Business Wise

Presented on behalf of AUSIT by Sam Berner Arabic Language Experts www.arabic.com.au

Sam Berner 
 

Successful translator, writer, publisher, trainer, mentor 26 years experience in translation and managing business (getting old) Director of Arabic Language Services, a cultural consultancy and language service provider for exporters and businesses targeting Arabic-speaking clients.

The Helix Ladder
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Think where you want to go Plan Research Prepare Market ACT Go back to step (1) to grow to next level

So where do I start?
Here.. on two fronts: Inside You (Introspection) With Others (Networks)

Some Introspection 
          

How did I become a translator/interpreter? Why did/do I want to I become one? Why did I stay in this profession? Is this the thing I love doing best? Is this the thing I want to be doing in 5 years? Is it giving me personal satisfaction? Is it helping me grow? Do I think of doing something else? How do others perceive what I do? How do I perceive what I do? What are my strong points? Do I need to learn more? What? How? Where?

How do I perceive myself? 
 



Your brain HEARS YOU. Successful Professional NOT good translator. Career NOT job Ethics does not mean goodie-goodie

Aspects of Success  

 

Personal : networking, presentation, self-belief, humility, strength, flexibility, resilience, patience, perseverance Business: finance, marketing, management Professional : academic knowledge, business skills, language skills, learning Technical: a utiliser not a user users are losers, information literacy, software and hardware skills, be an early adopter

STEP ONE

THINK WHERE YOU WANT TO GO

Business World

Translator

What do I want from it 
   

Money Satisfaction Growth To be seen as an expert in my field Add your little hobby horse here BUT DON T TELL ME YOU WILL DO IT FOR THE LOVE OF IT!

IF it DOESN T MAKE YOU MONEY it is not A BUSINESS

Successful translators: 
        

Have broad knowledge base Are technologically savvy Are socially adept Have good business sense and skills Keep upskilling non-stop Think a lot Are aware of their limitations and work on breaking them Are a trusted member of their clients teams Specialise in more than one thing Offer more than one service

The Waiting Period  



Your aim should be to land half a dozen big translation/interpreting agencies and work on becoming their linguist of choice . You will have to prove yourself, gain trust and court your agent. Give yourself at least 18 months before things rev up don t waste any of this time: MARKET YOURSELF CONTINUALLY and DEVELOP PROFESSIONALLY

STEP TWO

PLAN HOW TO GET THERE

Before You Start 
 

part time or full time? part-time work pays part-time dividends but if you can start part-time, it is financially safer

Benefits of starting part time
helps build up a reputation and some experience in the industry  get to know clients and potential clients  start to build relationships which will be very valuable to you later on.  decide whether or not you enjoy operating as a freelance translator.  you will also earn some money which you can save for when you start out full-time 

What do I need? 
   

The right The right The right The right The right

attitude knowledge connections cash gear

Attitude 
      

An entrepreneurial spirit Guts Commitment Realism Persistence Patience Humility Social skills

The right knowledge 
    

How to How to How to How to How to How to

approach potential clients be visible be seen as an expert run a business properly do my accounts legally protect yourself

The right connections 
  

Who do you know already Who do you need to know? How will you get to know them? Every time you meet someone ask yourself WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM THIS?

The right cash  

 

Find out how much you need to live for six month without ANY INCOME Save up money to do it DO NOT TAKE A LOAN unless you can repay it ONLY THEN go into your business FULL TIME

The right gear 
   

Ergonomical Technically up-to-date Protected Quiet Private

Get your tools of trade 
   

 

PC, laptop, fax, mobile, phone Internet connection (broadband, WiFi) Answering machine/service Software (DTP, Word processing CAT, MT, audiovisual editing, accounting, time management, etc) Dictionaries, glossaries (online & paper) Join a good library(ies), learn how to benefit from it the most Learn how to use online tools

Must have software 
        

MS Office (including Outlook) MS Publisher Adobe Acrobat Pro Photoshop WinZip or RAR Anti-Virus Firewall (Zone Alarm is free) QuickBooks Easy Start Time Management Backup software

Good to have stuff
When you start having heaps of work, you may consider buying:
translation memory software (Trados, WordFast, SDL, etc.) Voice Recognition Software If you are going to be working with layout: InDesign, Illustrator or QuarkXpress Word Counting software 

Must have hardware 
       

PC Internet connection (modem/cable) Scanner (and OCR software) Printers (preferably laser) Fax Mobile phone with abilities Call forwarding service Answering machine External hard-drive or similar backing

STEP THREE

RESEARCH THE ROAD

MARKET RESEARCH  

research conducted to understand the needs of the customer must incorporate information about new technologies, competitive pressures, industry changes, and globalization

Your Questions 
  

Why? Who? When? For how much?

The Scope 
   

Clients Competition (potential allies) Industry Market Suppliers

SEGMENTATION  



is the grouping of customers by specific characteristics identify future customers and develop advertising & marketing strategies to attract customers.

Researching the Client 
   

On the Web On Forums On Proz Blue Board Business publications People

What are you looking for?

