“Sic transit gloria mundi” (Thus passes the glory of the world), I was thinking to myself as I was fishing out two huge Yellow Pages books floating in the pond under the footbridge behind our house, while my dog Lucy was patiently waiting for me to finish this dangerous operation with a puzzled look that goes so well with her pensive pit bull’s face.
I often think lofty thoughts, usually in medieval Latin, when I walk my dog Lucy. She somehow has that effect on me, and I think she knows that.
After a series of torrential rains, I sometime fish out floating objects from the pond (you can see the pond here) because things like unread newspapers wrapped up in a plastic bag are washed away with rainwater through the drain system into the pond.
When people don’t bother to pick up things like newspapers on a rainy day, these things often end up as debris in the pond, which I find very sad because we still have a fair number of birds, turtles and small fish who call this pond a home sometime, although a mysterious green slime forming on the surface on hot days scared away a couple of very pretty and very poisonous snakes who used to live there a few years ago.
When I threw the ruined phone books toward Lucy, to my surprise she completely ignored them, although she never fails to sniff out judiciously with her big flat nose every piece of animal excrement that she may encounter when I walk her. She can normally extract a wealth of information from just about any object with her big, flat and twitching nose, which is very interesting to watch, but she must have known somehow that there is no need to waste her time with Yellow Pages.
I used to advertise in Yellow Pages for almost twenty years when I lived in San Francisco and the Bay Area in the eighties and nineties and I met some interesting customers through those ads as I wrote in a post a couple of years ago, but I pulled the plug on my ad here in Eastern Virginia about five years ago.
It probably still makes sense to advertise in Yellow Pages if you own for instance a pizza joint, although probably only senior citizens who “don’t do computers” will be looking up your place in a heavy paper book. It is cheaper and much more effective to have a website and a Facebook account because most people under 60 will usually just look up anything on a computer or a smart phone.
If you want to survive as a freelance translator, you have to make sure that potential customers can find you. But who will look for a translation service in Yellow Pages these days? Not many people.
Any freelance business is often a fight for survival. But advertising in Yellow Pages these days is like trying to survive by bringing a pretzel to a knife fight, when what you should really do is bring a gun to a knife fight.
It is not illegal to bring a gun to a knife fight, I think. Or if it is, it does not really matter, as long as you survive the competition because knife fights are probably just as illegal as gun fights.
Are you now, or have ever been, advertising in Yellow Pages? Is it working?
What does really work these days?
If you have some ideas about the big guns that translators could and perhaps should be bringing to win in the constant battle for survival, why not share them here?