August Break

From The Deep End we wish you all a great summer! We will be back in September with more posts.


Enjoy it wherever you are!


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

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!


Last Night We Had A Dream

By Felicity Pearce

ANOCHE TUVE UN SUEÑO Ph- Luis Malibran_LM06578.JPG

Spot the translators! Credit: Luis Malibran

Welcome to our first bilingual post! Last year Paula wrote about our trip to Madrid as part of an ongoing collaboration between us (and a number of other translators) and what was then a Spanish-language magazine Anoche Tuve Un Sueño. Now the global magazine (just a few articles can take you to places like Paris, South Africa, Rio and Mauritius, to name but a few) is beginning it’s English journey as Last Night I Had A Dream.

To celebrate this success and all the hard work, love and perseverance that is behind it, we asked publisher Julia Higueras and editor-in-chief Fernando López del Prado to share the story of the magazine and their experience of the translation process, naturally in both Spanish and English.

We hope you enjoy this interview and the magazine as much as we have enjoyed working on it and with Julia and Fernando.

In Spanish:

ANOCHE TUVE UN SUEÑO Ph- Luis Malibran_LM06350.JPG

Julia at the Premios de los Optimistas Comprometidos, the awards ceremony organized by the magazine. Credit: Luis Malibran


FP: Primero, ¿nos cuentas un poco la historia de la revista, cómo empezó y qué representa?

JH: Hace 5 años tuve un sueño, rescatar la vocación de servicio público del periodismo y liderar un nuevo estilo de vida: el pensamiento sostenible. Así nació Anoche tuve un sueño, una global magazine, la revista de los optimistas comprometidos. Desde ese instante nos hemos dedicado a conectar causas, personas y marcas que creen que nuestras acciones de hoy tendrán un efecto positivo en las generaciones del mañana y en eso trabajamos cada día, con ilusión y optimismo, aportando soluciones y siempre desde la esperanza. Somos la generación del cambio, somos gente bio-tiful.

Después de todos estos años remando a contracorriente, nos hemos convertido en pioneros y referentes del nuevo periodismo comprometido, responsable, crítico e independiente. Hemos creado una comunidad internacional integrada por personas optimistas y comprometidas, de multitud de países, que hablan distintos idiomas pero que tienen un nexo común: creen en el pensamiento sostenible y actúan en consecuencia, y luchan por mejorar la sociedad en que vivimos.

Hace 5 años tuve un sueño: unámonos NO para hacer lo posible sino para HACERLO posible.


FP: ¿Cómo y cuándo surgió la idea de la revista en inglés, o siempre era el plan?

JH: La revista nació con la vocación de ser una Global Magazine, pero la crisis económica – que ha azotado de forma especialmente virulenta a los países del Sur de Europa- retardó mucho los planes de la revista en inglés… La gran lección que aprendimos es que  nunca hay que dejar de creer en los sueños. Nosotros NUNCA dejamos de creer que Anoche tuve un sueño sería: Last Night I Had a Dream… ¡y el sueño se hizo realidad! ¿Cómo? Pues gracias a un grupo de traductores maravillosos que creyeron en lo que hacíamos y decidieron poner lo mejorque sabían hacer – traducir- a disposición de los demás… traduciendo dan a conocer el trabajo de mucha gente anónima que trabaja para conseguir hacer realidad los sueños ajenos y para ofrecer, además,  a las generaciones venideras un legado digno… La revista en inglés te enseña que los sueños no tienen fronteras, los sueños unen y dan sentido a nuestras vidas…   A Fernando – hacedor de este éxito- siempre le suelto una frase de la escritora Gabriela Mistral que me motiva mucho ante la dificultad (ahora a él también):

‘Donde haya un árbol que plantar, plántalo tú. Donde haya un error que enmendar, enmiéndalo tú. Donde haya un esfuerzo que todos esquivan, hazlo tú. Sé tú el que aparta la piedra del camino’

Y en eso estamos ahora, apartando la siguiente piedra del camino…


FP: ¿Fue tu primera experiencia trabajando con traductores, y cómo ha ido?

FLP: Sí, ha sido la primera vez. También la primera vez que tenía que coordinar el trabajo de nueve traductores a la vez, a los cuales no conocía y estaban haciendo un trabajo voluntario, desinteresado. La experiencia ha sido positiva. Me ha ayudado a entender el todo el trabajo que hay detrás de una buena traducción. Desde luego es mucho más que cambiar palabras de un idioma a otro. Traducir un texto es algo muy complejo. Un idioma es la manera que tiene un país o toda una región de comunicarse, de expresar sentimientos y pensamientos complejos. El ejercicio de trasladar toda esta información de un idioma a otro y conseguir que mantenga su significado original es muy difícil. Implica conocer el idioma y la cultura que lo rodea. Además el traductor/a también tiene que tener un poco de escritor.


FP: ¿Has aprendido algo sobre el proceso de la traducción?

