In the beginning stages of my freelance career, I tried to reach out to other translators for guidance. I actually contacted a few translators who were well-known in the industry and seemed to have it all figured out. Two of them were really sweet and willing to answer my questions, but there was one who was actually rude and very unprofessional.
Needless to say, I’m never referring any jobs to this particular translator.
The saying that goes “you only have one opportunity to make a first impression” will always be true and very applicable in our profession.
We all know how giving a glitched referral can reflect on our performance and damage our relationship with the parties involved.
However, it’s not only our job as translators to stay away from anyone who could indirectly hinder or misrepresent the translation profession, but also to recognize those who’ve established a good image for themselves and worked hard to build and maintain a reputation of high-quality and professionalism.
Personally, the one way I appreciate being recognized the most is when another translator tells a potential client about my work.
As much as I love having people comment on my blog posts, or seeing my number of Twitter followers steadily increase, nothing compares to the joy of being referred to a potential client through one of my dear translation colleagues!
Now, the question is, how do we become memorable—in a positive way—in the minds of our fellow translators? How do we become memorable enough to inspire a translation colleague to think of our name and recommend us for a particular job?
Here’s my list of 5 signs to decide if a particular translator is referral material. As we go through the list think about someone in the translation field who fits this description. Also—and more importantly—think about yourself and determine if these signs are a description of YOU:
1. Shares professional, well-written content—
He writes relevant content about the translation industry and his fields of expertise to showcase his own writing abilities. His goal is to continue to improve his writing skills and share his knowledge with other translators and potential clients. He has a professional website where he shares his content and directs his new clients to learn more about his services and other details. As he consistently writes and shares new content, the more other translators get to know him and his writing style.
2. Strategically Engages in Social Media—
He shares his own posts and other interesting articles through social media. His goal is to use his own posts as a way to advertise his own writing skills and become known in the translation industry. He knows how to be strategic on how to use social media to build connections and strives to leave a good impression. He also knows to not let social media take over his time and energy and devotes his time to work and find new clients consistently.
3. Shows Confidence—
He values his skills and is never hesitant about his own abilities. He’s not shy about explaining what his profession is about and the value his skills offer to businesses looking to connect and increase their target market. He knows what his translation services are worth and charges accordingly. His goal is to demonstrate confidence in his translation skills and help his potential customers feel at peace and taken care of.
4. Remembers His Clients—
He knows how to remember and stay connected with his clients. His goal is to send emails when needed to keep current clients on the loop about price increases and other important information. He also remembers his current and potential clients on their birthday and during the Christmas season by sending a personalized card via email or regular mail. He is professional, friendly, respectful and approachable in his dealings with his clients.
5. Recommends Other Colleagues—
He reads other colleagues’ posts and contributes with meaningful comments. His goal is to pay attention to their writing styles, learn about their specialties and interests, and decide for himself if a fellow translator is someone he would be comfortable referring to one of his clients. He notices those translators who are actively involved in the translation industry and portray a professional image. He believes in the power of networking and knows exactly who to recommend for a job when the opportunity arises.
I’m aware that some of these characteristics would be very hard to know about–like whether or not he sends birthday cards to his clients–but I only added them to help us reflect on those things that could protect and nourish our connections with our current clients.
Also, I imagine many of you could think of other characteristics that describe a translator you would refer without hesitation. If that’s the case, what do you admire about them the most? What’s so amazing about them that in your mind they’ve become referral material?
As we strive to recognize those qualities that make a translator memorable, I hope we also take the time to evaluate ourselves and, if needed, choose to improve and/or acquire those same characteristics.
For some of us, this may mean improving our translation skills and being determined to become high-quality writers, stepping out of our comfort zones and pushing ourselves to overcome our shyness and other insecurities, being willing to spend more time networking and marketing our business, or investing more time in learning to be more tech savvy and embrace technology.
Whatever the case may be, remember to always ask yourself,
If I were another translator, would I feel comfortable recommending myself?
If you would, then congrats! Continue to do what you’re doing.
If you wouldn’t, then what are you willing to do for yourself to change how others perceive your commitment and professionalism as a translator?
Feel free to comment!
About the author:
Beverly Hayes specializes in social, adoption-related topics, healthcare, travel and tourism, business/marketing and website translations from English into Spanish. A mother of five, Beverly is the founder/owner of Spanish Connect Translations, a translation agency based in Rexburg, Idaho. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah with a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, and this last December she finished her Master’s degree in Spanish Linguistics from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Being a stay-at-home mom for most of her life, Beverly has now taken upon herself a new goal–to contribute to the world in a different way by jumping on the entrepreneurship bandwagon. She has the education, the cultural background, and the writing skills that are necessary to succeed in this competitive field and provide a quality product that’ll stand out among the rest. You may visit her website at spctranslations.com, or contact her via Twitter: MySpanConnect and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.