Enjoy and share if you are, have been or hope to be an entrepreneur!
| By Delfina Morganti Hernández
All right. So I was tired—no, not tired, exhausted—and I suddenly started talking to myself, until I decided it was time to write these down.
Enjoy and share if you are, have been or hope to be an entrepreneur!
Every Cloud Must Have a Silver Lining Series – Part 3
5 Ways to Sop Feeling Undervalued and Bounce Back!
Imagine you’ve been working with an agency client for years and you casually notice your rates haven’t increased as much as you would have expected. You know you are an awesome translator; you know this because they keep sending you projects they generally receive great feedback for. In fact, they often share with you their end-clients’ positive remarks about a job well-done. However, when it comes to your rates, they don’t look exactly fair. Actually, they are far from it. So you feel your client is not valuing your work. Why, after all this time, haven’t they ever considered raising your rates? Perhaps you have done something wrong and they preferred not to tell you just yet? Or is it that they don’t know your worth anymore?
When the people you work or intend to work with seem to be constantly blind to your marketing efforts, the quality of your translations and/or all the benefits you and your services (potentially) represent for their business, it’s often easier to go along with the tide and just admit you're hopeless instead of fighting back and making a stand through self-confidence, talking (with your clients, your potential clients, your colleagues and, perhaps, yourself) and devising a set of business and marketing strategies reloaded.
So, how can you avoid falling prey to downtime as a result of feeling undervalued?
1. Know your own worth. As freelancers, we need to be fully aware of every step we take and use all our predictive skills to preview how our actions will have an impact on our business in the short run, as well as in the long run. Therefore, if you measure your success as per one single metric, you’re bound to fail to gain a balanced perspective of your strengths and weaknesses, the pros and cons of your current business plan and the advantages and disadvantages of applying this or that approach to a particular project. For example, letting customer feedback be the only way by which you measure the quality of your work and your overall success as a freelance translator, editor or proof-reader may lead to your feeling undervalued whenever things don’t come out as expected in spite of your efforts. It may also lead to underestimating yourself, which may hinder all chances of progress for a long time. Of course, I’m not saying the feedback coming from the people who will actually use your translations is irrelevant or useless, because even negative criticism and random, uninformed feedback may provide for a basis of constructive analysis of your work if it falls in your steadily optimistic as well as patient hands. However, if you constantly let customer feedback have the last say on your overall performance as a freelance linguist, you are likely to be paralysed whenever you receive unpromising comments. As a result, you may be unable to create a plan to overcome the challenges posed by negative feedback and mostly unwilling to give yourself another chance to brush up your skills and show the world what you’re made of.
Feeling undervalued is often one of the main reasons why translators are, actually, undervalued. If you tend to view the glass half empty when things go wrong and do little to nothing to change your own perception of yourself and your performance, you’re not helping others value your work. If you don’t show enough self-confidence and thirst for providing top quality language services, why should others bother to trust that you will? If you never challenge your agency client with a call-to-action to have your rates raised based on a number of unbeatable reasons in your favour and theirs, then why should they even remember you do have a right to set your own rates and/or negotiate your payment conditions instead of agreeing to the agency’s terms for the next hundred years?
2. Know you can make a difference. Freelance translators need to be confident that they can make a difference in other people’s lives by working for and with them in order to help them bridge cultural barriers. As true, enthusiastic entrepreneurs, they need to familiarise themselves with their own strengths and weaknesses to better address their business in a manner that will be profitable, recommendable and enduring, even when customer feedback doesn’t sound exactly promising, recommendable or endurable. They need to be able to strike a balance when the results they’re getting are not the sort of outcome they would have expected. They need to plan ahead and think in retrospect. They need to carefully craft a marketing plan in order to have prospects see them the way they see themselves. They need to be ready to deal with virtually all kinds of criticism—not just from their clients—and be willing to bounce back. Success and failure are relative terms, not just because they sound like family, but because they can be actually subject to relativism. Just like every extreme, there’s always hope for a middle way. So if you feel undervalued by customer feedback, try not to lose the balanced perspective you’ll need to bounce back. Make a note of what you think you’re doing right and what you feel you could do better. Write down your own perceptions regarding your business plan, your goals and how you have attempted to accomplish them. Compare and contrast your notes with the results achieved so far or for a particular project, decide on what seems to have worked best for your business in general or your project in particular and pause to consider how customer feedback may or may not be connected with a) your approach to the project; b) your approach to your business; c) your approach to... life. Is it a project-specific issue what seems to have resulted in such feedback? A problem with how you work in general? A personal issue interfering with your concentration at work?
