Translating is a profession that requires much more than just skill in order to gain employment. To be recognised in a field that is potentially open to any fluently bilingual person, you more often than not have to go the extra mile in order to get ahead. This is when networking becomes a translator’s best friend as the possibilities it opens up are indeed, endless. Social media has made networking, for any purpose, much more easy and effortless than the practices of the dark ages of a decade ago. Promoting yourself online isn’t just an added bonus when it comes to finding work, it is now practically essential.
LinkedIn and Facebook are creating enormous opportunities for professionals to promote themselves; these are two platforms that translators especially need to take advantage of. If you work as a translator then you have the potential for employment across the globe. You have a skill that could be required by anyone from anywhere, depending on their needs. Connecting with these people via the Internet will ensure that your expertise in language is accessible to those who require it. As a translator, your online presence needs to grow in order for your employment opportunities to expand.
As corporate translation companies develop and recruit more freelance translators, you need to ensure that your name is known and your reputation is a good one. If you speak an incredibly intricate or specialised language then promoting yourself via social media is a great way to reach a wider audience. There are many companies who have websites where you can select from hundreds of languages all on the same page – they are practically one stop shops for all language needs. If you can find work with one of these companies then that’s great, over time as you demonstrate your skill and reliability they will send more work your way. Work of this nature is of course never guaranteed and making a living this way can often be unpredictable and precarious. If you have additionally established yourself as a freelance translator then you have increased your chances of a consistent income.
One of the best ways to get started when it comes to networking as a translator is to set yourself up with a website. This might sound obvious to most but it isn’t a tool that everybody is using. A website is a great way to have all of the relevant information about yourself and your services in one place. You can even show examples of your work and talk about your qualifications and experience. A website is also a great place to have references from other people who have previously assigned you to complete translation work. Once your website is ready you can then create profiles on social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google +. As you add more friends and share more information, you will soon start to build a community of people who are interested in your services.
As you spend more time networking and developing your community online, you will see an increase in the amount of people interested in what you have to offer. You now have the potential to reach anybody around the world and to build a working relationship with them. The Internet is a fascinating and extremely useful thing; when it comes to networking ensure you are making the most of its capabilities to make the most of yours.
Natalie Jones is a recent graduate of Creative Writing and Journalism from London Metropolitan University. She is working as an online marketing intern at Quicklingo, where she is currently discovering the complex world of SEO and Social Media Management. She has also worked as a freelance writer for a variety of online publications.
I’ve always found it difficult to get freelance work as a translator, but since I’ve connected with people using google +, I’ve gained some interest. Thanks for sharing this with us and I hope others gain something from it.
Thanks for reading, glad to hear that Google + is working for you. If you’re not already registered on LinkedIn then I would very much advise it to you! If you have any other platforms that you find useful then also please feel free to share!
Great article! Thanks! I’ve been in translations for 4 years and in freelancing for about 2 years and always considered that my proZ.com & linkedIN profiles would be enough. They were enough for a while, but now I would like to connect with more end clients and hope that social media are the way to go.
I started socializing recently (blog, twitter, facebook, google+, linkedIN groups) mostly in my target language (Romanian), but I can clearly see that because I am writing in Romanian, my audience is limited. On the other hand, the internet is full of all kind of information in English and there are only 2 translation blogs in Romanian and only one of them is actually active. Since I am pretty new to professional socializing, do you think Romanian is the way to go? Should I write both in Romanian and in English to get more audience?
Sorry for so many questions 🙂 I would just like to hear some opinions 🙂
Thanks in advance!
There is no such thing as too many questions 🙂 That’s great that you’ve had some success with the sites that you have mentioned. I think to open yourself up to a wider audience through promoting yourself in English could indeed be beneficial for you. Do you have your own website? Can’t recommend that enough! Having a very strong presence on the two Romanian sites is also of course great. If you already have a Google + account then try expanding your network to include more people and see what happens 🙂
Best of luck,
Yes, I have a website, but I think it needs a better design. And it still has to be translated into Romanian 🙂 Following yours and Catherine’s advice, I will probably run a bilingual blog. My target market is definitely not in Romania, because of the low rates practiced there, but the lack of Romanian content on this subject makes me want to continue writing in Romanian as well.
