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If you’re an established freelancer who needs a nudge toward your business goals, you might be interested in my online course, Beyond the Basics of Freelancing. The next session starts on February 18 and I have five spots left. It’s a four-week, completely online session, and open to translators in any language combination. Everyone receives individual feedback from me on four assignments (your freelance goals, resume/business profile, rates/billable hours, and marketing plan), plus one hour of individual consulting time with me. We also do a one-hour question and answer conference call every week (recording available if you can’t make the live calls). Registration is $350, with a $50 discount for ATA members. Participants in the course have commented:

I really loved Corinne´s course. Her passion and daily commitment is out of this world. The course is full of cutting edge experience and knowledge, generously shared. I believe Corinne gave us material to implement and work on for many years ahead!

Corinne’s course was exactly what I needed at this stage in my career. She asked the right questions to get me thinking and focused on the next steps to grow my business.

I can’t recommend Corinne’s course highly enough. There’s so much advice out there to read that it can be overwhelming. But Corinne gives you practical advice, examples and techniques you can actually apply to your own business. Incredibly valuable.

Thanks, and I hope to see some of you there! To register or read more, visit my website.

I do a pretty brisk business translating for individual clients (anything from birth certificates through self-published books). It’s a niche that many agencies and freelancers avoid, so it can be a good niche to address if you’re interested. In this six-minute video, I give you some thoughts on what’s appealing about the individual-client market and how to dive in if you’d like to.

I’m excited to announce that ATA is now accepting session proposals for our 56th annual conference, to be held in Miami in November, 2015. Yes, you read that correctly: Miami in November…we’re expecting a large crowd!

ATA depends on volunteer presenters for the bulk of the conference sessions. You can submit a proposal for a three-hour preconference seminar or a one-hour session during the conference; there are some financial incentives for each of those options, and you can read about them on the proposal form. Especially needed are *advanced-level sessions* and topics that have not been covered at previous conferences. Here’s the online information.

If you’ve never submitted a session presentation before, you might find some useful information in this free webinar that I presented for ATA last year, entitled “How to write a winning ATA conference proposal.”

Thanks, and let’s make Miami the best conference yet!

In 2014, I listened to two episodes of Tess Whitty’s podcast Marketing Tips for Translators that got me thinking about the whole “warm e-mail marketing” idea. Tess interviewed Joanne Archambault about marketing to direct clients that you can’t meet in person and then interviewed Ed Gandia about his warm e-mail marketing system, including his online class on the topic. I’ve always been a bit wary of e-mail marketing (seems spammy, hard to find the right contact person, hard to know what to say), and I’ve generally stuck with letters, postcards,  in-person networking and referrals to find my direct clients. But these two podcast episodes made me think a) maybe it’s just that I’m approaching e-mail marketing in the wrong way, b) it’s good to evolve and try new things and c) now that I travel for the ATA Board, I have less time to travel to client conferences, so e-mail marketing might be worth a shot.

First, I downloaded Ed’s free cheat sheet on warm e-mail marketing. The whole idea, drastically simplified, is to send short, highly personalized e-mails to potential clients, and to hopefully create a meaningful connection that might lead to some work. The concept appealed to me, so I signed up for the next session of Ed’s warm e-mail marketing class. Again, I was a little skeptical: I’m not a huge fan of pre-packaged online classes where there’s no interaction with the instructor, but the registration fee of under $200 was low-risk, and I forced myself to carve out the time to listen to all of the audio lessons over the course of a couple of weeks. Then, it was time to give the system a try.

My first two e-mails were to potential international development clients who had recently won a big contract involving French-speaking countries; I felt positive about what I wrote, but got no response from the recipients. But I forged on, surmising that I needed to send at least 10 e-mails before I could get a representative sample. My next e-mail was to a publishing house that I’d contacted a couple of years ago with a book translation idea. At that time, the publisher was interested, but the foreign rights arrangement was complicated and the project ultimately fizzled. Flash forward to a few months ago, when I read an excerpt from an interesting book by a French author, and out of curiosity I went to her website to learn more about her. Whoa; right there on the “News” page, the author (whose books are selling really well in Europe), stated that she was actively looking for an English-language publisher, and her books struck me as being right up the alley of the publishing house I’d contacted back in 2012. So, I composed a warm e-mail to my contact person, along the lines of, “I’m not presuming that you’d hire me, but here’s a potential translation that looks like a great fit for your audience.”

