Are You Getting the Most from Your ATA Directory Profile?

Knowing what search options are offered in ATA’s Directory of Translators and Interpreters can help you craft a profile that fully maximizes the types of searches one could make.

A key benefit of being a member of ATA is the ability to have a profile in the Association’s online Directory of Translators and Interpreters. In contrast to many online directories or member lists in other professions, ATA provides potential clients free access to its directory. This serves to encourage potential clients (including agencies, end clients, or other buyers of language services) to explore the profiles and match a translator or interpreter with their job specifications.

To enable potential clients to make the most effective use of the directory, ATA members should strive to be consistent about updating their profiles. Members should also take advantage of the various specializations and language services that the profile format allows them to showcase.

Before you update your profile, visit the Advanced Search page1 to see what options are offered to directory users when they’re trying to find a language professional for their project. Knowing what search options are offered can help you craft a profile that fully maximizes the types of searches users can make. These include searches by geographic location, language combination, certification and other professional credentials, areas of specialization, and more.

Creating an Effective Profile that Works

The first step toward creating an effective profile that will attract the attention of potential clients is to go to the Members Only section of ATA’s website and log in with your member number and password (http://bit.ly/ATA-members-only). Under the Members Only section, click on “Create My Online Directory Listing” or “Update My Online Directory Listing” to begin. As you create or edit your profile, each section allows you to save and continue. Be sure to save your work as you continue through the menu prompts.

Section 1: Contact Information

It may seem obvious that contact information should be kept up to date so that potential clients can get in touch with members about their services, but this is often not the case. Don’t lose out on potential contacts because of an email that bounces or a landline number that’s been dropped in favor of a mobile line.

To avoid this easy-to-correct but serious impediment to being contacted by potential clients, be sure to schedule time at least once or twice a year to review your profile. In addition, scheduling this review will help you keep other sections of the profile up to date as well, ensuring that all the information you share with potential clients reflects your current expertise, offerings, and what makes you unique.

Within the address section of the profile, it’s important to note that to enable geographic searches (if a client seeks a provider in a specific geographic area), you should enter your physical address even if you don’t want it displayed in the directory for public view. This way, your profile will appear in the search results when you match a specific geographic area. If you don’t want your full address displayed, you can choose this option when setting up or modifying your profile by checking the appropriate boxes under the “Please do not include the following items in my directory profile” option. You may also completely hide your entire profile using the “Please do NOT list my directory profile” option. However, be aware that by making this last selection, you will prevent any potential clients from seeing your profile.

Section 2: Availability Dates

Another great feature of the directory is the ability to let potential clients know when you’ll be unavailable. However, if you plan to check email when you’re away, we suggest leaving these dates blank so that potential clients will still be encouraged to contact you.

Section 3: Language Information

When you’re creating a profile, you must manually add the language combinations you would like to include. You may add up to seven language combinations using ATA’s dropdown list. If you would like to add additional languages or dialects, you may do so in the related searchable, free-form field. Make sure to list only those language pairs in which you work professionally to avoid diluting the power of your profile. Your goal is to receive work in the languages where your expertise and knowledge will shine. You should avoid listing “all” languages you know if they are not languages for which you offer professional services. Note that you can also set the order in which you would like multiple language pairs to appear. The default setting is alphabetical, but you can modify this to emphasize one language pair over another.

Section 4: Services, Education, Experience, Tools, etc.

This section allows you to provide additional information about the services you offer, your background and tools, as well as the types of payment and currencies you accept. This section uses dropdown lists, file uploads, option buttons, and free-form fields to gather information from you.

To start, list the services you provide. For both translation and interpreting, you may indicate multiple services. To do so, use CTRL + click (for PC) or Command + click (for Mac) to make your selections. If there is a service listed that you don’t offer, simply don’t select it and it will not appear in your public profile.

You’ll also be asked to indicate the highest level of education completed, whether you have a degree in translation or interpreting, and how many years of experience you’ve worked as a translator or interpreter. Select one of the options listed for each of these categories. Please note that you can skip these questions entirely as they are not required. If you leave these fields blank, the information will not show up in your profile.

If you provide voice work, you may include a prerecorded voice sample along with your directory profile. Simply describe the sample in the field provided and upload the audio file for access by those viewing your profile. Note that when you upload an audio file, a new window opens. Once you’ve completed the file upload, return to the previous tab to continue modifying your profile.

To personalize your profile, you have the option to upload your résumé or link to it directly with a URL that you provide. If you choose to upload a résumé, review it before posting to ensure that it effectively shows your expertise for the areas in which you’re seeking projects. You may decide to upload a version of your résumé that you’ve specifically prepared for your ATA profile. If you chose to hide some of your contact information from your public ATA profile as described in Section 1, you should also consider what contact information you would like to include in a résumé that may be downloaded by visitors to your profile. Note that the content of your résumé is not included in “keyword searches” by users.

You may also upload a photo to further personalize the profile. This is optional. If you decide to use this feature, be sure to use a professional, business-focused photo that clearly shows your face. If you don’t have a suitable photo, just skip this step.

Finally, there is a free-form field in this section with the label “Would you like to include additional information about your services, education, and experience?” This field allows you to add or clarify any information. Use this space to emphasize particular expertise that may not have been covered elsewhere in your profile and to highlight what makes you unique. For example, do you have niche areas of expertise that you would like to highlight that are not included in ATA’s dropdown list of subject-matter expertise, or specific services you offer that are not listed? If so, be sure to add them to the “Additional Information” field. Note that areas of specialization appear in Section 5, so you may wish to review them and then return to the “Additional Information” field to ensure that you are using it most effectively.

