The internet is packed full of tips and tricks designed to ensure that professional translators improve their skills, enhance their working habits and increase their income. However, it’s equally important to know which practices or habits should be avoided, so here we examine five essential translator don’ts.
#1 Don’t over-promise
As a translator, you are likely to be solely responsible for managing your workload. This means that it’s entirely up to you to meet all of your clients’ deadlines, so be sure that you allow yourself a realistic amount of time to get your work done. Don’t over-promise and then under-deliver – that leads to unhappy clients who will soon be looking elsewhere for another translator.
#2 Don’t bad-mouth the competition
In a competitive industry, it can sometimes be tempting to try and get ahead any way you can. While there are a number of valid ways to do so (specialising in a particular area, for example), bad-mouthing the competition is invariably a poor course of action to pursue.
While it might seem that by doing so you could make yourself look better, to a potential client you may come across as disloyal or untrustworthy, which is hardly the image you should be trying to convey.
Bad-mouthing other translators can also damage the reputation of the industry as a whole, which clearly doesn’t benefit any of those involved!
#3 Don’t fill your office with distractions
Avoid filling your office with ‘executive toys’ or other distractions. It should be a place of professionalism where you can work in peace – not a playroom packed with gadgets that are likely to tempt you away from your work.
#4 Don’t apply for work you can’t do
It may seem an obvious point, but be sure to fully understand each job that you apply for and only apply for the ones that your skills are suited to. If you specialize in real estate translation then applying for a job that involves translating complex medical documents is a sure way to lead to a disappointed client.
#5 Don’t delay your invoicing
Many freelance translators will experience peaks and troughs of work. It could be that month-end sees you frantically working long hours in order to finish off your latest translation job and it can be tempting to put other tasks aside in order to focus on the job at hand. While it may be sensible to delay some tasks, don’t delay your invoicing.
Send your bills out promptly, as they are the things that will ultimately put food on your table. Also, delays in issuing invoices may cause clients to think of your service as inefficient, which is certainly not how they should be viewing you.
What other habits should be avoided by professional translators? Share your thoughts via the comment box.