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Thread poster: Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Jul 12, 2013

Hi all,

I was wondering if you could take a look at my website and give me some feedback.

I haven't implemented any branding yet, but I want to take my time and think about how to go about it. In the meantime, I'm ready to hear some opinions on the website - specifically in terms of suggestions for improvement, addition and ease of navigation.

What suggestions do you have regarding online marketing?

Website link: http://www.shanzi.info/p/overview.html

Thanks,
Sarai


 

Helga Lemiere  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:28
Member (2009)
German to French
Hello Jul 12, 2013

Just passed through the forum posts and stopped on yours

You seem to be very skilled, I just give some statement about your evaluation tab of the TestDaF (I copy and paste it)

TestDaF: Leseverstehen 4, Hörverstehen 5, Schriftliche Ausdück 3, Mündliche Ausdruck 4

Schriftliche Ausdück 3 should be schriftlicher Ausdruck 3
Mündliche Ausdruck 4 should be mündlicher Ausdruck 4

Kind regardsicon_smile.gif

Helga


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jul 12, 2013

Helga Lemiere wrote:

Just passed through the forum posts and stopped on yours

You seem to be very skilled, I just give some statement about your evaluation tab of the TestDaF (I copy and paste it)

TestDaF: Leseverstehen 4, Hörverstehen 5, Schriftliche Ausdück 3, Mündliche Ausdruck 4

Schriftliche Ausdück 3 should be schriftlicher Ausdruck 3
Mündliche Ausdruck 4 should be mündlicher Ausdruck 4

Kind regardsicon_smile.gif

Helga


Thanks Helga, this is great - I'll make sure I update it within the next 24 hoursicon_smile.gif


 

Amel Abdullah  Identity Verified
Jordan
Arabic to English
+ ...
Congratulations Jul 12, 2013

Congratulations on your new website! Overall, it looks nice, and it is clear that you are a highly qualified professional translator.

This is just a brief comment, but I find it hard on the eyes to look at all three languages at once (on your overview page).

My suggestion is to make your home page a "splash" page that allows visitors to choose the relevant language. After that, keep each language separate from the others.

I also think you should direct visitors to this page first rather than to the overview:

http://www.shanzi.info/p/english.html

Actually, I would recommend combining this page with the overview so that all the information is on one page.

You may also wish to have a separate contact page.


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:28
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Layout Jul 12, 2013

Hi

Overall it looks like a nice site, however I did notice your contact details at the bottom of the 3 language page say "CV and rates available on request (Englisch, Detusch)", this should be (English, Deutsch), you should make sure to run a spell check in case there are other spelling mistakes.

As regards the layout, on the page with all the languages I think mixing all 3 languages on one page makes the page look messy and clustered.

Also all the fields to the right of your photo are only in English, all these fields are important so they should also be in the other languages as should your contact details at the bottom of the page which only appear in English.

Finally why have the FAQ only in English after all if you translate from Japanese and German most of your clients won't speak English so it would make sense to have the FAQ in the other languages as well.


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting view Jul 12, 2013

Alex Lago wrote:

Hi

Overall it looks like a nice site, however I did notice your contact details at the bottom of the 3 language page say "CV and rates available on request (Englisch, Detusch)", this should be (English, Deutsch), you should make sure to run a spell check in case there are other spelling mistakes.

As regards the layout, on the page with all the languages I think mixing all 3 languages on one page makes the page look messy and clustered.

Also all the fields to the right of your photo are only in English, all these fields are important so they should also be in the other languages as should your contact details at the bottom of the page which only appear in English.

Finally why have the FAQ only in English after all if you translate from Japanese and German most of your clients won't speak English so it would make sense to have the FAQ in the other languages as well.


Hi Alex,

Good points all round.

I wondered about having all three languages on one page as well - I will have to play around with that idea a bit more.

Spelling mistakes - will run through for more and fix the one you pointed out.

Actually, many of my clients can read English at a very advanced level - they are just not able to express themselves in English. I definitely wouldn't translate the FAQ into Japanese because I don't think it would be appropriate (there are other sections that need to be added just for Japanese clients but these will come in time), but I might consider translating it into German and having that checked.

Regarding the fields to the right of my photo - agreed, I just have to find a way to present the information - I specifically would like to have all the languages displayed on the same page, but I agree, I will need to think of a cleverer way of doing it.


