime soon, so please stop sharing hoaxes pretending otherwise…

And if you don’t believe me, see Facebook’s FAQ – Common Myths about Facebook.

Myth 7: no, your phone number is not accessible to anyone on Facebook. Unless you entered it yourself and made it public. So, the status update claiming “ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE… INCLUDING YOURS are now on FACEBOOK! go to the top right of the screen, click on ACCOUNT, click on EDIT FRIENDS, left side of screen and click CONTACTS. you will see all phone numbers from your phone are published that you have stored in your mobile phone. TO REMOVE, go to RIGHT column, click on “this page.” please repost this on your status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published.” is just a big hoax… and an old one, from 2010 or so.

There are many more! Which ones come to your mind?

Medical/Pharmaceutical Translations 2012-2013 Trends

Weather Vane with Dollar SignBack in January 2012, I made the following forecasts for 2012 compared with 2011.

  • A higher volume of work
  • An increase in rate levels for qualified translators
  • The social networks growing in significance
  • The specialised ‘tools of the trade’ are required as ever, but the definition of exchange formats and workflows needs to be driven ahead
  • Machine translation has yet to fulfil its promises
  • Translation associations should be looking at extending their range of educational and CPD facilities
  • Representing the interests of the translation profession must be reinforced

The original article is here (only available in German)

Now that the year 2012 has come to an end (and the world has survived – contrary to expectations in some quarters), it is worth considering to what extent these predictions have changed and whether indeed new and interesting trends have developed.

Volume of Work/Rate Levels

Here, we would benefit from data that are more topical and reliable. The first two statements for the medical/pharmaceutical sector are still applicable in my opinion; albeit based upon data from a small group of LSPs with which I maintain close contact in that respect. Nevertheless, I increasingly note suggestions in various blogs and forums that could lead one to conclude that the market should be substantially more dynamic than it is from my vantage point. I would like to see more information about the scope of orders and rates, since information like this could help us to identify seasonal and absolute trends. Using such data, it would be possible to react and the data would lessen the partly hysterical cries about sinking rates which – in my opinion – are certainly to the detriment of our profession.

Social Networks/Internet Culture

The social and professional network tools (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing and Google+) are becoming ever more important and the previous translation platforms (Proz.com, Translatorscafe etc.) are suffering from increasingly less importance. This can be seen variously in the increasing number of translation groups e.g. on Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, where more and more business is transacted and also in the range of CPD facilities being made available via these groups.  Professional associations such as the German BDÜ took their time to set foot onto the social networks but in the meantime, they have understood the significance and are presenting themselves professionally on these platforms.

Unfortunately this development does not just have positive aspects. As a freelancer, it is impossible to follow all groups within which interesting projects are posted and also as an LSP, it is becoming ever more difficult to find specialists for specific projects on the various platforms.

For this reason it will be necessary to develop aggregators that bundle the various offers. On Twitter, we have made a first step towards combining job offers from various sources by means of our @Translate_Jobs account. We also offer similar services to embrace news from the translation profession with @Translate_News, interesting blogs and events in the profession with @Translate_Blogs and @TranslateEvents.

These solutions are, however, limited by the facilities that Twitter offers, which is one of the reasons why we launched our Alexandria platform to cover the area of CPD opportunities.

Specialised Tools/Interoperability/Crowd and Cloud Services

In the field of interoperability, good things are happening as the two top dogs MemoQ and Trados benefit from ever more functions to improve interoperability between the individual programs. Here it only seems natural that recent weeks have seen massive criticism of the hermetically-sealed protected design of the across program. I am somewhat more cautious in this respect, since I thoroughly recognize the necessity for closed workflows and would prefer an appropriately optional functionality from other vendors. At the same time, I would naturally appreciate it should across deign to open up.

What I cannot, however, understand is how one can work as a translator with the cloud services that are springing up like mushrooms. This is a TM solution that can only bring disadvantages to the translator with a lack of their own TM, no traceability of tasks performed etc. etc.

