How many times do you hear translators, linguists, or interpreters say things like:
“Many clients go for cheaper, unqualified language service professionals.” or “The translation industry has been destroyed by many unqualified linguists, project managers, and agencies.” or “Machine translation will kill the translation industry.”
Do you read or hear this every day? Maybe once or twice a week? I read this all the time on social media, especially in Facebook groups. Ironically, I found myself not complaining about these things. And, it’s not just me, as other translators say the same:
"The more we complain, the less productive we are, in my humble opinion.”
"I believe that the market goes up and down no matter what is your job."
This does not mean I don’t complain ever! But, these “usual mantras” do not cross my mind when I do not win job bid, when a client sends me a post-editing job offer, or when a client does not accept my prices. Let me tell you the reasons why I don’t complain
1) Many industries have the same issues :
I am a part of many groups outside the language services market and I know that web designers, programmers, copywriters, digital marketing specialists, and other professionals have the same problems in their industries. There are always less qualified people entering all the markets. This happens for different reasons. I believe the main reason for this is the lack of entry barriers.
No one needs thousands of dollars to enter the language services market or any other online job. They think you just need to know another language besides your native one, a PC/Laptop/Mac, and an internet connection to be a translator. This led to a flood of more unqualified linguists entering the translation services market.
Also, our industry is not regulated in many countries. For example in Egypt, many translators struggle as there is no official body that regulates the industry. Even non-governmental bodies lack professional people to run them. This is and will be the case for many industries.
Accept that the language services industry will always have the same issues and never let that stop you from doing your best.
2) Competition is a part of any business:
Having competitors in business is part of the job! In fact, having many competitors means you’re in a very profitable market.
When the news websites came out, many people said the paper press would vanish, but they survived. Yes, their sales declined, but they still exist and make profits. The same happened when the TV appeared and people said radio will disappear, but it didn’t.
Do you think there will be less competition if you change the industry you work in? No! You will always have competitors who offer lower prices or are not as qualified as you are.
How can you solve this? Offer something unique to your clients. Let them know your unique selling proposition. And, always, always market your translation or interpretation business. Accept that you will lose clients to your competitors. This may not be your fault, as perhaps your client doesn’t have the budget or maybe you’re just not a good fit for their business.
Always look for better clients. Decide on your target client persona and only seek them out and leave the rest to your competition!
3) the market is not a reason for failure
I made a huge mistake when I started out in 2004. Whenever there was a decline in my work volume, I complained that others were selling their services for cheaper prices or that the market had changed! This was not the case. After a serious brainstorming and discussions with other colleagues, I found myself making many horrible mistakes.
Some of them include not replying to clients in a timely manner, not going the extra mile while working with my clients, not building a personal relationship with my project managers, not marketing myself enough, not networking with other colleagues, and not following trends in the translation industry.
Huge list of mistakes, right?
Many freelance translators do not feel accountable for their business results. If you want to succeed in your freelance translation career, recognise you alone are responsible for your business results.
Do brainstorming sessions with a friend and have serious a look at your business. You will find many mistakes that need to be fixed.
4) Complaining affects your success
Having a positive outlook is a solid foundation for any business success. I joined a Facebook groups a few months ago, and many of the discussions were about how rude clients are and the group members were desperate to find clients who can pay more, but they were not doing anything serious about it.
I left the group a week after joining as it really affected my mood.
If you keep complaining, you will create a negative mindset about your success possibilities and this will stop your mind from finding new ideas to solve your problems.
I am not claiming any psychological findings or theories here. I am just telling you what works for me. Be Positive! Stop complaining and start finding solutions and improving the health of your business.
Surround yourself with translators who have a positive mindset. Stay connected with successful professionals.
Now, Your Turn
Block sometime this weekend to look at what you are doing in your business. I do this type of exercise at the weekend as it is a quiet time for me as I usually have no jobs to deliver or emails to reply to.