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:28
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
My first impressions... Jul 12, 2013

Good start, Sarai!

- One solution to the mixed languages in your overview page would be to use a table format for your fields of specialty.

- In addition to listing specialties, I think it would be good to say what sort of texts you translate, e.g., case reports, adverse drug reactions, clinical trial protocols, medical devices, surgical procedures, guidelines, etc.

- The social media buttons are enormous. Trim them down a bit!

- A link to your blog would be good because you talk about your work there, whereas the link to your YouTube channel isn't so good because potential clients can see how you blow dry your hair (yes, it was fun to watch!) and that isn't very relevant, since you don't translate hairdressing texts (or do you??).

- As Alex has mentioned - re-read the whole thing and get rid of every typo (gyneacology, "no learned" are two that jumped out at me)

- I personally wouldn't thank people for their patience. It sounds a bit apologetic.

Good luck!
Emma


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Lots of agreement here Jul 12, 2013

Emma Goldsmith wrote:

Good start, Sarai!

- One solution to the mixed languages in your overview page would be to use a table format for your fields of specialty.

- In addition to listing specialties, I think it would be good to say what sort of texts you translate, e.g., case reports, adverse drug reactions, clinical trial protocols, medical devices, surgical procedures, guidelines, etc.

- The social media buttons are enormous. Trim them down a bit!

- A link to your blog would be good because you talk about your work there, whereas the link to your YouTube channel isn't so good because potential clients can see how you blow dry your hair (yes, it was fun to watch!) and that isn't very relevant, since you don't translate hairdressing texts (or do you??).

- As Alex has mentioned - re-read the whole thing and get rid of every typo (gyneacology, "no learned" are two that jumped out at me)

- I personally wouldn't thank people for their patience. It sounds a bit apologetic.

Good luck!
Emma


Thanks so much for your feedback, Emma, this is all great stuff.

- A table sounds like something to explore - thanks Emma, I will work on that over the next few days/weeks!

- I think listing the documents is an excellent point - based on the feedback received, I am prepared to completely rethink the page structure of the site, so perhaps this should have a page on it's own? Thanks for raising this.

- Ah - I didn't realise how large the social media buttons were, and to be honest, I'm not entirely sure that is the right place for them eithericon_smile.gif

- YouTube - I agree, not entirely appropriate unless there is something specifically relevant to translation. I'll get rid of that oneicon_biggrin.gif

- I think hiring a professional editor/proofreader (possibly one per language) might come in handy once I've made all the changes...

- Now that I've read over the apology, it was actually a remnant from a previous iteration of the site. It's GOT to goicon_smile.gif


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Seems I missed one! Jul 12, 2013

Amel Abdullah wrote:

Congratulations on your new website! Overall, it looks nice, and it is clear that you are a highly qualified professional translator.

This is just a brief comment, but I find it hard on the eyes to look at all three languages at once (on your overview page).

My suggestion is to make your home page a "splash" page that allows visitors to choose the relevant language. After that, keep each language separate from the others.

I also think you should direct visitors to this page first rather than to the overview:

http://www.shanzi.info/p/english.html

Actually, I would recommend combining this page with the overview so that all the information is on one page.

You may also wish to have a separate contact page.


Hi Amel,
It seems I missed your message earlier, and a previous responder also stated that the languages are hard on the eyes - I will work on changing this.

An "introduction" page, and a "splash" page are good ideas - I will also bear this in mind when reviewing the site.

A separate contact page is probably a good idea - I've seen this done on other sites, but I'm not sure the rationale behind it... probably easier for people to contact you if the form isn't buried in a whole lot of other details, right?


 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:28
English to Polish
+ ...
Here it comes Jul 19, 2013