Machine Translation

I would appreciate having a functional system, but unfortunately have yet to find one. There is nothing more to be said, other than the fact that I will keep my eyes open. What I find interesting are two aspects:

a) We translators are told more and more that there is a an enormous and ever-growing market for bad ( i.e. machine) translations. Well, that is fine for those who are happy to read dross, of which there is an appalling abundance on the Internet. The main problem as I see it is that the time will come when readers actually believe these to be bona fide translations.

b) At the same time, I hear that trained MT systems within limited domains and certain language pairs can produce results that are supposed to be better than those produced by human translators. But the decisive point is that so far, nobody has been capable of showing me such a system or its results. Last year, several MT vendors explained to me just how remarkable their systems were, but when push came to shove, I saw nothing convincing other than impressive statistics that were of no consequence whatsoever.

Now that I have set up Trados Studio with TMs including several millions of words and autosuggest dictionaries of up to 1 GB in size, I can reach a level of productivity where I can indeed ask myself to what extent I need MT for our language pairs and specialized areas.

Education and Continued Training

Here, there is something afoot. Germany’s BDÜ and DVÜD, as well as other providers, have significantly increased the range of their online CPD facilities. In fact at first glance, it might seem to be superfluous that we are entering the market with our own offering (http://alexandria-library.com). However, with the Alexandria Project, we do indeed have several objectives in mind. With it, we would like to create a central platform (by means of collaboration with as many vendors as possible e.g. Diléal and Localize.pl), upon which we can offer continued training and resources for new entrants to the profession and specialists within the various languages. In addition to that, we would like to offer specialists a platform that enables them to present themselves in order to improve their reputation in the profession and with future clients. Thirdly, we want to start using this platform as soon as possible to draw the attention of potential customers to the necessity of qualitatively acceptable translation, whilst attempting to educate them about how they can identify suitable language service providers, or rather what they themselves can contribute in order to achieve optimal results. In that department, we still ‘have the builders in’ but we shall soon be expanding what we have on offer. Feedback and suggestions will be very welcome indeed because Alexandria is – after all – intended to provide an interesting service to as many translators and customers as possible.

The Interests of the Translation Profession

So far, I was disappointed to observe that translation associations carry out too little to promote the profession externally in a way that generates interest. Translators and translation associations seem to be too occupied with themselves (i.e. with translation per se) and enter much too little into contact with possible customers, whose lack of information about translation, quality, processes and rates tends to lead them down into the depths frequented by the so-called ‘bottom feeders’. It would be laudable to see several national associations deciding upon closer cooperation with each other and being outwardly active in terms of customer education and representing the profession. A common European job portal of translation associations could help in this respect. Here, customers looking for translation service providers would at least have the reassurance that the translators fulfil certain minimal criteria of professionalism. This would draw attention away from the Internet platforms such as Proz and TC, where all the cut price vendors who often provide bad quality lurk, since customers seeking quality would finally have a qualitatively more valuable service at their disposal.

Conclusions

I am not sure to what extent much changed in the profession during 2012, but I see a careful trend for translators taking on more responsibility for their own fate and success and emancipating themselves from the clutches of major organisations and company groups. In 2013, this positive development can lead to a wider movement coming together that brings us forward as a profession. I will be delighted if we can make our contribution to that with Alexandria and Trikonf 2013.

Internet Marketing for Translators: Websites, blogs, profiles

An absolute basic in Internet Marketing is having a website, a blog or at least a public page on the Web used as a shop window of your services and a place you can refer all of your visitors to (a ProZ.com profile, for example). Of course this is not an absolute must, but it’s somewhat trickier if you don’t have one.

  • WEBSITE

A good website starts with a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface. Potential clients ending up on your website should quickly and easily be able to find all the basic information they need about you as a translator, your language pairs, services, areas of specialization, etc. The goal is for them to find all this information in less than 30 seconds and to want to know more, so that they stay on your website and visit its other pages to find out more. You must help them do so with a clean and logical structure to navigate this other information. The site shouldn’t be too loaded down  – even though connections are much faster nowadays, the global average remains slower, so do not include too many heavy images and plug-ins – your site should load quickly. Also, mind your writing – go easy on the colors and avoid WRITING IN CAPITAL LETTERS…

A frequently heard question is whether you should localize your website. Easy answer: yes, I personally think you should, in all your working languages because 1) it’s just perfect for your SEO, 2) it is also an elegant way of showing off your language skills and 3) it might help you get clients from your source language countries.

