Category Archives: social media

A ♥ for language blogs

Figuring out how to get the “♥” symbol was not as hard as I expected—and so this post was born.

Judy and Dagmar Jenner triggered off an agreeable wave of  “A ♥ for Language Blogs” on Translation Times. Impeccable timing. After the industrious months of May and June, business has slowed, and I’ve had extra time to explore a few of these ♥-ed blogs.

Let me share a few of my favourite language blogs. They’re more about business writing than translation. I like

As for translation blogs, I’ll just flood you with about a hundred good blogs with this list of lists. Roundups entitled “A ♥ for language blogs” can be read from the likes of

♥ Eline Van De Wiele

♥ Michelle Hof♥-for-language-blogs/

♥ Abigail Dahlberg

♥ Michael Wahlster

♥ Kevin Lossner

♥ Katherine Osgood♥-for-language-blogs/

♥ Silvina Jover-Cirillo♥-for-language-blogs/

♥ Alexandra Milcic Radovanovic

♥ Jill Sommer♥-for-language-blogs/

♥ Lisa Carter

Happy reading. Comments appreciated.


Figuring out Facebook

There’s something to be said about starting from scratch.

Catherine Translates, which went on Facebook two weeks ago, is updated daily for zero people.

A mild case of Twitter burnout brought me to Facebook. The idea of having a Facebook page brewed around in my head for weeks. Until recently, I had been showing up in a “liking” capacity, keeping up with clients and a few language and business bloggers.

A largely unexplored territory, Facebook was not a place for work. Until now.

I set up a page for this blog.

The Top 10 Language Facebook Pages 2011 gave me lots of ideas. I’m impressed with the lively Spanish-language Localización y testeo con Curri and Algo mas que traducir. The French-language La Marmite is not on this list, but anyone who reads French should take a peek.

In a timely manner, Silvina just published Social media tactics for translators: Facebook. She describes how and why she runs her page for ATG Translations. Read it. More Facebook tips can be found on Copyblogger’s The ultimate guide to Facebook marketing.

But this blog post is not really about Facebook. It’s not about getting business or getting networked or getting into social media.

It’s about starting something from nothing—and seeing if you can pull it off. For me it’s Facebook. For you it could be about finding better clients, setting up a website or using LinkedIn.

You have zero experience in the field you want to specialize in? Figure it out and land your first project.

You have zero direct clients? Figure it out and go get one.

You have zero blog posts to publish? Figure it out and write one.

In the meantime, you can “like” my Facebook page and bring my fan count from zero to something higher.

What’s your experiment?

Freelance translators: Should you blog?

This is the 20th post on my 10-month-old blog of my 19-month-old translation business in my 38th year of Life on Earth.

If I can start a blog and keep it up, you can too.

Launch your own blog if this means you!

  • You will write posts regularly.
  • You write fairly well and—more importantly—you want to get better.
  • You believe blogs are useful.
  • You want to build your web presence.

No, do not blog if you fit this description:

  • You cannot commit to posting on a regular basis.
  • You think blogs are pointless.
  • You market your services in a non-blogging manner. (Or you’re so busy with well-paid work that you don’t need to market yourself at all.)

Setting up a blog is the easy part. The care and feeding is hard.

What are the benefits of blogging?

Fabio Said on Fidus Interpres sees blogs as a business asset:

Blogging makes people aware of your work as a translator and brings new prospects, blogging makes people aware of the translating profession, blogging generates additional income…

I agree.

How has Catherine Translates paid off for me?

  • Clients see my blog and feel assured that I’m a serious professional.
  • Colleagues read my blog and refer clients or subcontract work to me.
  • I’m more articulate. I write with more confidence.
  • More people visit my website.

Now you may be wondering…

Should you write short and snappy posts?

Many readers like to see concise 300-word posts once or twice a week. I do too.

Or should you write long posts and publish less frequently?

I personally vote for in-depth articles.

In my experience, comprehensive posts are shared more easily by readers via social media. For example,

These posts were promoted by other people. Not by me. That’s the beauty of social media.

