The Essence of a Freelance Translator

15 May

How do your clients perceive you?

If your friends and colleagues had to describe you in 3 words, what would they say?

I was sat in my meeting with my MA lecturer yesterday, discussing how some people have all of the linguistic skills and confidence to make a success of themselves, but lack the necessary drive. This got me thinking about the indelible impression that we, and our work as linguists, has on the people around us.

So I tried a little experiment. First, I asked my other half: “If you had to describe me in three words, what would you say?”. His response: “motivated, passionate and meticulous” (note: we collaborated on the last one. His actual words were “what’s a good word for pernickety when talking about grammar and spelling?” ;)).

Then, I asked a client that I proofread academic papers for. She said “knowledgable, professional and friendly“. Although I am pleased that my clients (other results pending) see me as a professional and someone they can ask about linguistic queries, I am even more satisfied that my manner and communication is well received. I have tried to make my contact with clients informative but informal from day one, and I am delighted that they recognise that. I am, of course, all for professionalism (after all, I am running a business), but I have never seen why being professional should be stuffy or cold. We all have quirks and individual aspects of our personalities – let’s embrace that.


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