We hope all our lovely friends and colleagues had a great start into 2015! Time sure does fly, doesn't it? It seems like yesterday that many were worried about Y2K and now here we are 15 years into this decade.
We wanted to start the new year's posts off with a trend that is neither new but surprising, but one that seems to be gaining momentum: complaining about things we cannot change in our industry. Our industry is wonderful, but it's not perfect, and even though most clients are outstanding, some are not. Yes, there's significant downward pressure on prices, and we are all responsible because someone is usually willing to offer a cheaper rate, hoping to get the short-term benefit of a particular assignment. Sure, bad translations abound, the public oftentimes doesn't care about translation, and the internet is full of terrible, terrible translations. However, what if we spent the same amount of time complaining about things we cannot change on improving things we can actually change? Wouldn't that be a much better use of our time?
What it comes down to is this: it's very difficult to change others' behavior, and while venting about things once in a while can be useful and cathartic, we've seen that sometimes in our industry the complaining can get a bit out of control. Wouldn't you agree?
We are no different than doctors who tell their patients to lose weight and they won't do it. Sometimes a potential client or even any company choose to use a sub-par translation that it shouldn't use because it's so terrible and makes their product or service look bad. After giving our qualified professional opinion (if we are asked to do so), it is up to them to take that advice or not. We are also like the personal stylist who tells you that you don't look good in red with black hair and that you should go back to your natural blond and wear neutral colors, and you won't do it. We are similar to interior designers who tell us that the floral vinyl couch doesn't match the rest of the house, but we don't want to get rid of it. Our point is: we cannot make people do things we want them to do (even if we are right), so perhaps it's time to focus on the things we can change. That would be our attitude, our prices, our clients. etc. If a client is truly terrible, don't work with him or her anymore. If you are not liking the rates you are achieving, raise them. Of course, this comes with some risk, but we all must take risks to succeed, and the level of risk we want to have depends on our personal situation.
So how about it, dear colleagues?. Let's educate our clients without being pedantic, and let's analyze our own behavior and business practices, as those can easily be changed by the only people whose behavior we can truly influence: ourselves.