What I learned during three months of marketing translation business
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What I learned during three months of marketing translation business

I have a confession to make: in spite of the fact that I’ve been a freelance translator for the past 10 years (virtually my whole career), I’m new at marketing my services. These past three months have opened a whole new world for me and today I want to share, what I have learned during this time. This won’t be anything ground-breaking, but it might strike a chord with someone like me a little over three months ago.


1 Connect with colleagues


If I had to choose one piece of advice, this would be my absolute favorite. I can’t stress enough the importance of interacting with other freelancers working in your field. Experience, practical tips, inspiration and motivaion — these are just a few things that you get from this.


Find out where your colleagues hang out and start networking. I’m happy to be part of the wonderful translators’ community on Twitter, but there’re also groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Choose what suits you best!


2 Reach out to people


You don’t get what you don’t ask for. It turns out, that more often than not people are happy to help you. And with the help of others you’ll be able to accomplish things that would be absolutely out of your reach otherwise.


I’m a big fan of Apple products. So when I spotted a localization error in the Russian version of iOS a couple of weeks ago, I was eager to find a way to correct it. I emailed Catherine Christaki, who happens to be a Greek translator for Apple software and within half an hour the information about the mistake reached the people who could correct it!


We live in a wonderful time when we can make a change, even if we are thousands miles away. So make the most of the opportunities you have and ask for help, when you need it.


3 Stay focused


Marketing can be overwhelming. There are so many things you can try! But trying everything at once is not the best idea. For me putting too much on my plate is a sure way to not actually do anything. This is why it’s better to start small.


Instead of planning to blog three times a week, write one blog post every week or even every two weeks. Don’t try to be on all social media, pick one for a start and only after you get it right and automate the process move on to the next. Remember: less is more.


4 Define your customers


I find it hard to sell my services. Understanding whom I’d like to work with makes it so much easier for me. Firstly, the opportunity to land that ideal client is motivating by itself.


Besides, if it’s a company, app or product I really care about coming up with something that might be of value to them is usually a no brainer. And promoting my services by genuinely offering my help feels miles better than just giving a sales pitch.


5 Don’t listen to your inner critic


Maybe that’s just me, but I find it really hard to keep going if I don’t see immedeate results of my actions. However most good things in life don’t happen overnight. And this is when the last thing you want to do is start critisizing yourself.


Here’s a beautiful article that I first found on Medium that explains why you shouldn’t be hard on yourself, when things don’t go as expected, or when you think that you’re not giving it your all.


6 Take care of yourself


Growing your business takes time and effort, but I personally enjoy the process. This is why it’s easy for me to get carried away and forget that health is my most prescious asset and sitting at my desk all day long is not good for me.


Last week I got a reminder in the form of acute pain in my wrist. I had to take a couple of days off, but now I’m more aware of the need to take breaks and work less, even if that means going a little slower.


7 Believe that it will all pay off


At the beginning it might seem that everything you do doesn’t bring the result you’re aming for. You won’t get new customers overnight. You won’t get a lot of traffic to your site a week after it’s launch. Or even a month, for that matter.


So moving forward partly becomes an excersise in trust. You’ve got to trust that things that have worked for others will eventually work for you, too. Consistency and small steps are the key to your success.


8 See your value


This one is really important. When I’m working on a translation I’m not just transfering the meaning, I also convey the style and feel of the text.


I’m connecting authours and copywriters with their audience. I’m representing brands, app-developers, companies and organizations and give them an opportunity to speak in their unique voice in a different language.


If you’re a medical translator, you’re helping people learn about new things that can help them cure deseases. If you specialize in legal translations, you help your customers conduct their businesses overseas.


I guess, you get the idea: whatever it is that you’re translating, you’re doing much more than just saying or writing something in a different language. You’re helping people connect. And what can be more valuable than this?


9 Marketing is fun!


Although I tend to be an introvert and networking and reaching out to people I may not know always involves getting out of my comfort zone, I enjoy it most of the time.


Firstly, it helps me grow. I’m learning someting new every day. New people, new apps, new techniques, new trends. This is all so exciting!


And secondly, it’s good to know that the world is full of people who are happy to connect with me and lend a helping hand.


Do you have something to add? I would love to learn what you have to say. Have you enjoyed this post or know someone, who might find it useful? Don’t forget to share it!


Images courtesy of Kaboompics




  • magda

    13.09.2015 at 00:28 Reply

    Keep up the good work! I also believe less is more. Loving what we do keeps us sane considering the hours and the stress involved.

    • Elena

      13.09.2015 at 11:51 Reply

      Hi Magda, thanks for the kind words and for stopping by to comment! Yes, I fully agree, loving the job we do is very important.

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  • Oliver Lawrence

    09.01.2016 at 15:48 Reply

    Hi Elena. Just as a quick by-the-way, when I get occasional wrist pain, I find that some light exercises (with hand grips and light weights to get my wrists, fingers and thumbs moving) seems to be the most effective way to make it go away. When I get around to it, I’ll also be getting a separate ergnomic keyboard to avoid having to type on the laptop all the time, which is part of the problem.
    Happy marketing in 2016!

    • Elena

      10.01.2016 at 12:16 Reply

      Hi Oliver! I also find that exercises help a lot. But the most effective thing (at least for me) is to keep an eye on how much time I spend typing without taking a break and control my posture. I have been trying to be more disciplined about it and I really see the difference.

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