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Pros and Cons of using translation programs

At least once in our lives we are faced with a text that we do not understand. We can either rely on a professional translator or use a translation program instead. However, these programs, although fast and useful, also have some problems. I guess we should get to it and start talking about the main advantages and disadvantages of using such programs.

Pros of using translation programs

  1. They are quite fast

Let’s face it. You simply copy the text, then you paste it, and in less than one minute the translation is ready. I am 100% sure that no human translator can do that. The best part about translation programs is they are not as time consuming as humans.

  1. Good for web pages

You are browsing on the Internet and you stumble upon a site that is in a foreign language that you either do not know or only know a few words in it. You really want to know what the site says, but you do not want to spend too much time looking up words in the dictionary or asking your friend to translate, then this is a good alternative.

  1. They are free

Most translation programs are free, which is quite a great advantage, due to the fact that professional translators could end up costing quite a lot. In addition, the majority of translation programs are available online, which means that there is no need to download and install any additional programs.

  1. Good for getting the overall message

If you want to have a general idea about what the text is about, using translation programs is a great option. Most of the words are translated correctly and so, you will be able to understand the main message of the text.

Cons of using translation programs

  1. They do not contextualize

One of the main problems that people are faced with when using a translation program is the fact that words are not always translated according to their context. Some words have more than one meaning and translation programs usually take the first one as being the correct one. This causes confusion most of the time and can give the text a whole new meaning.

  1. Bad for idioms and expressions

As mentioned above, translation programs do not translate the words according to their context. This is why it is better to use dictionaries, to ask a native, or rely on a professional translator in the case of idioms and expressions.

  1. Not accredited

If you need your legal documents to be translated, it is advisable to rely on a professional translator as these programs are not viable. It is better to be safe than sorry.

If you want to use a translation program and the translation seems to be quite correct from your point of view, but you are not 100% sure, there is still something that you can do. You can rely on a professional proofreader to correct any mistakes that might have slipped. If you happen to have other pros and cons of using translation programs, do write them in a comment.

Creating a Freelance Portfolio

A good way to attract clients for freelancing is to create an online portfolio. This is relatively easy to do, even if you are new to freelancing. A good way to do this is through a website of your own. The website should look professional and modern, so if you are unfamiliar with website building then consider hiring someone to create one for you, or alternatively use one of the many easy-to-use website-building tools available these days.

What Should the Portfolio Include?

The website should not only showcase your talent and give examples of what work you can do, but it should also provide an easy way for clients to contact you. Furthermore, a portfolio should include a brief description of yourself so that the client can get to know you a little better before asking you to work with them. This can make things a little more personal, and makes you instantly more trustworthy.

Something that a lot of freelancers miss out on is explaining their work. Many people decide it’s better to show their work rather than say much about it, but taking the opportunity to explain the project and what you actually did may help to swing some clients in your favor.

Showcasing Talent

The portfolio should put on display your best work. This means that you should include a variety of pieces in your portfolio to show off the various things you can do. Include a range of topics, a variety of writing techniques and try to include pieces that use different layouts. This will attract a wider variety of clients and thus more work.

Another thing to note is that you can include unfinished works or snippets from pieces. As long as the excerpt shows off your writing skills, it is a valuable thing to include in your portfolio.

In addition, try showing off any results you have achieved. If you have been involved in social media management and content creation for sites that show number of likes and shares, screenshot the results and post these somewhere on your portfolio. These make for a very attractive strategy that will draw in more clients.

What if You Don’t Have Much to Showcase?

New freelancers can still create a decent portfolio. How?

Well, you could start by creating pieces for imaginary clients. Write a few example posts of your own, on any topics you fancy, and post them up as an example of your writing. Another way to rack up some new content is to guest post on other blogs, and use these writings as proof of your talent. Alternatively, you could do some unpaid work just to get your feet off the ground, although the first two options may be much more appealing.

Keep in mind that these new posts should still be explained in your portfolio, so your potential clients can see exactly what you did.

Final Tips

It is important to always keep your portfolio updated – it should grow with you. As your career flourishes, your portfolio should expand too. Building a portfolio is definitely worth it for freelances wanting to turn over more work and attract new clients. Try getting started now!

How best to use Feedly

Feedly is a relatively new application for web browsers and iOS and Android mobile devices and also as a cloud based service. Through gathering feeds form many online sources, it enables users to customize and share with others. Feedly is a powerful tool that helps you organize, read and share contents of different sites.

Feedly offers a number of convenient features. It is particularly useful for bloggers, content and copy writers as it enables arranging favourite blogs, news sites, podcasts and Youtube channels with the possibility of accessing them easily by keyboard shortcuts. Moreover, it allows transformating websites into smaller cards and save articles and share them via   Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest.

Helpful hints for using Feedly

Follow the link https://feedly.com/i/welcome and move to the left side bar where a new tab appears with the `Get started` option. By clicking this button you will be able to create an account through any of the given social networks. Whichever you chose you need to provide your personal information to log in, username and password after which you are directed to Feedy page.

You can start by adding favourite sources by clicking `+` on the left upper corner. If you subscribe to a lot of sources you can put them into categories. Feedly allows the `today` and `saved for later` button to sort the items according to your interest. You can also mark as `read` any of the current items. The `saved for later` feeds enables `change layout and filtering` by clicking the  sun icon on the right near the `search` tab.  Here you can assign the right layout to each source, like different views to different sources. Learn about the keyboard shortcuts if you want to navigate around the content. Just type `?` in Feedly to see the list of the keyboard shortlist. This option may not be available depending on the operating system on your computer. Additionally, sharing contents and participating is possible in cases you want to recommend something you find interesting. If you have accounts on Facebook, Twitter or a personal webpage you can use the built- in sharing features to communicate more effectively with other users or clients.

Feedly is particularly useful if you blog and want to optimize your feeds.  In Word Press, for example, you can do optimization in dashboard-settings-reading and change the feed option to a bigger number. Make sure you use short pieces of a whole article so that users who find them appealing they will click through to your site to read the rest. Image, size and author`s name are important features when it comes to how your feed displays in Feedly. Visuality is important, as well as using a nickname instead of your Word press username. As soon as you have adopted the basics of Feedly, start tagging your content to get more traffic to your website. Don`t forget to add quality comments on articles you have read. This may be a great way to get referrals as your comment may lead the reader to click your link. Detailed and coherent comments are the best to provide desired links.

Feedly may be one of the best options for your online business strategy for many reasons. Some of the most beneficial features are the quick access to information and easy customization without manually searching the Internet. Though, the best part is that it is free.

Asking clients for feedback

Getting feedback from your customers is an imperative for your business as it helps you sell your products or services in the best possible way. The question is how to get it so that you can find the suitable solutions to convert customers` opinions into more profit.

Customer feedback provides you not only with possible ideas of how to direct your business but it also enables you to do the right measurements of satisfaction with current customers and visitors to your website. In order to obtain reliable information you need to clearly define what exactly you want to improve regarding customer service. Then, how you will utilize the collected data and finally figure out which are the most beneficial channels to achieve your goals.

  • Get in touch with customers via email

Email correspondence can help you receive honest feedback from customers and in this regard you must consider some aspects to assure that your customers are heard.

Firstly, you need to provide your customers with fast replies without any delay. A simple body text such as `We will contact you soon` may convince your customers that their voice is important to you.  Secondly, try to organize a feedback loop within your mailbox. This makes easier to keep things in order. A convenient board system for these purposes is available under the name of Trello, were you can keep your tabs on the projects you are currently working. It serves as a reminder of which customers` requests have been asked before as well as whether to implement certain features. Lastly, use personal emails. Upon signing up through their email, customers can reach your website which gives you the possibility to ask them simple questions regarding the reason why they have signed up difficulties the face, what their preferences may be. This may develop into a thread of correspondence since it is not public, only between you and your customers. Remember to reply on timely manner otherwise your request might be rejected next time.

  • Use surveys to engage your customers

You may find this a rather tough task but once you have gone though it you can have multiple benefits. Survey answers will increase your possibilities to enhance your business since they are more thorough than random questions via email. They provide various types of questions from the simplest yes/no questions to more insightful ones. Pay attention how you formulate your inquiries, let your goal lead to construct short, clever questions one by one. Do not follow similar questions in a row. In case the answer does not require a yes or no answer, do not ask questions that can be answered dimly or without a definite clue. Make them precise without a hidden trap or implication. Customers do not wish to be guided to a desirable answer. Include rating scales for your respondents with a defined format that focuses on specific details you are curious about.

For the purposes of carrying out a survey you can use various tools like Qualaroo for conducting short surveys for a few customers or Survey Monkey which can be adapted to different types of questions.

Professional non-native translator vs non-professional native

Throughout our lives we have at least once found a text in an other language that needed to be translated. If not a text, a song, if not a song, then we have at least one in our lives seen a movie in a foreign language. What did we do in order to understand the movie? We used subtitles.

It is also true that we sometimes use translation programs such as Google Translate, but they are not always reliable. For more accurate translations, we have to rely on either professional translators and natives. One question does come into mind. When should be use a professional non-native translator and when should be use a non-professional native?

Professional non-native translator

A professional non-native translator is a person who supposedly studied one or two foreign languages and has the necessary certifications and qualifications to translate a certain text.

One of the main advantages of hiring a professional non-native translator is the fact that he or she is familiar with the terminology specific to certain domains. For example, a professional non-native translator is more likely to be able to translate documents from fields ranging from Medicine to Geology and Sports. Meanwhile, non-professional native speaker might not be familiar with specific terminology.

Another aspect of choosing to hire a professional non-native translator is the fact that he or she may be able to legally translate documents. For example, if you are going to apply for a job in a different country, a professional translator will properly and legally translate your document for you. In that case you need a sworn translator.

One of the negative aspects of hiring a professional non-native translator is the fact that it might result in being costly. This however, depends on the length of your text. The more pages you have, the more it will cost to translate it. However, most of the time it is worth the financial effort.

Non-professional native

A non-professional native is simply a person who has a certain language as its first language. He or she does not have the necessary certifications and qualifications to translate a certain text. However, he or she has been speaking that language for all of his or her life.

A native is great for translating the idiomatic expressions. He or she is more familiar with the spoken language and, as a consequence he will know most idioms and phrases that you might not find in a dictionary. He or she will be more familiar with the slang and can also help you understand the context of things.

One of the negative aspects of hiring a non-professional native is that he or she does not have the ability to translate texts containing specific vocabulary from a certain field. This is where you should contact a professional translator to do the job.

So, I guess that now you know when you should hire a professional non-native translator and when to rely on a non-professional native.

I personally only translate to my native tongue: Spanish. I have proofread enough professional non-native translator texts to know they never look as natural as they should. So if you do not want to spend money in proofreading, you have only one choice: a professional native translator. But remember, they should be native in the language they are going to write, and not in the original language.

Using Jargon vs Keyword Stuffing

In the world of freelance, you’ve probably heard the term “keyword stuffing” thrown around a lot. But what does it actually mean?

When writing articles, particularly blog articles, it is important to use certain keywords throughout the text. Linguistically, a group of words that are related to the same thing is called a semantic field. Using lots of words from the same semantic field makes the piece a much better read for the audience, because it makes the article much more relevant. It keeps the article on task and keeps the reader drawn in. In addition, using plenty of keywords is a way of boosting the page’s views and likes: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a skill that many companies search for when looking to hire a freelancer.

However, there is a very fine line that you must be careful to avoid crossing. There is a stark contrast between good SEO writing and keyword stuffing. This would entail using too many relevant keywords and phrases, filling the article with incomprehensible nonsense just to boost the website activity. Of course, doing this makes any article incredibly difficult to read and actually deters readers, thus in the end achieving the complete opposite of what was intended. It may gain more clicks, but it does not create a good piece.

Keyword stuffing is not only detrimental to site reviews, but also to any views at all on your site. Google has rules that prohibit suspicious sites that they regard as spam, and this may include sites with a lot of keyword stuffing. Articles that are crammed with similar words and full to the brim with nonsensical phrases are considered fake, and may be blocked on account of not being a “real” website.

Due to search engine rules, it’s important to avoid keyword stuffing as much as possible. But on the other hand, it is equally as important to slot plenty of keywords into the text in order to boost the numbers a little. When writing on any topic, familiarise yourself with some of the jargon so that you can weave it cleverly into the article, still making a smooth piece that flows easily. This creates an enjoyable piece for the reader as well as using SEO techniques to improve the popularity of the site.

The line between good SEO writing and keyword stuffing is a very fine one, but with practice it is fairly easy to master. It’s as simple as learning the proper techniques for SEO, such as finding the most appropriate and effective keywords using online tools. Being a good writer helps, as you can form a solid and appropriate piece with ease and work keywords into it with fluency.

At the end of your work, always read over your writing to ensure that it makes sense. If possible, take some time out between finishing the piece and doing your proofreading so that you can read over the work with a fresh mind. This way, you will be able to notice any discrepancies and if the article works well.

Christmas traditions in Spain

Whether you are going to spend the winter holidays in Spain this year, you want to incorporate some Spanish Christmas traditions this year, or you simply want to learn some more about Spanish traditions, you have reached the right post. There are many different traditions related to the beloved holiday. However, I will only mention a few of the most important ones.

  1. Lotería de Navidad

This is probably the craziest Christmas tradition in Spain, not in terms of how weird the tradition is, but in terms of the craze around it. Ever since the beginning of the year, people from all around Spain, buy tickets for la Lotería de Navidad, or the Christmas Lottery. They do this in the hope of winning the grand prize, or the so called “el Gordo”, which would translate into the fatty, because the prize is in fa big.

The unofficial start of Christmas holidays in Spain is on December 22nd. Yes, you have guessed right. This is when people start camping in front of the Tv, hoping to hear the lucky numbers that they have chosen in order to win “el Gordo” . On this day, children from San Ildefonso School sing both the numbers and prizes of the beloved Christmas Lottery. This is exactly when you know that the holiday spirit has reached the country.

  1. Día de los Santos Inocentes

While not exactly related to Christmas, but a few days after, el Día de los Santos Inocentes or the Day of the Innocent Saints, is celebrated on the 28th of December. This holiday was originally used to commemorate the young victims of a massacre, which was order by Herodes. He was hoping to eliminate a newborn that supposed to be the “future king of the Jews”, which was a threat to his power.

Despite the sombre background that this holiday has, Spaniards have given it a funny spin. The Day of the Innocent Saints is the Spanish equivalent of, April Fool’s Day. It is the day when the Spanish people prank each other. You should be careful. You either prank someone or you risk being pranked.

  1. Waiting for the Three Kings

The Three Kings or los Reyes Magos visit the Spanish people on the 6th of January. The day before, people rush to the bakery in order to get a traditional Roscón de Reyes, which is a cake shaped like a ring. This delicacy is eaten for breakfast on the 6th.

This holiday is anxiously expected by everyone in Spain from the little ones to adults. In town, you can see parades, where the three kings throw candy to the children. Then, they go to sleep, to find out the gifts prepared for them the following morning.

These are three of the most striking Spanish winter traditions. I hope that you will add at least some aspects in your own celebrations.

Regarding the content writing, knowing this and many other traditions is mandatory if you want to speak about things that matter for the audience just before they will become important through the year.

The ins and outs of Guest Blogging

For a while, bloggers and writers alike stopped using the practice of guest posting. The technique picked up an infamous reputation, because it became abused by spammers and click-bait writers. But guest posting is back and better than ever, and is actually a very useful technique for those wanting to boost their ratings and appear higher up in the search engines.

What is Guest Posting?

One of the things search engines take into account nowadays when ranking sites is the links that direct traffic to the site. This is similar to academic papers, in that a paper references by many other scholars is usually considered a better paper, because it has made more of an impact on the community.

Here’s how it works: a blogger will offer to write content for other similar blogs in their industry, as a guest blogger. In return, the blog posts a link to their own blog, providing them with an opportunity to promote their own brand.

The aims of guest blogging are threefold. Generally, bloggers want to build up their reputation as a well-known name in the industry, direct traffic to their site, and build a network of backlinks to their blog.

Using Guest Posting to Build a Rep

There are several guidelines to follow when using guest blogging in order to achieve the maximum result. These will be explored below.

First of all, the link should always be of some value. When writing a guest post, it should always still be of valuable content. Some people abuse the guest posting system by writing very short, vague posts, or even those that could be considered spam. Clearly, these posts were written with the sole purpose of getting a link, and add nothing of value to the community whatsoever. Any links included on the site should definitely be high-quality and worth clicking for the readers – this is the most effective way to optimize search engine results.

Any links included in your blog posts should also be completely relevant to the content being published. The reader should be able to gain more by clicking on the link. So, the links should not only lead to high-quality work, but also pieces that will further what they are reading and give them a good reading experience.

Another thing to bear in mind is that you should only write guest posts on a site you’d be willing to write for without anything in return. Links should not be a primary marketing strategy, nor should they be your sole goal in writing guest posts. A few years ago, the crash of guest posting came about due to this very thing: many bloggers saw their demise thanks to a link-hungry attitude that encouraged them to make too many guest posts. Quite obviously, their content began to suffer because of it. Don’t make the same mistake, and ensure that any work you complete can still be high-quality and avoid sounding ‘spammy.’ Other than links to your site, guest blogging can help you to position yourself in front of a new audience and sound like more of an expert in your chosen field. Therefore, links are not the only advantage of guest posting, and should not be the be-all and end-all of your posts.

Additionally, guest posts should not only link back to your own site. It can be tempting to stuff in a lot of backlinks to encourage visitors to your blog, but it is also important to include links to other sources and high-quality sites. The blog owner (and perhaps worse, the readers) will realise that you have only written the piece for the links if you cram in too many backlinks. This is a dangerous strategy, because it has the opposite effect of good guest posting in that it ruins your reputation. Good luck getting asked to guest post again! A general rule is to never link to your own site more than 2-3 times on a long article. In fact, it’s even best to include a few internal links as well, just to please the blog host.

Finally, don’t forget to include a link to your site in your author bio. These links do not usually generate the most traffic, but they are undoubtedly a source of traffic to your site and therefore are still important. People clicking the link to your site will definitely increase search engine ratings thanks to the increase in site traffic.

Finding Guest Posting Opportunities

When trying to find an opportunity to guest post, the main thing to consider is finding a site relevant to your field. The blog you are wanting to post on should not only be centered around the same niche, but also have an engaged readership and an active blog owner.

A good way to find blogs on which to guest post is to do a keyword search in google. For better results, search for the keyword followed by “guest post,” or something along those lines to find a blog that will allow you to write a post for them.

If you are aware of well-known guest bloggers in your industry, try searching for their articles and reach out to the same sites.

Once you have found a site you want to write for and reached out to the owner, it is essential to get to know the blog and its content. Research will unveil what posts do the best and what the blog owner is looking for, increasing the likelihood of a successful pitch and an overall successful post.

Final Thoughts

Guest posting is far from dead, but it is also not the primary marketing strategy you should be using. Still, it is very useful for writers looking to boost their ratings. Just make sure you avoid those ever-dangerous practices such as keyword stuffing, and guest blogging might just earn you the site traffic you need to become a blogging sensation. Now you know some of the basics, get to guest blogging!

I can help you with your guest posts in Spanish, drop me a message!

Key differences in Grammar between English and Spanish

Due to the fact that both Spanish and English have Indo-European origins, they have some common vocabulary. In addition, the structure of Spanish language is not so complicated to understand if you know English. For example, these two languages use the parts of speech in the same way. Moreover, the prepositions in both languages are placed before an object. However, besides these similarities, the two languages are not identical and have some key differences in terms of grammar. Read on to find out more.

  1. Placement of adjectives

In English, adjectives are usually positioned before the noun that they are describing. However, in Spanish, they are normally placed after the noun which they determine. For example, we say “a happy dog”, which translates into “un perro feliz”.

