It was almost 14 years ago that I started offering my services in translation and interpretation field. At first, it came as a surprise, where I would pop into a conversation and help out to those who had a communication barrier problem. Later on, I learned how to live of it.
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I have always had a daily job and the translation was just a ‘thing’ I did as a hobby, but paid my vacancies in addition to being a pleasure – basically, it was a double pleasure. Through translation, I was able to learn many things and meet many interesting people that I would not otherwise had a chance to do.
Then – a long intro, to come to the point – I left my native country and went to work abroad. Lost most of the contracts in the translation business, and did translation only to my regular clients. Returning to the home country was kind of a shock – number of translators grew, not many people did specialisation in languages and fields, everyone did everything – it was chaos. I tried hopping in, lost almost a year refusing jobs (because I was not too comfortable with the specific field) and finding out that people did not care too much!
I realised that there was a large need to educate those looking for translators. We – the translators – had to help them – employers – get the best service for their requirements. I was ready to start the struggle! Marketing specialised kind of services was not easy; people thought that they did not really need different person for different terminology; they felt uncomfortable when I would offer them a colleague who was better than me in a specific field… It was a nightmare!
I guess many professional agencies have faced the same situation before – this thing that I am going through now. I guess, this must have been the path they went through on their way of realising that they needed to become an agency providing it all. People tend to link themselves to one identity – be it a person, or an agency, as long as it is just one. We are a small society, where changes happen very slowly – specialised translation service is one of those (to illustrate what I mean: only some 5% of entrepreneurs use all IT can offer).
So, we started with free seminars for employers. So far, we held only two, but have 30 companies interested in attending the courses in the future. We show them what a simultaneous and consecutive interpretation look like, we explain what is a ‘charge per word’, how ‘big’ is one page, how should they call for offers. We show them examples that show the importance in using translators with specific knowledge and experience in the field they require. We help them!
But… the help does not end there! We actually help ourselves, as 65% of attendees from our first two seminars, came to look for our translation and interpretation services. We give them discount – because they attended the seminar, and we are all happy with it!