One of the main items you will want to have on hand at the upcoming ATA conference in Washington D.C. is business cards. These can be as complex or as simple as you’d like, but they are important to have! A business card is your calling card; this is how you will be sure to connect with the people you meet after the conference is over.
A business card should contain the following information: your first and last name, email address, phone number, and job title. If you want, you can also include other information, such as your location or address, your website URL, any certifications you may have, your business name, your professional photograph, or your logo. If you don’t have a job title yet, or you’re a student, or you’re just getting started and aren’t sure what to write, you can write your language pair(s) and your current job or status – e.g. “Graduate Student in Translation – English>Japanese”. There’s no rule that you have to keep these cards forever, and since they’re a relatively low investment you can always make new ones later.
The card does not need to be too fancy – in fact, we suggest that you be sure to leave some blank space on the card so that people can make a note in pen after they’ve met you in order to give themselves a reminder of who you are. For example, if they met you at the Brainstorm Networking event and connected with you over a scenario you discussed regarding medical interpreter ethics, they may jot down, “Brainstorm Netw. – medical interpreter ethics. Interesting perspective.”
Your cards can be uniquely designed by you or a designer, or you can use a template found at one of the many business card designing sites online. Two we’ve used in the past include Vistaprint and Moo. If you want people to be able to write on your card, be sure to make the side with blank space matte and not glossy finish. It shouldn’t take too long for these cards to be delivered to you, but be sure to order them early just in case there is a problem!
Below are some examples of freelancer business cards:
While we’re on the topic of business cards, here are a few examples of situations in which you might want to swap business cards with someone:
- You had a nice chat with a fellow attendee sitting next to you before a session started. You’d like to follow up with them later and thank them for making you feel welcome.
- At breakfast you met an agency representative who is looking for freelancers in your language pair, and they said the best way to get in touch with them is to share your business card and they will follow up with you after the conference.
- You ran into someone on the elevator that works in the same lesser-diffused language as you do, and you’d like to be able to connect with them for future collaboration later on.
- You talked to a speaker after one of their sessions and they promised to send you their PowerPoint slides so you can enjoy the resources they recommended after the conference is over, and they asked how they should get in touch with you.
Don’t forget that it’s never too early to start planning for the conference! Comment below if you have questions or additional thoughts about creating business cards, or if there are any topics you’d like to see covered on this blog. We’re looking forward to getting to know you!