Become a Team Player
Being a team player in the translation industry means being capable of professionally working with other people around you. Even a translator working out of a cabin out of a forest somewhere will be interacting with at least a project manager. Translators who have a minimum of people skills will have more clients, enjoy a better relationship with his colleagues and help improve the quality of the end translation.
Each translator has their own personality with different traits and skills when it comes to team work. However, for the sake of illustrating the difference we will talk about two hypotethical translators: (A) The "Go To Translator" and the (B) "Cantankerous Translator".
(A) Go To Translator
Is a professional a client can rely on. We are talking not only meeting deadlines, which is actually the least a professional should do, but someone who will understand when a client pushes for a demanding deadline or ask for that "extra mile" in your work.
The Go To Translator won't be complaining about every time a project manager is unable to conduct a project as schedule. This translator understands when payment for their invoices take a few additional days instead of starting yelling for payment on the morning after an invoice has become past due.
(B) Cantankerous Translator
This translator will make a big deal out of every opportunity for them to do so. "Well, we are supposed to deliver by the deadline, right? Why don't you apply the same standard to your accounts payable" they will say. They fail to see that some clients will delay payments to the translation agency for weeks, some for months. Of course this is not the translator's problem, but cash-flow issues do happen every now and then in the translation industry. Trying to be a little more understanding will be a great competitive advantage for any translator. This is the most important take home here. There is a lot of competition out there. Besides your technical skills, knowing how to work a little bit better with your clients will do wonders for your career.
Top 5 Tips for Being a Good Team Member
- Don't cherry pick translation assignments. You know that your clients need consistency in their translations, so if you keep declining projects to a client chances are they will look for another translator
- Support other people in your team with positive feedback. Even when something needs correction, you can bring attention to that in a more positive way
- Share information and resources with your team. It is startling that some translators won't make use of communication to improve their work and the quality of their translations. Communicate, ask questions and go out of your way to help others
- Stay flexible. Things change and the best translators will know how to be flexible and adapt. These winner translators don't fight change. They actually see change (e.g.: CAT Tools) as an opportunity to grow their experience and further develop their business
- Be reliable. Again, this is the minimum someone should expect from a professional. Still, just by delivering what you promised, you will be already ahead of many translators who don't respect deadlines or, worse, deliver a poor quality translation after dashing at the last minute with their work