The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020 - 19

Or perhaps you're willing to volunteer
as an interpreter for a situation that
requires critical communication. If you
have the ability to give something for
free during this chaotic time, you can
serve a current need while planting a
seed for the future-when clients do
have the cash flow to allocate part of
their budget to professional translation
or interpreting.
If you're not in a position to volunteer
your services, is there anything you
could create or pass along to clients
who you know are currently facing
challenging situations? If you're drawing
a blank, consider sending something
useful but meaningful such as:
■	

An article or resource that might be
timely and relevant.

■	

A simple message in one of your
working languages that lets your
client's customers know how long
they will be closed or when they plan
to reopen.

■	

An uplifting message (this can seem
like a very small gesture, but you never
know who needs to receive one).

Whatever you offer, make sure you
can relate it back to your brand and
services in some way, but be sensitive
about the language you use when you
deliver. What I've found most effective
is to simply acknowledge the hardship
and share what you can offer as a small
contribution to helping clients in a
tough time.

DON'T FORGET YOUR INBOUND
MARKETING STRATEGY
This is probably rather obvious. After all,
if you have extra time on your hands due
to a slow trickle of incoming work, you
can put that time to use by marketing
your business in ways other than those
mentioned here.
■	

First and foremost, make sure your
website is updated so the copy and
design appeal to your ideal clients. If
you've been meaning to create a new
website, now is the time.

■	

If your clients and leads are active
on social media, engage with them
regularly. You can still market your

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services indirectly by being helpful and
available to them online.
■	

Update any directory profiles you have
on association websites. Make sure the
profile leads back to your website.

■	

Polish your résumé. Add any new
experience or training and remove
anything that doesn't reflect the work
you want to attract going forward.

■	

Make a list of companies,
organizations, or agencies where you
would like to apply or market your
services once people are going back
to work.

I could go on and on. Bottom line:
there's plenty of marketing work you can
do to look to the future and prepare your
business for better times to come.

Messaging is always key when
it comes to marketing, but now,
more than ever, it's absolutely
essential to get it right.

START SMALL AND MARKET YOUR
SERVICES WITH CARE
If you've been on the fence about
marketing your business during the
COVID-19 crisis, start small. Perhaps a
happy medium of both outbound and
inbound marketing is the right fit for
you. Work on your inbound marketing
first so that when you're ready, you
have a place (e.g., website) where you
can lead clients. When you figure out
the outbound marketing techniques
that are most appropriate for your
ideal customers, be ready to put your
plan into action. So, get to work.
Make this time count. No matter what,
don't simply wait for the work to come
to you.
After dusting yourself off from the
initial shock of all this, take proactive
steps and consider the fact that this is
a perfect time to be planting seeds. The
economy will turn around, people will

go back to work, and when they do,
they will remember you for their future
translation or interpreting needs-but
only if you reach out now.
Whatever your specializations are,
there is work for you. There are people
who need your services, and there are
many who needed them yesterday! It's
time to step up, pivot your message
with care, and contribute value by
solving problems.
If your project pipeline has dried up,
or even if it's just barely flowing at a
trickle, you have the gift of time right
now. And if it hasn't yet slowed down,
count yourself lucky. But think twice
about putting off all marketing efforts
until another time. You never know
when crises like COVID-19 will happen.
As quickly as this virus has taken hold
of our communities, bringing many to
their knees, your current project load
could slow down tomorrow. No one is
immune to the effects of "here today,
gone tomorrow." But take comfort in the
fact that you have incredibly important
skills that are valuable to others.
Even if your clients or leads cannot
afford your services at your normal rates
right now, they will remember that you
reached out to them when they were
struggling. This does not go unnoticed.
What does go unnoticed is if you stay
silent and don't find a way to be relevant
by offering your support and incredibly
valuable services when everyone can use
an extra hand.
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo
is ATA president-elect and
chairs the Membership
Committee and Governance and
Communications Committee.
She is the owner of Accessible
Translation Solutions and a Spanish>English and
Portuguese>English translator. She served as chair
of ATA's Public Relations Committee (2014-2018)
and administrator of ATA's Medical Division (2011-
2015). She has a BA in Spanish from the University
of Southern Mississippi and an MA in Spanish from
the University of Louisville. She is also a consultant
for the University of Louisville Graduate Certificate
in Translation. You can read more of her articles
on her blog at www.madalenazampaulo.com/blog.
Contact: madalena@accessibletranslations.com.
American Translators Association

19


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The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020

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The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020 - Cover1
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The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020 - Contents
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