Julia’s Marketing Tips Table of Contents

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 1 – How can I get more work?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 2 – What is the cornerstone of a marketing plan?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 3 – Who is my client?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 4 – What exactly am I selling?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 5 – Why do I need to be a brand?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 6 – How do I become more professional?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 7 – What is the Rule of 7?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 8 – What is the most sustainable interpreting market?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 9 – What is the customer decision journey?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 10 – How can I check my profit margin?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 11 – How do I win the bid?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 12 – How can I make RSI platforms work for me as a freelancer?

Live Ask Me Anything announcement and playlist

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 13 – How do you avoid your biggest CV mistake?

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 14 – Learn to Speak Client!

Codes of Ethics

What can a code of ethics do for you, and how can it help you in your interpreting work?

These were questions that were asked of a panel gathered by Multilingual Corporation, on April 10th, and Julia was asked to be part of that panel!

Julia was the only speaker who was not a representative of an interpreter’s association or an LSP, and spoke as an individual freelance interpreter.

Here is the link to the entire panel discussion; Julia’s portion starts at 1:14:05.

Here is the transcript to what she said:

Thank you for having me!

And it’s a great honor to be a member of this panel.  I would have attended this entire event, even without being a panel member, it’s been so interesting!  I seem to be one of the only ones here representing myself, and freelancers in general I guess, and those who also came through my hads and KYW as well, because I did turn to my Know Your Worth community  to get a few tips on what I might tell you today. 

So what I’ll talk about is the very practical side of codes of ethics.  And in my view, a code of ethics – especially among freelancers – is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.  It shows that you actually take your profession seriously.

For example, for me, of course since I’m a member of AIIC, I abide by the AIIC Code of Ethics, and I use that quite a bit in my work.  But I even pointed to it when I wasn’t a member of AIIC, for a couple of reasons: 

  • First of all, I truly believe in what AIIC stood for, and this was a practical way of showing it.  And I was pretty much the only one among my colleagues who had ever heard that there was a code of ethics for interpreters.
  • Having a code of ethics – and recommended working conditions – from a larger association is something you can point to as an individual freelancer.  So if your client is trying to ask you to do something that you feel is unethical or that you feel is just completely wrong, you can point to these codes of ethics that belong to these larger associations and say, “Look, it’s not just me.  It’s a large group of people that says that this is wrong.” 
  • And really, codes of ethics – as we just heard from Janis – is a good way of familiarizing yourself with a new-to-you area of work.  When I first started working as a court interpreter back when I lived in Washington, DC, really we didn’t have a lot of criteria there, and with Russian there wasn’t even a test other than the one I used to get into the State Department.  So what I did was look at the codes of ethics for legal interpreting, for court interpreting, and for the various associations, so that I could find out how to behave professionally. 

So, in my case, what I have is a personal code of ethics.  And I think that that personal code of ethics helps you to stand out among your colleagues.  Let me give you an example:

If I commit to doing a one-day job for a client who knows, likes and trusts me, and then another of my clients who also knows, likes and trusts me comes and offers me 5 days, I will stick with that 1-day job because I made that commitment.  And to the second client I’ll say, “Look, let’s work around it, if you wish to, or I can recommend somebody to you.  But the way that I’m sticking with what I obligated myself to with this first client is exactly what I would do for you if you came along firstand somebody offered me a longer job.”  So it’s one way of making sure your clients know, like and trust you.

So I turned to my Know Your Worth community and asked them if they had personal codes of ethics, things that they followed that were not written down by associations that they might belong to.  And they broke down into 2 categories:

  • The first category is the behavior “on the job” or “in the booth.”
    • Be on time, or really, early.
    • Stick around to help your partner (and don’t zone out)
    • Stick around to listen, and to incorporate your partner’s vocabulary, so you are presenting a united front.
    • Prepare well so you know what is going on and can help your colleague
    • Don’t steal clients
    • Don’t head out shopping for an hour or so, and then come back saying “It’s your turn now!”
  • Whom to work for.
    • Many of my colleagues emphasized that they wouldn’t work for people or organizations whose values don’t align with their own.
      • So no working for far right wing parties for example, or for businesses that promote unhealthy behaviors or animal testing.
        • Obviously, this doesn’t mean that if an unannounced speaker from a far right party, for example, ends up taking the floor at a meeting you have agreed to interpret at

Another area where a universal code of ethics would come in handy is in remote interpreting.  Since practitioners are so scattered around the world, and are not all members of a single association.  Which means that you can find people ready to:

  • Work overlapping jobs,
  • Work alone for ages
  • Working for fees that are not a living wage, just to get the job

But we are all so happy to have work, or so scattered so there is no centralized information available, that we end up taking things online that we would never do in person.

