Lesson 115: Why professional translators want to become experts?

Lesson 115: Why professional translators want to become experts?

The expert theme is going to be a bit longer than one month, mostly because it requires a bit more in-depth perspective than just three articles. I also wanted to keep a form of continuity between December and January this year, rather than saying ‘ok, 2014 is gone and it’s time to dive into the new’. To me, being an expert is about refining your profile rather than starting right from the new. Having said that, I also wanted to share a bit of inspiration to keep thinking about expert positioning.

Here are some ideas why you may want to position yourself as an expert and why others want to do that, too. I came across them in this article and thought they apply very well to us, translators. This is my take on it!

Stand out in a market

Experts, by focussing on narrow markets and in niches, increase their chances of standing out. This applies to translation too. By refining your profile and concentrating on a particular area of specialisation, you’re creating a sharper profile that enables you to stand out in a market seemingly full of other translators. For example, this year I’m working on creating a set of services aimed in particular at Polish start-ups in IT, tech and marketing. This will mean that my profile will change from legal, business and marketing translator to Polish English online communication specialist. I want to provide translation and content creation services to a very specific group, combining my expertise in languages and online business. This is definitely an edge, as in my market research, I found several prospects but no other translators providing quite the same.

Become the prize

An expert doesn’t have to chase clients, clients come and don’t mind accepting the expert’s conditions or even waiting in a queue to place an order. This means that you’re managing the flood and famine periods much better, and you also can concentrate on what you know best. Back in the days when I was actively working as a court interpreter, I could see the difference in how clients approached me when I started increasing my expertise on this topic. I could see that, especially the colleagues registered with NRPSI, were seen as exclusive and “reward” interpreters.

Get media attention

Experts are always wanted by journalists and the media. As an expert, you can give interviews and quotes which in turn bring you publicity. You can use that to promote your services or simply enjoy the attention you’re getting. I, for example, managed to secure a couple of good interviews last year and was featured in one of the UK leading broadsheets, The Telegraph. Though it was nice, I didn’t get any more clients from these features – they weren’t really aimed at my target market.

Deliver results

Experts are more likely to be listened to and respected. If as a translator you deliver your language expertise and advice, you can advise clients on the best solutions and you’re more likely to convince them. This results from the authority that clients see in you. With an expert profile, you’re much more likely to say good-bye to all these frustrating situations when your client changes little things in the text without even asking you.

Charge higher fees

Of course, experts can charge more than those professionals who don’t claim their expert status. This is because expertise is associated with adding something specific and individual to the work that is being done. This is the added value.

Gain partnerships

Experts are more visible in their fields and this leads to more exposure and potential partnerships with other colleagues in the same industry or across other industries. As a translator, you can partner with designers, web developers, content managers, copywriters… There are many opportunities out there!

Satisfaction and fulfilment

Realising that you’re seen by clients as an expert gives a lot of satisfaction and the feeling that you’ve reached your goal as professional translators. This is more on a personal level, but still very important when comes to enjoying work.

With 2015 almost here, why do you want to become an expert?

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