Corinne McKay’s ‘Marketing to Direct Clients’ course – a review


By Claire Harmer


I took Corinne McKay’s Marketing to Direct Clients course back in April and a few people have asked me about it since then, so I thought it might be helpful to write a review. I also thought it would give me the perfect opportunity to go over some of the things I learnt.

I enrolled on the course as I’d been thinking about re-working my marketing materials and website for a while, with the aim of landing more work from direct clients. In addition, there were various aspects of direct client prospecting that I felt uneasy about (for example – emailing someone I didn’t know, rather than meeting them in person) which I was hoping for some advice and guidelines on. Now that I’ve completed the course, I’d definitely say that I feel more confident going forward and would recommend the course to any translators or interpreters who are keen to work with direct clients.

A bit about the course structure:

  • The course lasted 4 weeks, and for each weekday Corinne sent us a task of the day, which included watching pre-prepared presentations, listening to podcasts, drafting emails to prospective clients, etc. For some of these tasks we were asked to send our ‘homework’ to Corinne so she could give us some feedback, which was very beneficial. She was always happy to share her experience of what had worked for her in the past and what hadn’t.
  • Two 60 minute Q&A sessions were scheduled each week, where we could ask Corinne any questions we had relating to direct clients, what we had been learning on the course or freelancing in general. I found these invaluable – reading a book about marketing to direct clients is one thing but being able to ask an expert on the subject your own questions is another. These sessions were recorded and the link for each one was sent to us via email, so if you couldn’t attend a live session you could listen to it another time. The recordings were not only helpful if you missed a session, but were also useful for going back over some of the questions that were asked and taking notes. It was really interesting to listen to other participants’ questions too; many were questions that had occurred to me at one time or another. Equally, those which hadn’t gave me new ideas, sources of inspiration, or insight into a different language combination or specialism.
  • There was also a Google Group which was open to all the course participants. For each Q&A session we could all submit two questions on the Group, which were answered by Corinne either during the session or in writing via the Google Group if we ran out of time. The Group was also great for sharing ideas and asking the other participants questions – what QA processes people used, how to track expenses, what CAT tools we all used, whether Twitter was useful for finding direct clients, etc.


A few examples of things we learnt about on the course:

Warm email prospecting

A key aspect of the course for me was learning more about the various ways to contact potential direct clients. Corinne gave us concrete examples of targeted marketing emails, paper letters, and sample translations as methods of pitching our services to them (read a great article about the first two here). In terms of marketing emails, Corinne recommended an approach called ‘warm email prospecting’ developed by Ed Gandia, a successful freelance coach, trainer, copywriter and entrepreneur.

Ed’s course is no longer available on his website but his e-book on the subject is available to read for free and Corinne has written a blog post about what she learnt from the course. Another source that may be of interest is Tess Whitty’s interview with him.

N.B.: As part of my marketing campaign I’ll be trying out all of the methods Corinne talked to us about (targeted marketing emails, paper letters, and sample translations) after the summer, so I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!


Deciding who to contact

Corinne also helped us to identify who we should contact at companies. She emphasised that every industry is different. For example, in the legal sector paralegals are the people who are likely to deal with translators, whereas in the pharmaceutical sector regulatory affairs managers would probably do this. However, she did give us some good ideas for people to contact in general (even if they’re not the right person they should be able to point you in the right direction/give you an indication of whether the company may be interested or not):

  • Any person/department with the word ‘international’ in their title (i.e. international relations department, international marketing department, etc.)
  • PR/Sales/Marketing/Communications departments, as they have more of an external focus and their job is to generate business and spread the word about the company.
  • Corinne mentioned that the best option (if you can find them) would be programme or project managers for the kinds of things you work on, so for me that might be a Clinical Trial Manager.