And even if we were to extend a code of ethics, like for example AIIC’s code of ethics, to remote work, the other interpreters won’t necessarily be following it, so you end up with a situation where the person behaving ethically ends up bearing the burden of most of the work because the interpreter who is not behaving ethically, who is taking overlapping jobs or simultaneous jobs, obviously can’t show up on time for either of the jobs…

So remote interpreting seems to be a fertile ground to promote a good code of ethics to!

There are a couple of things on the negative side about having and working to a code of ethics.

  • You can’t really police them.  As Christiane said.  And even more so if you are an individual with a personal code.  You can only see consequences in how your colleagues and your clients treat you afterwards.
  • Having a code of ethics can hit your bottom line.  You won’t be the one taking overlapping jobs, thus earning more.  You won’t work alone, so may lose that job. Etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand, your clients will know you, like you and trust you, rehire you, and refer you.  And I can ask for what I consider to be an appropriate fee, so I don’t have to work overlapping jobs.

That’s it for me!  Thank you again for having me.

If you are interested in this topic, Julia has been invited to give a webinar on Ethics in Remote Simultaneous Interpreting for the American Translators Association, on 10 May 2023. Keep an eye out for the announcements!

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 14 – Learn to speak client!

Lourdes de Rioja, a video blogger and conference interpreter well known for her interviews and photographs, recently interviewed me.

She asked me to talk about something that would be important for you, so I chose “speaking client.”

Here is the link to her blog, with the full video. The transcript is below.

Did you know that we all have to add a new language to our language combination?  And it has to  be an active one.  We all have to start to learn to speak “Client.”

Let me explain.

One of the biggest problems that everybody tells me about, wherever I go, is that our clients just don’t understand us.  They ask us to work under untenable conditions,  they don’t give us background materials, and sometimes they even ask us to work from languages that we don’t have!

Well, I want to make a couple of points here.

First of all, of course they don’t understand you!  You’re a highly specialized, highly trained professional, who solves highly specific problems.  Why would they understand you?  Do you understand what your accountant does?  Do you understand what your lawyer, or your mechanic, or your plumber do?  Of course you don’t.  If you did, you’d do it yourself.  But they are highly trained as well.  So that’s the first point.

The second point is that you need to think about how you prepare for a technical job.  You study, you make glossaries, you make lists of terms and their meanings so that you understand what’s going on in the industry.  You even learn some jargon, so you can speak their language natively.

Well, that is your job.  That’s what we’re paid for.  Your lawyer, your accountant, your client, is not paid to study us.  They’re not paid to learn our language, to learn our jargon, and to understand what’s going on.  They just aren’t.  So of course they aren’t going to understand you.  

They don’t know the difference between an interpreter, a translator, a spoken translator, a linguist… They don’t know what simultaneous interpreting is, consecutive interpreting, sight translation – “and wait a minute, you just told me you were an interpreter.  Why are you sight translating?  I don’t get it.”

So what you need to do is learn to speak “Client.”  

The first step is to audit all of your communications:  take a look at your website, your social media presence, your email signature, your CV.  Look at all of those and see where you fall into jargon.  

Are you telling people that you have an A, B and C language?  Why?  They won’t understand.  What you need to do is say, for example in my case, “I work from French and Russian into English, and from English into Russian.  That way they know very clearly what your languages are, and the directions.

If they ask you what services you provide, and what you can do to help them, turn it around.  Don’t just say, “Oh well, I do simultaneous, consecutive, whispering, on-site, remote, whatever…”  They don’t know what any of this is.  