Keep it up-to-date – regularly doing so helps your Google ranking and makes a much better impression than a website that has obviously been “left to rot” for the past four years. This particularly applies to links – make sure they all work, maintain them, and update them.

Further reads and links on website optimization:
– Top 10 Tips to a Great Web Page
– 10 tips – how to build a good website – Cordis
– 
10 Most Important Web Design Tips
– 
30 Tips for a Good Website
– 
Beginner Tip: 5 Steps To A Great Home Page
– 
What Is on Your Business Website That Shouldn’t Be?

Last but not least, ideally seek the help and guidance of a professional to (re)create your website. I can highly recommend the services of Websites for Translators.

  • PROFESSIONAL ONLINE PROFILES

The good news is that there are plenty of business networking platforms on the Web where your profiles can stand out, show a complete overview of your services and therefore play the role of a website.

ProZ.com

I know a lot of freelance translators who use their ProZ.com profile as their website. And why not? It’s public, so no need to log in to see the profile (like on Viadeo or Xing), it has a very high Google ranking and it is actually meant and designed for translators and for our industry. A well-done and full ProZ.com profile can be a great complete shop-window online, so go for it.

Some resources on profile completion and optimization:
– Getting the most out of your ProZ.com profile
– Profile completion 2.0
– 
ProZ.com profile: Creating a standout “About me”

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is THE global business network. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. Sure, it may not be designed specifically for our industry but it offers tools and possibilities that we can use just as well as any other industry – tools and possibilities that really are very powerful. LinkedIn not only has an excellent Google ranking, it also gives us the chance to reach out to other professionals, within the translation world (not everybody is on ProZ.com or TranslatorsCafé) but also outside of it. Through LinkedIn you really can meet potential clients (including end-clients), and network with people who may need your services and who may partner with you. LinkedIn Groups are an extremely practical and powerful networking tool, as are Questions/Answers and similar features. Your LinkedIn profile has great shop-window potential if it is complete and optimized.

Some resources:
– 6 Steps to a More Marketable LinkedIn Profile
– LinkedIn Profile Tips: The 10 Mistakes You Want to Avoid and Why

Check out this upcoming webinar (Oct 24th): “Build yourself an optimized LinkedIn profile” (hurry, seats are selling fast)

Xing 

People ask a lot about Xing during workshops and webinars. To be honest, Xing is useless unless you’re doing business with German clients since they still widely use this network. However, recent LinkedIn stats showed that it was slowly gaining a lot of German users, so my guess is that Xing will slowly decay. It still remains a solid platform however, and having an additional profile there as “just another static page”; presenting your services never hurts and is good for your SEO. Simply make sure the profile is accurate, up-to-date and SEO-friendly but I would not invest time and money in it anymore.

Viadeo

Viadeo is even more useless, unless you do business with France. For some reason I can’t quite understand, French people registered there en masse;  like Xing contains mostly German users, Viadeo contains mostly French people. The problem is that nobody else visits this platfrom (I know, I’m simplifying) and Viadeo profiles cannot be seen unless you’re a registered user (which is extremely annoying when you’re Googling someone and the only online business profile available is their Viadeo profile). As is also the case with Xing, it does not hurt to have that additional result showing up in a Google search (Viadeo has a good Google ranking) so why not take one hour to create another static page briefly summarizing your services and offerings? However, do not spend too much time on it either. Remember that even static profiles have to be updated as needed.

Facebook

Facebook is a tricky case. You don’t have to use it as a marketing tool – it is meant to connect with your personal contacts (family and friends). However,Facebook marketing has proved how useful and powerful it could be, particularly for B2C businesses. This is not our case in the translation industry but still, there are agencies using their profiles or pages to post jobs or call for translators, colleagues sharing job posts, etc. You need to make a decision: do you want to use Facebook for marketing or keep it for private use only? If you decide to use Facebook for personal purposes only, make sure your profile and all its content are private and not available for the whole Web to see. However, if you’re considering Facebook marketing, the first question you should ask yourself is: page or profile? My take is that Profiles are the ideal solution for freelance translators. It allows you to “Friend” agency profiles, it suits you better than a page and – very important – it does not require the same amount of time to maintain as a page. A page needs to be alive, to be regularly updated, to post content in a consistent manner. It is a lot of work.

