Translator is not only and not always just a translator. We take on different professional hats, we are flexible and we look for opportunities around us. This is my excuse for this long gap in posting, but also a good starting point for today’s discussion.
I always try to differentiate my services, and to take part in a number of language-related endeavours. Be it a local Polish library, a traditional restaurant serving pierogi, or a Toastmasters event, I’m there ready with my elevator pitch. And I do meet other translators and interpreters, quite a number of them, to be honest. It is in my nature to talk with colleagues and suggest having a cup of coffee to discuss business issues.
On the last occasion I was confronted with a surprisingly honest answer, translated roughly as: “You’re the first Polish translator I meet who’s not turning her back away, looking down at me, or rushing away scared of competition.” In this particular translator’s experience, it was normal to treat every other colleague as a dangerous competitor. My only reply at that time was: “Why would I do that?”
Obviously, I know many reasons to be scared of competitors, even more if they work in the same language pair. I can imagine people being scared of others taking their jobs, or having their skills confronted with another professional. But I was still shocked.
I asked for your opinion on my Facebook page, and I got some reassuring answers. So how is it, really? Do we compete or co-operate? Or both?
Co-operating can take many forms: from sharing posts that help other translators, through posting info on Twitter, to presenting and giving webinars on professional topics. Co-operating is also the support we give to each other, both emotional during tougher periods, and practical when problems arise. Co-operating also means joining our forces for the whole profession, as opposed to working on our own and discrediting colleagues.
And competition? Have you ever witnessed or experienced competitive behaviour from your colleagues? Or maybe competition is not always bad? What do you think, translation competition, co-operation, or both?
PS Many thanks to everyone who voted for me in Language Lovers 2012. I’m among 25 Language Twitterers and 25 Language Facebook Pages. Badges on my website soon!