Competitor or Colleague?

If you’re like most translators, you spend a lot of time alone. You need to be alone to concentrate, but then there’s the other isolating factor of the business. It’s generally freelance and done at home. So when you want to take a break and get some social interaction, you find yourself drawn to other translators. But while it can be nice to socialize with other translators, you may find yourself wondering, “Am I socializing with my competition?”

Yes. And no.

As in other industries, others with similar job titles ARE the competition. In a corporate office setting, people working together on the same team are often the competition for new positions that open up.

But teammates in an office setting and fellow translators in our world are also colleagues.

And no one knows EXACTLY what you’re dealing with professionally like someone else who does it every day.

Your colleagues can relate to the frustrations of day-to-day work life. The CAT tool saving your work in a strange place somewhere on your computer. The project manager sending frantic messages at four in the morning. The client ignoring your requests for payment. The neighbor assuming you’re available for drop-in visits during the work day.

Your colleagues can also understand the professional joys you relish. The thrill of landing a new client. The surprise of rare complimentary email from a normally grouchy project manager. The way you feel when you find the perfect turn of phrase.

These people get you. So don’t shut them out.

Spend time with your colleagues and learn from them. Or simply enjoy getting to know someone who works in the field you love.

And while it may be tempting to view colleagues as competition, try to remember that we all have different language pairs and specializations. We are not all working on the same types of projects into the same target languages.

And even if you find a colleague who works in your same language pair and in your same specialization, keep in mind that the experience of working with a certain individual is unique. You are not the same person that another translator is, so the experience of working with you isn’t the same as working with another translator.

And in the grand scheme of the translation industry, there is so much content that needs to be translated and it only takes a tiny fraction of all that to keep any one individual translator working full time.

So go ahead: Make friends with your fellow translators.

Looking to meet some fellow translation and interpretation professionals? There’s over 6,000 translators and interpreters in our Facebook group. Join us!

Melissa Kamenjarin

Author: Melissa Kamenjarin

Melissa is a Success by Rx copywriter and Spanish/English translator, writer, editor and proofreader specializing in educational materials, health insurance, non-profits, and published fiction and non-fiction books, blogs and websites. Melissa is the Secretary and blog writer for ATISDA (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area). An American Translators Association (ATA) member, she is also the Copy Editor for the ATA Medical Division’s publication, Caduceus.

Posted in Business.

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