So, Facebook marketing with a profile: either you use your existing personal profile and use Friends Lists to make sure business contacts you are friends with only see what you want them to see, or you simply create a second profile for professional purposes only and therefore maintain a clean separation between your personal and business lives (this one can be public and indexed by Google).

Twitter

Your Twitter profile is a particular case in this context: you don’t want it to be the page you refer all your visitors to. There’s simply too little space and flexibility there to make it a true shop-window of you, your skills, services, expertise, etc.

Google+

A Google+ profile/page could be an interesting shop-window strategy because of the Google ranking; however, I do not recommend making it the page you refer visitors to – there is not enough there to make it a true and good shop-window. As an additional place from which to refer people to your main page/profile/blog/website however, it is a great tool.

  • BLOG

Many of you often ask: “Is a blog a must?” No, it isn’t. The truth is, it’s better not to have a blog than to have one you don’t have time to maintain – not having a blog does not impact your online presence negatively, but having a dead one that’s been abandoned for 11 months after only three posts does. That being said, a blog remains a very intelligent strategic move in an Internet marketing strategy. You don’t need to post everyday – you just need to be consistent. This means that if you decide to write a new article every month, that’s great, but if you say it, stick to it – people who follow your blog should know they can expect news from you once a month (at the beginning or end of the month).

Once you’ve made the decision to start a blog and have defined a posting schedule, the big issue now is content. On an almost daily basis, translators ask me “what should I write about?”. I can’t answer this question for you, but I can give you some general tips on directions to take.

You first need to define/decide what your goal is with a blog – here are just a few examples:

- sharing and expressing your views and opinions on industry politics/developments?

- offering reviews of new tools (those related to the industry as well as those not directly related) – CAT tools, MT solutions, TM tools, etc.?

- showing your expertise in a given field/topic as part of your marketing strategy (e.g. you are a legal translator so your blog will primarily deal with legal matters)

The good news is that you can elect to apply more than just one of the above; you do not need to limit yourself to just one direction.

Your blog may be used as a website if the platform used is flexible and scalable enough to allow for clean and clear structure and different pages (like WordPress). By all means, a blog is definitely one of the greatest and most powerful Internet marketing tools.

Translators: 5 tips to make your Google+ Page a bit more SEO-friendly

Here are five basic tips that are easy to implement to help make your G+ Profile or Business Page more search engine-friendly.

1 . Use keywords

Keywords are king when it comes to SEO. You’ll need to identify or decide what yours are: think about what keywords a potential client would use to search for you and find you. An SEO-friendly profile is filled with your keywords (translator/interpreter/localizer, languages, specialty, etc.). Basically, the more you repeat a keyword, the higher your search engine ranking. Remember that the goal is to be found in a Google search, that is to say, being listed at least on page 1 of the search, preferably among the top three results, so be sure to enter all your keywords in your Google+ profile. So, what are your keywords? Well, first of all, everything that sets you apart from the competition is one. Each translator is unique – you are not just a “freelance translator”: your languages, background, field of expertise, specialty, etc. define you and are keywords. Clients rarely do a Google Search “freelance translator”, but they search “English to Italian legal translator”, for example. The language pair and the specialty are already two keywords. Then of course, any concept, type of document, etc. linked to your specialty field should be in there as well. Let’s stick with the previous example. Let’s say the same client may actually need the translation of a text on labor rights (which is exactly one of your top domains) and refine his search by entering “English to Italian translator specialized in labor rights”. How will he ever find you if haven’t entered anywhere in your online profiles and pages that you actually specialize in labor rights and laws? So, take the time to imagine as many potential Google searches as possible that should lead to you and that can be performed; these are your keywords.

2. Make sure your Profile/Page is public

Obvious, right? If you want to use Google+ to help boost your Google ranking, then your page needs to be public, otherwise it won’t work. You can check and edit this setting under “Profile discovery”.

3. Use meta description fields

These are your best friends when it comes to boosting your SEO, so use them! Enter your main keywords (ex. “translator”, “interpreter” language pairs, specialty fields). Again, think about which keywords a potential client would type into a Google Search to find you and use these keywords.