Pulling clients to you

During the course, Corinne talked about how to proactively find direct clients, i.e. at their industry conferences and trade shows (she hosted a great podcast interview with FR>EN translator Joanne Archambault on this subject), on LinkedIn and Twitter, in their association directories and their industry publications. She also talked about how to pull clients to you, so through features like your online presence, having specific pages on your website for specific services (something which I’m hoping to do when I get round to it!), getting referrals from other translators, writing for your clients’ professional journals and presenting at their conferences (for example talking about best translation practices in their industry). Corinne also mentioned that client-facing newsletters are a good way of pulling clients to you, as there are not many translators who write for people on the client side. This is something I’m hoping to develop later in the year, but first I need to come up with enough ideas!

Having a translation partner

Another thing I have been thinking about since taking Corinne’s course is working with a translation partner. I’d already heard a bit about Corinne’s translation partner Eve Bodeux in some of her blog posts and videos, but on the course we learnt a bit more about how they helped each other.

Corinne stressed the importance of having someone to whom you can refer your direct clients when you’re on holiday or out of the office for the day, explaining that you may be the only translator they work with, or at least the only translator they have for your language combination. Unlike with translation agencies, with direct clients there’s a risk that you could lose them if you’re unavailable even one time. Providing them with a solution if you’re ever unavailable will show that you have thought ahead and that you will not leave them stuck in a tricky situation.

Corinne suggested including the direct contact information of your translation partner in your out-of-office email (with their permission first, of course!) when you are away. She says that in 14 years of freelancing this method has never lost her a client. Obviously you also have to be happy to do the same for your translation partner when they are away. Corinne has written a great blog post on this, which you can read here.

An overall review:

All in all, I found the course extremely useful and Corinne’s positive outlook helped me to overcome several confidence issues I had, particularly when contacting prospective clients for the first time. I think when you work for yourself, and in most translators and interpreters’ cases (including mine) by yourself, it’s easy to overthink things or to doubt yourself. Corinne’s course gave me the information, tools, and inspiration I needed to create a concrete marketing plan and gave me the confidence to contact direct clients I had been thinking about contacting for months (a year in some cases!). During the course, Corinne reiterated that you don’t have to feel 100% ready to contact a potential direct client – as she pointed out, we may never feel ready!

Corinne also runs other courses for translators including ‘Getting started as a freelance translator’, ‘Beyond the basics of freelancing’ and ‘Breaking into the book translation market’ (a new one which she told us about on the course!).

If you have taken any of these courses, or any others you would recommend to fellow translators and interpreters, it would be great to hear from you. All comments are welcome in the box below!


Pippa Sandford’s SAM presentation: Cross cultural differences and pitfalls in medical translation

I mentioned in my last post on the Séminaire d’Anglais Médical (a medical translation event held by the SFT in Lyon) that I hoped to write a short post on Pippa Sandford’s presentation, as I found it really useful and I thought other medical translators would too. So… here it is!

Pippa was a full-time medical translator for thirty years, working from French and Italian to English. She attended several of the legendary CMETI courses (Course in Medical English for Translators and Interpreters) run by Karin Band during the 1990s. These courses emphasised the importance of subject knowledge as the basis for good medical translation, combined with excellent research skills, of course; that approach kept Pippa fully employed at reasonable rates until health problems prompted her retirement at the end of 2015.

As the title of the presentation suggests, Pippa’s talk at SAM drew our attention to the differences in medical practice between France and the UK and the way language is used. She focused on issues such as dealing with eponyms, new terminology, false friends and fickle friends. I have also been told that she had previously presented the same talk as an ECPD webinar, which can be found here.

Keeping abreast of new developments in the field in order to learn about any new terms that come into existence was one of the things Pippa spoke about. One example of a new term she gave us within the context of the new EU Clinical Trials Regulation was a ‘temporary halt’: defined as the suspension of a clinical trial triggered by the sponsor, whereas a suspension is initiated by a Member State. Emma Goldsmith has written a very useful post on new terms and terminology changes that will come in with the new legislation:

Pippa also spoke about being aware of the units of measurement used for particular medical concepts in the languages you are translating, as they are not always the same. For example, in the UK, prothrombin time (temps de prothrombine or temps de Quick) is usually reported in seconds, whereas in France it may be reported in seconds or as a percentage of a control (taux de prothrombine).