Thank you both for the tips and for your great work! I am still learning 🙂
This is a very interesting question Vernonica – I’m also curious to hear some responses. In my opinion, I am actually surprised at how much business is done in English – I was not expecting it to be that way. While I do agree that having some bilingual content is a good idea, it might be worth doing some informal “industry surveys” (i.e. ask around). This may help you identify where your target market lies and how best to reach them. Have you spoken to other Romanian translators?
Thanks for this interesting article – it raises a point that I have been working on personally for the past few months! Networking is actually a skill on its own, and requires active input, investment and planning. I think each social media platform has its own particular advantages and I think it is great to encourage others to use as many as possible to find what work for them.
Totally agree with you there. I think networking has to be approached in an almost strategic way to get the best results. It definitely requires a lot more thought and input then most would first assume!
@Sarai I completely agree. It’s also important to like a social network to have the proper incentive to use it, each one has its own style and it has to match yours, otherwise you’ll just create an account and never “get” it.
@Veronica It’s the same with Greek blogs, there are a few good ones but they’re not very active, so the ‘market’ would be great for an active Greek blog on translation. However, I think the most important factor to take into account for your blog’s language is your readers’ and potential customers’ language, i.e. if we were ‘targeting’ Greek speakers, our blog would definitely be in Greek. But all our clients come from abroad, so the logical thing was to use English as a kind of universal language that most of our clients would be able to read.
It’s still a very good idea though to write a blog in Romanian, since there aren’t many, you would definitely stand out 🙂 If you have some spare time, definitely go for it.
Excelent advice and comments all around. Very useful. Thank you.
Nice, succinct article, Natalie. I agree that networking, having your own website, and blogging help to widen your circle of potential clients. These activities also put you “in the loop”, by which I mean have the effect of engaging you in what other translators are doing, and thinking. This type of engagement can sometimes be helpful in dealing with new clients, since one has the benefit of having learnt from the experience of others in the profession. We must also remember that membership of a professional translators’ association (such as ATA, IoL, or your national equivalent) can also result in work coming your way.
Thanks for your comment 🙂 Yes it is of course worth remembering that membership to any one of those associations would also be of great benefit. Staying in the loop, as you say, can be a tricky thing with so many different mediums to manage but once you’ve mastered it I think the time and effort is well worth it!
Just wanted to give an update. Your article and comments definitely helped me to take the decision.
I read some more information about networking, blogging, etc. and did the following:
1. I decided to run a bilingual blog (EN, RO). While the Romanian articles will target Romanian freelance translators, the English content will target potential clients. I just wrote a first English article, so please feel free to tell me what you think http://glossofilia.com/blog/whom-should-you-hire-freelance-translators-versus-translation-agencies/ (and share if you like it) 🙂
2. I improved a little bit my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/glossofilia.translations . I still plan to add some customized tabs, to change the cover photo with something more relevant and hopefully to attract more likes.
3. I pretty much started sharing more on twitter. Twitter is not yet my thing. Hope to get it better soon.
4. I will create a google+ page for professional use.
5. I created and manage a new group on LinkedIN – Marketing and Advertising Translators – feel free to join if you specialize in on of these fields (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Marketing-Advertising-Translators-4614612?trk=myg_ugrp_ovr).
6. I want to change my blog’s tagline and probably title too. But didn’t find any really cool idea yet 🙂 still searching.
So, I will keep you updated to let you know which social platforms work best for me and to share my experience.
Thanks again for the tips.
Veronica, this is really impressive, well done! You’re a great example to all of us in terms of networking and getting your name out there 🙂
That’s so great to see that you’ve made so many positive steps! I read your article, good stuff 🙂 I will share it on my Google+ for you. In regards to Twitter, I think that’s a particularly difficult one to get exposure on, simply because the amount of content that gets posted on there, but stick at it! Would love to hear updates about how you’re getting on in the future!
I would like to add a correction to this part in the introduction: “.. in a field that is potentially open to any fluently bilingual person.” A bilingual person is not yet a translator. There are additional skills and processes, usually through some form of training. I especially endorse the idea of a personal web-site, and having a presence, because potential clients need to know that you exist, and what services you offer. Visibility is a major challenge.
Hi Maxi, thanks for your thoughts. I understand that being a translator requires additional training and skills, that’s why I used the word potentially. I think if this is a career path that a bi-lingual person wishes to take then the opportunity can always be fuelled by the ambition. Thanks for reading 🙂
I agree with you 100% Maxi, the statement in the introduction is a bit open to misinterpretation that a bilingual person without any further training can work as a translator. Fortunately, most of the readers of this blog are translators so they know that the hard way 🙂