4. Use as many links as possible

Each link directing visitors to your website (or ProZ.com profile for example) is a so-called backlink. These are little helpers for optimizing your website’s ranking. To simplify to the extreme: the more backlinks a given page or website has, the better it is. The “Introduction” field in the Google+ profile updater is prime real estate for both keywords and backlinks, so do not hesitate to integrate links in your text (for example : “Click here to see clients’ feedback” and integrate a link to your website’s clients referrals page, and so on) . Within your “Introduction” field, you can put as many links to different pages of your website as you want – backlinks.

5. Make (relevant) posts public

Google+ has an awesome feature: Circles. They allow you to mix it up completely in terms of contacts in your one account (business, personal and complete strangers) and choose precisely and extremely easily who sees what, plus the option of making posts “Public” – public posts being indexed by Google, obviously, which is not the case with “Limited” posts (that is, any other posts visible to only one or more of your Circles – if you make a post visible to your G+ business contacts Circle, only people in that Circle can see it and the post is marked as “Limited” and is by no means public and thus not indexed by Google). This means that you have to pay attention to the visibility audience of each new piece of content you’re posting, and if material destined for public consumption, make sure to mark it as “Public”. By “public material”, I mean any content that you can use for marketing and online reputation purposes: if you’re a financial translator and have written an article for a financial magazine for example, this is definitely something you’d want potential clients to see. The same applies to content you’re sharing. If you’re specialized in, for example, automotive, any piece of news from the automotive industry that you share on your G+ should be public: a Google search will associate your name with these contents, which is precisely what you want – to come across as an expert in your specialty field.

Lyon conference workshop – Boost your use of Twitter

Last weekend, I attended the annual ProZ.com France conference in Lyon, which was not only a great opportunity to return to the city where I studied and lived for five years, but also to see the French translation crowd again – many I hadn’t seen since the Nice conference in 2009, the Paris event in 2008 or for some, even the Aix en Provence conference in 2007! We had a great time and the atmosphere was relaxed and happy.

The event was the opportunity to give a presentation on Internet Marketing for the first time ever in French – which is quite amusing when you think about it, given that I am French. Anyway, it was also the first time that I spoke to a French audience on those topics and I was curious to learn about the relationship between social media tools and my own fellow translation country(wo)men. Although the group was very small, the presentation was extremely interactive – just the way I love it! Actually, forget I said “presentation”. It was a discussion, and a very interesting and lively one at that. It was a pity I didn’t have more time – again, I know! How time flies when you’re in good company with interesting questions and feedback.

The topics I presented were 1. Twitter (how to use it to gain visibility and boost your online reputation) and 2. Facebook – privacy issues to protect your personal life and reputation on the Web (unfortunately not enough time for that one, we had to rush through it, but we covered some main points presented in this article and in this one in very basic terms).

Here is the Twitter presentation (in French) available for download: Twitter presentation FR Lyon 2012 -

- many thanks to the attendees. I hope you enjoyed the workshop and more importantly, that it helped you in some way. That was, after all, the objective. And as promised, if you have any questions or need anything, just send me an e-mail!

Thanks again to John for once more giving us the opportunity to meet, exchange and party. I’m really looking forward to the 2013 French conference!

New series of webinars – autumn 2012

I’m happy to announce the freshly baked new webinars for translators for this upcoming second semester of 2012!

October 24th, 2012: Build yourself an optimized LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is now the most powerful ally of freelance businesses in general – it is an amazing shop-window. But how to sell yourself there? How to make that shop-window attractive so that potential clients and partners look at it and open the door to the shop? Your LinkedIn profile is where it all begins and in the web 2.0 era where everything goes so quickly online, you only have a few seconds to grab your visitors attention. Get some keys in this webinar to boost your LinkedIn profile and mak it one of your best online shop-windows!

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


November 7th, 2012: Social SEO basics for translators

In the jungle of Web marketing today, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has become a must when doing business via the Internet. SEO is “the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural” – or un-paid, search results”. In other words, as a freelancer, how can you make your potential clients find you before they find your competition on a Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. search? By making sure to rank among top results in given searches.
Social SEO is the art of using social platforms and social media to help boosting your Google ranking. Without entering into too technical considerations (we are not all Web developers!), this webinar will cover the basics of social SEO for freelancers.

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


November 21, 2012: Social Media Marketing for translators 2012: a must or a should?

An overview of the state of Social Media Marketing in 2012 in / for the translation industry and keys for attendees to take a better enlightened business decision: investing in Social media Marketing or not.