Regarding names of medical conditions and diseases, Pippa mentioned how they may be known by the eponym in one language, but not in another, for example: ‘Abrami’s disease’ (EN) which would be known as ‘anémie hémolytique acquise’ in French. She also gave us an example of how, sometimes, the names are similar in both languages but not the same: ‘Colles’ fracture’ (EN) and ‘fracture de Pouteau-colles’ (FR).

False friends to look out for:

French English Not:
anthrax a carbuncle anthrax, a life-threatening disease caused by Bacillus anthracis (which is charbon or fièvre charbonneuse)
intoxiqué poisoned drunk (which is ivre)
agonie at point of death agony (which is angoisse or supplice)
angine sore throat angina, a severe, constricting pain in the chest (which is angine de poitrine or angor)
expertise expert report expertise, i.e. skill and knowledge (which is compétence)

Pippa’s talk ended with a quote from Karin Band, a highly-esteemed and very experienced medical translator (and a huge contributor to the ITI’s MedNet Group) who used to help run the SAM conference: ‘medical translation is knowledge-driven and research-based’.


A few websites Pippa recommends:

A dictionary of medical eponyms

Not specifically for medical translation, but very useful for any translator working in FR>EN/EN>FR. Follow on twitter (@anglais) for useful tips on translating tricky FR/EN terms.

bite-sized medical education videos

Corpus analysis techniques

As I mentioned in a blog earlier this year, one of my projects for 2016 is to develop my skill set in corpus analysis, intending to use this to develop my translation skills and also to build terminology bases and to identify the grammatical characteristics of the language used in my specialist areas.

In this blog I want to go into more detail about different analyses that can be performed using corpus tools and what they can show us. For this post I used a corpus that I built for a recent translation assignment, using the WebBootCat feature, which I described in a previous post.

Today I will introduce another corpus analysis tool, AntConc, developed by Laurence Anthony. It is open source and can be freely downloaded, along with other related tools.

Building the corpus

As I explained in my earlier post, I used the WebBootCat function to create this ad hoc corpus. To do this you need to access SketchEngine. This is the process I use:

  • Select seed words using terms/words that are used in the target subject area (for example, in this case: subsidies, FIT, premiums, installed, capacity, margin, power, etc.).
  • WebBootCat trawls the internet and produces a list of different URLs that match the search criteria.
  • Check the data that came through to remove any sources that may not be reliable.

If you do not have a subscription to SketchEngine, you can create your own corpus using documents you have selected yourself. To use these in AntConc, they must all be in text file (.txt) format in UTF8 (check out the AntFile Converter to convert).

Below are the basic types of analysis that you can perform using AntConc (and corpus tools in general). For more information on how to use these features in the AntConc tool, please refer to Laurence Anthony’s website, where there are a number of tutorials available.

Word lists

It produces a list of all the words included in the corpus, ordered by frequency. While this can be useful, often it is used as a basis for other analyses. You will find when you create word lists that prepositions and articles often come at the top of the list before any nouns, adjectives and verbs.

Keyword lists

Here you have to load a word list of your choice (in this case the British National Corpus word list). This function then creates a list of keywords that are comparatively more frequent in the corpus being analysed. Another example of where this might be useful is if you want to compare vocabulary used in two different genres, or different registers within a genre.

In my case, I created an adhoc corpus from seed words, so there is some bias to these words. However, I was looking for the usage of these specific terms for the translation I was doing, so it is not a problem. However, it is worth being aware of this in case you are interested in building a corpus for other research purposes.

As you can see, some of the seed words are up in the most comparatively frequent words, but there are also other words that are unusually frequent in the corpus, which can give us insight into the use of vocabulary in a certain area, and can give indications of collocations and clusters to look at.

