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I’m learning.

Google Books scanfehler

Over the past few days I’ve been staggered by the volume of visitors to the French website. This (I imagine) is directly due to the Google AdWords campaign I’ve been running. For example, I’ve had over 11,000 impressions  for the word traduction (don’t get over-excited, this simply means the ad has been displayed). However, it has translated into 75 actual visitors to the site. I don’t know if 75 is high or low, but what is clear is that these 75 people aren’t finding what they’re looking for. They’re checking out the homepage and perhaps the prices page and then carrying on their merry way. Given that traduction will encompass everyone from school kids looking for help with their homework, to housewives wanting to translate a recipe, it’s not surprising.

While I’m not the kind of provider they’re looking for, they’re not the kind of clients I’m looking for either.

I want to be a prosperous translator

At the same time I’ve finished my new book The Prosperous Translator (which, by the way is excellent). One of the messages they hammer home is:

good clients do not buy translations from anonymous providers over the internet

(see p.161 for example) and I am beginning to fear that I am living proof of their hard-won experience. The book advises getting out there and meeting clients in the flesh.

I’m not sure I’m ready to do that; not least because I don’t think my level of spoken French is good enough.  It seems unrealistic to expect potential clients to believe that my comprehension of written French and my command of written English far exceeds my command of spoken French. If I were them, I’d expect excellence in one area to correspond with excellence in other areas. Maybe I’m wrong, and it is simply a lack of confidence on my part, but I’m not really ready to get out there and test it either.  In my defence, I am working on it. But I’m not there yet.

The middle way

Which leaves a middle path. The direct, snail-mail marketing campaign. The way forward on this is clear. There are two things that need doing. I should get in touch with Mme V and ask her for a list of potential local clients, and get cracking on preparing a flyer. I’ve already checked out the printing options, and there is a reasonably priced, low-volume solution available. I just need to design the thing and decide on the content.


Did I ever mention that just (together with should) are my least-favourite words in the English language?