The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Great xl8 Communities is an interview series about peer-led communities, groups, and initiatives for translators and interpreters. Peer networks bring together professionals with different backgrounds but similar needs, fears and problems. Some are about providing advice, support and learning opportunities. Others serve as cosy oases for networking and fun.
1. Every new initiative is based on the person who starts the ball rolling. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and why you do what you do?
I translate mainly technical texts from German into Swedish, my mother tongue.
Although I love being a freelance translator, it can sometimes get a bit lonely as there are no colleagues physically around to exchange ideas with.
Even if there are translators' gatherings in different places during the whole year, where we can meet face to face, most of us don't have enough time to travel more than a couple of times a year. Fortunately we can today take advantage of social media to interact and establish networks with colleagues.
Meet Erik, the founder of Things Translators Never Say (TTNS)
2. What is Things Translators Never Say? What is the focus of your group?
The Facebook group Things Translators Never Say (TTNS in short) was more or less a spontaneous idea which came to my mind in August 2013. It had been one of those exhausting days when yet another client had sent me an enquiry which included a laughable rate or had tried to explain how I should do my business. I asked myself if I am the only translator who finds this very annoying and if there are ways to handle this frustration.
3. What do people who join TTNS look for? What do they find?
Colleagues who apply for membership in TTNS look for a place where they can share their partly annoying, partly hilarious experience with clients in a tongue-in-cheek way. It's a kind of "sanctuary haven" where we can rant and vent among friends without being afraid of losing our clients.
Many translators need to cope with a certain dilemma: on the one hand we are happy to receive a steady flow of jobs from a certain client, but on the other hand there can be moments of frustrations when we simply need to vent and rant. As we don't want to jeopardize a business relationship with a client, we need to find other ways to let off steam – and that's what TTNS stands for.
It's also important to stress this is not a group for moaning or for bashing clients or their project managers. They only do their job, but sometimes they are simply clueless and we need to enlighten them.
Group members who have recently joined our profession can learn a lot about what is acceptable behaviour or not in a business relationship with a client.
TTNS is also a place where we establish our personal networks, and even if most of us haven't met, many colleagues become friends.
The social aspect is an important part: we have a pinned world map which can be of great help if you're looking for other members in a certain place, and the birthday calendar is another popular feature.
The best side of TTNS for me is that we need to realize that we all sit in the same boat and that we can help each other. There's no need to make the same mistake twice, and it's better to share our experience. We all get similar enquiries from bottomfeeders, we need to handle similar late-paying clients payments and have to show a clear stand when promises are made but not held.
The TTNS community is more than merely the sum of its members, and has now become a meeting-place for many colleagues all over the world.
4. You are also a popular Twitter user, and you launched a special initiative for translators there. Can you tell us a bit more about #xl8promote?
Even if there are thousands of colleagues on Twitter, I was in doubt if potential clients would really find these translators very easily.
My main idea behind the #xl8promote project is to present and promote a different translator every day by posting a tweet which, apart from the hashtag #xl8promote, contains the most important information (language pair, specialist field, link to profile or website etc).
A potential client who searches for a translator can carry out a defined search on Twitter, e.g. #xl8promote #law french or #xl8promote #marketing italian.
As the promotion tweets are retweeted, this leads to an even better Google indexing which gives a stronger visibility and better search results. So far approximately 130 colleagues have taken part in this project.
5. What is about to happen in your groups? Are there any interesting initiatives or events the community of translators should keep an eye on? Where can we find out more?
Things Translators Never Say, which was chosen as the most popular translation-related Facebook page in Proz.com Community Choice Awards for 2014, 2015 and 2016, is continuously growing and now heading for 10,000 members – and new initiatives and campaigns are currently being developed in the background.
The best way to find out more is to simply join the community.
To stay tuned about any news, you can also follow my Twitter account, @erik_hansson.