Collocations, clusters and N-grams


N-grams demonstrate the frequency of two-, three- or four-word clusters in a text. This can help to identify possible multiword expressions (MWE), as well as common grammatical formations. In translation, for example, if you are looking for a possible term in a target language, but you are not necessarily sure of the correct translation, this might be a good place to look. It can also help you to identify grammatical patterns. Contrary to collocations, n-grams are shown without context, but give frequency as a number (see second column below). If you have been looking for suitable terms, once you identify a possible term you may want to then use the collocation function to look at it in context.


This feature looks at usage of a specific word in context, and can be used to identify common collocations of words, either to identify multiword elements or also grammatical collocations such as verb-noun collocations, or adjective-noun collocations, verb-preposition collocations, etc.

Example of how these analyses work

For the purposes of this post I am going to look at the use of the word ‘margin’. When you search for collocations, you can search aligning to the right or the left, up to three places each side. With a noun such as ‘margin’, if you are looking for common noun collocations, it is likely a good idea to search left – if you want to see verb-use patterns, then search right.

Margin – 481 hits

  • Common collocations

Capacity margin

Definition (The capacity margin is difference between capacity and peak load, expressed as a percentage of capacity (instead of peak load).

This was a term that formed part of the seed words for compiling the glossary, but the frequency and also spread of its use added to its viability. A number of variations of this term came up, but also different terms, such as:

Reserve margin

Definition (The reserve margin is the difference between generating capacity and peak load expressed as a percentage of peak load).

As you can see, the collocation tool allows you to not only identify and see the context in which certain phrases/terms are used, but also potentially identify other terms, and determine whether these terms are used in specific companies, or specific contexts. I had not used the term ‘reserve margin’ in my seed words, as it was not a term that had come up in my translation. However, it did come up in the corpus. When I first saw this term I was unsure if it was a synonym of capacity margin, given the context in which I found both terms used. However, from further research I found out that they are two ways of referring to the same thing, but expressed using different criteria (as can be seen in the definitions).

Another use of the collocation tool is to see which verbs are commonly used with the terms you are searching for – as you can see in the screenshot, the verbs ‘provide’, ‘meet’ and ‘retain’ seem to be common collocations with the term ‘capacity margin’. This can be useful when translating as the verb used in the source language does not always directly correspond with the use in the target language. This tool can also be used to see typical tenses used in certain contexts, which is another area in which there are often differences between source and target texts.

Concordance plotter

Concordance plotters show where in the corpus terms appear. I decided to contrast the use of ‘reserve margin’ with ‘capacity margin’. This works better if each file is separate as you can see in which files the term appears, but even so it will give you an idea if a term is specific to one file or is used generally.

“Reserve margin”

“Capacity margin”

I hope this brief introduction to different analytical features will have given you some insight into the different ways in which corpus tools can help you in your translations and other language work.

Séminaire d’Anglais Médical 2016: a review

By Claire Harmer

This March I attended my first Séminaire d’Anglais Médical (SAM) held in the beautiful city of Lyon. It was the 11th time the event had been held, which is organised by the Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT) every two years. The séminaire – which I’ll call a conference for the sake of convenience, but was more of a week-long workshop programme – is aimed at medical translators working from and into French. 49 people attended; the perfect size for a specialised conference: not so big that it was overwhelming but big enough to have lots of different people to talk to.

It took place in the Faculté de Médecine Lyon Est in a self-contained Médiathèque building and most of the sessions were held in a raked lecture theatre within the building. The university was in the 8th arrondissement, so not particularly central, but it was only 15-20 minutes away by tram/metro if you were staying in the centre. With fairly packed days at the conference I didn’t get to explore the city as much as I would have liked, but I’m hoping to go back for a trip later this year.

The days were well-structured, with half-hour coffee breaks in the morning and afternoon (which proved to be good networking opportunities), and a one and a half hour lunch break in the middle. At first I thought the lunch break was unnecessarily long but while I was there I realised you needed that time to disconnect and have a rest! Sitting and listening to lectures for five days straight made me realise that I am out of the habit of sitting and absorbing information for long periods of time like we did at university – so having those breaks was crucial! Even more so, considering that most of the workshops were given in French, so I had to concentrate even harder to absorb and process the information.

