I recently came across an article on ATA’s The Savy Newcomer blog which, although originally published in 1997, is just as relevant (not only for new) translators and interpreters today. It lists and explains seven virtues everyone in the industry should aspire to:
- Master your subjects.
- Appreciate your limits.
- Defend your product.
- Sign your work.
- Quote your rate.
- Promote your profession.
- Perfect your craft.
While all are important, I personally find numbers 1 and 7 particularly significant, as – at least in my experience – your good work speaks for itself, meaning you’ll eventually find clients largely by word-of-mouth and referrals from other, satisfied clients.
This has been true for me almost from the beginning, with the result that I was pretty much booked out within one year of starting out as a freelancer.
Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes or that every word I utter is perfect. But striving to make the client happy through your expertise and professionalism, including the ability to admit mistakes and the willingness to learn from them, pays off. Perhaps not every single time, but certainly in the long run.