3. Don't forget your self-confidence! No matter whether customer feedback is right or wrong, never give up on yourself. Know you can make it better. Know you can learn from your mistakes. Know customer feedback is not often irrevocable. Know that you need to believe in yourself as a professional freelancer long before you receive any kind of feedback that may either boost your confidence or leave you feeling like you should never have gone freelancing in the first place. Confidence is not something you will build upon overnight. It’s not something you can build up, use a few times and forget to maintain in the long run. Yep, Confidence needs maintenance too, just like your car or your hairstyle. Confidence is perhaps the most important skill every freelancer needs to work on in order to overcome the challenges and obstacles posed by the market and industry they choose to break into. It is what will ultimately define the way they respond to such difficulties when they strike. Together with Creativity and Imagination, Confidence is the basis for strategic thinking and planning. Sometimes clients like to make preferential changes to our translations, and that's all right, as long as they understand that a preferential change is that: preferential, meaning out of their own preference, meaning not an error on the translator's part. Now, if out of 5,000 words, 3,000 have been marked up with preferential changes, you ought to let your client know this figure surpasses your power to comply with their new, previously uninformed preferences.
So if you’re feeling undervalued…
4. Balance your facts. Don’t just stick to the comfortable approach of attributing all the responsibility for your low self-esteem to your clients, your potential clients, your colleagues or “the translation industry”. Balance your facts: Why do you feel X is undervaluing your work? What can you do in order to become more positively visible in the translation arena? How should you tell X you’re feeling undervalued because they don’t seem to be valuing your work? In any case, speak up. Talk to X. Voice your feelings. Have X listen to what you have to say. Offer to help them help you feel valued, just like you offer value to them by doing a great job most of the times they hire you for a translation project. Explain how you expect them to act or react based on the top quality of the services you offer, the added-value you are providing them with, and the many rewards they are reaping, or could reap, thanks to you. Don’t make light weather of customer feedback. Of course, it matters. But don’t forget to stick up for your work. Be ready to contradict feedback by means of reliable linguistic and non-linguistic sources regarding your field of specialisation. Be ready to use all the resources you have in your power to show your client their feedback is always welcome, provided it shows respect for you as the translator in charge and relevancy to the project and deadlines in question.
5. Be ready to stick up for your work. If you don’t have one yet, create and memorise a motto. This could be a word, a phrase, a memory, an image or just about anything you feel you could cling to if something goes so wrong that you could lose all respect for yourself and what you do for a living. Take Harry Potter, for instance. The boy was a wizard. He survived Voldemort’s attack with the aid of his mother and became “The Boy Who Lived”. And yet, yet, he was human. He was vulnerable. When Dementors turn up in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, he’s scared to death. No wonder! Dementors are magical creatures who have the power of sucking out the soul of a person with a kiss, literally. Now, I don’t know much about Harry Potter, but I know this: when Harry learns that in order to beat a Dementor he needs to be emotionally prepared to conjure up a nice memory and stick to that image during the Dementor’s attack, he knows he stands a good chance of beating it. He’s still afraid of Dementors—who wouldn’t be, anyway?!—but he has built up some confidence. And in spite of all his fears, he knows what course of action he needs to take whenever those awful creatures attempt to suck out his soul in the near future. He has a plan based on emotional intelligence and he kind of trusts that it’s going to work.
In Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel The Help (2009), there’s a white baby girl called Mae Mobley who often feels sad because she never gets her shallow mother’s attention, except for when she’s made a “mistake” (my commas, because the girl is innocent). Despite her mother’s scorn, Mae Mobley’s self-esteem is constantly boosted by her loving and caring nana, Aibileen, with whom she spends most of her time during her mother’s absence. Aibileen is a wise black maid with tons of experience in raising white children who loves Mae Mobley as if she were her own daughter. Whenever Mae Mobley’s spirits are down because of her mother’s lack of attention, care, tact or self-control, Aibileen prompts Mae Mobley to repeat out loud the three short and memorable sentences she’s taught her: “You is kiiiind. You is smaaaart. You is important.” Those three sentences alone always manage to give Mae Mobley’s spirits a boost despite the many difficulties she’s got to face as a child who’s constantly led to feel she keeps falling short of her mother’s expectations and society’s standards of beauty. The point is, having a motto to go back to when results look unpromising can help you gain emotional stability and confidence whenever results make the future of your translation business look nothing short of bleak.
Finally, we know that failure and feeling undervalued are both likely to be part of a freelance translator’s life, no matter how good they are at what they do. But if you have a smart plan in place, a more or less clear head to try and look on the bright side of, hopefully, everything that comes in your way, and a thirst for learning (and remember, in learning you will teach), by the time the sky gets a little unclear, or just too cloudy, you’re bound to see the silver lining you need in order to keep going strong.