Focus on your clients 
 

 

Try to see everything through the eyes of your customers Try to understand their needs, frustrations, and insecurities SO THAT you can anticipate them and fulfill them, in some cases without needing to be asked you can make sure you are not the source of their frustration, and you can find ways to make them feel more comfortable dealing with you than with anyone else

Researching the Market 
  

What are the trends? Who is doing what? What jobs are available? How much do I charge?

Keep an eye on your competition 
   

Learn from them See if you measure Keep in good form Keep good relations Form alliances if possible

STEP FOUR

PREPARE FOR THE TRIP

To Do 
     

Get a good accountant Get a good lawyer Get a good business name Get an ABN number Get an indemnity insurance (best way through AUSIT) Get an income protection insurance Get a domain name

Thy Name Shall Be? 
    

Law Are you famous? Where in the alphabet? Is it catchy? Does it say what I do? Is it flexible and timeless?

A little jig to remember
Sam Berner s Translations although a correct expression of my aspirations is a bad formulation. It gives the impression that my operations have the limitation

.

Join the professional world 
    



Become an AUSIT member Network Subscribe to industry publications (and write in them) Read books and articles on your specialisation. Consider joining a chamber of commerce or another trade organization that works with your language If you have another profession, join their association too. Join discussion lists

Set Rates 
   

Per what? For whom? How flexible? Pro bono? Discount?

Rates depend on 
      

your place of residence your language combination your specializations your years of experience how fast you are to deliver the type of text what else is involved the size of the job

DON T UNDERCUT 
 

Unethical Gives the wrong impression Attracts the wrong attention COMPETE ON QUALITY AND SERVICE 

Contracts
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. General clauses outlining ways of operating Payment terms and penalties Charging structure. Specifically what you will and will not do Your policy in the event of amendments to work already started/completed 6. Jurisdiction of disputes 7. Your position regarding copyright of your output 8. What is and what is not included in the price

STEP FIVE

MARKET YOURSELF

True or false? 
        

I can sit at home and translate/interpret all day I can set my own hours I can do it all myself I don't need to earn as much because of my low overhead Anyone can work from home I do such good work, customers will come to me I'll save money by working from a home office It will be easier to take care of chores and housework I'll make a profit from my first year in business I will have more creative license

Some more myths
MYTH THREE: MYTH MYTH FIVE: TWO: MARKETING IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ATTACK YOUR CLIENTS FROM ALLWEAKNESS MYTH FOUR:OF YOUR BUSINESS. YOUWILL WIN. THE WEBSITE. COMPETITORS· OVER THE I HAVE ABEST PRODUCT OR SERVICE CAN BE ASPECT WITH YOUR MARKETING WORLD WILL KNOWLINGUIST AND GO HUNGRY A BRILLIANT ME. INTERNET IS AN EASY I KNOW MY WORK LIKETTHE PALM OFTO RESPONSE: PLACE TO MAKE MONEY. KNOW HOW MY BECAUSE YOU DON RESPONSE: SELL LIKE HAND. I WILLYOURSELF.HOT CAKE. MARKET WHAT RESPONSE: WINS IN MARKETING IS THE YOU WILL RESPONSE: LOOK VERYPROSPECT·SSELLING PERCEPTION IN THE PRO AND ETHICAL MYTH ONE: MAKE MORE MONEY ACTUALLY, YOU·LL THIS WAY, RIGHT?AT FLEA REALITY. MOST LEARN FROM YOUR MIND. PERCEPTION IS MARKETS, UNLESS SECOND-HAND IF THE MARKET DOESN·T FEEL STUFF UHM« WHATWILLSTRENGTHS. ME. MY WORK SPEAK FOR AFTER ALL COMPETITORS· SOFTWARE, NOT MUCH YOUPEOPLE ARE QUITEYOU KNOW YOUR SELL PORN OR DO SURE THEIR LIKE HOT WHY THEIR CLIENTS BUY FROM CAKES? THAT·S PERCEPTIONS ARE BUT YOU STILL MONEY IS THERE ONLINE. CORRECT. SHOULD RESPONSE: MARKET? THEM. HAVE A PRESENCE, BECAUSE IT IS EXPECTED. NOT UNLESS SOMEONE SEES IT FIRST.

Be Seen 
          

Create a website Be Social Join industry groups and forums Write articles and publish online Create a weblog Do write-ups Get into every possible directory (OurBrisbane! AUSTRADE) Link to others Gather references (on website, Proz) Paid Advertising (Proz, Yahoo!) Attend conferences (don t just sit there) Present at events

The Marketplace 
    

Proz Translator Café Go Translators Aquarius Translator Base ..and tens more

Networking 
   

Through forums Through AUSIT Through POWWOWS Through industry groups Direct approach

How Do You Look?    



Get your business stationary professionally done. Make sure your business name is registered before you run to the press. Polish your resume, have a cover letter prepared. Get yourself into business directories, print brochures. Make sure you look the part Have a SPIEL

So what s a SPIEL again? 
    