The “Additional Information” field and all the text you enter into it are searchable by users of the directory in the “keyword” field on the Advanced Search page.2 Keep users in mind when writing this section and think about key phrases that a potential client might enter as search terms. Use those types of terms to describe any additional information you include. Users can use one- or multiple-word searches and phrases. For details on how the search function works for the “Additional Information” field, review the list of tips found on ATA’s website entitled “Keyword Search Tips.”3

Section 5: Areas of Specialization

In this section, you may list up to 12 areas of expertise for your translation or interpreting practice. If you feel that you have more than 12 areas of expertise or sub-areas, prioritize them so that you list the areas you focus on in your business. You can also add your areas of expertise to the “Additional Information” box that appears at the end of this section.

Once you’ve completed Section 5, use the Submit button to finalize your changes.4 You will then see a summary of your current profile. Review it and click on the “Change My Contact Information” or “Change My Profile” link at the bottom of the page if you would like to make additional changes using the process outlined above. (Note: you should avoid using your browser’s back and forward buttons at this stage to ensure that your updates are not lost.) When you’re satisfied with the information contained in the profile, you can continue to the final steps.

Final Steps: Review the Public Advanced Search Page and Schedule a Six-Month Review

As we mentioned previously, it’s always a good idea to view your profile as a user of the directory will see it, rather than as you see it when updating or creating it. To do this, return to the public Advanced Search page,5 choose “Search by Last Name,” and enter your last name to locate your public profile. (You can also choose to search using other criteria that match your profile.) Once your name appears in the search, click on it to access your public profile, just as a potential client would. Review the information it contains in this format. If you wish to make any changes, make sure you’re still logged in to your ATA account, return to the Member Center6 page, and modify your profile until you’re satisfied.

Don’t forget to schedule a six-month review to verify that your contact information, areas of specialization, and additional information, along with all the other items in your profile, are current. Remember to update this information as you evolve as a language professional.

Bonus Tip!

Request the Individual Member logo7—or use your ATA-certified translator (CT) seal8 or credentialed interpreter (CI) designation9—and link to your profile in the Directory of Translators and Interpreters from your website.

Paying Attention to Your ATA Directory Profile will Pay You Back

Don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what ATA members are saying about the power of having an effective profile in ATA’s online directory.
Several individual clients with very lucrative projects found me through ATA’s online directory this year. Geographic location was not a factor for them, but they were looking for an ATA-certified translator in my language pair. One person said that a clear and concise “Additional Information” section, which listed my relevant professional experience, helped him decide to contact me. Another client recently commented that she was drawn to the fact that I had a professional-looking email address, and that my website link led to a professional-looking website, not a personal blog.
—Veronika Demichelis, ATA-certified English>Russian translator

My ATA directory listing has served me very well. It’s especially gratifying to pick up a few big interpreting jobs from new out-of-state clients who find me in the directory looking for my particular skill set and location. Typically, just one of these can easily triple or quadruple my yearly ATA membership investment!
—Tony Guerra, Spanish<>English interpreter

Having my profile in ATA’s online directory has been a tremendous benefit to me. I frequently receive translation requests from individuals and agencies through the directory. I’m also regularly contacted for interpreting assignments by out-of-town agencies that do not have a local network. The clients I work with who find me through ATA’s directory typically value my services, expect high-quality translations, and are fun to work with. I especially love when other ATA members use the directory and decide to refer work to me, and I do the same as often as I can.
—Jessica Hartstein, ATA-certified Spanish>English and French>English translator, Master Licensed Court Interpreter (Spanish)

Notes
  1. https://atanet.org/onlinedirectories/search_advanced.php
  2. https://atanet.org/onlinedirectories/search_advanced.php
  3. “Keyword Search Tips,” http://bit.ly/ATA-keyword-tips.
  4. In addition, if you’ve been using the “Save” or “Save and Continue” buttons for each section of your profile, each section has also been finalized individually.
  5. https://atanet.org/onlinedirectories/search_advanced.php
  6. www.atanet.org/membersonly
  7. ATA Logo Usage Guidelines, http://bit.ly/ATA-logo-guidelines.
  8. ATA-Certified Translator Seal, http://bit.ly/CT-seal.
  9. ATA Credentialed Interpreter Designation, http://bit.ly/ATA-CI-credential.

Eve Lindemuth Bodeux, CT is an ATA director and an ATA-certified French>English translator. She is the owner of Bodeux International, a company that offers multilingual project management and other language services to clients worldwide. She has served as chair of ATA’s Public Relations Committee since 2018. She also served as administrator of ATA’s French Language Division (2014–2018), as well as two terms as vice president of the Colorado Translators Association (2008–2012). She has a BA in French and political science from Lebanon Valley College, an MA in international relations from the University of Virginia, and a graduate degree in European studies from the Université de Lorraine in France. She is co-host of the Speaking of Translation podcast. Contact: eve@bodeuxinternational.com.

Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo is an ATA director and chair of the Membership Committee. She is the owner of Accessible Translation Solutions and a Spanish>English and Portuguese>English translator. She served as chair of ATA’s Public Relations Committee (2014–2018) and administrator of ATA’s Medical Division (2011–2015). She has a BA in Spanish from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MA in Spanish from the University of Louisville. She is also a consultant for the University of Louisville Graduate Certificate in Translation. You can read more of her articles on her blog at www.madalenazampaulo.com/blog. Contact: madalena@accessibletranslations.com.

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