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What do you think of my website?
Thread poster: Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI

Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2013)
German to English
May 24, 2016

First of all, I wasn't sure where to put this - the 'Marketing for Translators' subforum doesn't seem to be all that popular so I wasn't sure if posting this there would have been all that helpful. I'd be grateful if mods could move this to the proper forum if necessary.

Anyway, I am in the process of creating a website for myself and I'd appreciate any feedback anyone has on it. From anything from the font/colour/pictures to the actual content itself. Any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated!

www.nickbrisland.com


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xxxIlan Rubin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 22:55
Russian to English
OK May 24, 2016

I think you should make clear on the front page your specializations. Otherwise you don't stand out from the others.

You could add a client list (subject to permission from those clients).

I don't have a site and I guess most translators don't need one once they get fully loaded with regular clients (I fortunately had these lined up before I went full-time freelance) - but, what I suspect, is that for the site to be effective you need it to pop up on the first page or two of search engines. And that costs serious money (search engine optimization - SEO). I don't know if you can learn how to do SEO yourself or how it works. But I read somewhere else that an advertising agency in Russia (where I live) charges the equivalent of about one thousand pounds per month for SEO. So it can be costly.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I agree with Ilan May 24, 2016

ILAN RUBIN wrote:

I think you should make clear on the front page your specializations. Otherwise you don't stand out from the others.

You could add a client list (subject to permission from those clients).

I don't have a site and I guess most translators don't need one once they get fully loaded with regular clients (I fortunately had these lined up before I went full-time freelance) - but, what I suspect, is that for the site to be effective you need it to pop up on the first page or two of search engines. And that costs serious money (search engine optimization - SEO). I don't know if you can learn how to do SEO yourself or how it works. But I read somewhere else that an advertising agency in Russia (where I live) charges the equivalent of about one thousand pounds per month for SEO. So it can be costly.


I agree with Ilan - the website looks good but the service you offer is too generic to hold anyone's attention.

You need to strongly emphasise the German to English aspect, and to make clear what your specialist fields are.

I once read somewhere that when a person visits a website they will look at it for 7 seconds, and if nothing grabs their attention, they will go away and never come back !

But if your website says (for example) "I am specialised in translating cardiac surgery documents from German into English" and the words "translation" "German " "English" "cardiac surgery", "cardiac" and "surgery" are included in your search tags, then if anyone googles for any combination of those words, your website will come up in the search. With a bit of skill at HTML you can do this yourself, and pay nothing. There are websites that teach you how to do it.

Also: just saying "Have a look through the site" won't work. People will only explore your site if you put interesting links on the home page to click on, which automatically draw them deeper into the site. "Clickbait"- something appetising or intriguing that attracts you to click on it.

I used to have a website myself but I found it too time-intensive, so I stopped. It wasn't paying off as much as I hoped it would. But I learned quite a lot about making websites !

[Edited at 2016-05-24 10:02 GMT]


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 20:55
English to Croatian
+ ...
Educational "flair" May 24, 2016

Your home page describes what a translation can do for me (like a seminar style explanation).

I am a neutral visitor, I want to see quickly what you can do and in what language combo and how fast. I am not interested in lectures about translation.

Also your pitch could/should be higher, it is written in a very neutral tone for someone specializing in Marketing. It lacks strength and/or focus.

[Edited at 2016-05-24 10:31 GMT]


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
More concrete information on the front page May 24, 2016

First the good parts: the site has a pleasant look and feel and is easy to navigate, and it is obvious you have aimed for creativity.

What you have written on the front page is only fluff. It doesn't even say you translate from German to English; one has to start guessing where to find that information.

And it should mention the languages in a header or title, not just in the middle of more fluff.

Can I get a translation from German to Australian English? You don't say. The client needs to be sure the variant of English suits their needs.

"Translation is the process of turning a document written in one language into another language." could make you sound patronising, as some might think "just how stupid does he think his clients are?" I know some members of the public confuse translation and interpretation, but no agency would need to be given this information.

I would have preferred more factual information, such as specialities, in list form, as it's faster to overview, and agencies generally don't have much time for reading through web pages.

You have chosen not to mention your rates, and I think that's a mistake. Remember the saying "if you have to ask, you can’t afford it." You risk losing clients on that. They need to know the rate, but you force them to waste time getting it, and even if they send you an e-mail, they may already have chosen someone else while you respond. A rate does not have to be binding, so why hide it? Are you so expensive you fear they'll be shell-shocked if they see the rate? I generally stay away from businesses that don't tell me their prices up front, but maybe that's just me. I like transparency.

I could not find anything about which country you are resident and registered in, just a contact form and your name. Not even a phone number. You haven't provided the option of attaching documents to the form either.

