Saturday, 28 March 2015

You Don't Have To Do All They Ask (Or Buy What They Sell) To Be Professional

This is going to sound rather controversial and may ruffle some feathers, but:

you don't have to do all they ask.

Or, rather, you don't need to be available to do just about anything your current or potential client wants done — whether by someone, some translator, in general, or by you in particular.

Just like you don't have to enable precisely the kind of rates your potential clients want to pay, you don't have to enable service specifications — or service bundles — that they want.

For example, these days, if you go to the bank, you can probably pay some bills and even ask the bank to pay any future bills of the same kind for you, which means you don't need to remember about them any more. On the other hand, how many banks have you seen that will agree to handle just about everything for you in B2B, including accounting and salaries and everything else? Some banks get close, but only few of them.

And how many law firms will agree to include accounting, HR, PR, whatever else floats the client's boat? Some will, but by no means all of them.

So just why should you, as a translator, need to be available as a copyist, paralegal, all-purpose office gopher and concierge for the client's other needs? You don't have to.

If you do want to, then I think you still shouldn't anyway, but that's a discussion for another day.

The point here today is that you don't have to. Whether you want to (or not) is a whole different issue.

So don't take all those talking heads as messengers of truth revealed when they say that in order to be a professional in today's world you need to buy from translation and other office software companies.

The same companies which may well be sponsors of translation-related events, owners of translation agencies etc.

You don't need to buy their products — or the associated training courses and certifications — to be professional at what you do.

The same goes for agencies. It is in their interest to turn you into a one-stop shop to which they can outsource everything that needs to be done — and everything else which can possibly be done and which will sell and bring some profit margin — but in order to be a professional translator you really don't have to offer all those included or additional services that they are capable of thinking about.

Do you want some fries with your translation, sir?

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