How do you market yourself online when you do not have specific goods to sell, but are selling your services? The answer to this question is content marketing strategies. When you have a service to offer, generating content and an audience online can gather many potential clients. It is defined as the supply of relevant, informative and entertaining web content to the internet user. This content could take many forms, including blogs, tips, research and more.
When content is generated on a regular basis – credibility and trust grows. This is because it provides an opportunity for the service and the client to connect in the digital world. Relationships are built and maintained. It’s the next best thing to networking in person.
As a translator, how do you stand out among other service providers on the market? It’s a difficult thing to do – stand out and assert yourself among others. However, with good content marketing, it is possible to gain an advantage over the competition through digital relationship building. Many translators seek contracts as sole proprietors, and do not operate with huge marketing budgets, and it becomes important to generate content in a productive, efficient and economical way. Here are steps in doing so.
Create or refresh your website
The first step to content marketing is to ensure you have a website and that it is performing well. You may consider hiring a web designer to assist with this process, however it is not necessary with some basic research into how to do this. If your website is already created, you could examine every page to ensure that your links are correct, and that there are no “dead ends”. You may want to look for and delete content that is outdated, incorrect or repeats.
Write content regularly
New content is the basis of this type of marketing. Websites that create new content often come up higher in Google searches, resulting in better rankings for the website. Thus, content marketing isn’t about creating website pages and being done – it is an ongoing project. Some individuals choose to hire marketing companies for this process, others update content alongside their translation work. It is recommended that new content be created at least once a month, to allow for this relationship building and for clients to hear you voice through your writing style and skill.
Spread the word around
Now that content is written, it’s time to spread it around. Raising visibility can be done on websites like Linkedin that are dedicated to digital marketing. There are free community platforms that can be posted to, such as Medium, Flipboard, and Hub Pages. Social media can be invaluable for spreading the word about your new content. Social media can humanize a business by putting your face onto it and showing your qualifications, experiences, and personal style. Building followers by engaging with your online community regularly is key to social media success. This is called “seeding” – when you put your content in a place that your target audience is likely to read it,
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is essential for content marketing. This is where your website comes up in search engines based on the keywords within your website. These keywords are the fundamental concepts that describe your website and any words that a client may use to type into a search engine, like google. Once you have compiled a list of keywords, then integrating them into your website in titles, headings, and descriptions is paramount for SEO. Caution must be used, here, because too many keywords can cause search engines, like google, to react negatively and lower the websites rankings. The goal here is to make your website high on the list of websites that come up in relevant searches – think page 1!
Translators, similar to writers, often get attached to the fruits of their creative work, the words they’ve crafted, creative solutions they spent hours pondering. That’s why handing over a project to a client can elicit mixed feelings—on the one hand, you’re thrilled to take on new challenges; on the other hand, you’re parting with your brainchild that, in a way, carries parts of you. Translation offers a glimpse of your personality, reveals your thought process, exposes some of your biases, beliefs, and values. Even the most technical of translations has your unique style in it, your choice of words, your voice.
While it’s rewarding—even necessary—to take pride in what you do, holding your work too close to your heart can undermine it. Pouring your heart into what you do and leaving a piece of you in every project won’t go unnoticed and your clients will appreciate your passion. It’s about finding a healthy balance between dedication and detachment that will help you carry your signature throughout your work and get better with every word.
Here’s why letting go of your translations will make you a better and happier translator:
1. Letting go of your words will make you more receptive to criticism. Distancing yourself from your translations will help you take feedback and potential criticism constructively, and transform them into improvements to the original text. If a translation is an extension of you, then any form of criticism, even the most benign and well-intentioned, is going to feel as an attack on you. If you happen to work with an editor or peers who scrutinize your work, knowing exactly where you end and your translation begins will save you from unnecessary self-doubt. An adequate distance between you and your work where you focus on quality and solutions that best suit your context will help avoid tensions within your team.