Turn it around and ask them questions, such as, “Would you prefer to save time, or money?  If you prefer to save time, I can set up a team and the equipment, and we will interpret at the same time as your speaker.  If you prefer to save money, then I can also set up the team, but there won’t be any extra equipment, and we will speak after the speaker is finished, which means it will take twice as long.”  

See how clear that is, and how well your client will understand it?  So take a look at all of your communications, and make sure that you are speaking “Client.”  

On top of that, make sure to target your client.  Because obviously, nothing I just said holds if you’re writing to another interpreter, or to an agency.  

But, if you are working with a client who has never used interpreting, who may have used interpreting but is still confused (which is fairly often), then make sure to use this new language of yours, “Client,” and then they can visualize what you want to sell them.

And once they have it in their mind, and they can see it happening, then they can buy it.

The Business of Interpreting FAQ 13 – How do you avoid your biggest CV mistake?

CVs (or résumés in the US) are a wonderful tool. But whenever I hold a webinar or workshop that even touches on CVs, you can bet there will be plenty of questions.

I find that, when written well, CVs not only help you to show your value to future clients. They are also fantastic at keeping your assignments organized. For example, they could help you keep records to become a member of a professional association.

But once you become a member of that association, do you often think that you don’t need a CV?

One of the things that always puzzled me before I became an AIIC member was how few members had CVs ready to send out. “I’m in the book,” seemed to be the standard response. When I requested one from AIIC members, it took them ages to write something up.

Even though many people trumpet the death of the CV, I still find myself sending out several a year. You can send CVs both in response to direct requests and in prospecting for new clients.

The Fundamentals

Let’s start with what you should include:

👉 Your name

👉 Your language combination

👉 Your contact details

👉 Your skills

👉 Your relevant experience

👉 The technology you own, use, or have experience with

👉 Your relevant education or specialized training and publications

👉 Your specialties or “Areas of Greatest Experience”

👉 Optional: your professional photograph

👉 Extra: watermark

These elements are pretty much what you will find in anyone’s CV, interpreters or not. If this is what everyone includes, why is it so difficult to write a good CV?

CV Myths

Myth 1: CVs are tools for beginners.

Seasoned professionals think that their experience speaks for itself. They are on the roster of vetted interpreters of their association, and that should be enough.

But clients in many fields often ask for and receive CVs for all sorts of jobs. You need to fit yourself into their world in a way that they understand. And CVs not only give an idea of your experience, but also show your attention to detail and presentation.

Myth 2: Regular old CVs are passé, and you should have a graphic CV.

No one needs anything super trendy, with icons that confuse people. A good old-fashioned CV that is well-formatted will serve you just fine!

You can find all sorts of CV-builders or resume-builders online. Your professional association may have one, which allows you to brand yourself with their logo as well. Online tools help in that you don’t have to worry about formatting, and you will still have a nicelooking CV.

(download an example of my own AIIC-branded CV from my directory page, here)

Myth 3: You should fit in everything you have ever done! After all, potential clients need a full picture…

Your CV is part of your personal brand. To simplify my post on branding, a brand is a curated view of what you can do.

If you fill the page with writing and have hardly any white space for the words to stand out, you had better use a larger font. Who knows who will be looking at your CV in the future – and how old their eyes are?

As to curating what you can do … keep reading this article!

Your Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake you can make is that you send the same CV to everyone – hoping they will see your value. But how will a potential client see the value you can bring if you don’t tailor your CV to that client?

Are you sending it to another interpreter or translator? An agency? A direct client? Answers to these questions will tell you how to showcase your information.

Are you sending it to law firms? Construction businesses? Universities? This tells you what experience would be relevant to include.

Example: Showcase Your Languages

Let me give you some examples of different ways to show your language combination, using my own.

If you send your CV to an interpreter from the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC), to international organizations, or to agencies in Europe, you would use the A, B, C classification.

👉 For example, my own combination would be A: English, B: Russian, and C: French.

If you send your CV to an interpreter or agency not familiar with AIIC, you could still use some jargon.

👉 For example: Native: English, Active: Russian, Passive: French.