Within a day, I got a response from my contact person, saying that she’d look into the book I had suggested, and that as luck would have it, the publishing house had just acquired the translation rights to another French book on a similar topic, and would I be interested in submitting a sample? Well, right there, I knew that the time and money I invested in Ed’s class had just paid off: I had resisted the urge to write a long e-mail, to be overly self-promotional, or to just ping my contact person for no apparent reason (“Got any work for me?”). I had shared a piece of useful information, and it had really paid off. So, I’m excited to say that I submitted a sample, the publisher was happy with it, and I’m now under contract to translate the book between now and May…at which point I can tell you the details instead of referring to the project in veiled terms! But the point being, give warm e-mail marketing a try…

A new video! I felt more like talking than writing today…

Lots of people ask why a freelance translator needs a partner, and how to find the right person. Here’s part I, in which I briefly answer those questions; in part II, Eve Bodeux and I will talk about how we work together.

I’m pretty meticulous about my IT procedures, and luckily I’ve never had a major IT catastrophe. But here’s a minor IT annoyance that has heretofore sucked up an inordinate amount of my time: unsaved Gmail attachments. And now, there’s a solution!

As I’ve written about before, I use Gmail with my own domain name, to take advantage of the Gmail features without having to use a Gmail address for work. I’m not sure if this oddity is specific to Gmail, but here we go: if someone sends you a Word document as an attachment and it’s in .doc format (i.e. pre-Word 2007), Gmail will not open the document directly, and forces you to save it…so this issue does not occur. But if someone sends you a Word document as an attachment and it’s in .docx format (i.e. Word 2007 or later), Gmail gives you the option to either open the document or save it, and I most often just go ahead and open the attachment so that I can read it right away.

Here’s where you can tell that a key variable in this situation is me: I could simply train myself to *never* use the direct-open feature, but so far I haven’t succeeded at that either. Let’s continue on: you’re happily reading your direct-opened .docx document, and, here’s where I maintain that the issue isn’t just my stupidity, you’re even clicking “Save” periodically and Word is happily appearing to save (actually Word is happily saving, just not where you think it’s saving). Word does not give you the “Save As” dialog box as it would if you were trying to save a previously unsaved document. This most often happens to me when students in my classes send me their homework as a Word document; I want to get back to them right away, so I pop the thing open, type lots of comments, press Save lots of times, and then close the document, and again, there’s no prompt to choose a folder for the document (because Word is stashing it away in an undisclosed location)…the document just closes. Then when you go to reopen it, it’s not in the folder where you fantasize that you saved it (insert an image of me, frantically searching that student’s folder for their Lesson 3 homework that I just spent an hour commenting on…) and the document is not in the “Recent” tab in Word. Where the bleep is the thing?

Well, those of you who are more IT-savvy than I am probably already know that it’s in a deep, dark folder reserved for temporary documents downloaded from the Internet. I promise you, it’s there: but do not muck around and do stupid, panicky things like trying to reopen the attachment from the original e-mail in hopes that your changes will be there (they’re not there, and you’ll only overwrite the copy of the document you’re looking for: don’t ask me how I learned that). Instead, follow the instructions in this post from Oded Ran’s blog “Tech Chutzpah” and breathe a sigh of relief. Seeing that this post has eleven hundred comments made me feel better, because at least it’s not just me. Basically you need to locate the folder where your web browser stores your temporary files, and there you’ll find your meticulously edited Word document, and you can open it and finally hit Save As; Oded’s post will walk you step-by-step through what you need to do to find that folder. Thank you!!!

Hello and happy 2015 to everyone! If you’re looking to start the new year by working toward your freelance goals, the next session of my online course “Getting Started as a Freelance Translator” starts tomorrow (Wednesday 1/7) and I still have three spots open. Here’s the course web page.

This course is for translators with little or no freelance experience, who want to launch and run a successful freelance business. It runs for four weeks, and everyone gets individual feedback from me on four targeted assignments: your resume and cover letter, marketing plan, rates/billable hours sheet, and online presence (association directory profiles, LinkedIn, website, etc.). We also do a one-hour question and answer conference call every week, and you can attend those live or send your questions by e-mail and listen to the recordings that I send out afterward. You can read the full course description and register using the link above. And if you’re interested in my more advanced course, “Beyond the Basics of Freelancing,” that starts on February 18 and you can read about it here.

Registration for either course is $350, with a $50 discount for ATA members, and every student also receives free copies of my books How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator and Thoughts on Translation.

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