Posted by: patenttranslator | December 15, 2011

Is My Blog Attracting New Customers Or Instead Driving Potential Customers Away?

Both, probably. Since I don’t have much if anything positive to say about translation agencies, except the really, really small ones because I am a translator/translation agency hybrid myself, some agencies will be probably put off by the things that I say here, especially the big ones. Oh, well, you win some, you lose some.

My politics are also often very clear from what I say here, namely that I am a clear-cut liberal/libertarian/conservative, and some people may not like that, especially those who are to the right of Mussolini. Oh, well, see above.

I am not religious, but I do know that “God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform”.

About 11 years ago I wrote an article about machine translation for the Translation Journal. About 3 years ago a French to English translator living in France was asked to recommend a Japanese to English translator to a patent law firm in England. Since he did not know any, he asked an English to Japanese translator  living in Japan that he knew and it so happened that she remembered me from that article and recommended my excellent translation services to him. The result was more than a dozen Japanese patents that I translated for that law firm during a period of several months.

That is how things work. In any case, unlike my website, my blog is not really aimed at customers, present or future, as much as it is an enjoyable attempt to keep throwing somewhat smallish pearls of wisdom “ante traductores”, so to speak. If you forgot your Latin or never really had any, this is a play on the words in the Latin saying “Nolite iacere margaritas ante porcos”, which comes from the New Testament and means “Do not throw your pearls before swine”. I think that most of the readers of this blog enjoy the pearls that can  be found sometime in the otherwise seemingly boring job of a translator. So far there has been only one really rude, ignorant and arrogant commenter who got on my nerves, but he no longer posts comments because I stopped responding to him.

Ideally, there should be a synergistic relationship between my website and my blog. I am not sure that there is one. I just use the word “synergistic” because it was used in just about every medical patent that I translated recently. If you are not sure that new blue pill that you just invented works better than the placebo, use the word “synergistic” in the description of the effect of the newly patented medication and you have yourself a perfectly good patent for a new blue pill that is definitely much better than the old blue pill.

The real reason why I write this blog is that I can’t help it. There must be something wrong with me! Again! During the first month after I launched this blog in March of 2010, only 233 people came to visit. After a year this blog had 2,183 views a month and this month it should be over 3,000 views again.

The problem is, Céline Graciet from the Naked Translations blog told me in one of her comments that she has over 10,000 views a month, which is probably the most one can expect on a blog about a subject as obscure as translation. That really hurt. The real reason why I write this blog is that I want to beat Céline Graciet. Boys are so competitive!

But it is also possible that I am really just doing it for money like everybody else, or rather the prospect of a payoff at some point. Although the business was kind of slow for me during several months in the second part of this year, I just calculated that I still made about 28% more in 2011 compared to 2010.

The increase in translation business this year probably had nothing to do with the blog. I don’t think my customers have the time or inclination to read this blog. Senior partners in patent law firms don’t have the time to read blogs about translation, do they? Maybe a paralegal will read it once in a while on company time.

But it is quite possible that some English to Chinese translator living in Australia or Thailand will remember me from the cool music videos used in my posts here and recommend my excellent translation services to a patent law firm in Liechtenstein that is looking for a German to English translator with very specific experience, such as translation of patents about postprandial improvement of endothelial function resulting from creative mangling of Latin sentences.


  1. Well, I am not so sure about “some English to Chinese translator living in Australia or Thailand”, but a German/English to Russian one certainly will… Thanks from another hybrid!


  2. Thanks.

    We hybrids have to stick together.


  3. I read an SFT (Société Française des Traducteurs) survey that suggested that patent translators were among the most highly paid translation professionals, so when I came across your blog I decided to follow it regularly on my RSS feed, thinking that perhaps it would help me to develop my mental archetypes of “successful translators.” So far, I’m finding it valuable, so thanks very much.

    I’m a free rider in the sense that I doubt that I will ever directly refer you a client, as neither our languages pairs nor specializations overlap, but you never know. Multiply we never-knows by a few thousand, and I’m pretty sure that the reputational benefits of your blog would outweigh any potential disadvantages.

    And anyway, if you are true to yourself on your blog, and a potential client is put off by something you have said, is that a client you would have wished to have worked with?


  4. “And anyway, if you are true to yourself on your blog, and a potential client is put off by something you have said, is that a client you would have wished to have worked with?”

    Good question.

    My answer is that I would want to work for any client, and I don’t want to put any of them off.

    But if it means that I would not be able to say what I think needs to be said out of fear that it could put off some potential client ….. well, that is a price that is much too high.

    Freedom to speak my mind is much more important to me than the sensibilities of some potential readers of my blog.


  5. >Freedom to speak my mind is much more important to me than the >sensibilities of some potential readers of my blog.”


    Long may you prosper!


  6. Thank you.

    May we both prosper while doing work that is enjoyable and useful.


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