64 page publication – Effective differentiation may be the single most important factor (aside from language skills) in determining the success of your career as a professional translator.
It’s a strong statement to be sure. You might be skeptical of its truth (and that’s fair at this stage). Still in this course I will provide you with some things to consider that will lead you in the direction of realizing the immense power of the principle of differentiation. It’s something every professional marketer already knows about. You as a professional freelance translator can use it to your advantage too.
If you stick with the course, I’ll provide you with a framework that will allow you to determine the best differentiation strategy for you as a freelance translator. No one can do this entirely for you, but I can help guide your thinking, so you can draw your own conclusions and ultimately reach some important decisions. You can also use this framework throughout your career since changes in the marketplace may necessitate adjustments along the way.
The title of the first lesson, “Differentiate or Die” may be hyperbole to an extent, although it’s only somewhat so. Translators who do not successfully differentiate themselves and their services in the marketplace are likely to struggle. As a result, they might eventually conclude that the field of language services is not for them. What a shame!
There is a virtual sea of translators living around the world and working in the language services industry (or aspiring to). They often promote themselves as “native speakers,” “talented,” “having a passion for language,” and in the process do virtually nothing to separate themselves from other translators in the field. What translators are not these things?
Professional translators are highly skilled with language. Their services are in demand. They’re typically exceptionally intelligent.
Most are also awful at marketing and lack awareness of the fundamentally essential principle of differentiation. They take marketing advice from other translators. Would a professional marketer look to another marketer for translation services? It’s unlikely. And if they did they’d surely be disappointed.
When results don’t come they’re encouraged with glib, hollow statements like “be persistent” and “it takes time.” Persistence and patience may be good personal attributes, but persistently and patiently doing ineffective things (and potentially even stupid things) isn’t a path to advance one’s professional prospects.
Sadly, what holds many professional translators back in their profession has nothing to do with their ability to perform their core skill of professional translation work.