The Importance of a Good Headshot for Professional Translators and Interpreters

Language is the only barrier to communication in many situations world-wide. However, it is the job of linguists to bridge this gap. In a sense, translators and interpreters can unite the world! What a powerful profession!

Their importance is exactly why it is imperative that professional interpreters and translators let their name — and their skills — be known. Whereas translators and interpreters can work in government offices, courthouses, and other locations, many translators work from home, in call centers, or within various large firms found in global arenas. In many of these positions (and others), these persons are found behind a computer.

The work-life of translators often offers no assistance for booking new projects. After all, being stuck behind a computer means that personal interaction with new people is a rare occurrence. Perhaps that is why so many are turning to social media or personal online websites. Perfecting an online presence can be brutal, but it is necessary for today’s market. And there is no exception for the professional translator and interpreter alike.

So, if you are a translator or an interpreter and you are looking to get your name known in the industry and grow your business, what is the first thing you need?

That’s right—a good headshot!

Don Couch, photograph by Valentina Sadiul, used with permission.

Don Couch, photograph by Valentina Sadiul, used with permission.

Shown in the picture above is Don Couch, the lucky winner of a free headshot by NCTA sponsor Valentina Sadiul Photography in the raffle at the NCTA Fall General Meeting.

Not convinced? Consider these points:

You are your brand. Most people opt for logos, but you are your own – you are the translator. You are the one you need to market. A good headshot provides you something solid — and professional — to show those who are inquiring.

You are the one you need to market. A good headshot provides you something solid — and professional — to show those who are inquiring.

Be the first person they see. If someone is looking for a professional translator and they find their way to your website or other industry directories, what is the first thing you want them to see? Your name? No. Your face! Your headshot is the first impression — and it is the picture that can land you a new booking or cause people to pass you by.

Be different. With a profession that is growing, translators need to stand out if they want to be noticed. Taking the time to produce a superior-quality headshot will make you stand out in a crowd.

Set your online presence. This is extremely important. And, with each online application, a photo is requested. Do you choose to use a selfie? Do you hide behind a picture of some random nature scene? Or, do you show off your high-quality headshot? Often, how you present yourself can either capture or deter a new client. Go with the professional headshot!

Increase your confidence. The power behind a good photo is amazing. When you look good, you feel good. And, when you feel good, you can do just about anything you set your mind to do. This boost of confidence can be yours by just taking the time to obtain a good headshot.

Having a photography session to get a professional headshot completed may be nerve-wracking — until you get comfortable with the photographer. But, the outcome will allow you to see yourself in a new light. Many people will say that they are “not photogenic”—until they see the final proofs of the headshots.

Others may question whether a good headshot is even necessary when marketing oneself. The truth of the matter is that when you want to uncover new clients and new opportunities, you need to present yourself in a professional manner. Showing that you take pride in yourself will also lead a potential client to believe that you take pride in your work as a professional translator, too.

If you are ready to take your career to a new level by discovering what a good headshot can do for you, then schedule your photoshoot today!


Kermit Clum provided valuable money saving financial tips to seminar attendees.

Kermit Clum provided valuable money saving financial tips to seminar attendees.

Translators and interpreters got a crash course in small business management and an in-depth tutorial on financial and tax planning for the independent contractor from Kermit Clum.

On  February  23  in  downtown  San Francisco, Kermit  Clum  led  NCTA members  through  a  three-hour  seminar entitled, The Dos and Don’ts of Running a Small Business. Kermit is a CPA and owner of Key Financial  Solutions  in  Redwood City, California.   Over the course of the seminar,  he  addressed  bookkeeping and accounting challenges facing the freelance translator and independent contractor. → continue reading


In September, Courtney Searls-Ridge helped NCTA members get an edge on their contract negotiation skills.

Excellent language skills are essential for freelance translators and interpreters. To be successful, however, good business skills are also necessary. In addition to marketing and negotiation, linguists are required to understand contracts and accurately assess their content, and this dimension is becoming more complex and challenging.

On September 28, 2013, Courtney Searls-Ridge presented a workshop in San Francisco organized by the NCTA to help new and established translators and interpreters develop this aspect of their business. As a former agency owner and current teacher of ethics and business practices for translators and interpreters, Courtney is intimate with the concerns of freelancers as well as T&I agencies. → continue reading


Andrew Crawford led a group of entrepreneurs in a workshop on building their business and their client base.


I attended Andrew Crawford’s workshop, Techniques for Successful Selling: a new approach to selling to direct clients, on September 28, 2012. Early on, Crawford directed us to define our positioning statement. “First you are brief, telling your client what you do; then you are compelling, describing how you do it; and then you throw the hook, why it has value to your client.” Sounds easy, non? → continue reading


Michael Schubert provided guidance to a group of language-minded individuals just getting started in translation.

tl_35-1_web_page20_image12On Saturday, January 26, a dozen or so curious, bilingual (at least) individuals gathered at the San Francisco State University Downtown Campus, seeking guidance and insight in determining how to use their foreign language fluency to find employment in the field of translation. Guidance and insight was provided by Michael Schubert, who led the three and a half hour NCTA sponsored presentation, Getting Started in Translation. Based on his presentation and, more importantly, his impromptu responses to questions raised by the participants, it did not take long for me to realize that Michael was definitely an expert, and that the seminar was on track to meet my expectations. Michael’s interactive style with participants of diverse backgrounds, interests, and motivations led to a very engaging, informative, and entertaining seminar. → continue reading


Jacolyn Harmer presenter at the May GM.

Jacolyn Harmer, presenter at the May General Meeting.

While technology skills are increasing among the young, critical thinking is taking a hit. BY NAOMI NORBERG

On a Saturday afternoon so beautiful it didn’t bode well for high turnout, NCTA members showed their dedication by showing up in significant numbers for the May 7 general meeting in downtown San Francisco. The meeting began as usual with a welcome session for new members (six or seven this time) and networking among the rest. Our new president Paula Dieli then began the meeting by introducing the new “refreshment queens” Connie Archea and Rita McGaughy, and thanking ION Translations, LLC of Berkeley for sponsoring the refreshments.

Kristen Corridan then announced the upcoming events and workshops, including the summer picnic (June 26th), the Legal Translation for Court Interpreters and Translators workshop (June 18th), and a workshop (no date given) by Tuomas Kostianen on preparing for the ATA certification exam (next San Francisco sitting on July 31st, just before the FIT conference). Paula then announced the arrival of the latest Translorial, and Yves Avérous asked for volunteers to replace Nina Bogdan, who will step down in September after three years as Translorial editor. Roles will be split so that those who want to deal with the writing aspect can do that while others take on administrative and logistic tasks. Kristen then introduced Jacolyn Harmer, who spoke to us about Shifting Trends in Translator and Interpreter Training. → continue reading