“We all have a business”, said Melanie Di-Costanzo, at the beginning of the Search Engine Optimization for translators workshop. The truth is that, in one way or another, every freelance translator is something of an entrepreneur. They manage their own business, in every aspect and every “department”. This discussion keeps popping up and I often hear things like “I’m really not good at marketing” or “I just want to translate, that’s all”. The truth is this inner entrepreneur, even if he is inactive, is aware that there are countless professionals with similar skills and ambitions and so, every now and then, he commits to creating or renovating a website, searching for direct clients or even enrolling in a conference such as TLC 2016. But, if we’re all doing the same thing, what more can we do to really set ourselves apart? The solution seems to lie in two words: add value. How?
Ellen Singer advises us to have critical sense and question the client so that we can understand their goal and propose a solution that will really make a difference. This final solution might be totally different from the client’s initial request and end up benefiting both parties.
Rose Newell told us about specialization in specific work fields through what she calls “real CPD”, quality continuous professional development that actually adds value to our work. According to Rose, we should focus on three particular fields: training in the subject matter (keeping up with the industry by taking part in events and associations, etc.) continuously working on our writing skills in the target language and marketing and negotiation skills.
Broadening the range of services offered may also be an option. Adriana Tortoriello introduced us to some of the challenges of transcreation and Melanie Di-Costanzo showed us how taking into consideration the criteria used by search engines can significantly improve the results the client may get from the translated content.
Diana Jankowiak told us about how a business plan can help us see our work from different perspectives and understand which activities, resources and channels can help define our value proposition and develop our business.
Practical tip: Diana advises us to work on this business model on a large sheet of white paper using post-its for all the aspects that need to be improved/changed. Then, ask for feedback from people working in other fields until you have a perfectly clear plan.
Off-topic: Diana has created the first online shop exclusively for translators!
Well, there you have some of the ideas I brought back from Warsaw, along with lots of chocolate, vodka and new friends. See you next year!