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Social media marketing for translators. Part 1. My experience.

I started my journey in the freelance world in March 2007, so I am a relatively young freelance translator. My very first year as a freelance translator was pretty tough. In fact, I landed only one or two jobs during that year. But then (thank God!) I met the first two agencies who were satisfied with both my experience and quality enough to work with me on a regular basis. I got about 90% of all my translation work through them and was completely satisfied with that situation (big mistake! Now I know that I still had an employee's mentality back then, and this mentality didn't serve me well). But two years ago the situation changed and I started getting a lot less work from those agencies. That was horrible! I realized that I had made a mistake somewhere along the way. So I used my free time to surf all over the web and find information on how other freelancers look for clients and projects, what kind of rates they consider reasonable and how they build their schedule. And I came across the word "marketing" so often that I decided to find out all about it.
In spring 2010 I attended a webinar about Facebook marketing for translators. It opened my eyes on marketing not only in Facebook, but in the Internet as a whole. I realized that having a profile on ProZ.com and a couple other translator directories is not enough. I need to make myself visible for prospective clients. And I also need to learn how to attract direct clients, not just agencies. So I started a website, a blog, a Facebook fan page, registered on Langmates and opened a Twitter account. Later on I added an account on LinkedIn and I recently started learning how to use Google+. Now, after approximately a year and a half of active marketing I can share the results (good and bad):

1. My blog
Now it brings me about 1500-2000 readers a month, provided that I don't publish new posts every day. I know of some translators who update their blogs about twice a week, but honestly I don't think I have strength for that. But even these modest efforts have helped me to make some pretty interesting connections through my blog.
My plans for this blog: making it bilingual so more people can read it. Strangely, I feel more comfortable writing in English than in Russian. That fear needs to be overcome. I also need to change/add a few pages here to make it not just a blog, but my website.
2. My website
It is closed now, let me explain why: I made a mistake with it from the very beginning. It was a Google website with no personal domain, so it didn't really make a difference in web search results etc. I came to the conclusion that it's useless. If you want a website, you need to buy your own domain. That way your marketing will be a lot more effective.
My plans: buying a personal domain and then moving my updated blog-website there.
3. Facebook fan page
Right now I have 122 fans. The webinar I attended really helped me in organizing this page. I definitely love sharing interesting information related to translation and language teaching there. And I love to get comments from my fans.
My plans: attracting more fans and learning how to use the forum there. So far I mainly use the wall and sometimes post pictures. My problem with generating good discussions definitely has to do with me being an introvert. But I'll do my best.
4. Langmates
The website hasn't brought me any new clients yet, but it helped me acquire some useful software for free and to meet some experienced fellow translators. I surely need to update my profile there as I haven't been active there for a couple months.
5. Twitter
Right now I have about 390 followers there. I know it's not much, but I really appreciate everybody who decides to follow me. Thanks to my Twitter friends I landed a few new projects.
My plans: sharing more useful content, attracting more followers and landing more projects.
6. LinkedIn
I met a new agency there that so far pays me the best money :) Plus their projects are pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I can't be present everywhere at once, so Facebook and Twitter are my primary marketing tools (besides this blog). So I am not very active on LinkedIn.
My plans: right now I don't have them for this social network. Just planning to at least keep up with new topics in the groups which I am a member of.
7. Google+
No clients met so far, just learning to use it. But it looks like a great place :)

What's the main idea about using social media for marketing your services?
Basically, you need to show that you are a specialist. If your tweets, Facebook/LinkedIn messages, blog posts etc. don't show that you are a professional you won't meet any new clients, won't get new followers or fans. In short, you won't earn a good reputation which is vital for a freelance translator! I am actually going to write more about it in my next blog post. Stay tuned!

By the way, what is your experience concerning social media? Which networks do you prefer and why?

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10 interesting facts about the Russian language

In my previous post I promised to follow with the  interesting info about some other languages. So here are 10 facts about the Russian language which might be of interest to those who are studying it. If you would like to have this list in Russian, please contact me and I will send it to you by email. So, what do I find interesting about my native language?

1. Russian has about 500,000 words, but only 2,000-2,500 of them are used frequently. 100 most frequently used words make 20% of all written and oral speech. A high school graduate's vocabulary usually has 1,500 to 4,000 words. Those who have graduated from a higher educational institution normally have a richer vocabulary consisting of approximately 8,000 words.
2. It's compulsory for all astronauts in the international space station to learn Russian, so we can call it an international language of space :)

Time for another update about guest posts, business, blogging and more!

Hi everybody! First of all, thank you for reading my blog. I love to see that the number of my subscribers is growing every week. That's so inspiring!
I've got some news for you. I am amazed with the way my work and business are developing. Life is getting more and more interesting and, hopefully, these changes will be good for you, too! So, here are my news:

How to Reply To a Negative Feedback About Your Translation

We are humans and we screw up many times!

And receiving a negative feedback about your translation work if one of them.

As translation professionals, we work daily with people from different cultures and backgrounds. So, it is quite important to keep a level of etiquette while we do our business communication.

Whatever your years of experience or your educational background, there are times when daily life affects our business badly. It is how we react to these situations what makes a big difference between professional translation service providers and those who are not.

I was lucky enough when I started my translation career back in 2004 to read about the “A Complaint Is a Gift” business book and receive my training by a true professional Arabic translator.

My colleague taught me the tactics of a professional’s reply to a negative feedback and the book mentions the bright side of receiving a complaint about your work. If the client does not like your work, he can just move to anothe…