Online Networking and Marketing for Translators

“When you’re not growing, you’re dying.” This saying has always seemed too dramatic to me, but maybe it’s true with many jobs, especially freelancing. With dwindling work from my usual agency, I was forced to think of new ways to find agencies and clients. So far, there’s not been paying work from any of these efforts but I have made contact with lots of authors and editors, and who knows, someone might prove to be a key connection for a future project. In any case, it’s nice to feel less isolated when you work at home and don’t have the traditional office and coworkers.

Social Media:
Reaching out via Twitter, Weibo
I have contacted many writers and editors on Weibo (China’s micro-blogging platform, similar to Twitter). Some people have their email addresses posted, some can only be messaged through the site, which means your message could get lost in the shuffle. Most people are receptive to my message; some have added me on WeChat, or have later emailed me for English-publishing advice. A few were very wary, probably assuming I was running a scam of some sort. “Does this cost money?” was a common reply, I guess it’s not surprising given the medium.

Asking publishers if they want to collaborate on projects, offering yourself as a resource for scoping out books in your chosen language combination.

Professional networking sites:
When you try to contact someone who isn’t already a connection on LinkedIn, the site asks you how you knew them before letting you email. Since my current job title is freelance, I usually use this as a way to get to the contact form and send a brief note about what I do and offer my services. I actually heard back from a few editors who were either open to being pitched or gave me someone else’s contact information. This could be a way to reconnect with someone you met at a conference or a networking event; those occasions could be hectic, and if you couldn’t match someone’s card with his/her face, checking in online could work too.



Translation practice: Novel excerpt from Love is a Lie…

To make myself translate more when there’s no work, I’m translating bits of Chinese books. Some are books I’ve read, others are just what I’m leafing through on the Kindle.

The “export highlights & annotations” feature in Duokan is really neat, it lets you capture any amount of text and use them later at will.

Original text

蔼琳 [书摘1]  

多了又怎能消受。” 不仅仅是爱吧,世间万物,都是如此。

Book title: Love is a Lie Told by Loneliness

Author: Ai Lin

There’s a poem which she often thinks of lately: “One worries when love isn’t around, yet too much love is hard to take.” It’s not only love, everything in the world is this way. No wonder so many people who’ve tried marriage all said, marriage is like a pair of shoes, the important thing is whether they fit your feet. “Fit” may look like an easy request, but it’s hard to find.

Get the Chinese book on

Interpretation of Xi Jinping’s speech

China VP Xi Jinping’s speech at D.C.:

Speech begins at 26:40

This interpreter had an English script she’s reading from, explaining her smooth delivery, however, even if there wasn’t a script she would still have to interpret. Or if the script was in Chinese only and she had no time before the speech to look it over, she’d have to do sight translation as she interpreted, also a very challenging task.

She was excellent at matching her speed to the speaker, slowing down or speeding up as the speech was delivered.

court translator resources

Audio clips: 


  • UPI
    You can listen to all articles on this site since they’re read aloud via automated audio, the only drawback is the weird pitch due to “robot” reading.
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
    Audio & video clips of oral arguments

    Download all things C-Span here


TV news & interviews programs for practicing consecutive or simultaneous translation:

Exam resources:

General legal learning: