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Poll: Professionally, how often do you step out of your comfort zone?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:23
SITE STAFF
Jul 19, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Professionally, how often do you step out of your comfort zone?".

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Anna Wiman  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 15:23
Member
German to Swedish
+ ...
Sometimes (but beware!) Jul 19, 2013

Just yesterday I turned down a job because I knew that the subject was out of my league. The risk of failing was simply too big. It's truly irresponsible to take on jobs when one suspects that a) one will have to work like a maniac all day and pull an all-nighter on top of that to even get close to some sort of quality before deadline and b) the end result won't be very good anyway because the job was way out of one's comfort zone in the first place. It's just not worth it and it's definately not fair to the client.

On the other hand, accepting jobs that are a bit out of my comfort zone and not even close to my area of specialization, still sometimes lead me to getting the opportunity to learn something new! Some subjects might be intimidating at first, but turn out to be easier than expected to wrap one's head around... and you'll ask yourself "Why didn't I try this before?"


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Often - over the years Jul 19, 2013

That's how I learn new stuff.

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:23
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 19, 2013

Quite often at the beginning of my career, frequently over the years and hardly ever nowadays, but if the project looks interesting enough I might be willing to…

 

Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
ditto Jul 19, 2013

Teresa Borges wrote:

Quite often at the beginning of my career, frequently over the years and hardly ever nowadays, but if the project looks interesting enough I might be willing to…


 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:23
English
+ ...
Same here. Jul 19, 2013

Gilla Evans wrote:

Teresa Borges wrote:

Quite often at the beginning of my career, frequently over the years and hardly ever nowadays, but if the project looks interesting enough I might be willing to…


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Frequently because... Jul 19, 2013

...my Swissball where I sit on is my comfort zone.

 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
You don't learn if you don't risk it Jul 19, 2013

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

That's how I learn new stuff.


If I had stayed with my main specialization (law, legal), I would have never remained a translator.

An inclination to learn how things work in the most minute details has been my constant companion. That I find writing about it quite enjoyable, whether it's a health care benefits page or a quick install brochure, doesn't hurt.


 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 09:23
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Look before you leap! Jul 19, 2013

I answered sometimes. As has already been pointed out, at some time in your translation career, if you don't take risks and explore new fields, you have no way of growing. However, after discovering the fields I perform best in and also like the most (business and law), I have pretty much stuck to them. Even so, there are always going to be surprises. A legal document can contain technical terminology and a website can market medical equipment, which may include isolated medical terminology.

It is therefore necessary to define what comfort zone means to you. To me, it means not having to look up many terms and a maximum of two or three serious doubts per document whose answers I could find within a few hours either via my own resources or asking a KudoZ question. At present, I would be hard-pressed to leave my comfort zone because I have enough work in my fields of specialization, and I know what it means to risk my reputation, not to mention earning less because it takes longer to accomplish jobs outside my comfort zone.


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sometimes Jul 19, 2013

I used to only work in legal/business contracts, but one day I saw video game translation job. I loved it, the client loved it, and I think that there's a statue of me somewhere in Ukraine because of it. If not, I'll start working on one now that I can ship to them.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:23
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Sometimes Jul 19, 2013

It was basically due to long-standing clients that I set out to explore new fields, mainly to accommodate them.icon_smile.gif Except for one time (I am not a sports fan at all), I enjoyed the new fields and have learned quite a lot over the past years.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But I took the chance and regret it.icon_wink.gif


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:23
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
loads of times! Jul 19, 2013

I knew stuff about dressmaking and on the strength of that accepted some work in fashion and textiles, which is now my main source of income.

On the strength of that, I have since branched out into jewellery, watches, perfume, footwear, cosmetics...

On the strength of the cosmetics I have also branched out into skincare and herbal medicine, aromatherapy and organic produce.

On the strength of the organic produce I have branched out into sustainable development. Not necessarily out of my comfort zone in that I buy organic produce and fair-trade groceries whenever possible, but it was still a new challenge professionally.

I have done all sorts of stuff for TV even though I only ever watch the news on it.

Like Thayenga I have sometimes accepted work outside my comfort zone for long-standing clients, spurred by their confidence in me, and ended up enjoying it.

I didn't manage to get into the stuff about landfills, far too technical, and I have often had to research specific fields like crazy. Like the one for the company specialising in boxes used to ship works of art for itinerant exhibitions. I had never realised how many different sorts of boxes, handles, clasps etc there could be. I would never want to work at a place like that, I would be screaming with boredom after three days, but the time it took to do the translation and research the names of the various boxes handles and clasps, I was fascinated.

Nowadays I have plenty of work in my comfort zone but I will occasionally try my hand at something new, just to see whether I can still do things I don't normally do. As I'm getting older I am increasingly loathe to try anything new and I'm surprised to see that I enjoy little routines now, whereas I always hated the idea of routine before. So I like to set myself little challenges just so my former self would not be ashamed of meicon_wink.gif


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Never Jul 19, 2013

I never have to step out of my comfort zone, I'm in control. However, professionally my comfort zone is quite large.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
One example Jul 19, 2013

Financial material was a black hole in my résumé until the World Bank approached me. They have become my best client, and much of the work they send me turns out to be in my comfort zone. If I hadn't taken that leap and been willing to learn, my earnings picture would be entirely different today.

 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:23
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Often Jul 19, 2013

I think it's important to step out of your comfort zone from time to time - it's a great way to learn. It is also important, however, to recognise when it is sensible to do so and when it is not.

 
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