Review: How to Make More Money as a Translator by Paul Urwin

A new format for continuing education for translators

Paul Urwin recently launched an audio course with the promising title How to Make More Money as a Translator. Well, who wouldn’t want that?

About what’s covered

Paul pleasantly chats his way through a lot of ground. He’s a very relatable teacher and even shares some of his learning experiences as examples of misguided sales and marketing efforts to save us from making the same mistakes. For anyone hoping that Paul has a magical solution for getting more sales without having to engage in icky sales activities, this audio course will be a letdown. He has a strong stance on that: You need to actively sell your services—period.

As Paul explains in a guest post for the Lingua Greca blog, his course is clearly structured with each of the 14 lessons building on the previous ones:

  1. Introduction
  2. Your Website
  3. Google Ads
  4. Social Media
  5. Email Marketing
  6. Referrals and Networking
  7. Flyers, Posters and More!
  8. Cold Calling and Direct Mail
  9. You are NOT a Commodity
  10. The Proposal or Quote
  11. Monitoring
  12. The Close and Negotiating
  13. Quality Focus and Great Client Service
  14. Summary and Conclusions

The first 8 sections cover marketing and the final 6 move into the meatier area of sales—where most translators might struggle more. They vary in length, ranging from 9 to 31 minutes. Paul keeps it short, sharp and to the point, which means that you can simply go back and listen to a lesson a second or third time to refresh your memory. And you probably will need to go back. Paul achieves the enviable feat of condensing complex subjects into conversational and very palatable lessons that don’t overwhelm us with an avalanche of details while still managing to sneak in all the important aspects. Listeners will come away from each lesson with a solid idea of what to expect and where their further research should take them.

As you can see from the lesson plan, there’s no way anyone can immediately implement the entire advice at once. What I really liked is that Paul acknowledges that. His final piece of advice is to pick one thing to start with and then slowly build on that. Trying to change too much at the same time can only lead to overwhelm, which is one step away from giving up or never even starting. It’s better to see your business as a work in progress and focus on getting things done instead of getting everything perfect.

No worries, you don’t have to listen to the entire course before you can launch into action. You can take each lesson in isolation and start implementing ideas before moving on to the next lesson. Or you can listen to the entire course first and then focus on a core improvement in your sales and marketing processes. Either way you’ll benefit from a very structured introduction to the many things you can do to improve your business and increase your income. The key word is do. Whether you’re focusing on improving the quality of services you’re providing—a quintessential requirement for a successful business—or trying to find new clients, you’re going to have to invest time, effort and money and be willing to makes mistakes and learn from them. At heart, we all know this, but it’s good to be reminded.

About the format

I bought the course specifically because it wasn’t a self-paced course on a learning platform, a webinar or a book, but an audio course. That’s a rare beast in the world of continuing education for translators. The thought of letting information about sales techniques dribble into my ears while out and about in the world appealed to me.

Obviously there are reasons why courses like this usually come in a different format. Putting Paul’s lessons into action takes a lot of thought and preparation and a grasp of detail that can’t be conveyed in an audio lesson. To solve that, Paul provides bonus material, including a collection of useful links and sample emails or letters. A short written summary of the main points for each lesson would have been useful, mainly because I wasn’t sitting at my desk while listening to the lessons and couldn’t take notes (but that’s not really Paul’s fault).

About what I think

General advice on marketing and sales abounds. Paul is the first to acknowledge that his advice won’t work for everyone and he’s careful to point out that we should tailor our efforts to our specific target markets. Having another translator share winning strategies and giving us ideas how we could make them work for us, now that’s valuable information.

Something that the course does perfectly is to convey that anyone can learn to sell if they just get started. And should your mojo start to dwindle, go back and let Paul tell you everything all over again. No book or blog post can compete with having his encouraging voice in your ear when you try something daring and new and that’s a definite selling point for the course.

PS Jesse Tomlinson wrote a positive review about the course for Lingua Greca’s blog, if you’d like to read someone else’s thoughts.

PPS To get an idea of who Paul is and what you’d be listening to: He was a guest on Tess Whitty’s Marketing Tips for Translators podcast where he talked a little about his sales approach.

PPPS Paul came back for a second show with Tess to talk some more about Google Ads. That episode is a good addition to the 3rd lesson in the audio course. The complexity of Google Ads can be very overwhelming and Paul has some great advice for getting started.

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