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Networking - what does it mean to you?
Thread poster: Fiona Grace Peterson

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:48
Member
Italian to English
Dec 24, 2014

Networking. A concept that comes up again and again - on the forums, at conferences. Most people probably think it's important, most probably do it, in one way or another.

But when it comes right down to it, what does networking mean to you? How do you do it? Do you quake at the thought of a "networking dinner", or do you savour the thought?

Interested to hear your thoughts, as always!


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Paola Battagliarini  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:48
English to Italian
+ ...
Networking Dec 24, 2014

Hi Fiona,

to me, networking means meeting my colleagues - usually people from my professional association, AITI, at events organized by AITI itself, be it meetings, courses or the like - and use the time to get to know each other, exchange ideas and useful information abuot our profession, but not limited to this: I really enjoy meeting other people and discover the person beyond the role, their interests etc. I have never tried to expand networking beyond this circle of colleagues, though sometimes I think I ought to!

Paola


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
A Lot Dec 25, 2014

To me, networking means a lot. It is how I get the vast majority of my work, through clients and colleagues who give me work or references. In that way my services are pre-sold: no tests, no CVs, no interviews, no background checks... just "can you help me?" And my reply is, "of course". I deliver the goods, and the word gets around.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Networking - what does it mean to you? Dec 25, 2014

Q. Networking - what does it mean to you?
A. Something people used to do in the 1980s.


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Ben Senior  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:48
German to English
Networking is a way of life Dec 25, 2014

I totally agree with Henry. I get all of my work through networking and have never had to do any marketing to find work. I have more than enough to do and actually turn jobs down because I just can't fit them in. But a network needs to be cared for and should it be neglected it can very quickly disappear.

@ Tom:
You are so wrong, or perhaps you don't have a network.


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Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 14:48
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Quote Dec 25, 2014

"I've found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances. Be more active. Show up more often."

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Andrea Halbritter  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:48
French to German
+ ...
I do a lot of networking Dec 25, 2014

I do quite a lot of networking to get as much direct clients as possible. I am part of several business clubs and very active on the net and get most of my work this way.

I also organize meetings of translators and language trainers to exchange experiences in the language industry and also to know people I can cooperate with e. g. when I get multilingual projects.

[Modifié le 2014-12-25 17:43 GMT]


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 20:48
Chinese to English
In person and online Dec 26, 2014

I network on here - Kudoz and the forums are good places to chat and to get a feel for who you might want to work with. And meetings where I see other translators are good networking opportunities. I don't think I've ever met clients directly through networking. It's always that I know a translator who happens to know a client who's looking for X and I fit the bill; or the other way around.

As with Henry and Tyke, many of my best jobs come through networking. High value clients often don't like doing cattle calls, so recommendations are the best way to get in touch with them.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:48
Member
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
You have opened my eyes Dec 26, 2014

Tom in London wrote:

Q. Networking - what does it mean to you?
A. Something people used to do in the 1980s.


So I guess as the Berlin Wall crashed down, the need for translators to make themselves and their services known to colleagues and customers came down with it.

Thank you for enlightening me, Tom. Better late than never. Had I known before, I would not have started this thread.

Still, the other colleagues who have kindly taken time to reply seem able to move with the times.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Definitely a lot Dec 26, 2014

Henry Hinds wrote:

To me, networking means a lot. It is how I get the vast majority of my work, through clients and colleagues who give me work or references. In that way my services are pre-sold: no tests, no CVs, no interviews, no background checks... just "can you help me?" And my reply is, "of course". I deliver the goods, and the word gets around.


Some additional tips for any translator about to get started on networking.

Contrary to what some people might think, it's NOT mutual between people, i.e. tit-for-tat, but mutual between each network member and the network itself as a whole.

Let me illustrate with three different settings within my networking ops.

Outbound. I don't translate medical stuff, i.e. intended for MDs and other med pros. I have two friends/colleagues who specialize in medical, and work the same language pair I do. Any such request, I divert the client directly to them.

These two, AFAICR haven't ever sent a job my way. In fact, they also operate in my #1 specialty, HR T&D, mostly for pharma industries, which is a natural outcome. In case of trouble with management terminology or wording, I help them over Skype; likewise, if I stumble on medical wording trouble, I ask them for help.

I have the same setup for other areas [u]and languages[/i] I don't serve.

Inbound. Some colleagues, for instance, don't translate video for dubbing or subtitling. Some translate for subtitling, however they don't do time-spotting, burning, and/or DVD authoring.

They either refer the job to me (most often), or outsource to me the parts they don't cover.

