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.