You can of course vary your types of blog posts. You can mix up long copy, short copy, podcasts, how-tos, interviews and so forth. For some inspiration, see these two blogrolls: the ATA Blog Trekker and ProZ translation blogs.

Read these resources for beginner bloggers

If you’re almost convinced you should start blogging, read Sarah Dillon’s 21 tips for timid bloggers. Then consult Riccardo Schiaffino’s Blogging 101 lesson and get your blog off the ground.

You’re not quite ready to start your own blog?

If you’ve got something to say but don’t want to do your own thing, feel free to submit a guest post to Catherine Translates.

I’d appreciate your contribution. See guidelines on my Guests Posts page if you’re interested.

Are you convinced of the merits of blogging? If you already have a blog, what’s in it for you? Leave your URLs in the comments.

(If you liked this post, leave a comment and share it on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. Thanks!)

Interview with Eve Bodeux: How can freelance translators get the most out of LinkedIn?

With this question I approached Eve Bodeux, French to English translator and Localization Consultant at Bodeux International. A Twitter contact had spread the word that she was giving a webinar about social media for translators.

For now, I blog and I tweet. And I’d like to get better at using LinkedIn.

Eve’s LinkedIn profile is exceptionally “full” and I’m pleased she took the time to share her own approach to LinkedIn.


Catherine: Firstly, what advantages does LinkedIn have over other professional networks such as Viadeo or Xing?

Eve: LinkedIn, Viadeo and Xing offer similar services, but each is focused on a particular region. LinkedIn originated in the US and has a large following in North America. It does offer various language versions which allow users to add different language interfaces to their profile. This lets people target other LinkedIn users in different countries.

Viadeo and Xing offer similar services to LinkedIn and they also offer the option to create multiple, multilingual versions of a profile. They are of French and German origin, respectively. Their user base is more Europe-focused, but they also do offer interfaces in English.

Whichever service you decide to use would depend on where you have the most contacts, what region you are in, and your strategy for making additional contacts in a particular region. If you have the time to devote to more than one of these professional networking services, you can of course, have accounts on more than one of them. The initial membership levels for all are free, with various other levels of membership at different cost and option levels.

Catherine: What are the basic rules of using LinkedIn?

Eve: Think strategically. Have a clear LinkedIn strategy with specific goals so that you can measure your success with this tool.

For example, you may have a goal to add a certain number of contacts within a given amount of time, you may aim to have your profile viewed a certain number of times per week, or you may decide to research a given number of potential clients every month.

Having a clear strategy will help you feel positive about the time you spend on LinkedIn and see any progress you make. You can always adjust your strategy as your needs or objectives change.

Build your network. Initially, you can build your LinkedIn network by seeing which members of your circle are already active on LinkedIn. Invite those people to become LinkedIn contacts. Look through your e-mail address book, or let LinkedIn automatically access it to tell you who among your colleagues is already on LinkedIn.

When you meet new colleagues or clients in person, be sure to follow up later by sending them a LinkedIn request so you can keep in touch and leverage that new relationship. These are high-quality contacts that are easy to add to your list of connections.

Carefully craft your profile. Your profile is your public face on this site. It is also what the LinkedIn search engine looks at to see if you match up with another user’s search.

Think carefully about the Headline section of your profile as this is where you “define yourself” in a few words. If you are a freelance translator, make sure the word “Translator” and your language pair appear in your Headline.

In addition, be sure to write, rewrite and proof the Summary on your profile. You can list all of your past jobs and experience on LinkedIn, but the summary section offers you a place to describe your skills and sell yourself in your own words.

Catherine: How do you feel about connecting with people with whom you’ve had only virtual contact or no contact at all?

Eve: If used wisely, LinkedIn is an excellent tool to broaden your contacts with individuals with whom you would never have been able to have contact otherwise, due to geographic or industry barriers. However, if used too much as a “sales” tool, it risks alienating people who might otherwise be interested in linking up with you.

When I receive requests from individuals I do not know, I do not categorically reject them; I do look at the content of their request and why they would like to hook up with me. For example, if a stranger sends me a request with the “canned” LinkedIn request that says, “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn,” I automatically reject it.

However, if someone contacts me and I don’t know him or her personally, but there is an interesting “pitch” as to why we should link up, I am likely to accept the request. For example, if a person mentions we are in the same industry but have different functions, or was interested in an article I wrote, or is in a related industry and has a specific reason for wanting to link up, I usually accept the request.

I do believe that part of the attraction of LinkedIn (and similar services) is that it gives us the opportunity to connect with interesting individuals around the globe. If you approach individuals thoughtfully, they will most always accept your invitation to connect. If they don’t, do not take it personally—their LinkedIn strategy may be different from yours. However, if most people reject your requests, it may be time to rethink your strategy.

Catherine: Do you recommend hooking up applications like WordPress or Twitter or SlideShare to your profile?

Eve: I do recommend sharing various applications through the LinkedIn interface. This gives more depth to your profile and lets you update it with little effort. For example, you can use WordPress to automatically feed any new posts from your blog to your LinkedIn account. If you have a presentation that you’d like to share with visitors, it is very easy to upload them to SlideShare and have it displayed on your profile.

Regarding Twitter, there are different schools of thought with regard to this application. If I follow someone on Twitter and am also connected to them on LinkedIn, I find it somewhat annoying to see the same content twice in both places. However, many people do not mind this.

If you have significantly different followings on Twitter and LinkedIn, you will be reaching different audiences with the same content if you pass your Twitter feed through your LinkedIn updates. You can also specify which tweets you would like to feed into LinkedIn, rather than have all tweets go to LinkedIn by default. Using this feature, you can be selective about what content you share on both platforms.

Catherine: Can a freelancer expect concrete results from investing time in LinkedIn?

Eve: As discussed above, defining your goals up front will help you measure results and adjust your approach if necessary. LinkedIn is a very visible place to be in today’s professional world and colleagues and potential clients expect it. Recognize that LinkedIn is a “long-term” tool. Getting on LinkedIn won’t change your life overnight, but it does increase your visibility and exposure.

In addition, you may actually get clients from LinkedIn. In the past year I have had more and more companies contact me cold, asking for consulting services. When I asked them how they heard about me, they all said LinkedIn! LinkedIn needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy, and today, it is a piece you cannot ignore.


(If you found this interview helpful, leave a comment and share the post on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.)

I’d love to hear about how you use LinkedIn. Any comments?

Freelancers: 4 tips to tweet your way to new translation clients

I had heard of freelancers landing jobs through LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter… but wasn’t sure of how much was made up and mythical.

No more suspension of disbelief because it actually happened to @TranslateTrad.

Backtrack to Tuttle Paris

I met with the Tuttle Paris group in November. Lilian Mahoukou rounded us up to talk about social media and branding. My interest was promptly piqued since I’d like to translate (and sometimes transcreate) not only websites, but Facebook pages, LinkedIn company profiles,  slideshares (my dream), blog posts, and why not, Twitter tweets.

I’d also like to get my own name out there using social media.

Our discussion, as interesting as it was, did not directly lead me to my client. Maxime Souillat, another attendee, is responsible. Also known as @beaucouplus on Twitter.

One of Maxime’s Twitter contacts later tweeted a request for a French to English USA translator. (OK, I’m Canadian, but I did grow up 45 minutes from Buffalo.)

Maxime suggested @TranslateTrad. Then came a direct message on Twitter. Then e-mail. Then phone call. Then quote. Then in-person meeting. Then translation. I lucked out because his website material was right up my alley.

My advice for finding clients on Twitter

If you’d like to get new clients using Twitter, I recommend four things:

1. Tweet about translation.

Anyone who is thinking of hiring you will skim down your last twenty tweets. So tweet something useful. When I first made contact with my client, I looked at my recent tweets and felt reassured. My tweets were mostly about web writing, translation and marketing. I did not tweet about my guinea pig.

