Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Copywriters! Any advice?
Thread poster: Paula Morrison

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 10, 2012

Hi,

As a Translator and Interpreter I try to read as much as I can, whether it's magazines or online newspapers ,and books, I read when i can. Being a mum of a one-year old makes it a bit difficult, but I still try.

By doing a bit of research about dairy and egg-free products for my son, I came across a website with not only lots of fantastic recipes but with a story behind each recipe. I loved it! So, I read about the creator of the website and found out she was also a copywriter. I must say, it suddenly opened my imagination.

Now, as a translator, have you ever been interested in becoming a copywriter?
Do you need to be qualified to be one? How does it work? Is it better than translating? More profitable perhaps?

I will do more research about it but I would like to hear from the ones who are already copywriters and also are or have been translators.

Thanks
Paula

[Edited at 2012-07-10 15:52 GMT]


 

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 18:31
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
I always found it rather difficult... Jul 10, 2012

...to put a price on creativity. As with art and design (where I come from) I found it less easy to get a fair price for my work as with a job where I could present a clear and (mostly) undoubtable wordcount together with my per-word-rate.

I just found it so easy to stick to my prices after having starved a couple of years as an artist, working for free, because I really needed to get my work known, because I liked the project the client offered, because working for almost nothing is better than working for nothing...

I am aware that this is to a very large extent my personal problem. I am sure there are artists or creative workers that will ask and receive the money they consider themselves worth. But even besides myself I know enough that won´t.

But most importantly, a totally empty page just scares the s**t out of me. I prefer to be able to tranlsate something that is already there - someone else has taken care of the structure, the contents, everything. I just kind of have to fill the translation in. A bit like painting by numbers, maybe.

I don´t believe that any formal qualifications are necessary to become a copywriter. As to skills, there exist plenty of resources about good writing - courses, books, etc. A copywriter is suposed to take a certain idea and transmit it to his or her readers - this requires an excellent command of language, just like translation does.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Copywriting is SO different from copy-editing! Jul 10, 2012

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:
But most importantly, a totally empty page just scares the s**t out of me
....
A copywriter is suposed to take a certain idea and transmit it to his or her readers - this requires an excellent command of language, just like translation does.

It also calls for a great deal of imagination - and that's where I luck out.icon_frown.gif

I specialise in all sorts of editing - not just on the level of words in a sentence but to some extent on content. I'll take a website and reorder things in a more logical way, as well as looking in detail at every character. But I have to have the website there in draft form - I can't invent it.

Give me a paragraph of text and I'll rework it so you'd never recognise it. Give me a blank sheet, and it'll stay obstinately blank.icon_frown.gif But if you can do it, Paula, I'm sure you'll find it very satisfying. Mind you, I imagine it's not something you can pick up and put down easily so it might not want to share your attention any more than your son does.

Sheila


 

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It might not be my thing after all.... Jul 10, 2012

You're both. It requires creativity and time. I guess if you're given a blank sheet and a tight deadline, then you're dead and if you don't have neither of the aboveicon_smile.gif

I really enjoy translating but I think I might enjoy copywriting more, probably because I think I can create something from a blank piece of paper. I remember taking time to write essays at Uni but it wasn't anything impossible.

Now, can I ask you something (only because I haven't done any research on the topic today)?
Is it more selling orientated or it can be focused on something else apart from persuading? Well, I guess that would be just writing, wouldn't it?
And the other thing is, did you ever do it in your own language or in your second language?

What are the advantages of it?

Thanks ladies!


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:31
Chinese to English
You have to love it Jul 11, 2012

I was holding off to let proper copywriters answer first. I'm a translator, but I've been asked on a few occasions by major clients to do some copywriting for them, mostly speeches to be given at company events.

I find it very difficult indeed. You have to try to think yourself into the mindset of someone who has great familiarity and confidence in a field that you don't know very well. I always feel constrained - I can't create as I want, because the client often doesn't want something *too* creative (they'd go to an ad agency for that, not a copywriter); but that the same time, you can't be too mechanical or programmatic. The resulting balance invariably feels awkward to me.

But that's me, and I would say I've never been a natural writer. If you are, then I can imagine this kind of work could be very rewarding. And if you've ever been frustrated by a badly-written source text, then copywriting is just like translation with the freedom to express the ideas as they should be expressed, not as the client actually did (fail to) express them.

But my understanding is that it's a whole separate industry, and you'll have to learn a lot of new standards and procedures and industry expectations. Good luck, if you go for it, and have fun!


 

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Different worlds then... Jul 11, 2012

Hi Phil,

Thanks for your input. I see what you mean.
And, can I just ask - did you do it in your mother tongue or also in the language you translate into?

