Chartered Institute
of Linguists

Business & Marketing Skills for Advanced Translators

Event report

By Hélène Walters-Steinberg, Chartered Linguist

Following the success of their Legal Translation workshop in May,  CIOL’s Translating Division’s most recent event focused on Business and Marketing Skills for Advanced Translators.

Speakers Chris Durban, Doug Lawrence and Martina Eco provided an overview of pricing, negotiation and marketing, filled with real life examples and practical takeaways.

Chris Durban spoke about how to move into the Premium market. She firmly believes that good translators can and should charge more, but to do so they need the right clients. She showed that pricing varies wildly among translators by using a text that she had been asked to quote for in the past. Chris asked the participants to discuss the text and then state how much they would charge. The prices quoted ranged from £45 to £2,000!

In the second morning session, Doug Lawrence, an international sales consultant, discussed techniques for gaining new work and negotiating prices. According to him, attitude is the key to selling. He presented many different sales and negotiation techniques and explained that it was important to find techniques that we personally felt comfortable using.

After a short break for a delicious lunch in the restaurant downstairs, we returned for a double session by translator and marketing professional Martina Eco. The first part was a presentation on marketing and branding techniques. This talk was followed by practical exercises on how to identify the core elements of our personalities so we could highlight them in our brand and was accompanied by a very comprehensive workbook.

Key Takeaways

  • It is important to charge enough money so that you can afford to produce the highest quality of work, giving yourself enough time to research, work on the translation and have it revised.
  • It is worth investing time and money to gain the right long-term clients: we need to take risks by going to conferences in our specialist areas and build relationships with potential clients.
  • Pricing should be about the value you provide to the client. Either you are making them look good or you are taking their pain away. What is the worst that could happen if they have a botched translation (lawsuit, risk of illness/death, loss of reputation, etc.)? How much is it worth to them to avoid these issues?

To successfully market your business, you need to know yourself (your personality and your goals), your market (and how you can leverage this context), your competitors (how do you compare) and your clients (who they are and where they are).

A full day of theory and practice to help professional, advanced translators enhance their knowledge about business translation and develop their marketing skills to promote themselves in the translating industry. The day will be divided into two different parts, with the morning focusing on business translation, how to specialise in it and breaking into the corporate market internationally. The afternoon will focus on marketing strategies for translators to enable them to position themselves better and carve a niche in their target market and get the clients they really want to work with. With three internationally renowned translators specialised in business and marketing strategies, this day promises to be an invaluable help to expert translators wishing to consolidate their position or move on to the next stage of their career in this highly competitive industry.


Chris Durban

Chris Durban is a freelance translator (French to English) based in Paris, where she specialises in publication-level texts for demanding clients—the shareholders, customers, and partners of a range of French corporations and institutions. For years she wrote a client education column called “The Onionskin”, and co-authored the Fire Ant & Worker Bee advice column in Translation Journal. In 2010 she published an updated and revised compilation of FA&WB columns in book form as The Prosperous Translator. In 2014 she contributed to “101 Things a Translator Needs to Know”, published by WLF.

Doug Lawrence

A member of both the Institute of Sales & Sales Management and the Institute for Export, Doug Lawrence helps companies increase their international revenues, assists sales teams to excel internationally and advises organisations in creating a world-class global web presence. His success in helping organisations grow internationally is grounded in over two decades of direct international selling experience of language services and related technologies and in his interest in languages, cultures and travel.

Martina Eco

Martina Eco is a professional Italian Marketing Consultant, Translator and Interpreter for Business Communications. She has been helping UK-Based small to medium companies, entrepreneurs and freelances looking to break into the Italian Travel & Tourism, Hospitality, Food & Beverages markets since 2011. She is the owner of 3P Translation, a company that helps English-speaking SMEs in the food, tourism and hospitality industries grow internationally by providing bespoke translation and interpreting services. Martina also works as a business and marketing consultant at London South Bank University, and she supports other translators by giving workshops on marketing and business development in and outside of London.

September 21st, 2019 9:30 AM   to   4:30 PM
Hotel Novotel London City South
53-61 Southwark Bridge Road
London, SE1 9HH
United Kingdom
Events +
Category Translating Division
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CIOL Translating Division