3 issues with the online presence of translators
Recently some clients asked me to refer them to a translator for another language or to help find a good one if I don’t already know someone. This led me to give some more thought to how we translators present ourselves online and gave me some insights I would like to share with you. Here are some of the issues I encountered, the red flags they raised for me and some possible solutions.
Issue 1. Several listed a very large number of different fields and/or several source languages they work in
Red flags raised: How do I know if this person is really good at any of these things? How do I know which of these things they are better at?
Possible solutions: Either limit your focus to a very small number of fields or even a single narrow specialization. Just because you don’t list other fields doesn’t mean people won’t ask you about them if you appear credible and reliable. Or be more specific about what you are good at by writing something like “My main specialization is xyz. I also have experience in x, y and z”.
Issue 2. Several had no website at all beyond listings in translator association directories and online portals
Red flags raised: This person probably doesn’t work much with direct clients. For me that means they might not be used to dealing with direct clients and might not make a good impression. It also means it is more likely they work alone and are not used to working with a reviser. It makes me feel more confident in someone if I know they are not a loner and are used to collaborating with a reviser.
Possible solutions: Get your own website! It shows you are serious about your business and increases your visibility.
Issue 3. Several of the websites looked very outdated
Red flags raised: If their website looks like it is from the 90s, is the person still translating? Is the person still active in the industry, up to date, still have contact with a reviser, still used to working with direct clients?
Possible solutions: Update your website! Remember, less is more. I would rather see an up-to-date looking website with 50 words that make it clear what you specialize in and what you do than an old-looking website with 1000 words. It takes time and money to make an amazing website, but at least put up something short, simple and modern in the meantime.
In the end I found that the best way to proceed was to ask people I trust to recommend people they trust.
So what does all this mean? I would say that being clear about what you do and what you specialize in and making that information visible and easy to find is a good idea. This goes for how you appear to clients and colleagues alike.
Disclaimer: I had been guilty of issue 1 and issue 3 for several years and I’m not perfect!