Every Translator Should Have a Website: An Interview with Tess Whitty

By Marion Rhodes
CTA Social Media Coordinator

Do you have a website for your translation business? What’s stopping you?

As global service providers in an increasingly web-focused world, translators must put themselves on the map. The best way to do this is with a professional, SEO-friendly website. But where do you start? Marketing expert and Swedish translator Tess Whitty has written an easy to understand, step-by-step guide to building your own website for beginners. She talked to CTA about the process and why she wrote Quick Start Guide – 10 Steps to Create an Optimized Website for Your Freelance Translation Business.


Marion Rhodes: You are a busy woman these days: You have a regular podcast series, recently published a book, keep up your blog and speak at various conferences. What prompted you to write an e-book on top of all of this?

Tess Whitty: I wanted to compile the tips I have shared in my many presentations and courses on websites for translators in an easy-to-follow guide, and that led to the Quick Start Guide – 10 Steps to Create an Optimized Website for Your Freelance Translation Business. I have also included answers to many questions I have received during these courses. I wanted this e-book to be short and sweet with lots of practical tips.

MR: Who will benefit from your Quick Start Guide?

TW: I created the guide for people who are interested in creating a professional-looking website with minimal costs and without any prior knowledge of website design and creation. I tried to keep it as simple as possible and therefore focus on just one platform, WordPress. My website is simple but has brought me many new clients, and I want other translators to be able to achieve that, too.

MR: From your experience, what are some of the excuses people use to avoid setting up their own website?

TW: Many think it is hard, expensive and takes a lot of time. It is true that it takes some time, but it does not have to be hard or expensive. Also, the most important thing is to start with just a basic site with one or two pages. Then you can expand on it whenever you have time. I know translators who have just one optimized home page and receive clients and contacts just from that.

MR: You are a big advocate of translators having their own website. What can you say to convince those who remain reluctant?

TW: When people want to find a service or person these days, they usually google it. When someone performs a search for your services, a website can “prove your existence” as a freelancer. As soon as the customer visits your website, he or she will be convinced of the consistency and legitimacy of your services. Your website can also function as a hub for all other marketing activities and a place where you can direct prospects to find out more about your translation services.

MR: A novice might think creating a website is enough, but your e-book also touches on the importance of search engine optimization. Please briefly explain why this is an important part of the game.

TW: Search engine optimization (SEO) helps rank your website so that it will be found high up in the search results. If you think of when you search for something on Google, you do not often go to the second, third or fourth page of the results. This is why it is important to follow some basic steps for an optimized website. It does not have to be difficult. A good domain name, some meta-tags in the background and a good description can go a long way. If you also make sure that all links work, that the site loads quickly, and that the images work, then you will have achieved a lot already. The search engines have also become smarter and more “human.” If your website provides value for your target audience, then Google will reward you for that.

MR: With this e-book, you’ve provided yet another useful service for freelance translators. What else do you have up your sleeve for the future?

TW: I am being kept quite busy with the podcast and the Marketing Cookbook for Translators, and of course my regular translation work, but I am constantly looking for more ways to help other freelance translators, so if I notice a need for another Quick Start Guide or a course, then I might start working on that.


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Tess Whitty has been a successful freelance translator and entrepreneur for over 10 years and owns the company Swedish Translation Services. Her educational and professional background is in marketing, and she is passionate about sharing her knowledge with other freelancers in the form of presentations, training, mentoring and consulting. She is also the author of the book Marketing Cookbook for Translators, with easy-to-follow “recipes” for marketing your translation services and achieving a successful freelance lifestyle, and the award-winning podcast Marketing Tips for Translators