1. The use of three languages on the same page is non-standard. I'm not saying it's bad. One day it might well become the new standard. However, for now it isn't really. Unless you feel like being a harbinger of change, you might want to separate the languages. However, I must say it really looks nice the way you combined English, Japanese and German for specific medical fields. That's something which already sets the reader in the right mind frame.
2. Like Emma said, a tabular layout for data fields looks professional. You could combine the neat visual alignment offered by tables with judicious use of the bold font and caps (CSS font-variety:small-caps or text-transform uppercase) or even colours.
3. I'd probably skip 'primary' language pairs and just put the most important ones in bold font at the top of a list of all.
4. I'd be inclined to replace 'experience' with something like 'translating since', 'established' (if sole-prop) etc., just to give a little more style to your copy.
5. I'd probably prefer two columns with fixed widths rather than text surrounding an embedded photo.
6. Make sure your HTML tags open and close correctly (you have a bold tag displaying on the first page).
7. I'd consider skipping 'Medical Qualifications: MBChB Degree' since that's exactly what your postnominals say.
8. Yeah, trim down the social media buttons and also the font in contact details. On the other hand, you can put your phone number at the top of the page if you want. American lawyers do that all the time.
9. Avoid slashes, IMHO. Rather, use typography to make headlines and captions stand out.
10. Take a look at Lawyerist.com and read all posts on marketing and webdesign (I have). Look around, go and see the websites of other legal marketers. Translators are like decades behind lawyers in a very similar kind of marketing. Do it like lawyers do. If you want something more translation-specific, I'd look up Marta Stelmaszak and Valeria Aliperta, but IMHO reading up on legal marketing before other translators do is the way to go.

EDIT: One more thing: I'd use a seamless background or turn off background repetition. You won't see problems in a typical laptop resolution, but large wide screens (full HD) are a different matter.

[Edited at 2013-07-19 16:59 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:28
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Note: My title should summarize my main point. Jul 19, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:
The use of three languages on the same page is non-standard.


Yes, but I think it works well in this case, because the languages use different fonts. A previous version of my web site used that same technique -- every paragraph was repeated in the other language, with the one language always in italics and the other language always in roman. It seemed fine to me.

Here is a screenshot of what your site looks like on my computer:



Overall, I was able to find the information I was looking for fairly quickly, so from a client's perspective the web site "works well".


 

Grayson Morr (X)  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:28
Dutch to English
Flawless source language is a must Jul 19, 2013

Hi, Sarai,

I'm in the camp that agrees the different typeface for the languages makes it work well. I also think the overview page with separate page detailing text ("English") works well.

Others have already pointed out the typos that I saw.

I'm not in a position to judge the quality of your German and Japanese text, but I will say that it is essential these be perfect. Not just grammatically correct and error-free, but well written. This is a lesson I was taught early in my career, when Dutch colleagues said the Dutch version of my site (which I had translated myself from the English I'd written) sounded really stilted. Everything was correct; it just didn't flow like native speech. I said, well, I figure clients will understand it's not my native language and not judge me on that. To which my colleagues replied, "Oh, but they will. It may be all they have to go on, and even if it isn't, they're in a much better position to judge the quality of your Dutch than your English. If the Dutch is off, they'll assume the English is, too." Even though translating into German and Japanese isn't what you offer, that text is your calling card, too.

I will also say that reading as a possible client, I would be nervous about the way you describe your proficiency in German and Japanese. I wouldn't say, "After spending time as an exchange student, I decided to learn Japanese" and later, "I opted to learn German"; instead, I'd focus on your mastery of those languages. Do you have credentials? Have you been speaking them for twenty years? Putting two years of translation together with those sentences, I would infer you hadn't been speaking either language very long, and be hesitant about your skill in either. (Not saying you aren't skilled; just trying to help avoid scaring off clients.icon_smile.gif ) Or, instead of talking about learning those languages, describe projects you've translated—something that instills weight to the claim you can translate well.

Last of all, your photo is a little dark and the shadow makes it look "home grown." If you can, get someone handy with photography to take a new one, maybe outdoors or in less of a prison-lineup-against-the-wall environment.icon_smile.gif

Hope this is of some use to you!


