An Invitation to Discussion

What Guerrilla Marketing For Translators may be


 Guerrilla Marketing Tips

For Translators

I have tried to sum up with a few anecdotes what Guerilla Marketing may be: this is not an etched-in-stone formula, but rather it is an invitation to diiscussion. If you would like to share some stories, anecdotes, your own experience … please send it and it will be added in a modified version of this article.

Also, we do realize that, in some circles: ATA, translation agencies owners, professional full-time translators: this may be of no help and of no relevance.

But, for most of us, freelance translators who try to make a living … Life is a struggle; so here are a few ideas « glanées au fil des temps. » May they help you.

There are those among us who are used to making phone calls

those who have worked in call centers

those who believe with the Job Bible guide — « What color is Your Parachute? »

that you should use all ways and methods for contacting your potential employers: mail; emails, networks, etc and that a proven method is : call dozens of contacts every day -for a given period (in an experiment quoted in What Color … job applicants were asked to make 40 phone calls a day – see results in the book …)

In this example, ‘I’ * contacted a small medical company; well, they are not that small, really and they do publish books; would I give a couple of hints, you would know immediately who they are. So, I won’t —as it would spoil all the fun and may not be very ethical 🙂

Gina *answered the phone; she may be described as the proverbial ‘gatekeeper’. At the time, I didn’t know her exact position, of course. I learned as I called her that she was Assistant to the President. The company had few full-time employees, as is often the case for some major publishing companies and companies where 1/2 dozen employees may work in various capacities – doing all varieties of jobs from anwering the phone to going to conventions and Book Fairs as marketing representatives. But you know that.

After a little while and a few phone calls .. Gina responded to my spiel. Well, they had a job for me; Actually, they had a job for us: they needed a team of translators to work on a medical book.

A M.D. + a couple of translators worked for months on the book which was published and to make that story short – contracts were signed; ms. were sent… again, you know the story. I just wanted to share the beginning of that saga which is the best part, maybe … and the most interesting for beginners-translators looking for translation assignments.

* Nota Bene: Names have been changed in the article + ‘ I ‘ represents different persons


Now, for the second anecdote, we have Valerie and Susan *

Again, we can see that there are several roads to take:

1- you see yourself as a translator per se, and nothing else.

You will accept translation assignements and nothing else.  There is nothing wrong with that.  This is one choice, one option.

2-  You see yourself as a wordsmith

You will accept all assignments related to Language, Words, etc.

This is a completely different attitude.

Obviously, would I see myself as a translation-nothing-else: I would say ‘No’ to Susan and be on my merry way.

I said yes — as I thought that this job was for me and I could enjoy Marketing and Promoting  S’s Travel Book.

we have Valerie, a translator and Suzan, a writer.

Suzan is a fairly well-known author and she writes and travels and is a ” mid-list ” author.

I met Suzan on the Internet on a forum and we connected and exchanged ideas on our respective jobs. Once, Susan suggested we met.

As I lived in a small town in New England, I suggested to Susan could promote her new book at the same time. She was enthusiastic and said: ‘would you be interested in helping me promote the book ? »

I said « well, I’d be delighted. But, you do realize that I have no experience in this field? »

In the following weeks:

1- I contacted dozens of Media: TV stations, newspapers and magazines

2- I talked to many people who may be interested

3- I also talked to writers & Members of the local Chamber of Commerce who may have had similar experiences and who would be willing to help

4- I talked to friends and acquaintances, anybody who would spend some time

After a couple of weeks, we had some contacts: Susan agreed to a date; we found a location, a bookstore owner agreed to welcome her and help in some way;

Several articles appeared in the local press, one interview was scheduled with a local radio station; another one with a TV station.

Some material was printed including hand-made posters which were designed by a group of art students who volunteered to post them all over town.

Finally, on that great evening, S had the best audience the booksore ever had with dozens of  books  sold. In addition, a woman invited Susan to a talk for the following Sunday at the local U nitarian church.

Oh, I also provided accommodation for the writer and what else ? a letter of agreement was signed to formalize our understanding.  And, this remains one of the best memories I have.

In our next segment, we shall investigate GM for T in a more formal way …

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** Guerilla Marketing for Translators