2. It will help you think critically and grow. Be proud of what you do. Yet keep your mind open to better ideas. You can only take a step back, evaluate your work, and question some of your decisions if your translation is loved from a distance. By cutting ties with a text, you’ll see rationale behind your decisions and know why you did what you did, and how you can do better next time.
3. Acknowledging your mistakes will be easier. Typos in early drafts are inevitable. Did you miss a footnote? Or did your editor point out an inconsistency? If you detach your work from yourself, you will find that owning mistakes and correcting them will become easier.
4. Do it for your self-esteem and emotional well-being. Distancing yourself from the work you do for your clients will help sustain a healthy self-esteem and shield from forming a negative perception of yourself with every comment you might receive about your work. Waving good-bye to your translations will never become easy, especially if you truly love what you do. Don’t let your dedication, zest, and love for translation get in the way of professional growth and job s
You might be a word nerd, a polyglot, or a self-proclaimed linguist – does this mean you were born a translator? Nurturing the passion for languages and translation along with developing the required technical skills lay the foundation for a potential career in translation. Strengthening certain personality traits and forming the right habits are just as important. Talent alone won’t sustain you through the ups and downs of the business, pages of monotonous texts, memorizing terminology, or dealing with pesky clients. Your innate aptitude for languages needs strong companions to transform a gift into a rewarding career in translation.
Patience. There’s nothing more daunting than an 80-page technical specification. Filled with terms and formulas only engineers can decipher, the document might not be your first choice of a book. Yet it ended up in your inbox awaiting your time, brain energy, and words. Translation is not always about high-flown lexicon and elegant sentence structures; oftentimes, the source texts you’ll be getting from clients will be dry, complex, technical, or incomprehensible. Unless you hand-pick projects to take on, you need to build up your patience to power through pages of jargon you’d never use outside your work!
A patient translator practices self-patience: rather than giving up or flipping out every time you can’t find the right translation of a term. Give yourself another chance. Slow down and let your brain do its magic.
Creativity. Language can be a great means for creative expression. Rich and diverse, organized and agile, language offers all the right elements to put your thoughts on paper, the right way. The real challenge many translators face is not feeding creative juices when working on a poem or novel, but finding creativity in the mundane: a legal document, a scholarly article, the infamous technical specification. Even in times of regulations, amendments, and guidelines, find room for creativity in your choice of words. Think of new ways to translate similar sentences, research synonyms or idioms to expand your linguistic repertoire.
Precision. Also known as language surgeons, translators pick texts apart, channel them through their brains, and puzzle the pieces back together to convey the exact meaning of the source text in a new language. Strive for precision when transforming a text or selecting a verb among various synonyms; when looking for a corresponding expression or idiom in the target language; when deciding on a language structure.
Curiosity. There’s always something to learn from the texts your clients send you. Find one (or more) things that you love about law or business, medicine or engineering. Immerse yourself in the text, look beyond the language, and absorb new information. As a translator, you’re probably consumed by the intricacies of your language pair, leaving behind everything and anything that won’t help you deliver a high-quality product. While playing with language might be your bread and butter, don’t turn a blind eye to new information that your clients graciously present to you.
Optimism. As with anything in life, positive disposition can brighten gloomy days and bring joy to any text you’re translating. Remember, even the longest technical specification has an end and take pride in having seen all of your contracts to fruition!
Revolutions have always been central in shaping and determining the course of human history. The concept itself refers to radical, transformative changes which denote several phenomena from the “industrial revolution”, the “sexual revolution”, to more contemporary revolutions that spark off fundamental political/institutional changes (e.g. The Bolshevik Revolution) and promote universal values such as democracy, human rights, real citizenship, emancipation, equality, and justice (e.g. The Arab Spring). Revolutions are theorized, led, and performed through language which is the vehicle of the people’s aspirations and demands. Thus, as Umberto Eco asserts, revolutions can be looked at as “open texts at the literal and semiotic levels” that can, through translation, cross transnational borders and mobilize any populace in the world. Just as contemporary revolutions and uprisings continue to unfold acquire new meanings and significations, so too does the role of translators and interpreters.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, translation research started to take a new path, which is marked by activism and engagement. The invention of the internet, the new technological developments in communication and digital materials, and the rise of cyber activism, have spawn a new dimension of translation called “the activist turn” (Wolf 129). It postulates that translators are not mere linguistic and cultural intermediaries, but rather individuals committed to human causes and agents of resistance and emancipation. In other words, translation is not merely about transferring words from one language to another and examining whether a translation is faithful or not. Instead, the focus is on the social, cultural, political, and ideological factors that inform and shape the translators’ choices. Particularly, it is on the politics of translation as well as the visibility/agency of translators.