If you send it to clients who are not interpreters or translators, you should avoid jargon at all costs. You could use arrows, or the words “from” and “into.” Be as clear as possible, and spell out all language abbreviations.

👉 Russian/French > English, English > Russian.

👉 I work from Russian and French into English, and from English into Russian.

Example: Showcase Your Skills

You should also change your approach in explaining your skills.

If you write to a colleague or an agency that works with interpreters, do use the jargon: simultaneous interpreting, consecutive interpreting, whisper interpreting, etc.

But if you write to people who have little experience with interpreters, explain your skills instead.

For example:

👉 “Interpret with no specialized equipment, speaking after the speaker has finished speaking.”

👉 “Interpret with specialized equipment, in real time, in a team of two or more.”

Example: Relevant Information

Intermediaries have their own requirements that differ from what direct clients need.

If you send a CV to an intermediary, you should include a section on the technology that you own, use, or have experience with.

👉 RSI platforms want to know your upload and download speeds.

👉 They will want to know what headsets and microphones you own.

👉 Agencies will want to know what platforms you have worked or trained on.

Example: Relevant Experience

The single most important part of your CV is your experience. And this is where you will truly show you are thinking of your client.

What I have done throughout my career is keep a list of all my jobs in a simple spreadsheet. I have filled in a table with:

👉 dates

👉 topic

👉 meeting name, and

👉 meeting location.

You could add any other tags you want, such as:

👉 Client name

👉 Type of client (direct, agency, colleague, international organization, etc.)

👉 Simple Client Relationship Management information

👉 Payment terms vs when they actually paid

👉 Any rating system to show how much you liked working with that client

👉 If you organized the meeting, extra costs and income from that meeting

👉 Etc. etc. etc.

If your data is in a table, you can then sort it by any column. For your CV, you would sort by topic, and create groups of similar jobs, or what I call experience modules. You can then swap these modules in and out of your CV, depending on your target audience.

Remember not to give away confidential details! On my own CV, I use the format: <Name of Meeting>, <City/Organization of Meeting>, <Year>. This gives little away, but is detailed enough to show that I actually have this experience.

When you need to send a CV to a law firm, swap in the module with your legal experience. If you need to send a CV to a particular company, then swap in the module showcasing your relevant experience.

My entire CV is 7 pages long (and growing) – but people almost never see all 7 pages.

My first page is a traditional CV with all the information in my opening list above, and a bird’s eye view of my experience.

After that comes my “Work Experience Appendix.”

For the appendix, all my experience is grouped into modules: Aerospace, Business, Development, Nuclear (civil and military)… The last pages list my training experience.

Modular CVs save a lot of time. You could write your entire CV on one page, with a dedicated space for the relevant module. Then swap in the modules as you need them.


Agencies and others may ask for your CV, to keep it on file or to use to win a bid on a job. But we have all seen examples where they use it to get the job, and then hire someone else, without your qualifications.

So, if you do send a CV, at the very least use the PDF format.

It would also be good to include a watermark – a phrase that shows up behind your CV. For example, the wording could be: “This résumé is for information only and is not for job tenders.” This is the wording in the watermark for the AIIC résumé builder, and what you see in the background of my own CV (again, here).

Of course, anyone with tech knowledge can still strip out and use your information. But at least you will have made it more difficult for them.

Adding Value or Noise?

It’s always a good question to ask yourself before sending anything to your prospects. Are you adding value to their work? Or are you simply noise that they can ignore?

If you tailor your CV to the client’s areas of expertise, and show them only relevant information, then you will keep their attention for longer.

However, if you send the same CV to everyone, there is no story for them to latch onto. They will see all these areas you could help, but nothing jumps out at them to say, “This is the person we need!”

Tailoring your CV helps them see a story;

👉 We have this problem.

👉 This person has dealt with this problem in the past.

👉 Let’s use this person to solve our problem.

Not only does it give potential clients a reason to hire you. It also gives them a reason to consider you an expert, and not simply an interchangeable dictionary on legs that shouldn’t cost a lot.

And we all want to be considered experts, right?

A shorter version of this article was originally published in the American Translators Association’s The Savvy Newcomer.

