Clients, why do they come to you?

Santiago de Compostela is a cathedral city and the ending point of arguably the leading pilgrimage in Europe. Pilgrims set out from all over the continent aiming to celebrate St. James (Jacob) on 25 July at the church. As a pilgrim, there is one rule you cannot break: you have to walk it. All of it. Needless to say, you’ve got to have a pretty good reason for pledging to leg it for hundreds or thousands of kilometres to north-western Spain. You’ve also got to have a plan to make sure you arrive by the 25th, whatever happens on the way.

Problem is, ‘a clear reason and a good plan’ are only to be found in the determined few. The vast majority of us like the idea of a happy end, but aren’t prepared for the pain involved in getting from A (=now) to B (=crossing the line). We need guidance, assistance and reassurance all along the way, too. That’s where you come in, skipper.

Richly rewarding though it ultimately is for clients, intercultural communication is very often an uncomfortable, sometimes even a painful journey. Aspiring pilgrims come to you because, deep down, they need you to lead them calmly and be SAFE = Skipper Accepting Fee for Effectiveness.

Recently I coached a surgeon for his first ever professional appraisal, a vital condition for keeping his UK licence valid. He was crystal clear about his desired point B: to work in the UK. I interviewed him, prepared his Curriculum Vitae, translated his evidence, briefed him and submitted everything on time to the licensing authority. Nice’n’sunny, the perfect wind in our sails.

Then, out of a clear blue sky, the ride got bumpy.

The good doctor called the UK regulator – without me knowing – and was careless with his syntax and tenses. “Would do freelance work” was understood by the General Medical Council’s bureaucrat as “I do freelance work.” They latched on to that lapse of language to dispute his entire record. And I spent 3 months working to support my client’s good name.

At times like that, even you skipper-translators may take it personally. Resentment and insecurity may tempt you to become overly friendly with your clients – a sort of alliance against the common enemy. Resist the urge. Instead, your radiating composure will be your client’s true solace. They don’t need a pal. They need a skipper.

As for your legitimate feelings of frustration? Well, that’s time for connecting with your team. But that’s a story for another day.

By our Keynote Speaker F.Fotopoulos

Intercultural communication: a boat trip for your clients.

Intercultural communication is like a boat trip for your clients. They know the point of departure and have a vague idea of where they want to end up. The bit in between is your job: getting them there and doing it while leaving positive memories behind, whatever the weather.

What does it take to be a good skipper?

According to this commonsense article in Yachting World – and they should know – a good skipper

  • communicates clearly
  • stays calm and confident
  • promotes fairness and listens to their team (treats them with respect)
  • is cheerfully available at all times, whenever called
  • acts decisively.

Sounds daunting, but it’s only describing time-honoured client-to-translator communication really. That’s all it is.

In today’s blog article, I’ll look at clarity of communication at the crucial opening stage. This boils down to telling your client the bad news first, without overstating or sounding dramatic.

As a skipper-translator you’re often put on the back foot by your clients right from the start. The phone rings and a brisk-sounding voice tells you that they already know everything about the boat, the destination, and yachting in general, so all they need from you is how much for the trip.

That kind of loaded early communication can get anyone’s wires crossed, particularly when you’re physically or mentally tired. Aren’t you tempted to just play along and give them a price? Of course you are. Don’t. More likely than not, they haven’t a clue what they are talking about.

My experience from interacting with seasoned and senior professionals from the Healthcare industry is that status and experience matter little – what everyone wants, is their translator to ask lots and lots of questions. Questioning brings the true, deeper purpose for the journey to the surface – and that’s going to make all the difference for them and for you. They will benefit from having their preconceived ideas about the journey challenged. And you will benefit from bypassing price – because now you’re talking value.

Congratulations. You’ve just shifted the discussion from price to value. That’s the perfect starting point for a pleasant boat trip.

So, how do you stay calm when the trip isn’t going well? “Calm and confident” will be my next blog post. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts here…

By our Keynote speaker Fotis Fotopoulos,

How did this all start

How did this all start

In August 2017 there was a call for papers for the Elia Together conference which would take place in Athens in February 2018, and with my good friend Vilelmini we decided to send out an abstract. The abstract was based on the idea that SMEs, especially in small countries like Greece, do not take full advantage of the digital channels of marketing and localization experts and as a result they lag behind in the increasingly globalised digital world.

We were determined to prove our point, so we designed and disseminated several questionnaires among SMEs and translators. We were lucky to receive valuable feedback from SMEs and mostly from colleague translators who were quick to help and answer all our questions. Their willingness and collaborative spirit simply prove how awesome people translators are!

In February, Elia Together arrived and we presented the results of our study. The feedback we received was amazing, and many colleagues have written to us saying how interesting this all was.
We were over the moon, but after the stardust has settled, I started thinking: “Wait a minute, there is a missed opportunity here and we should do something about it!”. Vilelmini was more than supportive! She was really encouraging!

And here I am! After 5 months of intensive work, I am proud to present you DiMeTra.Academy.

The aim was to gather top academics and professionals not only from the translation industry, but also from the areas of Media, Business, Marketing and IT and start filling the gap. The aim is help translators reinvent themselves and make the most of their abilities, skills and potential, our aim is to help them take advantage of the digital world and help themselves and other professionals hack into their growth!

And we want to do that in a fun way!
This is why we have put together a programme which brings together top professionals who can teach us how to achieve all that on the basis of a hands-on project where we can apply all the new knowledge. And what is more, the bootcamp will take place at a most unexpected venue with a magical view of the best that Athens has to offer and coupled with a fun after-bootcamp schedule, our Bootcamp Social.

You can download the presentation from which this all has started here:  SMALL-is-the-new-big. (520 downloads)

We are really looking forward to seeing you there!

Maria Sgourou @ DiMeTra Academy

Become empowered and unleash your creative powers! How? Transcreate!

When businesses wish to sell their products or services abroad, they necessarily cross cultural boundaries and often linguistic boundaries. This is by no means an easy task. The success or failure of their endeavor depends, among others, on the realisation that customers abroad buy their products and services for completely different reasons than those in the home market. For that reason, they have to adapt their messages and content accordingly. This is possible through a process which is most commonly known as “transcreation”, “multilingual copywriting” or “multilingual content creation”. What all these terms refer to is a process whereby new content is created or adapted for a specific target audience, rather than translated directly from the original version (Ray and Kelly, 2010). Web campaigns, ads, social media text are among the genres that require transcreation.

And you know what? Transcreation cannot be performed by machines. And it will stay this way. Machines lack the cultural sensitivity and creativity connected with multilingual content creation . So, humans are and will always stay central in the process.

Think about it. Are you ready to take centre stage and dive into this new world of opportunities?

By our WonderWoman Vilelmini Sosoni

“Goodbye Language Industry, Google Wants Your TMs, Why SDL Bought Donnelley”

Τhis is today’s newsletter title sent out by Slator.

Call me nuts but I really don’t believe that translation is only about machine translation, Google, SDL and the like.

What I do believe in, though, is the power of communication beyond machines and automated processes.

As a matter of fact, I believe in communication and messages initiated by human beings and addressing human beings.

I believe translators can be game changers, so much more so in a niche called SMEs – Small and Medium Sized Enterprises. This niche needs our help and expertise in the process of becoming global. And this kind of help is definitely not offered by machines.

It involves upscaling our services, upgrading our knowledge and polishing our soft skills to become a trusted and strategic partner for all businesses wishing to go global and grow beyond their country’s borders.

By our SuperConnector Maria Sgourou