The programme was a mix of lectures, terminology sessions and travaux dirigés, all of which I’m going to give a bit more information on below – I hope this gives readers an insight in case anyone is interested in attending SAM 2018!


We were fortunate to have a wide variety of speakers present at the conference, from medical translators to doctors, medical researchers and founders of companies within the medical and pharmaceutical sectors.

Below are a few of the highlights from the conference:

  • Amy Whereat’s presentation on writing practices in the field of cosmetic dermatology
  • Dr David Cox’s presentation on the medical epidemiology of breast cancer
  • Sylvie Chabaud’s talk on the statistical aspects of a clinical trial
  • Dr Bernard Croisile’s presentation on Alzheimer’s disease.

Another firm favourite was Pippa Sandford’s presentation on cross-cultural differences and pitfalls in medical translation. I’m hoping to do a blog post on Pippa’s talk at some point soon, as I found it really useful and think other medical translators will too.

Terminology sessions

We had four terminology sessions where medical translator and terminologist Nathalie Renevier went over terms that had come up in the workshops. These were great for exploring tricky terms and their corresponding equivalents in the other language. It also meant we revisited topics spoken about earlier in the day or week, which served as a reminder of what we had learnt.

Travaux dirigés

The source texts for the travaux dirigés were sent out via email in advance for those who had time to read them and on Monday we were split up into groups of five to seven people, each of which was given one source text. We had two sessions on Monday where we had time to work on the text as a group and typed up our final translation to present to the rest of the attendees later in the week. The texts included a study on patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, a fact sheet on Alzheimer’s disease for the general public, an article on premenstrual flares in adult women, as well as texts on chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, H5N1 influenza virus and the digestive system.

When the final translations were presented, a supervisor who had done a presentation on the same or a similar topic during the week, gave suggestions and advice to the translation team where needed. To be honest, I think the travaux dirigés were the only part of the conference where I felt I missed out a little by being an English native speaker. Of the 49 attendees only seven were English native speakers, with almost all of the remaining attendees being French native speakers – only to be expected as the course was held in France! This meant that only one out of the seven translations presented was a FR>EN translation (which was presented by our group). It was still useful to see how the English texts had been rendered in French, but obviously I didn’t take as much away from them as I did the FR>EN translation.


To end the conference with a bit of fun, Stephen Schwanbeck organised a translation duel, which proved to be very entertaining! Two people volunteered to translate each text (one was FR>EN and the other was EN>FR) in advance and then each translator presented their version, moving in turn and presenting a couple of sentences at a time. The rest of the attendees joined in with suggestions on how to improve the translations, as well as highlighting what they liked about each of them.

Both pieces were satirical, so were quite a departure from the texts we had been working on during the week. They were full of cultural references, plays on words, and tricky phrasing. The English text for translation into French, entitled ‘Doctors say average heart attack victim doesn’t clutch at chest nearly dramatically enough’ can be found here. It’s well worth watching the video as well as reading the article! The French text for translation into English, ‘La téléphonie mobile, nouveau vecteur de la democratisation du cancer’, can be found here.

In addition to the 9am – 5pm programme, the organisers also arranged a pre-conference meet-up on the Sunday evening, a tour of Lyon on the Monday night and a three course meal at a lovely restaurant during the week, all of which were thoroughly enjoyed.

In conclusion, I learnt a great deal about a wide range of medical and pharmaceutical subjects at SAM, met lots of interesting people, learnt about others’ experiences of translating for the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, experiences of working with agencies and direct clients (a conversation that seemed to come up a lot!) and how to cope with various terminological issues that often come up in medical and pharmaceutical translation.

The conference was a huge success and I’ll definitely be going back in 2018, if not before, as I’d like to visit Lyon again! A huge thank you to all the organisers!


Lyon at night!


