Want to Be a Professional Translator? Details Matter.

A month ago I was going to move and wanted to cancel my renter’s insurance policy.

“Should be easy enough,” I thought.

I was moving to a location where I wouldn’t need the policy anymore and figured it would be an easy thing for the insurance agent to take care of.

So I sent an email to my agent explaining the situation and asking him to cancel the policy.

It was just over $200 for an annual policy and I was almost up with the year, so it wasn’t like I was expecting back any money.

But I have this thing about clearing up loose ends and wanted to make sure it was cancelled before I moved on.

The agent emailed me back, thanked me for my business, and said he would get it taken care of right away.

A week goes by and nothing happens so I email the agent again requesting that he cancel my insurance policy.

I get a response:

Little Things Count

OK, I think. It was probably just an oversight. He’ll get on it and I won’t have to worry about it.

Well, fast forward another two weeks and I’m cleaning out my email box and see this email. I wondered if he had actually cancelled my account and so I logged on to my account at Farmers Insurance and see that, no, he didn’t cancel the account.

It’s still there on the site.

Like nothing has been done.

So I email him again a third time tonight.

And get a response exactly four minutes later:

Little things 2

Now, it’s a small thing for sure. I know it is. It’s not effecting me in any way.

But here’s the thing.

It is effecting me.

Every time I see that email.

I leave emails in my inbox until they are resolved and this one still hasn’t been resolved and it’s been almost a month.

See, it’s a relatively small thing, but what grinds at me is that it’s such a small thing for the agent to do.

I don’t know what’s involved in cancelling a policy, but I imagine it can’t be that hard of a process.

And it’s still not done.

This guy was my agent for about a year and he was fine. He set me up pretty good with a couple of policies and I had no complaints.

I would have gone back to him if I ever decided to move back to the region where he operated.

But this has really turned me off. And now I won’t. I’ll find someone else if I need something.

Because if this guy can’t do something as simple as cancel a policy, how can he be trusted to do something when the stuff really hits the fan like a car accident or house fire and I really need him to be on the ball?

What are you neglecting for your clients
because you think it’s small and insignificant?

Do you ever turn in your projects a day late because you don’t think it will matter that much?

Do you take too long to get back to a client about a potential project he wants you to work on?

If so, you have to change.

While these things might seem insignificant to you, they could be little things that really bug your client. And when these things add up or go on too long, trust me, it’s the only thing that they can think about when your name comes up.

And you don’t want your clients associating your name with negative thoughts every time it comes up.

Because then you’ll not only lose that client’s business, but you’ll be in danger of losing other future clients that might have connections to that first client.

Another thing to remember is that not all clients care about the same things.

What might be a small pebble in one client’s shoe might actually be nothing to another client.

And these are the types of things that a client won’t tell you.

You’re not going to know that submitting your finished product in 11-point font is actually super irritating to your client, especially if the font size isn’t stipulated in the contract.

So what can you do to make sure that those little things don’t turn into big things with major consequences?

First of all, realize that small things matter.

Take the extra effort to do things right, even if it takes longer and might not produce an immediate net gain result.

Shortcuts in the short term at the expense of longer term gains almost never work out for your benefit.

Second, communicate with your client.

This is such a simple thing that many translators and other professionals fail to do.

It is so important.

For some reason, though, some translators have this idea to become professional translators so that they don’t have to have conversations with anyone.

Nothing can be further from the truth.

If you don’t communicate effectively, your business will suffer seriously.

Finally, always seek to improve.

As a new translator, one of the best things I did was create a personal translator tip sheet.

Every time I messed up on something or improved in some way, I put it on the tip sheet. Then, during every translation project, I would look at that tip sheet to make sure I didn’t forget anything or make the same mistake twice.

I was always looking for ways to be better.

If I hadn’t of written some of those tips down, I know for sure that I would have made the same mistakes multiple times.

But because I had them written down, I saved myself, and my clients, a lot of heartache.

So save yourself some grief. Don’t forget the small stuff.

On the flip side, if you’re clients know that you care about them and their project enough to make sure even the tiniest details are right, what is that going to do for your repeat business?

Until next time.

Happy Translating.

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