Should a freelance translator spend money on search engine optimization and marketing?
Thread poster: Elsatrans17

Elsatrans17  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:16
English to French
+ ...
Nov 20, 2016

Hello,
Do you think it's worth spending money on SEM when you're a freelance translator? I don't have any experience in the marketing field, so I'd rather ask for your opinions. Thanks

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2016-12-14 15:13 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
This site was in fact fine for me Nov 21, 2016

As a translator, you are probably going to be working in the B2B (business to business) market, and you need to bear in mind that you are not trying to attract the attention of Jane and Joe Public.

Of course, it is possible to use SEO and SEM for B2B marketing too, but you will be targeting a fairly small and specific market. Check out the advice from here
http://www.proz.com/guidance-center/additional-resources/
about how to optimize your profile - which is specific SEO for this site

You have to fill out your profile effectively and preferably join in site activities to make yourself more visible. Pay special attention to the keywords at the bottom of your profile - the specialist fields and working fields you say you can take on. Those are what search engines will find, once they have located you on this site.

Add any keywords or strings - with variants and alternative spellings - that you would look for, if you were a client with a job you could do. Add them in all your languages...

There is quite a lot of competition in your language pairs, so try to mention specific sub-fields that you are really specialize in. IT is an enormous area - which branches of it do you know about in particular? Name them - user interfaces, whatever it may be.

Go for a specific section of environmental science and/or green marketing, read up on it, and update your profile to say you know about them.
As a one-woman business, you cannot take on the whole world, so you need to pick a suitable sized section of it and aim at the people who need translators there.

Joining a professional association is often a good idea. Apart from the support and advice of colleagues when you need them, their websites are often searched by clients looking for a translator. (I don't know about France, but the clients who have found me through the British CIoL site have been serious and paid well.)

This leads to a third way of finding good clients: meeting up with colleagues and networking in the real world. Either by attending Proz.com powwows or by going to events organized by other professional groups, or trade fairs if you can. However, if you go to trade fairs, you will need to prepare carefully, rehearse your marketing pitch and your 'elevator speech', have business cards ready to hand out, and so on, or you will get lost in the crowd.

Informal translator gatherings are easier - I have benefited a lot from working with colleagues who work in the opposite language pair, or who work in different fields. I refer clients to them with jobs on finance, for instance, and Danish natives refer clients to me with translations into English.

Seminars, CAT tool road-shows and training days are good places to meet colleagues and expand your network too.

The short answer is that SEO is definitely worth an effort, but you can do a lot of it yourself. Spend your money on networking and directly targeting clients and colleagues as well.
That worked for me.


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Elsatrans17  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:16
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks! Nov 21, 2016

This is very useful, thanks!

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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:16
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Don't spend money, spend time Nov 21, 2016

Elsatrans17 wrote:

Hello,
Do you think it's worth spending money on SEM when you're a freelance translator? I don't have any experience in the marketing field, so I'd rather ask for your opinions. Thanks


My own strategy is to never spend money. If you don't want to conquer the world and just want to make a decent living as a translator, you should keep your expenses as low as possible.

Never spend money but spend your free time on SEO and SEM. People who are smart enough to be a translator are also smart enough to do their own SEO and SEM. And the smartest thing to start with is improving your profile on ProZ.

My website ranks high in Google but every single time somebody calls me on the phone - and that's the moment I gain a new client - I hear they found me on ProZ. Don't neglect your personal website, though, because that's where all serious leads have gone next.

Cheers,
Gerard


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