Sometimes finding topics to talk about can be difficult – as someone who is not an actual translator, there are times when all I can talk about is my own (little) experience or my research into a topic.
This week on my course, we’ve been looking at freelance translators and the need for marketing. Nowadays, a large part of marketing is done through social media and self-publicising. As freelance translator, you’re your own accountant, media department and HR as well as your own boss and (probably) sole worker. This puts a certain amount of pressure on you – not only are you working to bring in an income, but you’ve also got to be a social media guru AND marketing expert as well as establish yourself in the industry.
My post today looks at setting up an online presence BEFORE you start working. Whilst it might seem pointless – you aren’t a business yet – it’s still a great way to network, get to know people and most importantly find out the REAL trials and tribulations you might face as someone who is self-employed.
Nowadays an ‘online presence’ is a must-have for any (soon-to-be) business. Whilst many of us probably have our own private Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts, having one in a more professional capacity is helpful too. However, social media is not the only way to establish your presence online.
As a student, it’s unlikely that you’d want to spend money on establishing your own professional webpage (unless you know someone who’s willing to design one for free), but that doesn’t stop you from making your own website/blog using free internet platforms. Obviously, I’m using wordpress.com , which to the uninitiated can be a little fiddly to use, but it does have good online support, instructions and forum pages. Once you’ve gotten the hang of linking/sharing pages (which I’ll look at in my next post!) it’s a pretty simple process of writing your posts and then automatically sharing them between your platforms. Another good free blog site is tumblr.com. Although I’ve not used the site personally, I do follow a few Tumblr blogs- to me Tumblr is better suited to picture based blogging, but it is possible to publish text posts. If you’re someone who already has experience using Tumblr, then perhaps it’s best to stick to what you know.
***IMPORTANT*** As WordPress and Tumblr are free blogging sites, you will have to come up with your own URL and in some cases your first choice may be taken, so it’s best to think of a few options. You can change it further down the line, but it’s best not to change it too often as it won’t help with you search engine optimisation (SEO – how search engines help people find your blog)
Setting up a blog is not the only way to establish your online presence. If you don’t have any ‘professional’ presence at all, I’d recommend starting with the site about.me – it’s a free webhosting site that allows you to link all your social media together, as well as give a short description. What’s particularly good is that it’ll help you create an email signature (Windows, Outlook or Gmail) which will link back to your ‘about.me’ page if anyone clicks on it. It’s a speedy way of connecting all your social media in one place for people to learn more about you.
My two last recommendations are websites specifically for translators. The first of which is ProZ.com. It’s membership-based website for freelance translators – please be aware that there are different scales of membership (including paid) on there, but it is possible to set up a free account. In addition to multiple forums and access to translator knowledge from across the world, ProZ also looks at the translation price for lots of different language combinations (minimum and maximum), has a glossary/terminology section, as well as an area where translation jobs and directories are listed (for translators to bid on). Some jobs are only available to see on paid accounts, but there is enough information visible to a free-account to get an idea of what is going on in the world of translation. I don’t currently have an account for ProZ, but hopefully I get around to it over the Christmas holidays!
The Open Mic is my last recommendation. Like ProZ, The Open Mic has a database of translators that companies or individuals can search to find translators that match the jobs they have on offer. Open Mic is a translators ‘social media’ with online forums and blogging facilities. I’ve recently signed up for an account, and have been slowly copying my content onto my blog-profile. Whilst I’ve found it a little awkward to use (maybe that’s just me!), Open Mic allows you to link the content back to the post on your original blog. This means that you can keep track of page-hits and optimise your SEO by enhancing the search hits to your blog (result!). The Open Mic also has a great Twitter page!
If have any other online platform recommendations that I’ve missed (non-social media based) then do leave a comment below!
Next week’s post will look at social media for translation newbies – Social Media, we know it already I hear you cry! It’ll be worth it I promise!
If you’re already Twitter savvy, follow me @amjscorr.