My humble contribution in the special edition blog post this week, which this time will not be much about wine, but instead about how I believe there is a need for a shift in the translator social media world. This after having followed a lot of great people in the social media top circle for a while now. That is, a shift in translators’ and interpreters’ way of seeing themselves and presenting themselves on social media. I believe that a shift in attitude would truly benefit us translators as a group, making us also more attractive and appetible for the ‘outside’ world. If you have patience with me, I will explain further below…
The dilemma of a translator…
The main dilemma of a translator I often believe is to be stuck at the computer, with crazy deadlines, sometimes really having a hard time to connect with the outside world. Therefore, for every year I am getting ever more puzzled about the tendency I often see among translators (among interpreters, a bit less) to stick to the world of translation also when meeting up, or when having conversations on social media. Here I am talking social media used in a more professional way. If you have a private Facebook page, of course you often have more engagement based upon your private interests. A translator, often in search of new clients, still in general only talk from his/her own point of view or publish posts directed to fellow translators. Why is this so?
Of course, I am not generalizing entirely, if you follow fellow translators such as Valeria Aliperta, Gala Gil Almat, Paola Furini, Corinne McKay, etc. they provide great value for translators and Valeria and Gala are also very good networkers on social media. Of course, I am being a bit provocative here to stimulate a discussion. 🙂
Who is it about? ME or YOU…
Don’t get me wrong here, I am not talking against the communities and groups where translators can get to know each other and exchange ideas, as of course mutual support is very important. However, we are talking exchange on different levels. For example, the initiative…
…is a great one and a way for translators to connect. Even though it can also be taken as a starting point about the need of a shift in our way of thinking and considering ourselves. That it’s not about ME, the translator-me, but about YOU, the client-you, the person-you-converse with-you. We need to start opening up our eyes, and look at the person in front of us, not continue to close ourselves off. Start relationships, focus on what interests the YOU-person, without selling yourself as mainly a translator.
(Pic from Bewizard in Rimini 2015)
It is all about YOU. Do you think Obama’s election campaign, which Julius van de Laar was talking about at an event in Rimini, would have been successful if Obama had only talked about himself and from his own point of view?
Be authentic, be yourself
- Be You – as Kim Garst is saying in her latest book Will the Real You Please Stand Up: Show Up, Be Authentic, and Prosper in Social Media.
- Be Authentic – one of the main points in Bryan Kramer‘s concept in his book Human to Human: #H2H and how marketing and communication take place between humans. Thus, you need to be focused on the person in front of you. Bryan Kramer stresses the need to keep the communication simple, show empathy, and to not be afraid of imperfection.
- Be Consistent – which both Kim Garst, Bryan Kramer, Rebekah Radice, Peg Fitzpatrick, Guy Kawasaki, and many others are talking about.
- Engage – the key issue is to be curious, start engaging, start conversations with people, see what they are interested in, or need.
- Do not be afraid – being in the middle of the translation field myself, where we are very specific about words and formulations, I would say to not be afraid. Just jump into a conversation, in an area that interests you. Publish posts, engage, and keep it all simple. If you make a mistake, just own up to it and move on.
A personal brand
Of course it is also important to develop your personal brand, in order to be consistent, so people can see who you are when communicating with you. From there you start engaging and showing interest in people, connecting, to build a relationship. See further Valeria Aliperta’s blog for more info on personal branding for translators.
Look also for example at my blog post last week about how Luigi Cappellini, the owner of Castello di Verrazzano, is building a personal brand associated with his love for bowties. Theses bowties then become a part of the Verrazzano brand too, but it is still a way for him to stick out and show people the person behind the Verrazzano wine.
Social Listening and Social Media Influencers
During the last year, thanks in great deal to my wine blog and my interest in, and passion for wine, I have gotten to know some great people mainly on Twitter. Some of these people turned out to be important figures in their fields, especially within social media marketing. Here I have learned a lot by following Twitter chats, podcasts, people as, for example, Robert Moore of SpiderQube as well as other experts in the field. From them I have learnt that a key issue is to start listening, find common groups, find out what people are talking about on the different social media platforms. When you find conversations that you are interested in and have something to contribute, just jump into it and start a dialogue. Do not be afraid to reach out to Influencers, ask questions and engage with them. You can learn a lot. Why not also join one of the closed inner entrepreneur groups that many of the top marketing leaders are offering. I did that, and after only a couple of weeks I have learned so much. Do not be afraid to embrace your entrepreneurial spirit as a translator!
The Social Translator
So why should a translator be on social media or do marketing offline? Well, because we want to move forward and improve, build relationships that can be useful, hopefully find more and better clients. Peer support is of course very important, but it is not the only important part in our business. Above all, as mentioned in the beginning it should not be about us, but about them. So I would love to see articles about how to build relationships with the ‘outside’ world, how to use social media in a constructive way for translators. We are getting there, I see many fellow translators who are getting out there testing different approaches. It is indeed all about testing new things, see if it works, if not, to try something else. To get something out of social media, you need to be social, to build relationships and trust, as discussed by Eric Mitchell in his Social Hangout nr. 32 with Carlos Gil. Do not be too formal, and do not be afraid to engage! 🙂
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @ricasoli99. Thanks!