What’s in a Brand? Diana Tarré from The Lisbonette Translations
We’re back with a brand new interview with the very kind and passionate Diana Tarré, the founder of The Lisbonette Translations. Diana translates from English, French, Spanish and Italian into Portuguese and specializes in international development, health and environment. In this interview, Diana shares the genesis of her business, its growth into a profitable business and her new website which launched today! Diana can also be found on Twitter and on Facebook.
Hi Diana, thank you for being a part of this series! First, I would like to say that I love your new website! When I visited it for the first time, I immediately perceived a very professional image and bold branding. Can you tell us a little bit about your decision to revamp your website? Was it something you did to update your brand or to align it with your evolution?
First of all, I’d like to thank you for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful project of yours, dear Emeline. May your series of interviews live long and prosper!
I’m very glad you like the new website. It was a long, winding road to get there but I’m very happy with how it turned out.
This time last year, I didn’t have a website, a logo or even a brand name! A little over half a year ago, I felt like my still short-lived career was stagnating. I had been in the business since 2008 and, even though I had evolved quite a lot as a translator since then, I felt like my business didn’t.
The turning point for me was the ProZ conference in Oporto, Portugal, last May.
It was my first industry conference and I came back home completely overwhelmed by all the information I had soaked up in the sessions. It was only then that I realised how little I had done with my business so far compared to my peers in the industry. It was quite a reality check. Back then, I was also attending Marta Stelmaszak’s Business School for Translators, which also inspired me to turn my business around and develop it into a successful venture.
I realised that my business had a lot of potential and that if I played my cards rights, I could really make a name for myself. So, in the short space of a month, I made a series of crucial decisions that would define my career in the following decade.
I came up with a business name, logo, tagline, visual identity, online persona and a whole arsenal of marketing material.
Then, I hired a programmer to create a website, which didn’t go so well. Things progressed at a snail’s pace, deadlines were not met, my requests were constantly disregarded, my visual identity was not respected… It was a nightmare. I was very unhappy with the final product and ended up having to find someone else to redo it from scratch. Luckily, I found a great new programmer who created a wonderful new website and I am so pleased with the result!
Half a year after I first started thinking about branding, I finally feel like I have a proper business that truly represents me as a person and as a translator and that is full of potential.
How important do you think branding is for a small business?
If you don’t want to be just another nameless, faceless language service provider in an already crowded market, branding is crucial. It distinguishes you from the thousands of other freelancers who are out there. Branding your business will make you stand out. You’re more likely to be remembered by potential clients and colleagues. It also presents your business and sums up what you’re all about.
The Lisbonette Translations is a very unique name for a translation business – it is fun and original, and instantly gives the idea that one of your working languages is Portuguese. Why did you decide on this name? Was there a lot of brainstorming involved?
I wanted my personal and business identities to be intertwined. The idea was to find a brand name that was simultaneously professional and somewhat personal. Something that also represented me as a person. And one day, after a lot of brainstorming with myself, family and friends, the name The Lisbonette Translations came to mind. There were a few votes against it, but my gut instinct told me that this was the one.
The Lisbonette has a bit of a girly feeling to it, which suits me very well because I’m quite a girly girl. It also associates me with the cosmopolitan city of Lisbon, where most high-profile Portuguese companies have their headquarters, which conveys the idea that I am a professional business woman. Lisbon is also featured in my tagline which is “Words of wisdom all the way from Lisbon”.
The Translations bit is not exactly original, but there is a reason why most of us use it, right? I wanted my brand name to make it clear to the rest of the world what kind of services I offer.
What about your logo? Do the colours mean anything?
Even though its intensity tends to vary a bit from one platform to another, The Lisbonette Translations’ official colour palette is mint green (Pantone 337c), grey, white and black. Apart from my self-confessed love of all things mint, this colour is often associated with honesty, insightfulness and kindness of heart. Given my affinity for social and humanitarian causes and my areas of specialization (international development and human rights), that train of thought makes a lot of sense to me.
I drew the logo myself on a piece of paper, picked the font types and the kind of badge and ribbon I wanted, and hired a designer to vectorise it. Rachel Bonness did such a great job that I ended up hiring her to create all my marketing material.
However, it was very frustrating for me to have my head filled with great visual ideas and not having the skills to make them come to life. Even though I found a wonderful designer that totally gets me, I don’t really like depending on someone else to make my ideas happen (especially because I have so many). So, this branding experience has inspired two resolutions for 2014: learning all I can about Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. Wish me luck!
We all know that branding is more than a name and a logo. If you had to choose three words to represent your brand, which ones would they be?
Oh, dear! That is a tough one.
At risk of not being very creative, I would say professionalism, dedication and approachability.
Finally, how do you manage to convey these aspects to your customers?
I like to think that the latter – approachability – is what really sets me apart. I always try to steer away from formality (while still maintaining the highest level of professionalism) and to create deep, meaningful relationships with my clients that go well beyond your average business relationship. I genuinely care about their organizations and about them as people, I can’t really help it. And this is where dedication also comes in. This modus operandi is still very much frowned upon in Portugal – where formality is prized very highly – but that does not inhibit me from being as friendly and approachable as possible.
Also in line with this idea of approachability, I decided to put some photos up on my website because there’s nothing quite like putting a face to a name to cultivate human interest. It might strike some as narcissistic, but the truth is that it turns you from an anonymous name on an email to a real person, which is a much stronger basis on which to build a business.
As for professionalism, I convey it not only in the quality of the services provided to my clients, but also in everything that relates to my business (website, social networks or marketing materials).
Thanks ever so much for being a part of this series, Diana!
The pleasure was all mine, Emeline!
I wish you the best of luck with In Touch Translations. May 2014 bring you some wonderful new clients with incredibly interesting projects.
As for your blog and this exciting series of interviews, keep up the good work! I really enjoy reading them.