Keep it Simple

Every profession comes with its own sets of rules, standards and industry-specific jargon, and translation and interpreting are no exception. We go to great lengths to avoid using high-level terminology that might or might not mean anything to the potential client. We feel that it's our job to explain the process to clients in as simple a language as we can.

Put yourself in the customer's shoes: when you get a speeding ticket, you don't want the attorney you hire to take care of it to bombard you with acronyms and stuff you don't understand. All you want to know is what you need to do to get the ticket off your record. We feel the same way about our roles in clients' lives: we want to solve their problems as opposed to making things more complicated by showing off (intentionally or not) jargon that's meaningless to clients. This seems like a no-brainer, but it's amazing how many service providers cannot get themselves to explain processes in a simple, straight-forward way (several of our CPAs come to mind here). When dealing with your own clients, our advice is to make things as easy on them as possible -- after all, they are not translators or interpreters, and they don't need to be: that's why they have you.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this!


Rosemary W. Dann, Esq. said...

I'm with you, 100 o/o . Eschew obfuscation!! ;-)


Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on February 27, 2012 at 9:18 PM said...

@Rosemary: thanks for commenting. We bet you are an attorney who can explain things without using too much legalese, huh? ;)

Anonymous said...

Once again, the Dagmar sisters have really hit the nail on the head! I think we translators can be so immersed in our own world and love translation so much that we forget there are people out there who don't even realize that translation is an industry

In my experience, most clients consider translation merely a necessity, like getting the copier fixed. They want someone who can take a file off their hands and come back in a week with the finished product -- they want to set it and forget it!

Andie said...

I just submitted a comment to your "Keep it Simple" blog post but I accidentally hit enter before I was ready. My name should appear as "Andie" if you are able to change it. Thanks!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on March 19, 2012 at 9:07 AM said...

@Andie: thanks for your comment! Unfortunately, we cannot edit comments, only approve/delete, so we just approved both your comments. And you are so right: customers want their language problems solved, and we are all here to do it for them.

Join the conversation! Commenting is a great way to become part of the translation and interpretation community. Your comments don’t have to be overly academic to get published. We usually publish all comments that aren't spam, self-promotional or offensive to others. Agreeing or not agreeing with the issue at hand and stating why is a good way to start. Social media is all about interaction, so don’t limit yourself to reading and start commenting! We very much look forward to your comments and insight. Let's learn from each other and continue these important conversations.

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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