Since you work with German, you may want to consider a version in German, but in that case, be aware of the draconian German Abmahnung laws, 'Abmahnung police' and penalties (*) if you don't post endless pages of legal yada-yada, an e-mail address, a postal address, and a lot more. Being resident outside Germany won't get you off the hook if you target users in Germany – in German.

*) http://www.makesyoulocal.com/take-care-in-germany-it-is-expensive-to-make-mistakes/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abmahnung

[Edited at 2016-05-24 11:06 GMT]


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John Holland  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:55
Member (2012)
French to English
Examples May 24, 2016

I agree with the points already mentioned.

I'd also suggest that you add some samples of your work, to help people get an idea of what you can do. It might be possible to include some work you did at school, or you can look for texts on the Internet can be translated and published for commercial purposes (some of the creative commons licenses allow for this). The idea is to show your skills.

Since you are targeting German customers, at least in part, it could be useful to have a German-language version of the site once you are satisfied with the copy. This can be another way to demonstrate your abilities in your source language(s), as well.


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Copy needs work May 24, 2016

I'm only going to comment on your copy, as the design seems fine.

It's very basic. The impression it gives is that you don't have much experience, if any. You don't appear to specialise ('marketing' is VERY broad) and it's not even very clear what your language combination is (clients have to sift through text and pages to figure out this very essential information). Your comments on pricing give the impression, however, that you charge a lot. So in the end, a potential customer could be left feeling that you offer nothing special, you lack experience and you charge more than that's worth.

Your comments on quality sound a bit empty. Yes, quality is good, but there's not a lot of substance to back up your claims that quality should be paramount to the client (sometimes they need convincing!) or that you provide high quality work (if you can get some testimonials up there, that would be good).

What I like is that you do seem to be heading towards a client-focused message (what you can do for the client). It could be a lot stronger. As it currently stands, it seems like you are actively thinking about the client's needs (GREAT!) but you could improve on this by showing that you are not only thinking of what they need, but also that you UNDERSTAND their needs.

Others here suggested posting translation samples. That could be good, but I had a look at your ProZ profile (where you have samples posted) and I would strongly suggest revising them or replacing them with more recent ones if those ones are old. Your samples are accurate but are not of stellar marketing quality. If someone submitted these to me and asked for my professional opinion, I would say that they show promise but that the translator seems inexperienced and would benefit from a little more time 'behind the wheel' so to speak. Of course, if those are older samples and you have newer, improved texts, that would solve that issue. (I only looked at German to English ones, as that is also my main working combination.)

I certainly don't want to rain on your parade. You appear to be taking a lot of steps to show your commitment to translation and to professionalism. The client-driven statements in particular show a lot of promise. I have no doubt that you will succeed as both a professional translator and as a businessman. So this is not some sort of 'dump-on'the-new-guy' post. Just some honest feedback. Good luck.


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Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:55
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Highlighting May 24, 2016

Overall I like it.

But I reckon it would be worth highlighting in colour or bold font various important aspects, eg. language pairs, fields, education. That will enable people to skim read it and still get a general overview of the most important points.


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Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2013)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks... May 24, 2016

...everyone for your comments. I've read all of them and there are too many to reply to directly, but I have a couple of responses.

I actually have a tagline ("your German to English translator for marketing and advertising") but the theme on Wordpress won't let me display it. I'll have a look into getting it on there somewhere though.

@Thomas T. Frost: I wrote the definition of translation simply to avoid clients potentially coming to me for the wrong service. The idea is to avoid disappointment for them and my time being wasted. I am trying to aim my site at direct clients who may not be aware of things like the difference between interpreting and translating, or the fact that translators generally only translate into their native language. That's why I tried to spell it out plainly. As for displaying rates, I don't want to tie myself to a particular rate. My rate may vary according to a number of factors and I want to avoid the potential for clients to come back to me and say things like "your website says rate x so why are you charging a higher rate y?". I've seen translator profiles on here, other translators' websites and agencies' websites which don't advertise rates, so it's fairly common.

As for things like samples, testimonials, more clearly stating specialisms etc. - all good ideas which I will try to implement as soon as I can.

As for things like getting a German version and SEO, both are on the to do list - but I want to get the content sorted out first. I'd like to try to teach myself SEO as I don't really know much about it. I've also briefly thought about paying for Google adwords, but I've not looked into it yet so I don't really know if it will be worth it.

Once again, thanks everyone for the comments. I've read them all and they're all very helpful. Lots of things to do...


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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:55
French to Spanish
+ ...
Just saw... May 24, 2016

"What can I do for you" should be "What can I do for you?"
On your keyboard, we see to much languages, IMHO.
Do you really translate that much?

Good luck.