2. Follow people who work in your industry to see what they’re tweeting about.

If you specialize in chocolate, follow the chocolatiers. If you specialize in wind energy, follow the wind experts. Keep an eye on recent developments and possibly “join the conversation” using Twitter’s reply feature.

3. Tweet out your home-made translation-related blog entries, newsletters, glossaries, and punctuation guides.

Give. And don’t be shy about that the fact that you eat, sleep, breathe and tweet translation.

4. Meet your tweeps.

Whether we’re talking about a twitter referral or any other kind of word-of-mouth recommendation, people are more likely to pass on your name if they’ve met you in real life. A handshake is worth a thousand retweets.

Good luck!

If you like this Twitter-related post, read my old post about using Twitter as a well-staffed learning resource centre.

Do you think that translators can use Twitter to get new clients? Have you ever landed work by tweeting?

Twitter for translators: professional development, networking and dogs

Twitter is an open-source professional development tool. Thanks to Twitter, I’ve read tweets about:

  • upcoming seminars by the Société française des traducteurs
  • new posts on favourite translation blogs
  • translation and interpretation job offers
  • various rules of grammar and punctuation
  • new online dictionaries and style guides
  • marketing for freelancers
  • the creation of @No_Peanuts

I’m eager to hear about what colleagues are working on—current assignments, invoicing issues, remarks about the industry… Some tweet about CAT tools, badmouth Proz, or smirk at bizarrely translated restaurant menus (which they’ve photographed).

As for discussions which are loosely related to translation, you can find loads of tweets about expatriate life, multilingual families and culture shock.

Recurring non-translation topic: dogs

Tweeting translators love to write about dogs. I’ve read twitter updates about leash-free parks, vet appointments and hunting escapades. When I’m lucky, I get to click on a cute puppy picture.

Good translation tweets

While there are many must-follow tweeters out there, the most useful tweets to me come from @anglais. This altruistic Canadian tweets about French to English translation and word choice. He or she reminds me of words I’ve almost forgotten and helps me avoid translationese.

Other insightful translators who give frequent and useful updates: @aegrange, @ebodeux, @erik_hansson, @pikorua, @rinaneeman, @Tesstranslates@GermanENTrans

Good writing tweets

@RedheadWriting – copywriting advice, business inspiration and a regular ‘bitch slap’!

@bigstarcontent – copywriting, blogging and SEO

@MenwithPens – writing habits and webdesign

Good editing tweets

@guardianstyle – UK English

@ChicagoManual – US English

Good freelancing tweets

@EdGandia He’s one of the authors behind The Wealthy Freelancer. He consistently offers concrete advice for freelancers. He and his colleagues have just announced a free online conference for International Freelancers Day on September 24 and 25. Looks promising!

Tweets from @TranslateTrad

I generally tweet about translation (industry news, French English challenges, continuing education, SEO), freelancing (copywriting, client relations, entrepreneurship) and marketing (social media and blogging). No dogs here.

How to use #hashtags

I’ve been showing up at Twitter since January 2010 and am just beginning to figure out hashtags (#). Use hashtags to direct your tweet to a certain group of people. Many translators end their tweets with #xl8 which stands for translation.

Testing Google Translate. #xl8

Hashtags can also refer to a certain event. For example, thoughts about International Freelancers Day can be labelled with #IFD10.

Just signed up for an online conference. #IFD10

LinkedIn and Viadeo hashtags

If you want your tweets to appear on your LinkedIn and Viadeo profiles, adjust settings on these sites, and use hashtags #in and #v respectively.

Twitter Lists

When I can’t keep up with everyone I follow, I check my list of translators and writers to see what colleagues are up to.

Twitter Do’s and Don’ts


  • Tweet regularly.
  • Tweet something useful.


  • Tweet several times in a row. It clogs up my stream.
  • Be too self-promotional.

See you on Twitter!

It’s a worthwhile investment. And it’s not about landing translation projects. It’s about circulating translator insight.

How are you using Twitter? Who else should I (@TranslateTrad) follow? Did I explain hashtags right? Any more Twitter tips? Do you tweet about your dog?