Duration: 1 hour with Q/A

Complete information, sign-up and registration here


Remember that on-demand replays of some of my previous training courses for translators are still available as follows:

Social Media Marketing for translators: Do’s and Don’ts
view course feedback
watch video

Why you should seriously consider Google+ and Facebook marketing
view course feedback
watch video

Boost your use of Twitter
view course feedback
watch video

LinkedIn good practices for translators
view course feedback

watch video

Workshop: Harness Social Media Marketing for your business (160 minutes)
view course feedback
watch video

Translators: 5 ways to get more followers on Twitter

Some basic but always efficient tricks!

1. Follow people

While you don’t have to follow everyone who follows you, it’s still important to follow those accounts that are of interest to you – the criteria are up to you. Quite simply, it just looks bad if you have 800 followers and you are not following anyone yourself. Ditto the other way round: the more people you follow, the more you increase your chances of being followed. I’ve observed that approximately 30 to 40% of the people you follow will ‘return the favour’ and start following you.

2. Tweet interesting stuff

This should be obvious! Whether it is your own content you are sharing, or interesting content from all over the Web (regardless of the subject matter), aim to be interesting. If your followers like what you’re giving them, they’ll let you know with retweets, favourites, etc.,and they’ll say so to their own followers, who will, in turn, follow you and so forth and so on. Snowball effect!
You need to figure out your content strategy first – more in an upcoming article!

3. Be a giver 

The key word in the term ‘social networks’ is the word ‘social’, and Twitter is probably the most social of all. This means that you should not just be a receiver, you have to be a giver as well if you want it to work out in your favour. A giver shares content from other people, colleagues, even competitors. A giver makes recommendations of other people to follow, engages in discussions (serious ones as well as exchanges about airline food), reports on news (upcoming industry events, news from colleagues, industry news, etc.), shares experiences and expertise, retweets and always tries to meet new people and network. Give and you shall receive – it’s the core spirit of social networking, and sometimes we tend to forget that.

4. Use hashtags

Increase your visibility on Twitter by using hashtags. Find those that influencers use, or simply browse through your timeline and see which hashtags are used by the people you follow and which ones are hot right now – and use those relevant to your content! This way, your tweets will appear in searches for a certain hashtag and this increases your chances of gaining followers interested in that particular topic or who follow that hashtag. Here is a list of some popular translation industry hashtags.

5. Include your Twitter info everywhere

An effective, quick and simple trick is to include your Twitter username in your business contact details – e-mail signature, Skype, CV, LinkedIn profile, ProZ.com profile, business cards, website… Use either the URL or just your @Username.

How (not) to contact a translation company

This article has been at the back of my mind for ages and at the bottom of the articles priority list, but after receiving the same email from the same translator eight times since 9:00 this morning (it’s 1 p.m. now, just to give you an idea) and though I know it will not stop those translators who have been spamming us for months (yes, spamming), I feel it needs to be written – some may find it basic and I apologize in advance to them, but it seems it’s not that basic for many.

So here we go. Of course it is perfectly normal for translators to send their CVs to agencies, to get known, to say “Hey guys, I exist” in an industry where gaining visibility is anything but easy. We receive about two to three spontaneous applications per day, and sometimes a true gem may be found among them, someone who becomes one of “our” translators. By no means do we want to stop receiving applications, quite the contrary. So, just to be clear, I am not questioning the “why” of applications here; we are on your side. But what matters is the “how” – and here, take our word for it, is where many translators get it wrong.

When agencies don’t answer, most translators think it is because we are drowning in applications every day. I’m talking here about spontaneous applications. For most of the smaller, specialized agencies, like us, three unsolicited applications on average per day is not exactly ‘drowning’ and we at GxP do actually take the time to read every single one of them. However, when the application is clearly sent via a mass-mailing system and the contents do not match our needs at all, why should we reply? It feels like being spammed with something we don’t need.

So here’s tip 1: don’t send out mass-mailings to agencies. You’re just spamming them when doing so – at least that’s how it may feel for them.

