Volume 17, No. 4 
October 2013

  Jost Zetzsche


Front Page

Select one of the previous 65 issues.


Index 1997-2013

TJ Interactive: Translation Journal Blog

  Translator Profiles
How I Learned the Alphabet—and a Few Other Things Along the Way
by Kenneth Kronenberg
Jane Maier, Candidate for ATA's Board of Directors
by Marion Rhodes

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant and Worker Bee
Driving the Bus both Ways
by Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini

  From the Editor
Time to Change the Guard
by Gabe Bokor

  Translation Nuts & Bolts
Translation Workflow
by Paula Gordon

Humor in Conferences
by Luis D. González and Glenda M. Mejias

  Advertising Translation
The challenges of translation of tourist e-text
by Vasyl Stefanyk

Translators Around the World
Remembering Sarajevo
by Midhat Ridjanović

Translators and the Computer
Social Investments
by Jost Zetzsche
  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
Translators’ Best Websites
by Gabe Bokor

  Translators' Tools
Translators’ Emporium

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
  Translation Journal
The Translator & the Computer

Social Investments

by Jost Zetzsche

ome time back at a conference in London, a fellow translator shared with me and everyone else in earshot that she was done using Twitter as a professional tool. She claimed to have invested way too much effort and time with virtually no return. (I assume that I could have overheard a similar discussion about Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, Google Plus, or any other social network.)

I've been thinking about this ever since, wondering how much I've benefitted from my investments into social media (which are pretty much limited to a very active presence on Twitter and much less active participation on LinkedIn). To make it short: I have benefitted and continue to benefit. A lot.

Look at some folks who are successfully using one or more of those media. See what they have to say, who is following them, and whom they follow.
Twitter in particular is the fastest place to gather current, relevant information that is important to me, because I can trust that one of the folks I follow will post it. Twitter is also a phenomenal way to get my message out. Most of the time I share tidbits that I find interesting or informative (think of it as a bona fide shared bulletin board of virtual sticky notes). At other--much less frequent--times I can even tweet something a little less altruistic. More often than not, my followers read my tweet and then retweet it on to their followers as well. Twitter is also a great place to forge relationships with colleagues and, just as important or maybe even more so, with potential clients and influencers who can open doors to interesting opportunities. For me it hasn't been a place to find regular translation jobs, but I have found plenty of opportunities that go far beyond the regular two- or three-day engagement.

There are many, many places where you can find information about what to do and what not to do on social networks, but I would suggest three considerations as an over-arching strategy for translation professionals.

First, pre-determine what you want to achieve on any or all of these networks. For instance, if you "just" want to build relationships with colleagues, you might want to engage yourself within certain Facebook or LinkedIn groups. If you also want to interact with the outside world, you might want to use Twitter and a slightly different strategy on LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Facebook.

Next, specify how much time you want to spend every day. For example, I have found deep involvement in some of the discussions on LinkedIn too time-consuming, but my Twitter activities easily fit within, say, 20 minutes a day.

Lastly, decide if and how you plan to separate your private from your professional life (yes, yes, many translators can only dream of a private life...). I tend to un-follow folks who make a regular habit of sharing their dinner plans or levels of fatigue (they're always tired and overworked anyway!), but others seem to like it. Essentially, you determine who will follow you by what you share and how you share it. Your very close translator-buddies are most likely going to follow you either way, but the idea of social networking as a professional is to make that circle larger by having others see what you have to say as well.

Where to start? Look at some folks who are successfully using one or more of those media. See what they have to say, who is following them, and whom they follow. And for Twitter, be sure to check out Jeromobot, the patron saint of the modern translator. ;-)