The FR>EN team presenting their translation

If you love your translator, set them free!

What a wonderful time we all had at Elia Together 2016 in Barcelona! I know it was over a month ago now and the memories are fading amongst new jobs, word counts and upcoming events, but I would like to share my experience of Elia and what I took away from it. I was inspired to grow my business, to focus more on the areas that interest me the most, but the crux was the need for better, more open communication between freelancers and LSPs, and a respect for each other on an individual level. We need to end toxic business relationships and practices, and trust each other to do the jobs we are trained and qualified to do (and this applies equally to how freelancers treat project managers and agencies in general!).


Inspiration from Stephen Lank – What’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal?

The highlight:

There was a variety of focus areas, and one talk that I found the most stimulating, hilarious and encouraging was Karen Tkaczyk’s frank discussion on how LSPs can keep their “high-end” freelancers, and it’s not just about money. She covered things like the obvious bonus points for clients who pay on time, as well as how off-putting it is to be asked to spend hours on time-consuming and unnecessary admin (and frequent system changes). After all, we are freelancers for a reason!

The overall message:

If one thing is clear, it’s that language service providers (LSPs/agencies) need freelancers and most freelance translators need agencies. In order for both LSPs and freelancers to thrive, they need to nurture this basic yet at times problematic relationship.

Like so many relationships, many causes for discontent can be attributed to poor communication and/or money.

On money:

In my opinion, the money issues are boring. In most languages there is an expression like “pay peanuts, get monkeys” or “buy cheap, buy twice”. Of course, end clients are demanding and a business must be competitive in order to function, something which perhaps some freelancers are happy to ignore, as agencies save us the trouble of dealing with end clients – and finding them. Similarly, it is a freelancer’s responsibly as a business owner – even if the business is only one person – to know the market, to know what we’re worth and to negotiate. It’s a minefield, sure, but a common thread throughout Elia was that merely complaining – or indeed vehemently complaining – about it is not the way to go about achieving a positive change.

On communication:

Effective and open communication among all of us within the language industry is the key to a satisfying future where we can grow together. However, this kind of honest communication can be uncomfortable. Personally, I had the plan to work in-house at a translation agency before going freelance, but, in the end, freelancing was providing me with enough income and I know myself well enough to know the 9-6 is not for me. This means I am always asking friends and colleagues on the other side what the challenges are and what I can do to make a project manager’s life easier. Agencies seem to have a similar problem, that they are not made aware of freelancers’ realities because many translators are afraid to voice problems, preferences or concerns, due to the fear that we are simply a number and rocking the boat would mean that the next person would be plucked from the list to take any further work that would have otherwise been sent to us.

Another possible cause of communication issues was highlighted: ironic as it may be, we need to remember that in a lot of LSP<>freelancer communication, one or both parties may not be communicating in their first language, so we should always make allowances for this and any minor errors or perceived rudeness/coldness/cause for upset. Communication is our business so we have no excuse!


All work and no play … is not what Barcelona means! Most of us stayed as long as possible!

To summarise: be human, be personal and be kind:

  • Both sides want their work to be appreciated and understood
  • Only write in an email what you would say to someone’s face
  • Have faith and expect the best intentions
  • Pick up the phone sometimes

We are two sides of the same coin.

We are all humans and we are all individuals.

We need united, professional relationships to set an example to newcomers and clients and to ensure that LSPs working with freelancers have a positive experience and vice versa.

Tips on social media and content marketing from the founder of Top Left Design


By Claire Harmer

I recently attended the ITI workshop held in Milton Keynes, hosted by Keren Lerner of web design and marketing company Top Left Design. The workshop was a huge success; I’m not sure I’ve ever learnt so much in one day! Keren was a great speaker, too – engaging and always encouraging questions. At times the presentation became more of a discussion, which was really beneficial for attendees as it meant we could ask Keren specific questions and share experiences. Each section of the presentation was interspersed with activities and exercises which we worked on in groups, and we shared the results of these with Keren and the other attendees after completing the tasks.

