Guest post: Blogging for translators

Hi, dear readers! Hope your beginning of the year is as productive and full of great news as mine. So much so that I’m even struggling to find the time to blog! So sorry for not writing last week’s weekly post! 😦 Let’s keep our fingers crossed I can find the time to write this week’s.

Meanwhile, luckly, we have our lovely guests who never let us down. Aren’t I lucky to have them? 😀

Today’s guest, Else Gellinek, will talk about blogging for other translators.

Welcome, Else!

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Why blogging for other translators can be worth your while

To blog or not to blog?

For some years now, word on the street has been that blogging is a marketing and SEO must for solopreneurs. So I began blogging. At first I thought I had to blog for potential clients. Don’t get me wrong: If that’s the target audience for your blog, that’s wonderful. It just wasn’t really my conversation. I gravitated towards topics more of interest to other translators. Unfortunately, translators are often criticized for keeping to themselves on social media and blogging for each other instead of connecting with clients. I don’t see why you have to choose between the two. Neither am I convinced that blogging for our peers is a lesser option – unless you view blogging solely as a means of generating leads.

Reasons to blog for other translators

My blog – my rules

In her Pillar Box article Don’t blog, just write, Karen Tkaczyk explains why she thinks that we shouldn’t blog just because everyone else is. Indeed, if you don’t feel that you have anything to tell the world, then there really is no reason to blog. Nobody wants to read listless posts written from a dull sense of commitment. Instead, Karen says we should add to forum discussions or write for the bulletins published by translator associations, I think that’s a great idea.

But: Other people’s houses, other people’s rules. On my blog, I am the creator and initiator of content. I decide what I want to write about, how I want to write it and what I regard as valuable information. Excellent translator blogs covering many angles of our diverse profession abound. They could never all fit into existing channels and I don’t think that they have to. On the contrary, they complement the established platforms.

Easy access to information

Translators are spread all over the world. Blogs are one way of keeping up a conversation that is not confined to translator associations or other membership-only clubs. We’re always complaining about translators driving down prices or acting unethically. Establishing a public, easily accessible dialog on translation issues can provide information and thinking points for those who need it most. A simple Google search will turn up a wealth of resources provided by dedicated peers. If this information were communicated in specialized forums, mailing lists or similar channels, it would effectively be hidden from the public eye. Many blogs also feature carefully curated blogrolls and resource lists that point translators to the more specialized channels.

Keeping up the conversation with our peers

Freelancers can easily slip into isolation. Online conversation keeps us connected and in the loop. Sure, we can attend local networking events and conferences or use other forms of social media. But we can also read blogs, which are less ephemeral than Twitter conversations or mailing lists, thus transcending differences in work schedules and time zones. Tuning in at a later time won’t necessarily mean that you missed the chance to chime in.

Adding to the conversation with our peers

Blogging nourishes my introvert soul. It’s public but delivered in a fashion that feels private. For me, blogging has been the best way of tentatively testing the waters of public discussion. Some can show and share their expertise by offering training sessions or webinars, others will enrich forums and mailing lists with what they know and yet others will choose to blog.

Blogging also allows me to take my time before commenting on issues. Discussions in forums or Facebook groups flit by and dart back and forth. Writing a blog post at my own pace affords me the luxury of thinking everything through before committing my thoughts to writing and publishing them. There has been many a time when my initial take on a subject changed due to other people’s thoughts or simply after a good night’s sleep. The slower pace of blogging can protect us from the trigger-happy judgments encouraged by faster forms of communication.

Sharing your view of the world

Finding new topics to post about takes me from the sidelines of the translation community and offers me opportunities to add my voice. We all have a unique take on issues and that is reason enough to be worth listening to – whether an expert or not. Something caught your eye that no one else has noticed yet? By all means, share it with us.

