I attended a two training sessions run by the West Midlands Group of the ITI last weekend – one by Nick Rosenthal from Salford Translations on Sustainable Customer Relationships, and the other by Vernon Blackmore from Ambit New Media on Websites for Translators. Excellent stuff, even if I did miss a very exciting rugby match on Saturday when my radio couldn’t get reception on the train home…
Sustainable Customer Relationships
Nick compared the relationship we have with our clients to the one we have with our partners, and made the really interesting point that dealing with clients doesn’t have to be so different from the way we already deal with our family and friends.
I got most value from the advice he offered on how best to present yourself as a freelance translator, and how you don’t have to pretend you’re running a giant multinational out of your back room. A really interesting point – so many freelancers believe they have to hide the fact that they they are the only person in their office, and in doing so, unwittingly set themselves up as competitors to the very people who are likely supply them with the bulk of their work, i.e. translation agencies.
There’s still a fine line to be tread, of course. I’ve worked in the kind of corporate environment where translation buyers were happy to work with individual suppliers, but where a “premium” image was everything. Setting yourself up as a maw and paw operation (I’m sure that’s the technical term!), complete with 5 cats and a penchant for crosswords was not going to get you on their list of preferred suppliers. I guess it comes down to finding a professional, as opposed to a personal, “voice” for your online presence, and I’m not entirely sure I’ve found one that I’m comfortable with yet… but Nick’s comments certainly gave me food for thought (another day’s post, perhaps?!)
It was probably a tricky session to pitch given the rather patchy IT skills of some freelance translators, but I think Nick underestimated the degree to which many of us already use the web to sustain our customer, and indeed private, relationships. Rather than focussing on an explanation of the resources available to do this, I’d like to have heard more about how he was using these resources, and indeed had seen them being used, in his own career.
Finally, Nick gave some excellent answers to questions from the audience, and I think this where he really shone. For example, in answer to how best a freelance translator might present their quality assurance processes, he suggested stressing how quality assurance starts at the very beginning of the translation process by accepting work only into your mother tongue and in areas of specialist expertise. It then continues right through to quality control in the form of checking, proofing, etc. Based on these nuggets of specific advice and anecdotes relating directly to freelance translators, I’d definitely consider attending a training with him again.
Thanks ITI WMG!