What being stuck looked like for me
How will you use these 3 actions?
What I can tell you is what worked for me to get unstuck so I could move on to the next phase of my career. How will these you use these three actions?
- Whether you’re new or experienced, you can learn a lot from another professional. My friend Sean is a genius engineer for Amazon, and it turns out he has a mentor! This is because even geniuses have dreams and need to talk to someone in the position they aspire to be in so they can take smart steps to get there, too. Personally, I’m a new translator navigating the waters of working for myself for the first time. So, I applied to the ATA mentor program to primarily get help with time and business management.
- I can’t begin to tell you how much my mentor, former ATA president and time management specialist Dorothee Racette, has contributed to my growth! Plus, it keeps me on track having to check in with her regularly and monitor the steps I’ve taken.
- As a translator, you can either get a mentor with the ATA program that begins every spring, or approach a professional you admire and ask them to be your mentor. Don’t be shy, experienced professionals are generally flattered to be asked. And, if they’re unavailable, they will probably help you in some other way, by recommending a colleague to contact or a resource to consult, for example.
- I attended my first ATA conference exploding with passion and drive going in no particular direction, besides, simply, “Translation.” NOTIS board members Kathryn German and Milena Calderari-Waldron picked up on this fact and suggested a good way to harness my energy would be serving on the board of their ATA chapter. Next thing I knew, I’d volunteered myself to join the board and chair a new committee for developing a webinar program.
- By channeling my passion and drive into that project over the last 9 months, I’ve simultaneously served myself and the translator community. I’ve accomplished tasks I wouldn’t have done on my own. I’ve met various professionals and learned to comfortably approach them (a necessary skill for approaching potential clients). All the while, I built a foundation for a program that will serve the NW translator and interpreter community in the coming years.
- Now, if that’s not growth, I don’t know what is! Just imagine what you could accomplish if you joined the board of your local ATA chapter. Or, if you volunteer to support a specific committee in a less time-consuming capacity.
- I won’t tell you how to do this. (Many articles exist to help you learn that.) I'll just quickly clarify what I mean by it. Create a consistent presence so that others know what they’re getting when they work with you. In other words, what kind of translator are you? The silly or serious one, the tech one, the creative one, the inspiring one, the financially knowledgeable one, the one with a PhD? And so on. When clients see your tweets and your website, what impression do you want them to get?
- Take my brand for example: Thoughtful & Curious Translator (FR-EN): Big picture thinking for global markets - life sciences & innovation. So, as I come across information relevant to my brand, I share it on social media and this informs people what I’m like and what I’m knowledgeable about.*
- Usually, blog posts categorize this as a step for getting clients. However, I’m telling you that it also helps you grow. As you develop your brand, you start to identify with it. You know what you want to get across to people you encounter. It becomes natural introducing yourself as the [fill in your brand here] translator. And the famous 20 second elevator speech feels more sincere. In other words, it helps you gain confidence in your business which then reflects in your work and your approach with potential collaborators. Sounds like growth to me!
If you have a similar success story from taking one of the above actions, please share it below.
*I know, I know, people could just get that information from your CV, but it’s 2016, and social media is a major communication platform that no business can afford to not be a part of.