Guest post: A translator when…

Hi, there! Here we are, on yet another guest post. Do you know the Tumblr Um Tradutor Quando? Well, if you do, you’ll like today’s guest, Michele Santiago, the mind and creativity behind the Tumblr.

Welcome, Michele!


Marketing has many forms, my friend

The sentence “no man is an island” acquires new meanings when it comes to online presence and marketing. If you are a freelance translator, knowing these words and adding them to your vocabulary is a must. Some find it easier to keep an online presence via website (and we all should have one, keep that in mind), statically. Many others also try blogging. Unlike Caroline, I found out keeping a blogging schedule was too hard. And the thing is we forget about other possible means to connect with our audience.

Your audience can be your target clients, or your colleagues. If you are more like me, then you are not comfortable with this topic. Having to show yourself out there, maybe even talking to strangers, starting a conversation – I am more of a tech-kind-of-girl, feeling more comfy in front of the computer screen. If this is your case, then let us change it. You do not have to become a party person overnight, but you must find a new zone where you feel OK (maybe even happy?) with putting yourself out there. After all, you are offering a service, but if the word is not out there, how will your potential clients find you?

Two years ago, I started a Tumblr called Um Tradutor Quando (something like “a translator when…”). It was supposed to be only a way of making fun of the weird things that happen to us, translators. But we all have our limitations and one of mine is creativity. So I shared the Tumblr address in a Facebook forum asking for contributions. And it worked. I started receiving lots of interesting ideas. And it started to grow.

I kept this project as “something aside”, reluctant to see it as another online presence tool for my work. Because that meant work, and it was supposed to be only for fun, when I had nothing else to do. The first time I noticed this was actually a good means for publicity was when I met a colleague in an event and she recognized me, and introduced me to another colleague as “Michele from that Tumblr”. That situation gave me a hint on how important this side project was.

On another occasion, a colleague approached me asking if she could refer me to a client of hers, who was looking for a Brazilian Portuguese translator for a specific project. It was a project that required some level of creativity (oh, the irony!), and that she felt my Tumblr could serve as a good portfolio.

The third time was really the charm. It was in a conference called Café com Tradução, in Brazil, April this year. I was not there, unfortunately, but I was following everything online. A colleague was giving a talk about social media as a commercial tool, and she mentioned my Tumblr as a good example for online marketing. The first Tumblr in Portuguese about translation (this is the post where I thank her for the mention, too bad the video is not available anymore – This is when I realized I needed to be more serious about it, schedule posts more often, look deeper for new GIFs and ideas. And if you visit, you will notice that I have not posted very often lately, but the reason is there as well.

There were other memorable occasions in which I was reminded of all that, such as a nomination for the Awards, and the invitation from Caroline to write this (thank you!), but I am sure you got my point.

My intention with this text is not to assemble an army of translators with Tumblrs. You do not have to do that to keep a good online presence – or if you feel like it, then do it. The most important thing is to acknowledge the power of social media, and that there are so many platforms you can test drive to find your unique tool, the one that works for you and feels like a fun project. Start looking for it.

Thanks a lot for accepting my invitation and kindly taking the time to write this post, Michele! It’s a real honor to feature you on our blog.

If you still don’t know her Tumblr, don’t waste any more time. Check it out now!

Comments, questions, doubts?

Author’s bio
MiSantiagoMichele Santiago is an English and Spanish into Brazilian Portuguese translator and localizer. She specialized in Life Sciences, Business and IT texts. Holds a MA Degree in Translation from the University of Porto (2013). Michele is a member of American Translators Association (ATA) and Associação Brasileira de Tradutores e Intérpretes (ABRATES), and trainer and mentor in She is also the author of the Tumblr Um Tradutor Quando. You can contact her via email (, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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