By Olimpia Hernandez

During the 50th ATA conference, members of the ATA marketing team presented their marketing materials for ATA members including the PowerPoint presentation Putting the POWER of Language to work for your business. This ATA marketing kit was created by Dorothee Racette, Lillian Clementi, and Christine Durban.

During their presentation Lillian and Christine emphasized that in these difficult times it is very important to market our service in the most effective way.  Our marketing message has to be concise, effective and memorable. In addition, it has to entice prospective customers to want to know more about our business. It has to contain the kind of message that will make the client knock on your door. The focus is not on selling our services, but on marketing our services in a way that makes them sell themselves.

The ATA has prepared a marketing package that can be used by all ATA members to market their translation/interpretation business. Although the material is more heavily focused on translation, it contains useful information for both translators and interpreters alike. The marketing material is available at the ATA website. The presentation is available for downloading in PDF and PowerPoint versions to all ATA members. In addition to the presentation there is a series of informative and educational materials such as a list of translation blunders that could be used as a humorous way to break the ice or as illustrative examples of translation mistakes.  Also included are tips about how to get invited to give a presentation, prepare for a presentation, handle the most common customer questions and prepare an elevator speech.

Regarding elevator speeches or what some of us call a one-minute-commercial, it is amazing how many translators/interpreters do not have one. We all have probably run into a person at a party or gathering who, upon being asked what they do for living, rambles incoherently for ten to fifteen minutes, and leaves their listeners more confused than they were before they asked the question. These days, there are many opportunities both within the profession and also in general business or networking meetings to introduce ourselves, our company and our services. However, in today’s world it seems like we are always busy and everyone’s attention span is getting smaller. Thus, unless we are able to convey the message we want in 30 to 60 seconds we will lose the audience’s attention. Thus, we have to learn to communicate our marketing message (who we are, what we do and why it is important) to the listener in a minute or less. The ATA website gives some pointers and examples to help translators and interpreters create clear, concise marketing messages.

The information provided in the kit is a good start but, of course, you have to tailor your marketing material for your type of client. For instance, if you are targeting agencies you would need to include information on the computer-assisted translation tools and daily capacity, as well as your education and other credentials. If, on the other hand, you are targeting direct clients, you need to focus on how to help them sell their products and services, and how you can help them expand their market or better serve their customers.

To find a copy of the client-outreach kit visit There is also an interesting article by Alina Mugford titled My First Experience with Client Outreach: Trials, Tribulations, and Triumphs in the Trenches published in the January 2009 issue of the ATA Chronicle, page 20. You can also visit


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