Lesson 48: Do we use right words on our to offer translation services? Part 2: Translators’ websites

Lesson 48: Do we use right words on our websites to offer translation services? Part 2: Translators’ websites

What makes clients chose one agency over another? What makes them go to an agency in the first place? We’re all wondering about that and we’re trying to find our own marketing advantages. Competing with giants is much easier on the internet. You get yourself a website, spice it up with custom-made design and write some texts. Yes, I’m going to talk about texts agencies and freelance translators use on their websites. I’m not interested in SEO, because it’s for the crawlers. I just want to have a look at words that people read. What if that is our secret weapon?

In the last post I had a look at agency websites. This week I repeated the experiment, concentrating on websites owned by freelance translators in different languages. I created a smaller corpus, consisting of 3,500 words taken from home pages of 13 translators’ websites. I used Word Counter again to analyse the words we use. Then I tested a few most popular freelance websites to see what the most used words on them were.

We all translate…

“Translation” popped up 61 times. But – surprise surprise – “translator” appeared 42 times. It means that freelancers identify themselves as professionals more than providers of translation services. Speaking of which, “service” was on the third place with 24 appearances.

It’s all about me.

When I checked the corpus against grammatical words as well, it turned out that the most popular personal pronoun was “I” (70 repetitions) and “my” (58 repetitions). The results are quite understandable, since we’re all freelancers. But according to the golden rule of marketing, our advertising (including web copy) should be for them (clients) not about us (providers). “You” appeared only 30 times.

How do we describe our services?

“Professional” was used 18 times. “Freelance” popped out 11 times. “Experienced” was used 11 times. And that’s about it. I’d have expected us to do a bit better…

How to do it well…

I checked some websites that are popular both with people and search engines. Look at that:

So many keywords related to our industry!

It turns out that the most relevant keywords are: translation, needs, business, projects. I also looked at some websites that weren’t appealing either to me or to search engines. The checker found that lower ranking websites use grammatical words much more frequently than content words. One website that I looked at had 12 grammatical words before “translation” even appeared. Certainly something worth working on…

In the next post, I’ll talk about my conclusions. I’ll also try to find some tools to help us improve our web copies.


  1. Jan Snauwaert , on Nov 28, 2012 at 18:43 Reply

    Very nice. Some interesting research you are doing, Marta. I agree, we should emphasize our utility for the client, not our own skills, and find the right words to do so. Simple, but very important is we want to sell our services.

  2. Jan Snauwaert , on Nov 28, 2012 at 19:23 Reply

    Last sentence should read: Simple, but very important if we want to sell our services.

  3. Desiree , on Dec 1, 2012 at 05:05 Reply

    I am looking forward to your next great blog post.

    Thank you for your time to research all these things!

    Have a great weekend!

  4. Eva Hussain , on Jan 22, 2013 at 23:37 Reply

    Great post, great resources, Marta. I wish I had you 13 years ago, when I was starting out! Keep up the great work, this industry needs you.

    • Marta Stelmaszak , on Jan 23, 2013 at 07:55 Reply

      Eva, thank you very much for such a positive comment. It made my day! And I’m glad you found my post helpful.

  5. Adam French , on Apr 12, 2013 at 06:10 Reply

    Hi Marta,

    Lots of valuable information.

    I would have expected most of the findings. It is an important reminder that the use of language should reflect that translators are professionals providing services to clients.



    • Marta Stelmaszak , on Jan 4, 2015 at 15:01 Reply

      It is quite a good way to make sure we’re on the right track 🙂

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