Logically, the second tip is to personalize the email as much as you can. I always reply to applications starting with “Dear [title plus last name or first name]“, even if the translator applying does not match our needs at all. After all, it’s only normal to reply to someone who took the time to research the company, who we are, our names, etc. Starting an email with things like ” Dear Sirs”, “Dear Mrs or Miss” etc. is, um, off-putting. If you can’t find the name of the person who is going to receive your email, then be creative, something like “Dear [Agency name] Team” for example – something nice, warm and attention-getting. Personally, I’m much more likely to read until the end of an email starting with “Dear GxP Team” rather than one starting with “Dear Sir or Madam”.

So, tip 2: personalize the email as much as you can, which means doing a minimum of research about the agency.

Which brings me to the third point: also research what the agency does. If an agency clearly states on their website, ProZ profile, etc., that they are doing only medical translations and you are specialized in architecture and household appliances, applying is probably a waste of your time – and theirs. Even worse, it shows you did not research the agency at all and if they ever coincidentally get a job from an end-client that fits your areas (you never know, a medical devices company might need a different text translated), they might not contact you because you will be remembered as a “spammer”. So, take the extra few minutes to research what exactly the agency does.

Of course a medical translation agency does not only need medical translators. Sometimes, their own clients need a contract translated, user manuals, etc. Use your best judgment; if there’s a link, even small, between your area of expertise and theirs, it may be worth a shot to apply. If you do, be sure to phrase it this way, for example: “I see you work in the medical field – I myself am a legal translator, but if your clients ever need agreements/contracts translated, feel free to contact me…” etc.

Tip 3: research the working fields and areas the agency works in and trust your common sense : if your fields have nothing to do with theirs, applying may be a waste of time. Ask yourself whether your expertise may still be useful to them (e.g., medical instruments manufacturing companies still need contracts, user manuals, marketing brochures, annual financial reports, etc. to be translated). If this is the case, say so in the application email to show you have done your homework, that you are aware your fields are not entirely compatible but that they might need you sooner or later.

Next is the content of the actual email. Don’t recite your CV; remember, you’re enclosing it. Keep the email short and to the point, you want to make the PM curious enough about you to want to open your CV attachment. So, if you’re applying to a legal translation company and you’re a former lawyer, then that info is the only thing you need to put in the email. Ditto if you weren’t a lawyer in a former life, but already have some large or highly specialized projects behind you – put the most mouth-watering ones in the body of the email. In short, what makes you different from another translator?  The same goes for your language pairs – where you learned English is irrelevant (“I spent 2 years as an au pair in London when I was 18″), but your working pairs should be right there – personally, it’s very annoying having to search everywhere in the email and the CV to find a translator’s language pairs. They are the first elements that differentiate you from other translators, so highlight them.

So, tip 4: Keep the email short and simple, but to the point. The basic, yet important facts about you as a translator should be right there: language pairs, specialties and experience in these fields. No need for a long list of past projects in the email; this is what your CV is for. Just include the most “mouthwatering” experience you have. Remember, what you want is to capture the attention of the PM reading your email, so that they want to learn more about you and open your CV. The first few seconds after they open your email are the most important: this is when they decide if they want to know more.

Last but not least: don’t spam. If an agency doesn’t reply, it’s pointless to send the same copy-paste email over and over and over again (even more so if they have actually replied at one point). Pointless and extremely annoying. And copy-pasting the entire email you sent and putting it in a LinkedIn invitation is even more annoying. If you want to connect on LinkedIn or other sites with the PM you already contacted, don’t copy-paste the email you already sent to that person. Keep the invitation text simple, it’s an opportunity for you to remind them that you exist: “Hi, I contacted you a while ago about my translation services. I’d like to connect with you here as well and look forward to having you in my professional network”. You’re trying to get the person to be interested in your services, so don’t do it online using an approach you wouldn’t use if you had met that person in the flesh at a translation conference.

Tip 5: Keep a clean and up-to-date list of your prospects in which you enter whom you have contacted and when, whether they replied, and what the reply was. Send a follow-up email every six months for example, in the event you don’t receive a reply, but make sure it’s a different email (“I was wondering if you had received my email from last January in which I offered my translation services”). Don’t resend the exact same text you have already sent – and the same goes for social network invitations.


On the topic of translators’ CVs, I can only recommend these two very useful resources from my friend Marta Stelmaszak from Wantwords (she’s the expert for translators’ CVs!):
CVs and Cover Letters that Work (Webinar replay)
Download her e-book: How to write a translator’s CV