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Lesson 50: 2013 – The Year of Translators
January is the best month to plan new strategies, implement radical changes, or enforce our resolutions. I don’t remember where, but I encountered this question: Is 2013 going to be the best year in your life? It was a title of a self-help article, aiming to motivate us to change our destructive habits and behaviours in the new year. Interestingly enough, a number of steps that are supposed to fix our lives could also work in our business. Is it possible to make 2013 the best year in translation?
There are some steps that we can make that will obviously help us: have clear objectives, know your goal, or develop skills. The article I read recommended three steps that I think are the most productive, though.
One: Identify what you didn’t like about 2012.
Celebrating our successes, exams passed, new clients acquired, or helpful colleagues found is important. But it seems to me that it’s equally important to realise what made 2012 worse than it could be. My personal dislike list is as follows:
1. I didn’t like low rates. I had a number of offers I had to turn down because of insulting rates. We all know that.
2. I didn’t like long payment terms either. For me, NET45 is really the maximum I can stretch to. I had to reject a few offers because they thought NET60 was fine. No, it wasn’t.
3. I didn’t like the way I was treated by my clients. From ‘dear linguist’ emails, through not bothering to confirm the receipt, to very forgetful accountants… I’d do without all that.
Of course, there are other points I didn’t like too much in my professional life, but the rest of them was purely “my fault” (if I agreed to work long hours or do a rush job, there’s only me to blame).
Two: Find the reason for the things you didn’t like about 2012.
The second step that the article recommended in relation to things that bothered us in the previous year was to find their cause. It occurred to me that the sole reason for all the things I didn’t like in 2012 was that the industry is no longer in our hands. I know it’s nothing ground-breaking, but when you think of it… We, translators, do the translation. It’s not our clients, not the agencies, not CAT-tools, but translators. So how did we end up handling the steering wheel of the industry over to people who don’t even translate?
Three: Have a plan how to fix it.
Again, it’s not rocket science or a Nobel-winning invention, but if we manage to give the power back to translators, maybe we could fix the things we don’t like about the industry? If we want 2013 to be the best year in translation, why don’t we just make it so?
I’m going to proclaim 2013 The Year of Translators. It motivates me and gives me more confidence to enforce my strategies and ideas for 2013. It gives me enough power to justify thinking big, to keep up with my rates, to never give in to ridiculous payment terms. And maybe, just maybe, if you think the same, and we make our friends think the same, we’ll get the power back?
I’m already thrilled with the idea of making 2013 The Year of Translators. I have plenty of ideas. The first one is here (psst… really worth having a look if you’d like to improve your business).
What’s the homework for today? Think of a list of things you can do to make 2013 The Year of Translators and post it in the comments below. We can all share and exchange ideas! I’ll post my plan in Lesson 51 next week.