InGreek Translations | The Green Room Interviews: Tess Whitty

Anastasia Giago... 0
InGreek Translations | The Green Room Interviews: Tess Whitty
Welcome to the first interview of the Green Room Interviews series for 2018!
Today, Tess Whitty of Swedish Translation Services and Marketing Tips for Translators enters the Green Room for a delightful interview!
Dear Tess, welcome to the Green Room Interviews series! Let's get started!
1. At what point in your life did you decide that you want to be a translator and what did you do to pursue your professional goal?
I have always been interested in languages, and learned six languages in school. However, I did not consider becoming a translator until I moved to the United States in 2001. I left my job as a marketing manager at an international IT and telecom company in Stockholm, Sweden, to move with my husband, our 2 year old son, and our soon-to-be born daughter. The situation for working parents is very different in the US compared to Sweden, and I quickly realized that if I wanted to continue working, I needed to find a job that I could do from home so I could spend more time with the children and take care of them. Some of my friends suggested that I should look into translation, and after doing some research, preparing my resume and profile, I was ready. After my first job as a freelance translator, I have never looked back. This was in 2003.

2. What were the two main difficulties you faced in your attempt to enter the translation industry?
I honestly did not think it was that difficult to adjust my background and working skills to a career as a freelance translator. But it was of course difficult in the beginning to find my first clients. It was also hard to adjust to working from home, alone. It was not until my first ATA conference in 2005, where I found hundreds of other colleagues that do the same thing, that I felt that I was truly running my own business, and that I was not alone.

3. Please name the three things you love the most in your freelancing career.
I love the ‘free’ in freelancing – freedom to be my own boss, to work when I want, how I want, and with whom I want. I also appreciate my freedom to be with my family, to travel and pursue my interests.
I also love the translation profession. Even within my areas of specialization, I get different kinds of texts to translate, and I learn new things every day.
I also love seeing my translated texts in print, knowing that I have helped customers understand or clients to sell more.

4. What was the greatest challenge you faced trying to maintain a work-life balance in your daily routine? How did you deal with it?
My situation was perhaps a bit different, since I eased into the career and business while the children were small. I slowly built up my business, from working when they were sleeping to full-time. But the time management has been the biggest challenge, to find a routine that worked for me and to have fixed work hours so that I did not have to work evenings or weekends. That took several years to establish and can still be a struggle some days.

5. Nowadays, branding is closely related to social media and they are both significant for the development of our career. As a marketing expert, could you tell us how careful a professional can be with these tools? Is there such thing as over-exposure?  
We are our own brand and I think it is important to get our business and our brand out there. However, social media can be a bit tricky, in that it feels familiar and social, and we have friends on social media. But we should not share anything on social media that we do not want our customers to know about. Where one draws that line is up to each individual, but it is good to always think “Would I like my customers to find out about this?”

6. According to your personal experience, name the top three key elements that will help a professional translator grow his/her business globally.
1. A good resume, LinkedIn profile, and profile in translation databases
2. An optimized website that allows potential customers to quickly see your strengths and professionalism
3. A marketing plan in which you have defined your current situation, your desired future situation, ideal clients, ideal marketing tools, a schedule, etc. This is what will ultimately make your business grow the most.

And a few fun questions to relax:

7. Do you like travelling? If you do, which is the next country you want to visit?
I love travelling. Usually I end up travelling wherever I or my husband has something work-related. Sadly I have not had a chance to discover South America yet, and that is on my wish list.

8. What is the best and worst gadget purchase you have ever made?
Does a laptop count as a gadget? If so, that is my best one. I also love my iPhone and use it for both business and pleasure as a camera, a music device, a book, an organizer, a calendar and much more.
Worst, I do not know. I received an Amazon Echo (or Alexa) for Christmas last year. I thought it was extravagant, that I did not need it, and asked my husband to send it back.

9. What is the most interesting thing you have read or seen this week?
I recently discovered the “Mind Your Business” podcast and this week I have binge-listened to the episodes there. The episodes are about creating success from the inside out.
I was also very reluctant to start watching Game of Thrones, but now that the 7th season is out, and EVERYONE talks about it—people even make cultural references to it—we decided to start watching from the beginning. We are now on season 4 and hooked.

10. What’s the most useless talent you have?
Hmmmm… touching my nose with my tongue? I also do not take advantage of my drawing skills much anymore.

Thank you so much for taking part in this series!

Short bio:
Name: Tess Whitty
Company name: Swedish Translation Services / Marketing Tips for Translators
Job title: Translator, translator trainer
Twitter: @Tesstranslates    

Tess Whitty is an English-Swedish freelance translator specializing in corporate communications, software and IT. Before she became a translator she studied and worked with marketing, and now shares her experience as a speaker and trainer at conferences. She is the author of the book “Marketing Cookbook for Translators”, with easy to follow “recipes” for marketing your translation services, producer of the award winning podcast “Marketing Tips for Translators” and the creator of the Complete Marketing Course for Translators. For more information, and to connect, go to

Would you like to take part in the Green Room Interviews series?
Contact me today at It would be great to hear from you!

Swedish Translation Services / Marketing Tips for Translators: Tess Whitty


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Anastasia is a member of: American Translators Association | Associate member (membership number: 254614)  Anastasia is a member of: IAPTI - International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters | Member (membership number: 730)  Anastasia is a member of: Institute of Translation & Interpreting | Associate member (AITI) (membership number: 00013479)  Anastasia is a member of: Panhellenic Association of Translators | Full member (membership number: 399)  Anastasia is a member of: Certified PRO Network Translator | Full member  Anastasia is also a volunteer Translator for Translators Without Borders  Anastasia is a member of: Business School for Translators  Anastasia is a member of: Hellenic Tourism Society