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Patrik Dholakiya wrote an article on Entrepreneur talking about techniques for building trust with your customer. While aimed at companies, its tips does have meaningfulness with freelancers as well. After all, freelancers are but a solo company. There's a good chance that you've already faced at least one situation in which a client needed your immediate attention on a weekend, a holiday, your regular day off or even after your work hours. While you can't make place work over all your life priorities, it does pay off to be accessible and take a few minutes of your day to be connected (if you can, of course) and reply to queries, even if to just make people at ease. It can help you retain a client, help that new client build confidence in your capabilities, and even save a lot of headaches for your partners and clients without much effort on your part. People get impressed when they get a reply with a short period of time. A real, human, reply. In my opinion this is the best tip from the four, but there are some observations to it. Small talk isn't really a raport-building practice. You don't become a friend particularly because you asked them about the weather. By the way, that's a very old and often lame way of getting them annoyed. Most people don't care about the weather too much. What you need to do is show interest in their lives. Be curious about their business (not necessarily their family, or hobbies), be involved. Ask about their workflow (if it isn't something out of context or obvious already), provide value by hinting at techniques or solutions for their issues. Offer to help, take a step above everyone else. That builds rapport, interest in the other. Especially useful when you are talking to a new client for the first time, laying out the details of your work can do two things: Either breaking apart their confidence in you, or help improve it. Some clients are just looking for a quick solution. They don't want someone to write a novel about it, they want someone to fix it. Like when you call a repairman. You want him or her to fix the issue, not give you a 10-minute worth of reading over how he's going to fix the issue. However, when starting something new, when forming an agreement, when deciding how to tackle a project it's important that you have the details laid out for yourself, and getting access to that can make the client confident you are the right person for the job. So use your own judgement and experience with this. Being respectful is always important. Giving the options to the client won't always work, however. Just like in the repairman case, some clients want very little to do with the system, they don't want to make decisions, they want you to take them. Part of the reason why people go looking for agencies is because they don't want to decide things for themselves. Ironically, neither do most agencies. They just want to get their problems solved, so they hire people who can do the job and lay the responsibility on them if anything goes wrong. So, when you are not working with an agency, but with a direct client, and you know you have an open line of communication, use that line to provide him the choices he's meant to make if he doesn't expect you to make them yourself. As a translator you need to be able to figure most aspects for yourself, but some things are exclusive to the business being translated. That's it! Check out the full article if you want to read Pratik's reasoning and find useful and interesting links and tools you may use. Let me know your thoughts below.
Today I bring to thee a story on Aeon, by Rebecca Roache. Rebecca discourses on many considerations of the weight that language has in cultures, people's thinking pattern (as we spoke about before), and especially so the significance, both practical and sentimental, of minority languages. Here are some snippets: Actually, and funnily enough, some pieces of her article seem to support the value and idea of nurturing an artificial language (not as in a computer language, as in artificially created). This section made me think about how apparent her philosophical background is. Very interesting. They also get the chance to become translators! Heheh A good ending note. The article itself talks much more deeply about this topic than I could synthesise. It is long, but worth reading if you are into some life introspection. Do you see or feel the differences in your thinking pattern when you use different languages? Can we consider graffiti as a minority language? That would make sense. What value do you attribute to keeping an ancient language alive? Some of you may come from countries that had terrible stories of languages being lost. Maybe you have something to add in this regard? I know I do. In Brazil, there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of native languages that were completely lost, or ultimately absorbed into Portuguese. I've met a chieftain once and talked to him about it. They try and keep it alive within their community, while also having to naturally learn Portuguese to deal with the outsiders. I could tell, from the short experience I had with them, that there were plenty of knowledge often overlooked by Brazilians that the native people has intertwined with their lives, and their language reflects it. And not just knowledge, but also their way of being, their personalities.
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