Social Networking and Translation: Facebook
Using Social Networks to Promote Your Translation Services
As a freelancer, working from your home or office for international clients or even to agencies in your country, you need to have online visibility.
Whether you are a beginner trying to become a freelance translator or an experienced professional wishing to expand your job opportunities and contacts, you can find that social networks are interesting means to explore your possibilities and are a great way to promote your translation services.
Social media allows you to create a whole community of contacts which are not in your email inbox or are not direct contacts, but that can be easily reached at. You can enter a huge network of translators, linguist and field-related professionals from all over the world. Also, your profile will work as an Internet page that will be on the web. So you can take advantage of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) too. Best of all, you can sign in for free! However, you will need to devote time and attention every day in order make the best of them.
As their name express, these are networks that work mainly for socializing and not strictly to get translation jobs, like Proz or other marketplaces. But you may profit a lot from improving your visibility online, getting people and companies to know who you are and what you offer, and also learning about the trends in the industry, translation resources, CAT tools, best practices, etc.
Here are some useful strategies to make the best out of these websites once you have set up your account and professional profile.
In order to market your services, it is better to create a Facebook page with a description of your profession or your company. Facebook pages, or Fan pages, allow you to have a professional presence on Facebook. Another good strategy is to keep a personal profile and a page for your professional services. This way you can interact differently with your personal and professional contacts. Sometimes it is not so easy to separate both categories too neatly and you may find that many of your colleagues are also your friends.
Keep Your Timeline Updated
Then you need to keep your page (or “timeline” as it is also called) constantly updated. For this, you can post the projects you are currently working on or the services you are offering at the moment. You should also include translation courses, Spanish seminars or interesting workshops you have attended recently. This will show that you are constantly learning and improving yourself. There’s no use setting up a Facebook page if you are not going spend some time reading, searching information on the web and answering and commenting on your contacts.
Your page should be visually attractive, with images, pictures – not just logos and words. Encourage people to comment and “Like” your page. Keep your audience in mind; the tone of what you write or publish must be cheerful and relaxed due to the social nature of Facebook.
Share pictures, videos, and images. For example, you can upload pictures of you receiving your translation degree at University or with your classmates at a Language Congress. You can also customize your page according to your field of expertise. For example, if you specialize in tourism and travel, you may include some nice pictures of places to visit in your country, links to Spanish tuition, etc.
Interact with Translation-focused Groups and People
Send invitations to connect with people related to your field, like pages of people of similar interest, post updates or comments on translation and language groups, agencies or professionals involved in your fields of expertise. Join translation-centered groups and comment on them. You can even start forums on certain topics or ask questions to get them answered by professionals with experience.
Like pages of associations like ATA or Translators Without Borders, International Freelancers Academy or others related to Spanish translation. This will give you prestige and reputation and you may also learn a lot about the trends in the industry and latest developments.
Add links to your website, blog and other social media, like Twitter or LinkedIn. This way you can interact with contacts in these networks as well or redirect people to your other profiles. You can generate interest in your visitors by posting useful links to articles, events, videos, language resources, seminars online, workshops in your country, and congresses on Spanish language. Find interesting news in the Spanish language world and post them on your Facebook page. To illustrate, the latest books published on Spanish grammar, news of the RAE, the etymology of a word of common use, etc. You can also include translation-based news such as the most common CAT tools in the market, an interesting link to a tutorial, updates on financial issues, and best ways to receive payments from abroad.
If you have a big project which you can’t take, you can post it in a group of Spanish translators in Facebook and your will have an immediate response. Glossaries and vocabularies are highly appreciated. Post English to Spanish glossaries of specific fields such as videogames, medicine, IT, technology, legal or whatever your expertise is. You can even create an open glossary and encourage specialized translators to add words on it. The more you share the more people will like your page and the more you will gain online presence.
From time to time, amuse your readers with some funny material, jokes on translators, word puns, games with words, etc. You can also create contests or surveys for translators. If you are the social type, you can also organize on-site events for translators in your country. For example, organize a meeting at a café to talk about poetry translation. You can also create online events to share information or your experience in certain area using platforms like Skype or GoToMeeting.
The possibilities are endless. Your opportunities will depend on what you want (marketing, visibility, expanding your contacts, learning, exchanging information, etc.) and the time you devote to updating your page and maintaining your contacts. You can choose some of the ideas mentioned or get inspired by them and find your own. But the most important thing is that once you start on this road, you need to be disciplined and unwavering in your dedication.
– written by Julieta Spirito