How do I decide if I should use a "stage name"?
Thread poster: Joey O

Joey O  Identity Verified
United States
French to English
Apr 4, 2014

I work in sales for a national interpretation company, but would like to begin translating as a freelancer marketing myself to international companies only, to be sure I have no conflict of interest. Also, I have a male name, although I am female, and several voice-over agencies have contacted me for male voice-over parts. --- I'm considering using a traditionally female stage name so that my gender is clear, and so that clients from my day job do not see that I'm freelancing.
My concern is that I'll want to remain listed on the ATA site with my real name (I do not believe that the ATA allows stage names), and that at some point it would be a disadvantage to essentially have two businesses.

Have any of your done this? Are there disadvantages that I've not considered?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't Apr 4, 2014

Your name is your brand. Care for your brand, associate your brand with responsiveness, quality, and high ethical standards, and you will always be contacted by customers. Personally I think that altering your name would not be a good idea. What you want is a stable customer base with repeating customers, and these will not be confused as soon as they get to know you a little bit.

Something some people do in their communications with customers is stating that they are females, simply by adding "(Ms.)" before or after their name. This is frequent in communications with countries whose names can be confusing, like in the case of Finland.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You have a female name, surely Apr 4, 2014

Roni Osbern wrote:
Also, I have a male name, although I am female, and several voice-over agencies have contacted me for male voice-over parts.


Well, I would have thought that "Roni" is a female person. Ronny is male, though. Are you sure these voice-over agencies contacted you because of your first name? And do you really do voice-over as one of your services?

I'm considering using a traditionally female stage name so that my gender is clear, and so that clients from my day job do not see that I'm freelancing. My concern is that I'll want to remain listed on the ATA site with my real name...


My personal feeling on this is that you should either trade under a "business name" or under your own personal name. But in my culture (not sure about yours) it is acceptable to alter one's first name into a nickname. It would be perfectly acceptable where I was born if you were to change your use-name from Roni to e.g. Rhona or Ronna or even something like Erony.

You can then sign your e-mails as Ronna but have "Ronna (Roni) Osbern" in your e-mail signature.

It may be that ATA accepts that bracketed form as well. If you consistently use Ronna then I would not consider it dishonest if you were to be listed in the ATA directory as Ronna (or Pete if your real name was Peter, or Jack if your real name was James).


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:19
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
I do use a stage name Apr 4, 2014

I am registered in the ATA and other sites not allowing a stage name with my real first name which is Angioletta, (surname is real), here and wherever I can I use Angie, not because Angioletta can be confused with a male name but because it is difficult to pronounce for most of my clients, even in Spain where I live now.

Angie is easier to pronounce and shorter so I decided to use Angie.

I had no disavantages. IMHO you can do this if you so like, but I recommend not to change your surname, just the first name.

My 2 cents,

P.S. However like Samuel said, Roni sounds as a female name to me

Good luck!


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:19
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Your name sounds feminine to me too Apr 4, 2014

There are some thoughts on the topic here:

http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/259459-poll:_my_prozcom_username_is:.html

and here
http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/251104-poll:_does_your_translation_business_have_a_name_other_than_your_own-page2.html

And a long discussion here...
http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/225556-pseudonymsgood_bad_or_ugly.html

They won't help you decide, I suspect, but they're quite entertaining!
There are certainly lots of arguments for and against.

Best of luck!
I have a very common married name which, coupled with 'translation' in one of my languages, will sure as fate find me on Google...


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:19
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Stage name Apr 4, 2014

Angie Garbarino wrote:

......Angie is easier to pronounce and shorter so I decided to use Angie.



Not as bad as a work colleague I used to have in Italy.

I advised him never to visit the UK.

His name?

Facchinetti.


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Joey O  Identity Verified
United States
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 4, 2014

Thank you all for these responses. They have been very helpful. I believe I'll be staying with my given name, and adding "Ms.", as Tomas suggests. Maybe I'll use a rather feminine font on my site, as well.

Many thanks.


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:19
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Hey Tom Apr 4, 2014

Tom in London wrote:
Not as bad as a work colleague I used to have in Italy.

I advised him never to visit the UK.

His name?

Facchinetti.


Your friend's surname is quite famous in Italy, there are 2 artists with this surname, is him one of them?
Not sure if they are famous abroad, but indeed if I try to pronounce it in another language (even a romance language) I smile


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Aelf
Poland
Local time: 00:19
English to Polish
+ ...
Middle name Apr 4, 2014

If you don't want anyone to take you for a man, a female-sounding middle name, if you have one, may be an option. You can also just invent it, IMO.

As for freelancing, I don't think you have to tell anyone you're going to go that route, unless your regular job contract says otherwise. Of course, a possible conflict of interest is something to think about - just use your common sense in the business contacts and you'll be fine. You might want to consider talking about it with your day job supervisors in case you're worried they will look down on you doing your "other job".

Now, why should you hide from your clients you work as a freelancer as well? I couldn't be bothered about them discovering I have two or more jobs - like I don't think I'd have to explain students from one school that I teach other kids as well.

I hope you'll be happy being your own boss!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:19
Russian to English
+ ...
In the United States you can use any first name you want-- Apr 5, 2014

you don't even have to legally change your name, just establish its use customarily by repeatedly using it and then you can use it even for the IRS. You can definitely choose a different first name, if your are unhappy with yours. As to ATA--you may want to check if they still exist--I think many people have had problems contacting them over the last few months. You can definitely use any version of your first name you want--even with ATA. Perhaps not a completely different name--like Anna, or Mary-- I am not sure--perhaps even that might be possible.

Many writers and literary translators also use pen names--a completely different name. This is acceptable, too. I use one sometimes.


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