Translators blog about professional development, CAT tools, social media, marketing, cultural issues, associations, good and bad experiences and their personal situations. Their blogs are lighthearted, solemn, scholarly, sarcastic and sometimes angry. Some will share their thoughts through other channels, but these channels may be unknown to me. Were it not for their blogs, I would never have heard what many translators have to say.

Finding clients

Lately, other translators have asked me whether blogging has paid off – and by that they mean financially. A number of direct clients have actually told me that my blog made a good impression when they were initially researching my services. Good stuff, right? I’ve also met a number of other translators through my blog who have referred clients to me.

I’ll add a caveat: If your blog exists primarily to get you clients, then blogging for other translators is probably less effective than targeting paying customers. Of course, for translators who offer marketing services or professional development for other translators, blogging for translators IS blogging for clients. For the rest of us, blogging won’t replace other marketing efforts.

Should you blog?

If you feel you have something to say, then go ahead and blog. It’s a low-cost, low-threshold way of letting the world know you exist. Blog the way that feels right to you and find the readers that are right for you (what Simon Berrill concluded in his post on blogging). If blogging doesn’t feel right for you, then don’t blog or stop blogging (Keep reading blogs, though!). There are other ways to join in and you can pick and choose what suits your personality and expectations. And we all benefit from a wealth of channels offering us information and inviting us to be part ofthe conversation.

Thank you, Else, for accepting my invitation and kindly taking the time to write to our blog. I totally agree with you on your opinion about blogging for translators. I’m one of those bloggers and just love doing it. Being able to help colleagues somehow is just rewarding and totally worth it.

What’s your take on the subject?

About the author
Profilbild Else GellinekElse Gellinek ist a certified German to English translator specializing in marketing and corporate communication. She is based in a smallish German town and has been providing full-time freelance translation and editing services since 2013. She holds an M.A in theoretical linguistics and was a bookdealer in her previous life.  When she isn’t translating, she blogs at Sprachrausch Blog and is active on social media. You can find her on Twitter (@Else_Gellinek ) and Google+.

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16 thoughts on “Guest post: Blogging for translators

  1. Agree with your take 100%, Else! I’m far too shy to give a webinar or (heaven forbid!) a presentation at a conference, but after 30 years in the business, I often feel I have experience to share with others and blogging is a great way to do it!

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  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head, Else! A blog can be a great tool for translators, but only when their heart is in it too, when they don’t just blog for the sake of it, because everyone else does. I love how a blog allows the translator’s personality to shine through as well.

    I just checked FeedDemon and I am subscribed to 161 blogs (most of them translation related). That’s how I start my mornings.

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  3. Hi Alina, I agree! Blogging takes commitment and it’s pretty easy to tell who’s dutifully blogging and who’s passionate about it.

    161 blogs, that’s a lot! I could easily spend all day reading translator blogs – spoiled for choice 🙂

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  6. I think another way to get over your fear of public speaking is making short videos on YouTube and preparing webinars – you can prepare for them as much as you want and re-record them as many times as you need to 😉

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    • Hi, Marta!

      First of all, welcome! Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! It’s a real pleasure to have you here. 🙂

      I’m not sure I’d like to see myself recorded. It’s strange to listen to my own voice. I think I would never be happy with the result of the recordings — though I plan on working on my YouTube channel in the future. As to webinars, I’ll give them a try next week. Let’s see how it goes.

      Thanks for the tips!

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  7. Caroline, I think most people hate their recorded voices. I’m no exception. Recording the video invitation for TLC was not the easiest task and I still don’t recognise myself fully in that 🙂 But Marta is right, videos are good practice.

    Else, it would not be that bad to see more videos from translators. 🙂

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  8. More videos from translators would be awesome, I agree 🙂 I highly enjoy Marta’s Wantword TV episodes. Putting a face and a voice to a name is great, especially if the chances of meeting in person at a conference are slim.

    Marta, your comment has increased my resolve to finally make that video for the Standing Out group on Facebook!

    PS I never knew you had a YouTube channel, Carol!

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