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Photo May 24, 2016

Hi Nick,

You've had some good feedback already, so I will just add that a professional photo in business attire can make a website look a whole lot more serious and attractive. Yours is by no means the worst I have seen, but it does look a bit like a holiday snap.

(I need to take this advice myself by the way!)

Rachel


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Elizabeth Faracini  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:55
Member (2010)
Italian to English
+ ...
A few comments May 24, 2016

In "What I can do for you": You may want to avoid mentioning that you "enjoy" translating certain types of texts and instead explain why you are qualified to translate them (your experience, education, etc.).

On the pricing page, in general I think you should be more direct. In my opinion, there is no need for the phrase "I don’t publish my prices on this website because". Just get into the information the client actually needs "The price may vary...". I would also reconsider referring to "bad news", "injury", "death", etc. Maybe consider taking out the whole "bad translation" section. It seems like you are trying to frighten potential clients (which I assume is not your intention). In general, I'd say don't beat around the bush. Clients are looking for a translator and expecting to pay for this service. Maybe check translation agency websites to see how they deal with explaining pricing.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 20:55
English to Polish
+ ...
... May 25, 2016

Graphical design is okay. If you expect your clients to be female more often than male, you may want to opt for a tint rather than a shade. Consider a blue-grey-white scheme like on royal.uk or yale.edu. Still, while it seems clear to me you want to keep at least a little distance, you may still want a warmer, more inviting colour scheme if your goal is to relate to your clients on a more informal basis, as some of your phrasing suggests (or contractions). Lighter blue, orange, green, brown, yellow, depending on what exactly you want to project.

To me, you sound brown and orange with strategic yellow lining (thin) to lighten things up and bright-red-lined ghost buttons for action calls. This will cover the same side of your personality without the distance created by dark blue and grey and without needing to rely solely on words to make certain appeals more explicit. You're unafraid to be direct, but you keep polite distance and are a bit on the old-fashioned side, so this sounds to me like the ideal colour scheme for you. You could put some text (not background) in purple, but brighter than the current shade, for a touch of mystery and perhaps just a little bit of luxury, enough to show that what you're selling is craft goods and not something from a factory line.

Use your young age to your advantage; don't even think about trying to hide it. Instead, use it to project vitality and vigour, and breath of fresh air.

Get a portrait pic. No jacket, no tie, but a nice shirt, rolled-up sleeves. No artsy stuff but let the quality of the camera and of the photographer show. The pose should be open and inviting but confident, making sure it shows you know what you're worth, in a non-arrogant way.

Get someone to draw some patterns for you, so you don't have to use solid-colour monoblocks. Add a bit of grunge etc.

Page by page:

Home:

1. I can't fully grasp the difference between the firm 'helps' and the hypothetical 'can'.
2. 'Can increase your profit margin' could be a link or be followed by one, as it's quite actionable.
3. 'But remember' feels a bit too colloquial. It isn't serious enough, and some readers could feel patronized by it.
4. 'Use a translator who makes quality a priority' => 'top priority' perhaps?
5. I would prefer a different verb in 'treats your work with'.
6. 'Wants to make you grow' works in B2B, but in B2C it could be mistaken for a reference to personal development. So how about 'wants to help your business grow' (or even 'make')?
7. That page needs a professionally taken photo of you to round out the hero layout. The more expensive the photo looks, the easier time you're going to have negotiating more respectable rates.
8. Try to make the slogal not wrap (through CSS or even non-breaking spaces).
9. The 'use [your name]' style sounds a bit on the quaint side. You may want something more modern.

About:

1. I may be paranoid, but replace 'forged' with something else. People sometimes make strange associations without fully realizing it, which means they aren't in a position to resist them.
2. 'Kinds of documents'.
3. Reconsider 'in the field of', if you work in marketing.
4. Preferably avoid potentially boring words such as 'primarily'. What you want is something closer in style and feel to the second paragraph.
5. There are tons of tips on writing executive bios, lawyer bios and other bios online, and you're probably going to end up translating tons of that stuff, so spending a couple of hours reading up on the subject would be a good idea.
6. Quality, speed and cheap prices are not services, they are parameters. You want to avoid 'cheapness' in this context. It brings an association with a cheap feel rather than cheap prices.
7. If you focus on quality, you don't want to even offer fast & cheap. Any other two of the three, but not these two.
8. 'Speedy and cheap will not result in quality' => the nominalized adjectives sound a bit awkward and give the reader a pause. You may want something more conventional, also easier and faster to read.
9. '[P]roducing a good translation is of paramount importance for a translator and for a customer,' — a bit stilted and too serious.