FLP: Por supuesto que sí. Como decía antes, traducir un texto es un proceso complejo y aprendí que hay que preparar muy bien cómo se aborda el trabajo. Para empezar, es fundamental entender bien el texto que se va a traducir. Para ello es necesario hacer una lectura en profundidad. Hay que entender cada palabra, cada expresión, cada coma, cada punto. Si no, es imposible realizar una traducción de calidad. Además, hay que contar con un buen conocimiento sobre el autor y el marco en que el texto se concibe, por lo que una investigación previa es siempre muy útil. También aprendí lo importante que son el número de palabras y la fecha de entrega, sobre todo para los y las traductoras que trabajan por cuenta propia.


FP: ¿Por qué ha sido importante para vosotros tener traducciones de calidad y producidas por escritores que tienen el inglés como lengua materna?

FLP: Al fin y al cabo, Anoche Tuve un Sueño es un medio escrito y la calidad de los textos es un componente al que una revista no podía renunciar. Además de las imágenes, la otra herramienta de trabajo son las palabras y hay que tratarlas con mucho mimo.

Las personas que traducen, idealmente, tienen que ser nativas y conocer bien  la cultura que rodea a ese idioma. Solo así, se hará una buena traducción. Para mí, la traducción perfecta es la que no se sabe que es una traducción. Cuando es simplemente un texto bien estructurado y bien escrito, cuando se lee de manera fluida, que logra trasladar los mismos sentimientos que el autor imaginó en el texto original. Y eso es lo que sentí cuando leí la primera edición en inglés de Anoche Tuve un Sueño.



Dreams come true

And in English:

FP: Firstly, could you tell us a bit about the magazine, how it started and what it stands for?

JH: Five years ago I had a dream: to rescue the public service vocation of journalism and to lead a new lifestyle – sustainable thinking. And so Anoche Tuve Un Sueño was born – a global magazine created by and for the committed optimists. From that point onwards we have been connecting causes, people and brands that believe that our actions today will have a positive effect on the generations of tomorrow. This is what we work towards every day, full of drive and optimism and providing solutions from a place of hope. We are the generation of change – we are the bio-tiful people.

After all these years of uphill struggle, we have become pioneers and leaders for a new type of journalism that is committed, responsible, critical and independent. We have brought together an international community of people who are committed and optimistic, from all over the world: people who speak different languages but who share a common bond: we all believe in sustainable thinking and we act on it, striving to improve the society in which we live.

Five years ago I had a dream – not to come together to do what is possible, but to make it possible.


FP: How and when did the idea of having an English version of the magazine start, or was that always the plan?

JH: The magazine was born to be a global magazine, but the financial crisis – which has been acutely felt in southern European countries – really put the brakes on the plans to launch the magazine in English. The lesson we learned was to never stop believing that Anoche Tuve Un Sueño would become Last Night I Had a Dream. And the dream is coming true, thanks to a group of wonderful translators who believed in what we were doing and who decided to use their skills to ensure that the texts could be enjoyed by a wider audience, and to spread the word about the work of many anonymous people who work to carry out the dreams of others and to provide future generations with a worthy legacy. The start of the magazine in English teaches us that dreams do not have boundaries, dreams bring people together and give meaning to our lives. I often share with Fernando – the man behind the successful start of the magazine in English – a quote from Nobel Prize Winner and writer Gabriela Mistral that often spurs me on during difficult times (and now spurs him on too):

“Where there is a tree to plant, plant it yourself. Where there is a mistake to undo, let it be undone by you. Where effort is needed and everyone shirks, put yourself forward. Let it be you who removes the rock from the path.”

And this is where we are now, removing the next rock from our path…


FP: Was this your first experience working with translators? Was it positive/negative?

FLP: Yes, it was a first for me, and also the first time I was responsible for coordinating the work of nine translators at once – people I did not know and who were working voluntarily and selflessly in support of the magazine. It has been a positive experience. It has helped me to understand all the work that goes into a good translation. It is certainly more than changing words from one language to another. Translating a text is very complex process. A language is the way through which a country or a whole region communicates and expresses complex feelings and thoughts. Transferring all of this information from one language to another while ensuring that it retains the original meaning is extremely difficult; it requires a knowledge of the language and the culture surrounding it. A translator also needs to have a talent for writing.


FP: Did you learn anything about the translation process?

FLP: I certainly did. As I said before, translating a text is a complex process and I learned that good preparation is needed when approaching a translation. This means an in-depth reading, understanding each word, each expression, each comma and full stop. Without this, a high-quality translation is not possible. The translator also needs to have a good understanding of the author and the context within which the text was written, so some preparatory research is always helpful. I also learned about the importance the wordcount and the delivery date have for freelance translators. J


FP: Why was it important for you to have good quality translations by native English writers?

FLP: Last Night I Had A Dream is ultimately a written medium and the quality of the texts is one factor the magazine could not compromise on. In addition to the images, the other tool at our disposal is the written word, so this has to be re-produced with great care.

