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We’re asking Andrew about his website as a translation professional but also, inspired by his Standing Out community, we decided to ask him to shed the light on the concept behind his Facebook page and the upcoming Standing Out book…
Different, classy, focused.
For me it always seemed obvious. I wanted a presence, an energy working for me round the clock and around the globe. I knew that quality was the core of a successful business, but I also knew there was little point in having a business that nobody could see. I wanted to showcase what I could do.
Well, in two ways. The less common of the two is that people find me through Google – but given the complexity and competitiveness of SEO, that’s always going to be difficult. To my mind, it’s much more effective as a support when I contact people and direct them myself to my site. So they instantly get an impression of what I can offer that’s both subliminal and conscious.
Most of my clients have been very complimentary. They feel it represents their world (tourism, the arts, culture, academia) and of course their words are featured in the Feedback section, so they possibly feel a certain ownership.
At the beginning, it made me feel like a ‘real’ business, rather than just a freelancer hidden in an attic. I think it brings credibility, legitimacy, and portrays my business in a light that mere words could never achieve.
To my mind, there’s no question. I do know people who claim to be perfectly happy with their existing clients. That’s fine if you’re in a comfortable zone, and quite possibly in the latter half of your career. For anyone starting out these days, it’s a no-brainer. Get a site and get one now.
Well strictly on the client side, I try to stand out by giving outstanding service – a combination of quality work, hyper-efficiency and friendly support.
But the very concept of ‘Standing Out’is developing a life of its own, and of course in the case of my Facebook page, the target is the translation community itself. I think it’s different on a few levels from other similar blogs or even fora. First of all because it offers a holistic philosophy of being a translator rather than just tips; second because it seems to have generated a real and distinctive community; and third because it has an unashamedly upbeat focus which embraces life with all its ups and downs, taking even the difficult aspects and turning them into fuel and learning, all with a dash of humour.
It first came about when I began to post on the Watercooler forum and realised that what I said seemed to be resonating with some people. That gave me the courage to start a page, and since then it’s been a question of building up an entire philosophy, with huge help from readers – whether in terms of challenges or questions – which have forced me to join the dots between various experiences and formulate a real approach to translation, and to life itself. It’s now going to become a book of course and I have a funny feeling this is just the beginning.
As to the relevance, well you’d have to ask the readers. Every single piece of feedback I’ve ever had – even from critics – includes some variation on the word ‘inspiration’: inspiring, inspirational, inspired etc. That’s good enough for me. It’s the job of the readers themselves to take that energy and apply it to their own lives, all of which are different, with a million subtle variables.
I think first of all it should be authentic – i.e. reflect the unique contribution that translator has to make.
The text itself should also be crisp, concise and engaging. There’s no point having a superb visual side if the text drags and is flabby or boring.
And finally, It should also be perfectly balanced – a mixture of attraction or seduction and reassurance, so that the client is both excited and secure, with a sense of curiosity and yet knowing that they’re in good hands.