What I can do for you

1. 'The content and style of the original document is retained, although the wording can sometimes differ slightly so as to sound natural in the target language,' — sometimes the differences, i.e. departures from formal equivalence are much more noticeable. Quite often a relatively literal translation would be completely viable but something less literal would be better — your focus should be on knowing exactly when (and projecting that knowledge).
2. 'Types of document' — again, I'd use the plural.
3. I would probably want to rephrase 'the document is trying to sell' into something more to the tune of 'goal of'.
4. Probably want to avoid 'particular', for the same reason as 'primarily'.
5. Shorter is usually better, but 'any category' could benefit from a suitable adjective.
6. 'Any translation in those fields would be warmly welcomed,' — lose the passive voice, I think.
7. Something feels missing after 'get in touch'.
8. 'Once I get your files, I will review them to see if I’m the right translator for you – I never accept work outside of my comfort zone and believe that doing so is unprofessional,' — I'd probably want to make the end a bit less personal and more formal.
9. On the other hand, 'by which you can expect to receive the translation' could be toned down a little in tune with the register you're aiming for.
10. Rather than 'deadline', I would use something like 'ETA'. Less pressure. You don't want to invite the client's subconscious mind to take a strict approach with you. Also, some people could unnecessarily stress out simply because of the word 'deadline' without giving it much thought.
11. 'Where possible, I will return the files to you in the same format in which I received them,' — something simpler, like 'keep the format and layout'? Also, you don't want the client (or yourself) to think an exact replica of the layout is the only way to go. Rather, you want to train your clients to not use anything that needs OCR-ing if they want pixel-point accuracy. Expecting your clients to be prepared raises your profile. On the other hand, offering DTP as an explicit optional service can warm your image. You just don't want to project the image of someone who spends a lot of time fixing layouts for people; it won't help you get nice fees, because your work will be perceived as largely secretarial.


Pricing:

1. 'A translation which will be published to a wider audience or the general public will cost more than one which won’t' => make the first 'will' an 'is going to'.
2. The style feels a bit old-fashioned in general.
3. 'A surcharge will be applied if the translation is needed urgently' — 'a surcharge will be necessary' perhaps? And don't call it 'bad news' explicitly, I think. Try to make it sound less less like a bad thing and more like something expectable. You might as well explain why; use parallels with overtime at work, if you're going for a more working-class, man's-man kind of style.
4. Scanned documents. You just want to discourage clients from that. Expect them to get real and grow up and just not play the PDF game. PDF no longer proves anything. Nobody believes the .doc can't be found, either. (And obviously signed business letters aren't meant to be scanned and OCR-ed and recreated with a copy-pasted logo and signature, the way it's done by some agencies.) You may want tabular rather than narrative form here anyway.
5. 'Please note that this includes some, but not all, PDF files' => Just mention the difference between editable (text) and non-editable (image) PDFs.
6. 'If possible, please try to send your files in another format or alternatively, you can send them by post, please contact me for this' => rephrase. 'A different format' would be better, a comma before 'alternatively', and a semi-colon before 'please contact me for this.' You also have two instances of 'please' in this sentence and one in the sentence immediately before. You need to lose two of the three, and you won't sound less polite for it.
7. Reconsider both of the as fors.
8. Avoid 'I judge', I think. Personally, I'd go for: 'I offer discounts on large projects on a case-by-case basis.' Between 'offer' and 'case-by-case basis', there's enough indication the discounts are discretionary.

Contact:

1. 'Contact me' would sound better as a call to action, as opposed to a noun headline.
2. Get a more personal message. Perhaps include a picture that invokes a pleasant mental association. Make the promise of friendly and helpful contact more explicit.
3. Preferably include a real e-mail address and phone number.

GL HF!


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Nick Brisland, BA (Hons), AITI
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:55
Member (2013)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Once again... May 25, 2016

...thank you for the recent contributions, in particular to Lukasz for your detailed insights!

@Juan Jacob - the title of that page is "What I can do for you". It is a statement, not a question. I don't really understand the rest of your post.

I will have a good read through everything everyone has said and make changes in the next week or so - whenever I can find time between translation, anyway!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:55
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too verbose... and a couple of ideas May 25, 2016

I agree with the colleagues that it is too much text. However, if you go for verbosity, the text should be more concise and really compelling and able to sell your services (and your person). I. e. the copy should pack more punch. I agree with the colleagues that recommend to add a picture.

Apart from a more compelling copy where you decide to add copy, your initial page should give a clear picture of what you do: qualification, main subjects, a tag line that says it all in 8-10 words... This would help professional clients (agencies, marketing managers, or technical documentation managers hiring translators directly) to find out quickly whether you are their kind of fish.

Also, it would do no harm to add at least your main source language to the website (i.e. make a version in your main source language), when you are happy with your English site. This might help you be contacted by potential customers in the source language.


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