What’s in a Brand? Megan Onions from Speech Marks Translation

What’s in a Brand? is back today with a new guest, the lovely Megan Onions. Megan is the founder of Speech Marks Translation through which she provides French and German to English translations. She specializes in Marketing, Sports and Tourism and is also a proofreader and a copywriter. When not translating, Megan can be found on Twitter or blogging.


Hi Megan, it’s a pleasure to include you in this series! You managed to produce a brand that has a professional and peaceful feel to it, which is very reminiscent of your personality (at least, from what I know ;)!). How did you get there?

Thanks for inviting me, Emeline! I’m really glad you like my branding. It’s something that I feel very comfortable with as an extension of myself.

My brand is basically me. I don’t talk about myself in the third person or give the impression that there are more people behind the business. Presenting myself as a one-woman band (albeit with a strong network) means that I can provide a personal service, and I really enjoy getting to know my clients and their needs.

How important do you think branding is for a small business that is run at home? Are there aspects that are more important to you?

For me, branding is all about giving a professional first impression, summing up what you or your business does and being memorable.

Many freelancers don’t see branding as important, and it’s certainly not essential in terms of finding clients, but your branding is your virtual shop window. Even if you trade under your own name, having a professional, memorable logo on your website or business cards shows that you:

  • know what you’re doing
  • have a professional attitude
  • invest in your business

I think that what is more or less important – and how creative you can be – depends on your working fields and potential clients.

Now that you have graduated (congratulations!) and are working full-time, do you intend on spending more time on branding? If so, how?

Thanks! I’m really excited about having more time to dedicate to the business.

My branding will need refreshing from time to time, but I’m really happy with where I am with it at the moment.

My focus for now is marketing to direct clients and making connections in my specialist areas. I’m putting a lot of time and energy into making meaningful contacts and gaining repeat clients. I love building relationships, and can call a lot of existing clients friends.

I really like the name of your business, Speech Marks Translation – it is straightforward and very representative of your services. Why did you choose this name? Was there a lot of brainstorming involved?

Thank you! I spent a lot (and I mean a lot) of time thinking about what to name my business. Before I started freelancing, I decided to have a business name rather than trading under my own name. I know that many colleagues have decided to stick with their own names, and that works really well for them, but I chose to work as Speech Marks Translation because:

  • my name might change in the future. This may well turn out to be a simple transition for clients, but I wanted to be consistent from the start.
  • the name reflects my services, but also lends itself to being adapted to the other strands of my business: editing, proofreading and copywriting. I have always planned to develop these other services, and I didn’t want a name with restricted connotations.

What about your logo? Do the colors mean anything?

Quite simply, it’s my favourite colour. Having said that, had my favourite colour been red or blue, I might have thought twice. As well as being representative of you, a brand has to be memorable. What’s the point in having a fancy logo if it doesn’t stick in anyone’s mind? The other colour in my logo, grey, was my favourite of the options given to me at the design stage. Originally, I had mint, black and white in mind, but grey is much softer.

The quotation marks that feature in my logo are influenced by the name, obviously, but also by one of my favourite patterns. If you look closely, the edges of the ‘speech marks’ are scalloped, inspired by Paisley.

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?

Fresh, creative and approachable – I hope that’s what comes across!

Finally, how do you manage to convey these aspects (the things that you just mentioned in the previous question) to your customers?

The copy on my website and my online interactions are not overly formal, and I take a friendly but professional tone in my email and phone conversations. I also really enjoy meeting clients in person, if possible. I recently had promotional postcards designed by Rachel Bonness, who seems to be very popular with translators at the moment, and she did a great job of maintaining this approach with a clean but eye-catching result. I’ll be using the postcards and new business cards (also designed by Rachel) when contacting potential clients.

Thanks ever so much for being a part of this series, Megan!

Thanks for inviting me!


5 responses to “What’s in a Brand? Megan Onions from Speech Marks Translation”

  1. magda_p says :

    Megan’s brand is one of those that drew my attention at once because it’s quite clever, catchy and professional. And great colour combination! 🙂 Lovely interview.

    • Emeline Jamoul says :

      Me too, Magda! I remember discovering Megan’s blog when I was still a student and dreaming of becoming a freelance translator 🙂

  2. Marta Stelmaszak says :

    Great interview and great brand! I’ll investigate Rachel’s work further.

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