New and experienced translators can build their businesses at little or no cost if they increase their online presence through social media.

1. Create a multilingual website in your language pairs. This improves your online visibility because your site will appear when searches are done in more than one language. You’ll also stand out from the crowd because most translators’ websites are monolingual.

2. Set up a profile on LinkedIn and invite friends and colleagues to link to you. Your profile is an online marketing tool so make sure you complete the profile. Join groups for translation and localization professionals like Professional Translators and Interpreters, Translators Worldwide, Translation Professionals, and Lingua.

Answer questions posed by other group members. This will allow you to share your expertise, and it will give you additional opportunities to connect with other LinkedIn members. We began working with a translation company in Argentina after answering a partner’s questions on the site.

3. Use Facebook to update people on interesting projects you are working on, events you are attending, and your hobbies. Consistent updates mean that your name will be top-of-mind when there is a project in your language pairs.

Many translation companies have pages; become a fan so that you learn more about what they do. Contact them and offer your services, using the information from Facebook to personalize your message. Become a fan of P & L Translations, In Every Language, and LCW (Language and Culture Worldwide).

4. Start a blog. Some translators use their blog as their website. If this sounds like a good option for you, remember to include your language pairs and contact information on the page. Make it easy for translation companies and direct clients to contact you.
Read and comment on other translators’ blogs. You will learn a lot from established professionals and, over time, you’ll develop new relationships. Some good blogs to look at are: Yndigotranslations.com/blog, thoughtsontranslation.com, translationmusings.com, and aboutranslation.blogspot.com.

5. Set up a profile on Proz.com and become active in the community. Be generous with your knowledge and answer other translators’ questions. This will earn you points on the site. The more you earn, the higher your name will appear in search results on Proz. Translatorspub.com and Translatorscafe.com are two other sites where you can create a profile and contact translation agencies.

6. Use file sharing sites like Scribd or SlideShare to post articles or presentations you have created. Posterous is another site where you can post videos, photos, and presentations, all you have to do is send an email.

7. Write articles and post them on high-ranking sites like EzineArticles. If someone Googles your name, these articles will appear, often on the first page. The articles help establish you as an expert in your field and boost your visibility online.

8. Create a profile on Twitter and use it to sell yourself. When you write it, think of who you want to follow you. Are you on Twitter to learn from other translators, to find new clients, or to keep current on translation topics?

Always include a link in your profile; it can be to your website, your blog, or to your LinkedIn profile. Tell people something interesting about yourself so that they will follow you. Some people have two profiles, one for their business and one for personal use. If you decide to have just one, make sure to steer clear of language or comments that could be offensive to potential clients.

Find interesting people to follow. These can be other translators, translation companies, people who live in your area, twitter “experts”, your friends, and people who have the same interests you do.

Begin by listening to the conversations around you before you jump in. When you do start, limit your tweets to three to five a day unless you are chatting with someone. Try posting at different times of the day. Most people are in and out of Twitter so they may miss your tweets if you always share them in the morning.

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