New Edition of the Smart Consecutive Interpreting class

After having started the Smart Consecutive Interpreting class in person in Kyiv a few years ago, we’ve now moved to an online format.

We held our first online class last December, and it was a great success!

So, we’re going to do it again! 😁


Know Your Worth presents Smart Consecutive Interpreting

February 25-26, 2023 online

⭐ Saturday 25 Feb, 10am-12pm ET / 16:00-18:00 CET Module 1 – Thinking

⭐ Saturday 25 Feb, 2pm-4pm ET / 20:00-22:00 CET Module 2 – Memory

⭐ Sunday 26 Feb, 10am-12pm ET / 16:00-18:00 CET Module 3 – Mechanics

⭐ Sunday 26 Feb, 2pm-4pm ET / 20:00-22:00 CET Module 4 – Note Taking

😟 Have you ever worried that your speaker will go on too long?
😟 Have you ever blanked on what your notes mean in the middle of a speech?
😟 Have you ever become confused, and didn’t know how the speech fits together?

This two-day online course will give you all the tools to be able to successfully interpret consecutively for any audience, for any length of time, comfortably and with confidence.

What you will learn:

On the first day, we will start by understanding the thinking and analysis underlying any interpretation, and how it can help you to follow any speech.

On the second day, we will move to all that goes specifically into consecutive interpreting.

By the end of the course, you will be able to interpret increasingly lengthy interventions using memory, analysis, and notes.

Course format:

The course includes lecture, demonstrations and some exercises, small group work, and practice.

Training is in English, and is not language-specific.

Who may come:  practicing interpreters who wish to improve their consecutive interpreting skills, as well as graduates from interpreting courses at any university or training center.

Fees:  275.00 euros payable upon registration

Please note that your place is only guaranteed following receipt of payment.

To register, please write here.

Live Broadcasts

Julia has started monthly live broadcasts on LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter – all with great information for you!

The broadcasts are Ask Me Anythings – almost! As long as it’s about marketing, negotiating, selling, branding, and all those wonderful business ideas and skills that we hear so much about…

Some of the broadcasts will also include guests, who will be chosen because they can shed light on what we need to know as freelancers in certain domains. Our first guest was the former Chief Interpreter of the US Department of State, Patricia Magno-Holt (formerly Arizu) talking about Diplomatic Interpreting in December 2022, then The Interpreter’s Voice in January 2023.

Here is the link to the full YouTube playlist , so you can keep up with new shows, and go back to watch favorites.

And here is a list of some of the topics that were discussed in the videos:

October 2022 – Ask Me Anything

Questions answered: – Did you get voice training? – How do I get my name out and sell my services? – How do I convert interest in my social media posts into clients? – How do you approach a situation when a client would rather work with a company? – How to talk to clients

November 2022 – Ask Me Anything

Questions answered: – how do you interpret with a sore throat? (since I had one!) – what is a personal brand? – how do you build a personal brand? – should we work for agencies when we just start out? – what do we do when we accepted a job, and a better one comes along?

December 2022 – Guest, Patricia Magno-Holt on Diplomatic Interpreting

January 2023 – Guest, Patricia Magno-Holt on the Interpreter’s Voice

February 2023 – Ask Me Anything on Mindset

March 2023 – Guest, Peter Sand on Consulting Interpreters

If you like the videos, or want to be notified when they arrive, please follow Julia on LinkedIn (and ring the bell to be notified of posts) and/or subscribe to the YouTube channel.

We hope you like this new way of interacting!

Announcing our first seminar of the Autumn!

It’s September, and a chance for us to re-start our year after having recharged our batteries this summer!

With an eye to giving you new tools to understand how to manage your business, we are offering the Know Your Worth Online Seminar on Marketing and Negotiating for Interpreters.

At the last edition of our taster, just last month, one interpreter was able to immediately use one of the negotiating tips, and has since changed her pricing policy. She herself says, Now I am a more confident, more successful and happier interpreter.

Our next edition will be held September 24-25, with two 2-hour modules per day, timed for Europe and points East (unless you are a supremely early riser!). We are very much looking forward to working with you so you also become a more confident, more successful and happier interpreter!