For instance, one legal translator, she is government-sworn like me, but she doesn't do video. In fact, she told me that she asks her husband to put the disk in the player when she wants to watch a DVD at home. I never sent a job her way, however many video clients came to me on her recommendation.

Neutral. I have a colleague, government-sworn like me, a friend for several decades, who happens to be my neighbor. Same building, she is only two floors below. Though our general translation areas covered are quite different, for sworn translation it makes no difference at all. So we dump excess demand on each other all the time and, most of all, cover for each other when either one leaves on vacation.

Technically, from the network, we'd be seen as one, since there is some chance that whatever the networks throws at either of us - if it's a sworn translation - will be done by the other.

This is just a technicality, to explain cases when two or more translators get associated in some way, i.e. requests to one may be served by the other, and vice-versa. I mean, if both are networked, this may leverage their interface they have with the network.


Bottom line is that participants throw whatever jobs they can't or won't do at specific people (the best match, in their opinion) in their network, and likewise other network members will throw jobs at them when a specific network member is deemed the best match for it.

So "gratefulness" and "payback" is always to the network as a whole, and not to specific members. No finder's fees, etc. Of course, any network member causing any kind of trouble will be automatically ostracized.


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luattrihung
Vietnam
You have opened my eyes Dec 29, 2014

Fiona Peterson wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

Q. Networking - what does it mean to you?
A. Something people used to do in the 1980s.


So I guess as the Berlin Wall crashed down, the need for translators to make themselves and their services known to colleagues and customers came down with it.

Thank you for enlightening me, Tom. Better late than never. Had I known before, I would not have started this thread.

Still, the other colleagues who have kindly taken time to reply seem able to move with the times.


i think so!


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:48
Danish to English
+ ...
Terra incognita Dec 29, 2014

Apart from online exchanges with peers whom I have never met, and probably will never meet, I don't think I have been involved in any 'networking' for years. Definitely not since I went self-employed.

I have friends who also happen to be translators, but I hate using the term 'networking' for our relationships. And I have business relationships that lead to work in either direction, but again, I wouldn't call that 'networking'. That's just me doing business.

In my view, maybe not entirely unlike Tom's thinking, 'networking' is a bit of a 'pop' word that makes me cringe and feel quite uncomfortable. I don't mind meeting new people, and I don't mind going to events (correction: I wouldn't mind going to translation-related or business events if there were any within a reasonable distance of where I live), but to go with the intent of 'networking' is alien to me.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:48
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Cast your bread upon the waters... Dec 29, 2014

... and the ducks will probably eat it. Who wants soggy bread anyway?

But funnily enough, although I don't do much deliberate networking, I do benefit enormously from meeting colleagues and exchanging whatever people want to exchange.

I missed the annual Danish powwow last September, and was really sorry. I am really hoping to get to Copenhagen for a demo in January, and hope I meet some interesting people as well as showing my solidarity.

What you call it may be outdated, but the actual business of meeting with like-minded people and picking up new ideas is quite important to me.


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Michael Marcoux  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:48
Russian to English
+ ...
Talking about what you do, all the time Jan 26, 2015

Life is a numbers game, and you have to play to win. I've met some of my best clients in the oddest of places. I met my favorite, highest paying, and most reliable client on a commuter train. Ironically, I meet very few clients at actual networking events. That's what happens when you stuff a room full of INFJs, I guess.

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Tiffany Hardy  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:48
Spanish to English
Networking is making friends. Jan 26, 2015

Put simply, networking to me is making friends.

I can choose to make friends with other professionals in my field or make friends with people who might at some point need my services. But the first intention must be to simply make friends. It's the only way networking has ever really worked for me.

I have never gotten work from someone at a conference I handed a business card to after having a three minute conversation. I have gotten most of my work from real friends in my network, people who have grown to appreciate and trust me as a person before having any business with me at all.

Small anecdote to describe what networking is to me: I went to a local American Women's Club meeting in my area and got word there was another translator there, so I decided I wanted to meet her, with no self-interest other than to meet someone in my line of work. We chatted, exchanged numbers, met for coffee and lunch several times and talked about translation among many other things. We became real friends. Since then she has repeatedly referred clients to me and some of my best clients have come through her. And she's still a great friend. That's networking!

The key is not meeting as many people as possible and giving out your business cards to everyone. If you really want to use it as a tool to get work, the key is to look for friends where there might be work, but make your goal to make friends and nothing more. Friends take time to meet with each other, they add each other on facebook (yes, real friends do), they talk about things other than work, they try to look for opportunities to lend a hand if they can. Otherwise, in my opinion, it's not networking, it's sales.

[Edited at 2015-01-26 12:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2015-01-26 12:24 GMT]


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