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Our March 2023 Event: Unlock The Secrets To Success As A Translator. A Talk by María Scheibengraf

At the Language Professionals Networking Event in March, we were joined by guest speaker María Scheibengraf, who shared her ideas and expertise on attracting high-paying clients in the language and translation industry. As a marketing and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) specialist, María provided valuable insights and advice for those seeking success in their careers as independent language professionals.

Gabriella Ferenczi, our host, kicked off the event by welcoming attendees and introducing our guest speaker who shared her extensive experience of building a reputation from scratch.

“I founded my business with zero budget … All we had was our time and access to the internet. And we made it!” 

 María Scheibengraf

What is ‘success’ for a translator?

María began her presentation by discussing several key elements that she believes are crucial for success in the translation industry. Among these was the concept of a “lifestyle business,” as defined by John Lamerton in his book “Big Ideas for Small Businesses”, which – as she explained, involves finding work that provides both the financial means to support your ideal lifestyle and the ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

María also stressed the importance of building a strong network of clients who value your work and are willing to pay you what you ask for in return for high-quality translations. She also emphasised the need for a clear and effective marketing strategy that allows you to reach your target audience and stand out from your competitors. 

Another important element that María discussed was the need to adopt a business owner mindset. As a freelancer, you are essentially a one-person company, and it’s important to approach your work accordingly. This means offering your services as a provider to your clients, rather than acting like an employee working for others. 

“We need to stop being our own obstacle…” 

María Scheibengraf

Tips for attracting high-paying clients

The main focus of María’s talk was providing tips and advice for attracting high-paying clients in an industry in which, sadly, exploitative practices by translation agencies are not uncommon.

One key consideration she emphasised was the importance of identifying your niche and focusing your efforts on the areas you enjoy working in. It’s also essential to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and market changes in your niche through ongoing research and targeted training. 

In terms of marketing, María stressed the importance of identifying your unique selling point (USP) and developing a strong brand identity that differentiates you from other language service providers. This includes establishing a simple but professional website and social media presence. María emphasised the power of LinkedIn for making connections and building your business and personal brand.

“…say something no one’s said before, write controversial stuff, start discussions, debates, make sure you stand out from the crowd with what you are saying…”

 María Scheibengraf

Consistency is also crucial, both in terms of your branding and your promotional efforts across all platforms such as using particular fonts, and colours as well as visuals across all your digital presence.

Last but not least, María stressed that we should not be afraid to take advantage of free tools and opportunities. There are various free online courses as well as software for graphic and website designs which you can use. Whatever it takes, create meaningful connections and partnerships, educate yourself, promote your business, and stay on top of your game – María suggests.

“You learn most things by doing. The most important thing is to START!”

 María Scheibengraf


María was then invited to talk about an ambitious initiative she’s launching called TRI-TRAB: Translation Industry Transparency Board. TRI-TRAB is an online platform where translation professionals can anonymously report exploitative practices by translation agencies. It requires evidence in the form of screenshots or other supporting documents to verify complaints. By exposing these unethical agencies, TRI-TRAB aims to hold them accountable and encourage ethical behaviour in the translation industry.

To support TRI-TRAB, do visit their GoFundMe page.

We would like to thank our guest speaker María Scheibengraf for joining us and for standing up for the entire translation industry.

We would also like to express our gratitude to all of the attendees who participated in the discussion and provided their own comments and perspectives. Hope to see you at our upcoming event in April. 

If you subscribe to our email list, we’ll promise to keep you in the loop on future dates.  

About the Speaker

María Scheibengraf

María Scheibengraf is an award-winning English-into-Spanish creative translator and content writer specialised in marketing, SaaS, and SEO. Recognised as a thought leader in the localisation industry, in 2016 she co-founded Crisol Translation Services, a boutique team helping brands of all sizes penetrate Spanish-speaking markets.

 To connect with María and follow her work, use the links below:

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