DIY Freelancer, Freelancing

My Words about “La Giornata del Traduttore”

Attending conferences always awakes something in me that most translators need to run their business, maintain their clientele and go out in the search for leads. La Giornata del Traduttore (Pisa, October 2015) was a positive stimulus to leave the everyday routine of “chair + computer + translate-all-day”. It helped me think business again, but also go a bit further and analyse how I can use what I have learned about marketing and business to improve my translating skills. And as in most social events, it offered me the chance to meet new colleagues and do valuable networking.

The conference was preceded by a day with two workshops: Personal branding: la chiave di volta della visibilità sul mercato, by Valeria Aliperta; and Il Business Model Canvas, by Daniela Zambrini.

I’m sure most of you have heard about Valeria or Rainy London/Branding, but if you haven’t, you can find her on Twitter or Facebook. Valeria’s workshop was all about branding: from logo, name, design, colours and font to brand identity and brand voice. Most surely, you leave one of Valeria’s presentations having a clear or at least better idea of what to do if you want to start creating a brand that represents your professional activity.

These are my key insights from Rainy Branding’s presentation:

  • Creating your personal brand is a lot more than just coming up with a name and a logo. You need to do a serious assessment of your business/professional activity and then develop a marketing persona that will reflect what you do and will help you go in the direction of achieving your goals.
  • Once you have a brand, you need to go online and network. Networking is the key to let others know about you and your services and, eventually, acquire customers. At this point, a piece of advice I found most useful was that for networking to do the trick, one has to find their own way and set their own limits: How much of you do you want to share with others? How much will you post on social media? What kind of information? Will you be posting pictures about you, about your activity, etc.?

If you are on the way to creating your brand, you should have a look at this video: Traduemprende – Valeria Aliperta. Translation branding & identity.

Daniela Zambrinis workshop on The Business Model Canvas was something of a novelty to many of the attendees. If, like me, you don’t know much about this topic, you might want to see this video.

It’s mainly because of this presentation that I’ve started to reflect upon the idea of how to use what I learn about marketing and business for translators not only to improve my own business activities but also to become better at translating for my clients. Keep on reading and you’ll see my point ;).

During the workshop, we learned what The Business Model Canvas is: “a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model” (The Business Model Canvas). Next, we were asked to create two canvases. One was a co-creation with other colleagues and it had to be based on a famous low-cost airline company; the other one was for our own business and we created it individually.

After the theoretical presentation and the exercises, these are my key insights from Daniela’s presentation:

  • Creating a business canvas may be the best way to represent your business project in a simplified way. If you succeed at doing this, you’ll have a juicy starting point to build your business, improve it or make it evolve.
  • When you create your own business canvas, the most difficult part is the one in the middle, the value proposition. That part is the core, it connects the front stage (what clients see) with the back stage (what makes the front stage possible) of the canvas.
  • If during the workshop we could create a canvas for this famous low-cost airline company, we should, of course, be able to create one for our own clients. For instance, let’s assume we’re working for a client and that client represents all or more than 50% of our workload, wouldn’t we be able to create a canvas based on their business? I strongly believe we would. If we translate a lot or regularly for one client, we have a great deal of information about them. Creating a business canvas with what we know about the client can help us develop a clearer idea about their activity, goals, values, target audience, etc. And in doing so, we can better define what language, vocabulary, register, etc. we should use in our translations for them. It can help us shape the client’s voice in the target language.

The next day, the conference took place, with its presentations and networking opportunities. I had the chance to practice my Italian and meet really interesting and friendly colleagues. With some of them, we’ve already been in touch :). These are my key insights from this day of the conference:

  • Your online reputation is the sum of everything you post and say on social media and websites. If, for example, you use sarcasm or make a lot of jokes, that’s part of your reputation.
  • You can’t try to sell something you don’t believe in.
  • At work, give a bit more than what you promise.
  • On social media, be in touch with influencers.
  • Consistency: find people who can back up what you say about you (recommendations).
  • Point zero: What happens if you’re new to the translation industry? Should you start doing a few translations for free? Well, you may do so, but make sure the beneficiary recommends you on every possible social media network.
  • Online activity should be integrated with offline activity: digital networking is the amplification of your interpersonal relationships outside the virtual world.
  • Do you want to sell? Use emotions.
  • Facebook is the third nation in the world after China and India ;), but everything you post on G+ goes to Google. And Google is your best friend!
  • Check out these two motivating initiatives: Impact Hub and Common Spaces.
  • Plan your business: use the SMART goals.
  • Have you thought about your elevator’s pitch? It shouldn’t be more than 30 or 40 seconds, and never forget your business card.
  • Networking is like marriage. You can’t cheat on it and expect it to work.
  • Two is better than one. Working with colleagues can be a great way to achieve your goals as a professional translator and entrepreneur.
  • You can’t do taxes alone in Italy :). You need the help of an accountant, especially if you’re planning to associate with other professionals.
  • Personal branding is like a marathon: you need to get ready for it.

All the previous takeaways were provided during the presentations by the following speakers:

  • Gaetano Torrisi
  • Umberto Macchi
  • Andrea Rapisardi
  • Andrea Spila
  • Valeria Aliperta
  • Doppioverso aka Chiara Rizzo e Barbara Ronca
  • Giuseppe Bonavia

That’s all I’d like to share about the conference. I hope you’ve enjoyed the reading and found it useful :). La Giornata del Traduttore was my first conference in Italy and it happened to be a very enriching experience. I’m thankful to the speakers and the organisers (Raffaella Moretti, Andrea Spila and Sabrina Tursi) for offering us the opportunity to interact with colleagues and be exposed to inspiring ideas and helpful information.

Thank you for being here at Homing Words! All comments about the conference or its topics are welcome!

References and further reading

La Giornata del Traduttore

The Business Model Canvas

Published by Victoria Principi

Victoria Principi

Victoria Principi is a National Public Translator of English who graduated from the National University of Córdoba in Argentina. She translates, localises and reviews texts between English and Spanish, specialising in marketing and business, information and communications technology, and social sciences and humanities. She is a member of IAPTI and has been working as an independent translator since 2012. Currently, she is based in Lucca, Italy, and helps translation agencies and end clients who need to reach a Spanish-speaking audience. She is the creator of this website and the author of the blog.

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