There is however, a possibility to place the adjective in Spanish before the noun that it describes, but it will totally change its meaning. For example “an old factory” is translated into “una fábrica antigua”. If however, we decide to say “una antigua fábrica”, then we actually mean that the place used to be a factory, but it is now something else.

  1. The verb to be

In English, we only have one verb “to be”, which in Spanish, can be translated in three different ways: “ser” ,‘ëstar” or “haber”. Just to sum up, the verb “ser” is used for permanent characteristics, for names, for future events. The verb “estar” is used  to express the location of known subjects, temporary characteristics, such as the emotional state. The verb “haber” is used to express the location of an unknown subject.

Even though it might be hard to understand the differences between these three verbs that mean “to be”, you should not panic. The explanation was an oversimplified version of this post, that will most definitely help you in the future.

  1. Need for subject

In English, you can’t form a sentence without stating the subject, because it simply does not make sense. However, in Spanish this is possible due to the fact that each pronoun has a corresponding conjugation. So, do not worry if you decide to skip the subject or if you omit it by mistake, just make sure that you are writing in Spanish and not in English, because otherwise you might just have a problem.

It is true that there are many more differences between Spanish and English, as they are not identical languages. Do not worry, however, because you will learn them in time. It is normal for these two languages not to be identical. What is even more important when learning a language is to try to speak regardless of whether you are making mistakes. It is normal to do so at first.

Why Knowing What Your Client Wants is Important

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when taking up a new job is what the client actually wants. This sounds obvious, but there are several things to consider when applying for a job and discussing with the client what the job specifically entails.

Applying for the Post

You should only apply for jobs you are certain that you fit. Being a freelance writer you are likely to be drawn immediately to writing roles, or perhaps proofreading. If you have a flexible writing style, it is okay to apply to several different types of writing jobs, such as blog posts, news articles or product descriptions.

This said, it is important to make sure you are an appropriate fit regarding the content. Writing about something you know about and care about is one hundred times easier, after all. Some posts may require a little research, and that is not a problem. However, if you are being hired to write about business or use plenty of legal jargon, you must ensure that this is a field you have some experience in. Otherwise, you may struggle to write the content even despite research, and this will only cause trouble with the client.

Communication is Key

After you have applied for the post and received confirmation from the client that they wish to discuss your hire further, it is vital to establish a line of communication with the client. This may be via the messaging service of a freelancing website, via e-mail, or via a voice tool such as Skype. Different people prefer to communicate in different ways, and the client may prefer to dictate where you communicate in order to facilitate business and transaction. If you ask me, even when you chat with your client by Skype, it is a good idea ask they to write you an email with the instructions, so you have a place to look at when you have doubts about such instructions.

Before you even consider starting your work, you must discuss the job thoroughly with the client to understand fully what they want out of the job. Otherwise, it is easy to make mistakes which cause a lot of back-and-forth between yourself and the client, only creating more unnecessary work. Do not hesitate to ask questions! It is absolutely key to make sure you know how and what to write before you start.

Asking Questions

Throughout the process, it is okay to continue to ask the client about something if it springs to mind. You are not pestering them; in fact, it is likely that they will prefer someone who is dedicated and keen to complete the job to the best of their abilities.

It is better to check as you go along instead of wasting time sending off various draft copies to be marked and edited and sent back for corrections. This is why establishing a good line of communication early on is so important.

Criticism

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there will still be things that the client wants to be changed. Do not take this to heart, it isn’t personal. The client is hiring you, after all. If you have followed all these other steps and done your best to satisfy the client completely before sending off your work, it will likely only be minor changes that can be finished very quickly.

This amounts to minimal time wasted and a high level of satisfaction with the client, probably earning you a good future reference when you require it.

Fulfilling a client’s needs is far from impossible. It’s simply all about communication, creating a better way to understand exactly what is being asked of you. I hope you heed this advice and that it serves you well in your freelance career. This is not to say that every future job will come up roses – some things just aren’t meant to be!