Interestingly, translation has become a medium for expressing dissent. In fact, translators have used their multi linguistic knowledge to empower voices that have been not heard. In his book, Challenging Codes: Collective Action in the Information Age, Italian sociologist Alberto Melucci argues that language and translation constitute a space of resistance, a means of reversing the symbolic order. In the same vein, Mona Baker, a professor of Translation Studies at the University of Manchester, adds in her article Translation as an Alternative Space for Political Action that translators “have broken away from a long tradition of positioning themselves purely as neutral, unengaged professionals who stand in some ‘liminal’ space between cultures and political divides”. Thus, individuals who translate texts and utterances cannot be neutral and apolitical, but rather they do take sides and influence the outcome of the mediation by constructing new realities and identities.
Historically, translation played a crucial role during the emancipation movements that began in the late 18th century in Latin America. Georges L. Bastin, Alvaro Echeverri and Angela Campo claim that “translators, like other actors in history, do not function in a vacuum; rather they are social beings and as such espouse ideologies and identities that are particular to their social contexts.” Among the cases that are worth mentioning, there is Antonio Narino who translated the 1789 La declaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen to Spanish and Juan Picornell who translated to Spanish Lettres aux Espagnols americains, written originally by the Peruvian Jesuit Juan Pablo Viscardo. One cannot also ignore the Spanish translations of the United States Declaration of independence and the constitution of the USA. Published between 1789 and 1812, these translations are among the central components of the ideological cornerstone of emancipation in Latin America.
In the Middle East and during the wave of revolutions that shook the region, translation has operated as the gateway through which the masses propagated their revolutionary narratives to people all over the world. For instance, Revolutionary Arab Rap (http://revolutionaryarabrap.blogspot.ca/) is a blog that comprises numerous translated musical productions mainly rap and hip-hop by male and female artists from the countries that witnessed the Arab Spring. The blog translatingrev.wordpress.com is a platform where students from the American University of Cairo contributed to the translation of chants, signs, banners, jokes, interviews and poems produced in Tahrir Square. Moreover, translators were engaged in the documentation and archiving of the Egyptian revolution by creating websites and blogs such as http://www.tahrirdocuments.org/ site. Materials are collected from demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and published in complete English translation alongside scans of the original documents. Subtitling videos of the Egyptian revolution was another area of engagement. As a matter of fact, non-profit media collective known as “Mosireen” played a pivotal role in providing subtitles to videos of demonstrations and sit-ins. By doing that, it has created a digital space not only to support citizen media but also to circumvent the narrative of the government through translating the events for a wider audience. In this regard, translation becomes the link that enables activists to connect with protest movements abroad. Hence, translation is a political act and represents a key element of the revolutionary project.
Translation has been and will remain a catalyst for sociopolitical change. It may be argued that its supposed neutrality is pure fiction as translators, and throughout history, have promoted a wide variety of agendas from Saint Jerome’s commitment to women’s education to translator’s participations in social movements and revolutions. Salah Baslamah, a professor at the University of Ottawa, has developed a new vision of translation and translation called “Citizen Translation”. This vision highlights the need to promote the translator’s visibility and socio-political commitment. Nevertheless, the question that will keep spilling a lot of ink: how can translators be engaged in their communities while at the same time remaining faithful to the original texts?