Translator, advertise thyself?

I look at the purple-and-pink, 1/8 page ad that cost me a small fortune, and wonder:

Was I mad, or what?

What was I thinking of, spending NIS 1400 (plus VAT) on an ad in a small local paper, sandwiched between Sarit who will wax your legs and pluck your eyebrows in Gedera, and a shop selling disposable tableware in Rehovot?

Who on earth did I think would read this ad? The chairman of a high-tech company in the Nes Ziona science park? A decision-maker in the PR department of the Weizmann Institute? I myself don't bother opening this weekly publication which gets delivered to my mailbox, except to find out where they're selling my favorite moisturizer at the best price (Kissme in Rishon Lezion – for NIS 45), or where I can get my mother's favorite perfume at a good price (Kolbo Haviv, on Herzl St. in Rishon.)

True, my accountant has been telling me, ever since our first meeting, that I must advertise, promote myself, actively look for new clients. That is, if I don't want to work for my previous employer for a measly NIS 50 shekels a page. But I don't think this is what he had in mind.

My (late) friend and colleague Clare Gordon said that she advertised in the Israel Bar Association's gazette (or newsletter or magazine or whatever it is), and that she did indeed receive work that way. So I suppose if you translate or edit in a very specific field, which has its own magazine, this could work. But so far I haven't been able to figure out if there's any magazine that would be relevant to me. The Association of Would-Be Writers? The Society of Mothers Whose Kids Live Across the Ocean? The Sorority of Sisterless Sisters? Surely not Forum Publishing?

I wonder if I'd have splurged on this ad had I met the rag's persuasive sales rep after listening to Micaela Ziv's lecture & presentation for the STC on March 16, 2008. Micaela said, among many other wise things, that all the money her company had ever spent on advertising brought in zero, yes zero, business. * Sigh *

Oh, wait! I did have one response to my ad. Young T., a graduate of Bar Ilan University's department of translation, currently working as a secretary, wondered whether I'd be interested in giving her work. I replied very politely, saying I'm a one-woman-band. I can't give her work, but I can give her advice. Other than not wasting money on a big ad in Gal Gefen, that is. I guess that counts for something, too.

For your entertainment, here's the ad; someone might as well see it!


Anonymous said...

Nina, fwiw, it's a nice ad. I like the colors. I find it helpful (to non-English speakers especially) to camel-cap e-mail addresses and URLs, i.e., nRimonDavis; www.MiriamErezTranslations.

I advertised once in Dapei Zahav and got the same result you did, plus one resumè xlation that netted NIS 200 (half the price of the ad).

So when the gal called from Eilat's other local (I forget its name, not Erev Erev), I declined, explaining that I didn't want to advertise in a publication alongside blatant ads for escort services. The idiot replied, "Your kids see worse on TV". End of story. We live, we learn.

Nina Rimon Davis said...

About Gal Gefen -- to be fair, I should have mentioned that the NIS 1400 was for 5 placements ("four plus one free", to quote the sales rep...) And I could have had them appear non-consecutively, say every other week. I really hadn't given it enough thought; my accountant was pushing me to advertise and promote myself, the opportunity presented itself, she (sales rep) was at the right place at the right time, and I did it.

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