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jul 20, 2013

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

1. The use of three languages on the same page is non-standard. I'm not saying it's bad. One day it might well become the new standard. However, for now it isn't really. Unless you feel like being a harbinger of change, you might want to separate the languages. However, I must say it really looks nice the way you combined English, Japanese and German for specific medical fields. That's something which already sets the reader in the right mind frame.
2. Like Emma said, a tabular layout for data fields looks professional. You could combine the neat visual alignment offered by tables with judicious use of the bold font and caps (CSS font-variety:small-caps or text-transform uppercase) or even colours.
3. I'd probably skip 'primary' language pairs and just put the most important ones in bold font at the top of a list of all.
4. I'd be inclined to replace 'experience' with something like 'translating since', 'established' (if sole-prop) etc., just to give a little more style to your copy.
5. I'd probably prefer two columns with fixed widths rather than text surrounding an embedded photo.
6. Make sure your HTML tags open and close correctly (you have a bold tag displaying on the first page).
7. I'd consider skipping 'Medical Qualifications: MBChB Degree' since that's exactly what your postnominals say.
8. Yeah, trim down the social media buttons and also the font in contact details. On the other hand, you can put your phone number at the top of the page if you want. American lawyers do that all the time.
9. Avoid slashes, IMHO. Rather, use typography to make headlines and captions stand out.
10. Take a look at Lawyerist.com and read all posts on marketing and webdesign (I have). Look around, go and see the websites of other legal marketers. Translators are like decades behind lawyers in a very similar kind of marketing. Do it like lawyers do. If you want something more translation-specific, I'd look up Marta Stelmaszak and Valeria Aliperta, but IMHO reading up on legal marketing before other translators do is the way to go.

EDIT: One more thing: I'd use a seamless background or turn off background repetition. You won't see problems in a typical laptop resolution, but large wide screens (full HD) are a different matter.

[Edited at 2013-07-19 16:59 GMT]


Łukasz: this is excellent feedback. Thank you so much! I simply haven't had time of late to work on the site because of a number of other committments, but the points you have mentioned will be incredibly helpful.

I specifically like your tips regarding layout - I can see you have spent a lot of time on this personally and it definitely shows in your site!


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Jul 20, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

Yes, but I think it works well in this case, because the languages use different fonts. A previous version of my web site used that same technique -- every paragraph was repeated in the other language, with the one language always in italics and the other language always in roman. It seemed fine to me.

Here is a screenshot of what your site looks like on my computer:

Overall, I was able to find the information I was looking for fairly quickly, so from a client's perspective the web site "works well".



Thanks for this feedback! I definitely want to keep all 3 languages, but I would like to get the site looking less cluttered in some places. I think it is a nice touch, but has to be done well.

The screenshot was incredibly helpful - thanks for that!


 

Sarai Pahla (MD) MBChB
Germany
Local time: 11:28
Member (2012)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Excellent points! Jul 20, 2013

Grayson Morris wrote:

I'm not in a position to judge the quality of your German and Japanese text, but I will say that it is essential these be perfect. Not just grammatically correct and error-free, but well written. This is a lesson I was taught early in my career, when Dutch colleagues said the Dutch version of my site (which I had translated myself from the English I'd written) sounded really stilted. Everything was correct; it just didn't flow like native speech. I said, well, I figure clients will understand it's not my native language and not judge me on that. To which my colleagues replied, "Oh, but they will. It may be all they have to go on, and even if it isn't, they're in a much better position to judge the quality of your Dutch than your English. If the Dutch is off, they'll assume the English is, too." Even though translating into German and Japanese isn't what you offer, that text is your calling card, too.

I will also say that reading as a possible client, I would be nervous about the way you describe your proficiency in German and Japanese. I wouldn't say, "After spending time as an exchange student, I decided to learn Japanese" and later, "I opted to learn German"; instead, I'd focus on your mastery of those languages. Do you have credentials? Have you been speaking them for twenty years? Putting two years of translation together with those sentences, I would infer you hadn't been speaking either language very long, and be hesitant about your skill in either. (Not saying you aren't skilled; just trying to help avoid scaring off clients.icon_smile.gif ) Or, instead of talking about learning those languages, describe projects you've translated—something that instills weight to the claim you can translate well.

Last of all, your photo is a little dark and the shadow makes it look "home grown." If you can, get someone handy with photography to take a new one, maybe outdoors or in less of a prison-lineup-against-the-wall environment.icon_smile.gif

Hope this is of some use to you!




Yes, I agree with your point regarding the languages and I've had the German reworked extensively, and the Japanese has been proofread once.

I've been using Japanese for 9 years and don't have any certificates in it or anything but I have only been working for two years. True, I agree that potential clients may be nervous about that, and I agree that focusing on the mastery of the languages is better, but without credentials, it's really just based on your word. I also think clients are right to be nervous about a translator who has only been working for 2 years - that's a valid concern. I agree with you in a sense that saying nothing about how I learnt the languages and focusing on how I use them might be better.

The photo is definitely not a professional photo, you're absolutely right, but I quite like having a blank background - like a passport photo, really. Actually, I'm taking a passport-style photo today - I should use that one!


 
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