- Pictures. Few things have the potential to do as much good or ill to a professional's professional image as, well, images. Remember the meaning of 'code' in 'dress code' — it matters how people see you. If you prefer to keep it laid back, that's fine, too, but you can still put a real photographer behind a real camera. It will cost many times more than a simple ID picture, but it may well be one of the best investments you will ever have made. Make your picture representative of where you are or where you realistically want to be.
- TMI. This may be different if you translate for fellow freelancers or creatives, but lawyers and bankers who work 120 hours a week days won't be thrilled to hear about pyjamas and slippers and bath robes. Members of the general public who toil away in offices and at construction sites won't either. This connects with your image just like your picture: You won't be taken seriously if you can't make yourself look serious.
- Entry-level language-related imagery. We don't deal at the entry level, either. Ideally, all translators should be native or near-native in both the source and the target language.
- Broad references to all languages. We don't do 20 foreign languages, in most case we stick to one, two or three. We don't specialize in translation project management and traffic direction, either. In short, we are translators and not tiny translation agencies.
- Teaching paraphernalia. We don't teach. This is not a language school where a business exec can get from Elementary to Intermediate. This is real life.
- Your wish is my command. No kidding, This a direct quotation from a real translator's headline. May it stop already. This is not a concierge industry.
- Tech focus. Let's put things in perspective: it's your talent, study and experience that have shaped you into however good or bad translator you are, not your CAT tool. You don't want to emphasize your CAT tools any more than you want your clients to focus on them.
- 'You', 'me' etc. There is a trend for more personal touch in business-to-business copy, but let's keep some perspective: we aren't making Facebook friends, we're working.
- Errors and poor writing. As embarrassing as this is to note, translators' websites abound with errors and poor writing, which is one of the reasons it's so hard for the entire profession to be treated seriously and build a high profile.
- Piecemeal rates. There isn't much one can do on the agency front in this regard, but direct clients are often puzzled and sometimes put off by how typical translation pricing works, and they would be happy to pay per-project fees, recognizing that our work is more than the sum total of the words we type.
Saturday, 20 September 2014
Ten Things Translators Are Doing Wrong
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Here is the text of the popular Internet meme, coined by dr Arle Richard Lommel of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, h...