It s that little bit of biography that you write as your covering letter. Have a standard one, but prepare to be flexible. You will need to fit the spiel to your client. It is the first thing the client sees, before the resume. Don t write your national history in it If in response to a quote request, this is where you indicate your fees.

What goes into the resume?  

 

Definitely not the name of your pets or the fact that you love cooking, unless you specialize in vet science or culinary history. Not your age. It s not an asset in English-speaking countries. Not the number of your kids or your marital status. Especially not if you are a woman. Not your previous work experience as rocket pilot or Miss Haiti.

Business cards
Nothing worse than .

BBC 
   

awful design hard to read low resolution obviously printed on a home ink-jet printer on cheap paper

Is this the image you want to project?

Brochures 
 

Well written no drone Send to potential clients Use to respond to phone calls for quotes

Collateral    

Attach business card and brochure to translation for your first time direct clients Have printed envelopes, or at least decent stickers Send all your clients and colleagues Best Wishes cards with your logo If you are super good, start up an email newsletter

Stealing a Website 

.look up other people s websites and answering the following questions: 
     

Can you find your way around easily? Are they easy to use and understand? Do they answer my question in the first 50 seconds? Are they pleasant to look at ? Do they take forever to download? Do you need to download software to use them? Do they convey professionalism?

A good website should be 
   

Easy to find Easy to communicate with you Answer questions Tell your reader why they need you Have client references

Cheapskate?
Do not use free web-based email for communicating with your clients. It gives an extremely bad impression Dear sir/madam: I am so serious about becoming a full-time professional translator/interpreter and providing you with excellent service that I can't even be bothered to get a paid email provider" Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com

STEP SIX

ACT!

Finding Work
Waiting Approach  Proactive Approach 

RING, RING, why don t you gimme a call? 

There are 8 things that you should NEVER do on the phone: 
      

Sound stressed Not return the call Call Waiting Letting your kids answer the phone Taking the phone off the hook Being rude Assume you are the only one Assume client knows what they are talking about

Make them want to work with YOU! 
  

Be Be Be Be

contactable professional clear about what you offer responsive

Make them want to work with YOU- AGAIN! 
       

Repeat business is the best business There is a basic customer service principle:
Keep them happy, and keep them!

Give them more than they expect Make your work look as good as the original Deliver ahead of schedule Be a great communicator Do favours for your customers Answer the phone promptly and with a smile Never disappoint a client on deadlines or quality.

Steps in the Game 
    

Quote request (CHECK THEM OUT) Quote Quote acceptance Contract PO Invoice

ALWAYS ASK YOURSELF: 
     

Do you trust them? Were they nice to deal with? Did it "feel" right? Do you have a proper job-sheet in writing or by fax/email? In Australia an email is a contract. Have you checked them out with payment practices? How large is the assignment? Do you have background info/ style guides/ glossaries?

So you got the job? 
    

Check everything is OK all docs, correct material, correct number of words Backup all the time Allocate resources Stay organised Protect information Stay professional

Dear Ms. Sam, Berner Thank you for your prompt response. My Msn account is handsome_chris@hotmail.com I will send you have any translation job of ( English <> Arabic) immediately I have interested to have opportunity collaboration with you.

Get paid 
       

Choose good clients Have a contract Have a PO Find out their billing cycle Send invoices promptly Send reminder a week after payment is due Follow by phone call Threaten disclosure Send in the debt collector

Of course the GOLDEN MANTRA IS: KEEP THEM HAPPY AND KEEP THEM  Provide excellent service and the client will have no 'excuses' for delaying your payment  Build relationships with your clients. It is difficult to mistreat someone you like! 

Chasing it
1) 2) 3) 4)

Email - easiest to ignore Faxing Write a letter A phone call is very hard to ignore - but don't go overboard and become AGRO. Do the guilt trip act, it often works

STEP SEVEN

Go to Step One to Grow

Fire Bad Clients  

When you first start, you will be very tempted to take on ANY CLIENT. This is called the newbie panic syndrome 80% of your income will come from 20% of your clients and the remaining 80% of your clients will pay you the miserly other 20%

Turn Down Work That Doesn t Pay
Unprofitable assignments:  take a very long time because you are not familiar with the vocabulary or subject  be too difficult for you to deliver the required quality  be too difficult for you to deliver the required style  cause problems because the original is illegible or written badly (style)  cause you undue anxiety because of an unrealistic deadline  conflict with your existing deadlines

Turn Down Work That Feels Wrong
refuse work from anyone if your 'gut-feeling' tells you not to trust them  refuse any assignment which you think is likely to cause problems  avoid (political) situations where there are several different "bosses" and inter­departmental bickering between different divisions  do not accept work from clients who beat the price down to a level you find unacceptable, even if you are not busy. 

It is easier together
So, if you have a partner, they can help you become more productive by  Being in two places at the same time  Having an extra pair of eyes for new clients  Editing your work and vice versa  Halving a large project  Brainstorming  Etc etc etc

Remember Enjoy the trip!

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