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Off topic: Hard skills, soft skills, mindset
Thread poster: Andrew Morris

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
TOPIC STARTER
That and... Apr 29

Kay Denney wrote:

If you mean being able to take comments gracefully and admitting that sometime the client might come up with something better than you, and knows their line of business better than you, yes that's important.


That's certainly part of it. I've had some excellent revisers down the years and have often found their solutions (with fresh eyes) better than what I came up with after staring at a paragraph for hours on end.

But for me that forms part of a wider picture, as I may have said above, of realising that there are two humans involved in this interaction, on both sides of the equation. And that what most of us want is an easy life and to get through the day without too much hassle.

So again, humble is neither obsequious nor doormat-ish (in the way I meant it, I think, when I first wrote it) – it's just being empathic.


P.L.F.Persio
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:30
German to English
+ ...
getting at things (Andrew) Apr 29

Andrew Morris wrote:

Thanks for your comment, Kay. It’s great to be assertive and by humble I certainly don’t mean being pushed around by unscrupulous clients, either direct or agency. So I agree with you.

I meant it more in the sense of awareness of my role as a service provider, not god’s gift to the client.

I know many of my clients personally and I see a human, not a profit-seeking taskmaster, on the other side of the equation, which helps me keep perspective in business.

The term "humble", of course, is relatively vague and can be understood variously, but even "role as service provider" is rather general. In the other parts of your post, "god's gift" and "taskmaster", I am wondering whether the whole "humble" thing is actually a general and broad neutral idea, or whether in fact it may be a reaction to a few of the posts and to be sussed out in that light?

In how I see my "role as service provider", humbleness must fall away in the sense that I have the expertise and responsibility, and if the client asks me to do something silly, I won't be "humble" because "the customer is boss" - because I take responsibility, I trust my expertise, and the client's wish will hurt the client's endeavour - plus hurt my reputation. Similarly if an agency wants me to take a shortcut that will hurt the client, I don't say to myself, "that's their client, so who cares"? There is the added fact that when I provide a certified translation,my name and certifying number are on the stamp and letterhead!

The professionalism is the same as the doctor not prescribing sugary snacks to a diabetic's diet, because the patient loves glazed doughnuts. He is not being arrogant, but he cares for the welfare of his client, and ultimately respects him.

Otoh, I respect my client's expertise in his own field, tell him so, and the translation is a close collaboration and consultation, when the work calls for it. I still wouldn't call this "humble". It is just how professionals interact with others.

Kay has an important point about female translators. Many of us, esp. of the older generations, have been socialized to be accommodating, of service without asking much or anything in return. Our vocabulary has had to move from, "Do you think that maybe..." "I feel that..." to assertive straightforward statements that may seem blunt; to not feel guilty quoting a price that reflects the value of our work, etc. We have had to move away from "humble" in order for it to be more in balance; to be respected and taken seriously. I'm lucky to have a rather neutral name gender-wise. There are still preconceptions and expectations out there.

Erm, what was the topic?

[Edited at 2019-04-29 15:29 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-04-29 15:29 GMT]


Kay Denney
Kaspars Melkis
P.L.F.Persio
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
TOPIC STARTER
Collaboration, consultation, cooperation Apr 29

@Maxi, the topic was in a sense whether all of this talk of service etc. etc. is just "fluff" as some people see it, or whether these things count.

Is it just the crystalline clarity of our texts that wins us clients, or all the extra, human stuff? Does being concerned with service make you a bad translator who has to make up for lack of quality?

To me, the answer is obviously no. This job is about words, but it's also about people.

Unless we want to spen
... See more
@Maxi, the topic was in a sense whether all of this talk of service etc. etc. is just "fluff" as some people see it, or whether these things count.

Is it just the crystalline clarity of our texts that wins us clients, or all the extra, human stuff? Does being concerned with service make you a bad translator who has to make up for lack of quality?

To me, the answer is obviously no. This job is about words, but it's also about people.

Unless we want to spend our entire lives working for agencies (and why not?), never interacting with a direct client. Always an option of course.

My own guess is that a translator, however expert and proficient, who approaches direct clients in an adversarial manner (allowing for the odd mishap) will certainly not do as well as they otherwise could.

Because the world is messy, people get late, they panic, they need help in a fix, and those people who step up to the plate in those situations will end up with more and more clients.

Always assuming they can do the actual translation bit of course...
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