In terms of social media, Keren talked about how to use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in a professional and engaging way, with the aim of connecting with industry peers, current clients and potential future clients. The content marketing part of the workshop focused on blogging, delivering key messages, content planning, how to write good content and using effective headlines. With so much covered, I’ve just picked a few of these things to focus on in this post, mainly Keren’s tips and tricks for Twitter and LinkedIn and a brief overview of content marketing. I’ve been asked to write an article on the workshop for the ITI bulletin later this month. I’ll focus more heavily on content marketing for that article, and I’m happy to share that on the blog too. On a side note, you can find more tips and tricks in the Top Left Design e-books on their website. Topics range from creating a content calendar and revamping your website, to writing effective newsletters.

Keren likened content marketing and using social media frequently to putting coins into your clients’ brains – so that you occupy a space in their mind. She also spoke about ‘touch points’ and told us that it normally takes 7 or 8 “touch points” before someone asks for your services/refers you to someone. Touch points are encounters of some sort – tweets, emails, meetings, phone calls, or simply someone absorbing something you wrote or published online.



So… what exactly is content marketing?

It’s about getting people who you want to think about you (i.e. industry peers, current clients, prospective clients, etc.), to think what you want them to think about you. You do this by creating content such as blog posts, PDFs, images you share on social media, and more.

This might involve some of the following elements (which Keren calls a ‘marketing mix’):

Online: Website / Blog / Video / Email newsletter

Social: Twitter / Google + / LinkedIn / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest

Printed: Brochures / Flyers / Direct mail

Events: Conferences / Speaking engagements / Workshops

In person: Coffee / Drinks / Lunch / Networking / Phone calls

Researched: White papers / Reports / Recommendations / Ebooks / Infographics / Printed books

Of course, doing all these things on a regular basis would mean we’d have little time left to do our paid translation/interpreting work (!) but perhaps picking a few of these and working on them is a good place to start.



Some may argue that social media is a waste of time, but for others, it’s a key tool to help grow their business. Sharing your knowledge on social media is a way of showing your expertise and proving you’re good at what you do. Another great thing about social media is you can participate in discussions with other industry peers, which is invaluable for translators and interpreters as we can learn a lot from one another.

Twitter tips and tricks:

  • For your profile photo, use a cropped photo of your face (don’t bother with a full length photo as it shows up as a thumbnail on people’s Twitter feeds and on phone apps). Surveys have shown that people prefer a picture of a face to a logo or a cartoon avatar. The same goes for LinkedIn – a photo will give your brand a face (literally!).
  • Use to shorten URLs so they take up less characters and there’s more room for your message. At the workshop I learnt that you can actually customise the random character ending that normally generates! You can find out how to do that here.
  • If you have a bit of extra time, quote tweets are better than just retweeting someone as you can add in a comment to provide your followers with more context/your opinion/ the reason why you’re retweeting the content in the first place. You can also use it to start a discussion with the person who wrote the tweet.
  • In terms of content, your posts should be a good mixture of shares, re-tweets, quote tweets, links to articles and your own words. Keren recommends a 5:1 ratio; 4 tweets which are conversations, link sharing, helpful, or promoting others, and one about your own business – or linking to a recent blog post.


LinkedIn tips and tricks:

  • Vanity URL: Customise your LinkedIn URL so you can add it to your email signature and business cards. As with the URL shortener, it means you can remove the random character ending and use your name, which looks more professional. It takes less than a minute (I’ve just done mine!) and you can find out how to do it here.
  • If someone adds you on LinkedIn that you don’t know, start up a conversation with them (unless you think it’s spam)! I normally write a quick message to say thanks for adding me and then try to find something interesting on their profile and ask them about it. I’ve been doing this for the last 6 months – before I just ignored requests from people I didn’t know – and I have gained 3 new clients just by doing this.

Do you have any social media or content marketing tips to share with us? If so, we’d love to hear from you! You can post in the comments section below. Enjoy the rest of your week, everyone!