For more details, please see here. To register, please go here.

Confinement Chronicles. Chapter 2. Looking back

Looking back at the beginning of 2020

Lockdown happened so quickly – and in the Fall of 2021 we aren’t fully out of the woods yet!

This photo shows the beginning of 2020. KYW had been to 5 countries (plus our staff were in still other countries for other meetings) all before mid-March, and then boom! 💣

Or should I say Zoom! 🤯

As of March 2020, Know Your Worth seminars pivoted online, targeting what we as freelance interpreters could do to keep earning money when both we AND our clients were scared about the future.

  • We have run online seminars since April.
  • Our community started meeting regularly on Zoom, both to keep in touch and to help each other out by exchanging ideas and information. And we’re still going!
  • We even have a Whatsapp group for the hardy few who want to stay in closer touch!

We’ve all become even more supportive of each other through thick and thin, on multiple platforms. In fact, we can say confidently that we’ve become even better friends with each other since the pandemic began.

So we can’t really say that those crazy lockdown times were all bad!

Season’s Greetings from KYW

Given the kind of year this one has been, you would be hard pressed to find someone not making a comment – or two – about it. Believe us, we tried. Which is why we have decided to break with what has become the typical 2020 modus operandi, and not delve too deeply.

Yes, this has been quite the year, one like no other. It has been hard on many, tragic for some. But we would hate to make our last post of the year all about that pain, and that hardship.

That would be too sad, and not our style.

Yes, it was anything but easy. We have had to learn to live and deal with a completely new reality, and to adapt our lives to it, both on a personal level, and on a professional one too. KYW here being a living example of that very process.

But there have also been good things. Positive changes. New opportunities.

And we would like to focus on that.

Our community has grown, more than we could have imagined, and we have welcomed new members from all corners of the world, including some that we were not yet even planning to visit. It has been an exciting transformation, and you have all contributed to making the Know Your Worth course richer, and more dynamic. We have had to compensate for taking so much of it online, and find new ways of doing many things, but we feel like we rose to the challenge, and – thanks to you – were able to succeed. Needless to say, none of this would have been possible without your help, your trust, and your support, and for that we are eternally grateful.

Thank you for trusting us with your time, and your energy – we all know that traditional laws of physics don’t apply online – and thank you for being with us every step of the way.

We have learned much, and worked hard, and now we have come to the time where we can all enjoy some well-deserved rest.

Raise a glass, have something sweet, and let us all meet again in the new year. And please remember, you have been there for us, and KYW will always be there for you.

Happy holidays,

The KYW Team

An Unexpected Christmas Gift in an Unprecedented Year!

This year, the Troublesome Terps invited me to be a guest on their podcast (tagline: The podcast about things that keep interpreters up at night) – and what fun we had!

The four Terps themselves come from all walks of life: three freelancers, one staff interpreter for an international organization, two researchers. All speak English, though not all are native speakers. And their podcast talks about all things interpreting.

This year, their episodes discussed starting out as an interpreter; how to deal with bullying; issues of mental health in interpreting; interpreting in conflict zones; new ways of working as interpreters; websites for interpreters; taking care of our voice, body and mind; tech for interpreters; and meeting the American Translators Association – as well as an episode on the Know Your Worth: Understanding Marketing and Negotiating for Interpreters seminar by yours truly.

Just to be chosen to be on the podcast is great! You can see from the non-exhaustive selection I just mentioned that the guests broaden our knowledge and topics of conversation. And the ability to get the Know Your Worth conversation out to a wider audience was fantastic.

But this year, they held their first ever Episode of the Year and Guest of the Year contest, based on votes from their listeners – and the Know Your Worth episode won both categories!

I knew the podcast was still being listened to – my interpreting students periodically ask me to explain an expression in English, or to write out the Big Mac jingle… But the episode obviously brought all the interpreter listeners information they could use, and that could help them – especially during this crazy year.

So I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Troublesome Terps for inviting me, and to the listeners for voting!

If you liked this article, please connect with me on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/juliapoger/ – and we can continue the conversation!

To listen to the KYW episode of the podcast, please go here.

To listen to The Troublesome Terps, please go here.