Friday, May 08, 2009

Not the Talking Breed

A charming comment from Corinne McKay's web log

"At the recent Colorado Translators Association marketing workshop, Judy Jenner asked us to get into small groups and discuss the selling points of our freelance businesses. There was a moment of terrified silence, and then a small voice in the front of the room said “Can’t I just post it to the CTA e-mail list?” Talking…selling…groups of people…all things that many translators are terrified of. By contrast, many of the interpreters I met at the CAPI meeting could charmingly chat up a potted palm tree and pass it a few business cards in the course of the conversation. It was a really interesting chance to “cross the aisle” of the language profession and get a sense of what many interpreters’ daily work consists of."

Ok, it isn't that bad here yet. Or is it? Who talks most at my workshops? The interpreters? And they are truly disadvantaged in Australia, where the majority of work is government-based community interpreting (no Obama, not even Kevin 747) and where they are underpaid and could possibly end up talking to a pot plant for very different reasons. And the translators? Well, there are those that talk, and those that sit with arms folded, absorbing. There are also those who - like the unnamed entity in Canberra - fall asleep with their mouth wide open during the presentation. I assume you get your PD points regardless to whether you are there in mind and body, or just in body.

I remember many years ago a colleague telling me all translators are sociopaths. Of course that is a huge load of crap, but they do tend to be less extroverted than the interpreters. And those among the writing breed who are into social interaction soon end up working also as interpreters, to get away from the isolation of the screen-human environment.

Looking into my own soul - and I show many others how to market themselves - there seems to be a huge psychological block to talking about myself to potential clients, a sort of awkwardness that disappears when I am in the teaching seat, or blogging, or with colleagues I am comfortable with. I know it is social (nice ladies don't brag), but I wish it wasn't there. I wish, also, Corinne would add a chapter to her book about overcoming it :-D

For all your English to Arabic and vice versa translations that will help you expand your business into the Middle East visit Arabic Language Experts at

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