Thanks


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 01:31
Chinese to English
Only in English Jul 11, 2012

I wouldn't be competent to do it in Chinese - my writing is just not polished or flexible enough.

 

QUOI  Identity Verified

Chinese to English
+ ...
You know the saying... Jul 11, 2012

He who can, writes; he who can't, translates; he who really can't, tweets.icon_smile.gif

 

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That saying...we'll see Jul 11, 2012

icon_smile.gif I think there must be some true in that saying but I'm sure there are people out there who can do both and they are great at it.

I don't know if I would be that good. I can speak both English and Spanish but I would do it in English despite my mother tongue is Spanish.

At the moment I'm trying to see if I start a blog to get more confidence and polish my creativity.
I need to find what I really want to talk about and I guess that would help a lot.

Thanks!


 

Paul Adie  Identity Verified
Germany
Spanish to English
+ ...
Be careful Jul 11, 2012

Be careful if you want to copywrite in a language that's not your native tongue (yes, yes, I'm a native English speaker and I'm narking about the native thing). No matter how good your English is, there may be slight markers that show you are not a native, and it annoys translators. I don't know if it annoys English speakers who only speak English, however.

I've studied Spanish and Russian at university for 5 years. Studied in Spain for 1 year. Lived in Spain for another 5... and I would still not do copywriting in Spanish. My level of Spanish is very high, but whenever I need to write, I am humble enough to ask a skilled native speaker to check my text. I learn from this process.

In any case, I hope you succeed in whatever you choose.


 

Andrei Yefimov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 19:31
English to Russian
+ ...
could be helpful Jul 11, 2012

Check http://www.procopywriters.co.uk/. They seem to operate under the roof of a reputable UK-based copywriting agency. I see you are based in the UK too, so it could be a good place to start.

Also, there is a gold mine of information on Twitter. Just type in "copywriter/copywriting" and you will see there are a lot of articles for all kinds of writers: newbies, advanced, veterans.

If you serious about being a copywriter, you need to absorb advice and learn off seasoned writers.

Good luck!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:31
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
How do you know what they want? Jul 11, 2012

Phil Hand wrote:
You have to try to think yourself into the mindset of someone who has great familiarity and confidence in a field that you don't know very well. I always feel constrained - I can't create as I want, because the client often doesn't want something *too* creative (they'd go to an ad agency for that, not a copywriter); but that the same time, you can't be too mechanical or programmatic. The resulting balance invariably feels awkward to me.


I haven't done real copywriting, and that's my reason. I can write for myself, about topics I know about and want to say something about. I could blog if I wanted to, I just haven't really seen the need to. I suppose these ProZ posts are my blog.:-)

But that's writing for me.

People often ask me what they should put on their websites. OK, I tell them they need an intro, some personal info, their service, contact....... And they say "yes, I know all that, but what exactly should I say?" Not knowing the person or their business, how on earth can I give them the answer to that question? I'm a wanabee writer, not a mind-reader.

Sheila


 

DLyons  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 17:31
Spanish to English
+ ...
Copywriters don't tweet. Jul 11, 2012

quoi wrote:

He who can, writes; he who can't, translates; he who really can't, tweets.icon_smile.gif



Or more accurately:

"He who can, writes; she who understands, translates; he who can't, tweets;

the twits who really can't, retweet".


 

Paula Morrison  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:31
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Doing it in your own language - true! Jul 11, 2012

Yes, like Paul said, I should be careful.

I could start a blog in Spanish but based in the UK would it not that interesting. What do you think?

I have a major respect for native speakers and I strongly believe that we should stick to our mother tongues when it comes to producing something that involves creativity. Having said that, I think I should write in Spanish; however, most of my clients are UK-based and I think that if I fully concentrate on blogs to begin with, I might have a chance in the future? I mean, who knows, I might end up thinking - 'Do you know what? This is just not my thing'. But I want to start testing my creativity and I admire how this lady has shared her experience with allergies and copywrites about this.

Anyway, please keep on shooting comments! I love it and it helps me!


 

Melanie Maiwald-Meylahn  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:31
English to German
+ ...
It is a nice change Jul 11, 2012

I work as a copywriter, too. I enjoy it very much and it is a nice change from translating. But I only accept jobs when I am interested in the topic and when I know a lot about it. I think, it is wise to specialize in certain areas and to stick with them.

I really enjoy to write down my thoughts about an interesting topic and I sometimes ponder about the pros and cons for days. Sometimes, I have new ideas what to write while I am doing something totally different.

I only write in German (my native tongue) and I wouldn't write in English, unless I could do this in cooperation with an English native speaker.

Another point which I think is very important is clear communication. It is essential to really know what the client expects and how much freedom do you have.


 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Fernanda Rocha[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Copywriters! Any advice?

Advanced search







CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search