When it comes to advertising, the first step is strengthening outlets that already exist. Most professional organizations have online directories available for anyone looking for a service provider. When project managers are looking to a hire a new contractor, many turn to these professional association directories first, under the assumption that a provider found there would be one who adheres to a code of professional ethics (see ATA’s The Code). Since many Project Managers look at these directories first, it would therefore make sense to keep these as available and up-to-date as possible, especially since this is a paid service that comes with membership. Additionally, this is the first topic in the series because your directory entry is one that can be linked to on other advertising outlets.
Now, the association directories are not going to be as dynamic or visually appealing as your Translatorscafe or proz profiles, but they are profiles that you will want to keep up-to-date and update should anything change. It would be a good idea to check in every time you renew your membership to make sure all the information is correct. At the very least, your contact information and profile specifications. Keep in mind, too, that you can select which parts of information are shown on your directory entry. I allow visitors to see my city and state, but not my address or phone number, for example (indicated below in orange).
And do not forget about the all-important ATA Chapter membership. Keep those current to help out the regional chapter you belong to (indicated above in red).
When you get to the part where you can upload a Résumé/CV, please do remember to be mindful of CV security issues regarding the information contained therein (for more information, see “Taking pride in your work even before you translate a single word”). In place of uploading a file CV to your directory entry, you can also insert a link to your own website. This is the one I prefer to use as it also directs traffic to my website and blog.
The chapter directory is another one that you should keep updated. The only difference is that there is no consistent way of updating the information among all the chapters. In the best case scenario, your chapter has given you the ability to modify your own chapter directory entry if this is the case, log in and keep your entry updated. If your chapter has an antiquated or basic website, take initiative! Encourage them to work on their own branding which will in turn help your own, send them the link to my article on the Chapter Website.
Now, for those of you who are dealing with a chapter that still needs paper or emailed applications to update a directory entry (along with the man-hours needed to update entries for people), I am going to share with you a screenshot of how MATI’s website allows the members to edit their own directory entries.
The MATI directory is managed by the user themselves and like the directory for ATA, you can customize what information is displayed in your directory entry. It is extremely easy for a member to edit their own entry, and the MATI website administrators devote no time to directory upkeep.
So, why is it important to keep these profiles up-to-date? Aside from using it to drum up business, the associations use the information contained in each directory entry to communicate with their members. Without the most up-to-date contact information, the associations cannot get you information about events or news that you might find important. You can choose to not display certain items in your profile, but it is still important to inform the association of your most current email address at the very least. There have been numerous times over the past year where I have needed to contact MATI members to inform them of threats to their businesses and many have even replied to me in appreciation for letting them know. Moreover, I recently was presented with a certificate of translation from a translator claiming to be a member of ATA, the translation was suspicious. When I looked up the translator on the Directory, no entry was found. If I were not a member of ATA and had not known about how to go about verifying membership or certification, I would have ended my search there and I would have advised my company to second guess the translation. However, I called up the corporate office for ATA and was able to verify that this person was a member, but that his profile was not complete.
This was a short post, I apologize for the delay in getting these up and published, but I was taking care of personal matters and traveling. In the next post, I’ll be discussing professional network profiles and how to securely optimize those profiles. Questions or suggestions? Comment or send me a message.