Changing the Conversation on Pricing

by Michael Schubert

What’s in a word? Precious little. We all know that we don’t translate words, or even sentences and paragraphs: We translate content, in all its context. (Worte and not Wörter, for those of you who know German.) And yet, most of us bill our services by the word. Why? And what message does this send?

The why is simple: It’s the easiest way to assess the volume of the task and provide a price in advance. And the message? To our clients, it says we are selling a commodity — the very message that, elsewhere, we keep trying to contradict. To ourselves, the message is that the faster we can translate, the more money we will earn. It incentivizes speed, not quality.

Moving away from word rates toward hourly or project-based fees better reflects how we actually work — and how we want our work to be perceived.

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The Importance of a Good Headshot for Professional Translators and Interpreters

Language is the only barrier to communication in many situations world-wide. However, it is the job of linguists to bridge this gap. In a sense, translators and interpreters can unite the world! What a powerful profession!

Their importance is exactly why it is imperative that professional interpreters and translators let their name — and their skills — be known. Whereas translators and interpreters can work in government offices, courthouses, and other locations, many translators work from home, in call centers, or within various large firms found in global arenas. In many of these positions (and others), these persons are found behind a computer.

The work-life of translators often offers no assistance for booking new projects. After all, being stuck behind a computer means that personal interaction with new people is a rare occurrence. Perhaps that is why so many are turning to social media or personal online websites. Perfecting an online presence can be brutal, but it is necessary for today’s market. And there is no exception for the professional translator and interpreter alike.

So, if you are a translator or an interpreter and you are looking to get your name known in the industry and grow your business, what is the first thing you need?

That’s right—a good headshot! → continue reading

RUNNING A SMALL BUSINESS

Kermit Clum provided valuable money saving financial tips to seminar attendees.

Kermit Clum provided valuable money saving financial tips to seminar attendees.

Translators and interpreters got a crash course in small business management and an in-depth tutorial on financial and tax planning for the independent contractor from Kermit Clum.
BY MARY DENIKE

On  February  23  in  downtown  San Francisco, Kermit  Clum  led  NCTA members  through  a  three-hour  seminar entitled, The Dos and Don’ts of Running a Small Business. Kermit is a CPA and owner of Key Financial  Solutions  in  Redwood City, California.   Over the course of the seminar,  he  addressed  bookkeeping and accounting challenges facing the freelance translator and independent contractor. → continue reading

TAKING THE FEAR OUT OF CONTRACTS

In September, Courtney Searls-Ridge helped NCTA members get an edge on their contract negotiation skills.
BY MARTINA BURKERT

Excellent language skills are essential for freelance translators and interpreters. To be successful, however, good business skills are also necessary. In addition to marketing and negotiation, linguists are required to understand contracts and accurately assess their content, and this dimension is becoming more complex and challenging.

On September 28, 2013, Courtney Searls-Ridge presented a workshop in San Francisco organized by the NCTA to help new and established translators and interpreters develop this aspect of their business. As a former agency owner and current teacher of ethics and business practices for translators and interpreters, Courtney is intimate with the concerns of freelancers as well as T&I agencies. → continue reading

WHAT YOU DO, HOW YOU DO IT

Andrew Crawford led a group of entrepreneurs in a workshop on building their business and their client base.
BY ELIZABETH STOKKEBYE

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I attended Andrew Crawford’s workshop, Techniques for Successful Selling: a new approach to selling to direct clients, on September 28, 2012. Early on, Crawford directed us to define our positioning statement. “First you are brief, telling your client what you do; then you are compelling, describing how you do it; and then you throw the hook, why it has value to your client.” Sounds easy, non? → continue reading

STARTING UP

Michael Schubert provided guidance to a group of language-minded individuals just getting started in translation.
BY RENY VOGT-LOWELL

tl_35-1_web_page20_image12On Saturday, January 26, a dozen or so curious, bilingual (at least) individuals gathered at the San Francisco State University Downtown Campus, seeking guidance and insight in determining how to use their foreign language fluency to find employment in the field of translation. Guidance and insight was provided by Michael Schubert, who led the three and a half hour NCTA sponsored presentation, Getting Started in Translation. Based on his presentation and, more importantly, his impromptu responses to questions raised by the participants, it did not take long for me to realize that Michael was definitely an expert, and that the seminar was on track to meet my expectations. Michael’s interactive style with participants of diverse backgrounds, interests, and motivations led to a very engaging, informative, and entertaining seminar. → continue reading