Most of us are familiar with Stephen Covey’s classic work- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A deeper study of the book will indicate that there are 3 specific habits recommended that are great action steps to be a successful translator. We are giving our own spin and doing a shorter version of these 3 habits, paraphrasing them to apply to the translation and interpreting business.
1. Manage Your Time and Priorities – In the book, Covey explains this as “Put First Things First”. Short deadlines are a common theme in the translation business. It is understandable that people shop around for pricing and procrastinate in their decisions. Before you know it, you are scrambling to meet your deadline and it is now in the hands of the translator to make it happen. An effective translator knows their current workload and expected delivery dates. They are able to prioritize their assignments and work within your time frame. It is actually a professional response when they sometimes decline your request due to time constraints jeopardizing the quality of work. The priority is always delivering a first class translation. There is no point on being on time with sloppy work. This is not how effective translators operate.
2. Be Flexible – Covey’s version in his book is “Think Win-Win”. At times, a customer will approach a translator with a deeply discounted rate with promise of high volume work. This may mean less income for the same work but it shows goodwill and the willingness to prove yourself as the right translator for the job. Compromising on your pricing may earn dividends in the future. Delays in payment are also a reality for translators. Do we stop doing business with late paying customers or do we try to understand their predicament? How can this situation be beneficial for both parties? How can I help my customers without them taking advantage of me? A vision for a long term partnership is always better when compared to a one time short term profit. Business success is not a linear event and an effective translator adapts with its partners. Being flexible with the vision of win-win for both parties is an effective trait of a translator.
3. Always Learn and Improve– The Japanese has a term for this- Kaizen, which means continuous improvement by everyone, everyday, everywhere. The book’s version is “Sharpen the Saw”. An effective translator changes and improves with technology and continuing education. A competent translator never says I know everything that I need to know because I have many years of experience. This is sheer naiveté. We have translators who have earned their PhDs in their respective fields of expertise and many who continue to pursue further advancement in their education. We have experts in the arenas of medicine, software, engineering, patent, manufacturing and finance to name a few.
As a professional translation agency, we have done all the initial research for you. We know who the highly effective and successful translators are. We have screened the best of them and we have partnered with them to provide you the first class service you expect and deserve.