Ideally, people who translate should be native speakers and should have a deep understanding of the culture surrounding the language – only then can a good translation be achieved. For me, the perfect translation is one that does not read like a translation. A text that is simply well structured and well written, that can be read fluidly and which communicates the same feelings that the author conveyed in the original text. And this is what I felt when I read the first edition of Last Night I Had A Dream.

Some thoughts on networking events and using an ‘elevator pitch’

By Claire Harmer

Last week I attended an LRG networking event held in central London. The committee has held similar events before but this one had a special focus: creating an elevator pitch. Nathalie Reis, the LRG’s publicity officer, hosted the event and spoke about her experience of using an elevator pitch at various networking events (more details below). Working in groups, we looked at the different elements that should be included in the pitch, which sparked some very interesting conversations! I wanted to share some of the things we talked about and it would be great to hear your thoughts on what you find works well (or not so well!) when meeting new people at a networking event.

I was interested in attending the LRG event as I’d been in several situations before where I felt like an elevator pitch would work really well, such as at trade fairs, networking events, or business gatherings, but I’d never had anything rehearsed to say. I thought that being able to introduce myself in a concise, confident way would be a good skill to have, and that having something already prepared would help me to do just that.

A few things to think about when putting together an elevator pitch:

  • Focus on what will interest your potential client: language combinations, areas of expertise, services offered, etc.
  • Touch on the problems faced by your potential client and explain how what you are offering would help them to solve these problems. The aim of this is to pique their interest so they will ask you more questions afterwards.
  • Include something memorable about yourself. It is likely that the person you are speaking to will meet lots of new people that day (particularly if they are on a stand at a trade fair) so having something memorable in your pitch will make you stand out.

One of the discussions that took place at the LRG event revolved around how far you should go to educate a potential client. The verdict was that if you were meeting them for the first time it was best to answer their questions politely and try to inform them about the profession. Most of us had experienced people saying things like ‘oh, so do you work in a hospital/booth/court room’ at some point in our careers, i.e. mixing up translators and interpreters. With this issue in mind, I added the fact that I help companies with their ‘written documents’ into my elevator pitch. Here is the one I came up with at the event… it’s a work-in-progress!

Hi, my name is Claire and I am a London-based translator specialising in the medical, pharmaceutical and packaging sectors. I work from French and Spanish into English (which is my native language) and work with companies from French and Spanish-speaking countries to transform their written documents into idiomatic, fluent English. By doing this, I help these companies to increase their chances of success in English-speaking countries such as the UK and the US.

We also discussed how to deal with comments like ‘some people in our office speak English, so they take care of the translations’. The consensus was mixed in my group; some stressed that we should inform them of the dangers of this producing an inaccurate translation (particularly when carried out by non-native speakers of the target language!). While myself and a few others thought that if they didn’t know why this would look and sound unprofessional, they probably weren’t the best people to do business with. A few of us mentioned that the ITI translation guide for buyers: ‘Getting it right’ would be useful here, but we weren’t sure when giving it out would be appropriate. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?


I’ve compiled a list of the general networking events and groups which were mentioned at the LRG event, in case any readers are interested:

Apparently this is ‘the most successful business networking referral organisation in the world’! Members are part of a ‘word of mouth’ programme whereby they can develop relationships with other professionals. They have branches or ‘chapters’, as they call them, all over the world, with each ‘chapter’ allowing just one representative from each trade or professional to join the group, so there is no competition between members. It also means that there is a wide variety of professionals at their events and not 10 accountants at one meeting, for example! The downside is the expense attached (around £400 yearly subscription fee plus registration costs) and it’s a fairly hefty time commitment – most chapters meet on a weekly basis and attendance is mandatory.

  • Chambers of Commerce (as an example, this is the French Chamber of Great Britain)

People at the LRG event seemed to have varying reviews of COC events. The main point that came up was that most of the other individuals attending the events were in finance, so it wasn’t great for those wishing to network with people from a variety of trades. On the other hand, perhaps it would be a great networking opportunity for financial translators!

London-based networking group, although there are lots of groups like this out there, particularly in and around big cities. Any individual/company can attend two events as a non-member before deciding whether or not to join. The events are fairly low-cost (around £25 for London events) and unstructured, i.e. they don’t follow a fixed agenda, unlike the BNI events. I’m planning on going to one of their events next week. I’ve not been before so I’ll let you know how it goes…. watch this space!

  • Speed networking

Trade fairs and exhibitions often run speed networking sessions alongside them. I recently found out that has groups specifically for speed networking, but I haven’t managed to get to an event just yet. You often only get 60 seconds to explain your business and introduce yourself; a perfect opportunity for trying out your elevator pitch! Speed networking means that you’ll meet lots of people in a short space of time, and the cost of these events is generally low. Some people argue that 60 seconds isn’t enough time to build a relationship with a potential client, but since people tend to hand their business cards out to each person they meet during the event, they can always contact you later.

If you’ve been to any of these, or any other networking events for that matter, what did you think of them? It would be great to get your feedback!


The LRG event I attended, held at the Devereux pub in London.

Courtesy of Nada Photography