Wine Blog

How to become a Social Translator

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @ricasoli99. Thanks!

Katarina Andersson

Seen often at wine events streaming live, Katarina is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. She is the founder of WinesOfItaly LiveStream. She has been a guest at The Cellar, hosted by Richard Glover, at Wine Two Five, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Davis and Valerie Caruso, and at the Twitter chat #WiningHourChat founded by Li Valentine.

29 thoughts on “How to become a Social Translator”

  1. Much of what you point to is valid for anyone doing social media. The focus needs to be on others, those we want to engage with us, not on ourselves. I’m sure you will get a lot of agreement on this and interesting comments from the translator community.

  2. Very true. If it’s all about us and not others who would want to engage with us? This is true in business and personal lives as well. Taking into account what others have to say and how others feel is extremely important.

  3. Great advice for all businesses! Social media is a wonderful tool for learning, connecting and interacting with our colleagues and clients/prospects. It helps to enrich the services we offer because we get to know what our clients really want and need and they, in turn, get to know/like/trust us as well.

  4. Not just for translators, but for all businesses! Engagement, authenticity, and consistency is key to maintaining these online relationships. It’s always great to reach out and engage in casual or meaningful conversation with your target market.

  5. Your article demonstrates the benefits of engaging, regardless of what field you are in. I also love Twitter. The interaction is wonderful, but I also learn so much from the posts of others. Thanks for sharing your insights!

  6. Good article. Your points are relevant to any niche business. I see this a lot with photographers too. If you only talk to and market to people in your own niche, with your own interests, you aren’t going to advance your business very far. Just as most translators don’t need a translator’s services particularly often, neither do photographers need the services of another photographer regularly. It’s important to engage outside our immediate circles if we want to grow our businesses.

    • That is so true, and I know it is not only in the translatoors’ community this happens as you say. However, I see a non-seeing continously among translators, a tunnel vision. As many translators are struggling dependi on their language pairs, I am still amazed that they when discussin this says that it’s a good point but for now they prefer to stay within the community, or that they do not have time etc. Hwever, then they are often complaining about not finding clinets etc. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. This article is interesting. I don’t know much about translating but I think it must be really hard. The advice to get out of your narrow niche on social media is true for any niche. It is really boring to talk to people who all do the same thing all the time.

  8. Thanks for the great article! Being authentic is the key to a successful career as a freelance translator. It’s not about keywords anymore. Just be real you and your clients will love you for who you are and what you stand for.


Leave a Comment

Translate ยป