“Don’t leave for tomorrow what you can do today”, “Easier said than done…” We all have a tendency to procrastinate, we just can’t help it. “Procrastination means willingly putting off a an action that’s been planned in advance, even when we know we’ll feel bad about it. Every procrastination case will entail the deferring of something, but not every deferring will necessarily translate into procrastination. It all comes down to a negative, unnecessary and typically counterproductive delay,” explains Psychologist Tim Pychyl, author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle. “Still, we can manage to procrastinate less by identifying what our next course of action should be, as well as by being as much specific as possible and setting out a particular time to carry out our action plan,” says Tim. “The key lies in sticking to that plan, no excuses. Regardless of how you feel, you have to get started! This strategy will change your life.”
Q&A with Tim Pychyl
Do we tend to procrastinate?
Procrastination is a response based on our emotions. We long to feel good now, but there’s this task we have to complete that keeps buzzing around our heads and that we find either frustrating or annoying. By avoiding it, we feel better—at least for a while. We emotionally focus on our short-term needs, instead of targetting our long-term goals.
Is it an attribute or a habit?
Both, actually. We all avoid certain tasks so we don’t experience fear of failure, frustration, boredom or uncertainty. In fact, it’s highly likely that we’ll do that over and over again, regardless of the negative consequences of this. What prevails is the instant gratification that we gain, instead of the fulfillment we could get in the long run.
What kind of people are more prone to procrastinate?
Those who’ve never developed their own identity. Worried about who they are, they never get to focus on self-regulation. At the same time, procrastination is closely linked with other character traits, such as fussiness, impulsiveness and socially prescribed perfectionism, which includes those who live to meet other people’s expectations.
In a culture that will never stress too much the importance of instant gratification, how can we manage to put that off for duties whose rewards we’ll reap in the long run?
In our current studies, we’re asking our interviewees to use meditation techniques in order to envision their future. Worrying about having a clearer picture of our own future self leads us to procrastinate less, and can help reinforce the decisions we’ll make later on.
What would be the first step to stop procrastinating?
Well, stop setting extremely vague goals for yourself like, “I’ll get it done over the weekend.” This is way too equivocal to call us to action. We need to be more specific: What will our next action be? When and where are we going to perform it? Write it down, if necessary. We should be aware that, when the time comes, we may not feel like getting things done, but we musn’t let our emotional state get in our way, right? “I don’t feel like it” sounds like a child speaking—it just can’t be an adult’s excuse for not doing something. So, here’s my tip: bring yourself to do something for 10 minutes. Once you’ve managed to do that, you’ll be heading for the right track.
Every time we put something back, we feel guilty…
We’re currently researching that feeling of guilt and the cognitive dissonance that's causing it. However, if we act according to plan, then guilt will eventually go away by itself. We always need to keep in mind what our next move will be. That will nourish our well-being and foster our motivation.
“We all avoid certain tasks so we don’t experience fear of failure, frustration, boredom or uncertainty.”
What sort of tasks are most likely to drive us into procrastination?
Boring tasks, the kind that we find frustrating or challenging. So how can we turn them into less repellent chores? By turning them into a game. For instance, how many problems can I solve before my friend’s done? How fast can I get the job done? We can also ask for help if we get stuck in something, so as to make things seem more manageable. Alternatively, we can remind ourselves why we’re performing that task and how it relates to our values. In that way, we'll end up attributing more meaning to it.
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|| THE COMPANY WE KEEP ||
Internet and procrastination aren’t exactly on the best of terms. According to Tim Pychyl, “We need to unplug ourselves. Internet is the highway that drives us right into procrastination. So we check our emails or Facebook and, three hours later, we’re still there. While there aren’t any quick solutions to those who are addicted to the instant gratification that the Internet supplies, there are a few apps that will help us avoid distractions nowadays—these tools can remind us of the fact that we don’t actually want to be there, or block certain pages for us. The key is to admit that we’re not surfing the net because it’s cool but, rather, because we’re using that time to put off something else.”
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Are there any tools to help us manage our negative feelings?
Life is full of that kind of emotions. What we need to do is develop the right emotional intelligence to become aware of them and handle them appropriately. Mindfulness is a great choice when it comes to building awareness in a way that it won’t pass judgement on your emotions but, rather, understand that they will eventually lapse. The fact that we can experience emotions doesn’t mean that we have to be those emotions. In fact, we can gain control over them.
The first step is breathing. Deep breathing helps us make the strong, negative emotions lapse. Also, there are other strategies we may follow to spring ourselves back to action, such as using implementation intentions. This kind of strategies will often come up in the form of “If..., then....” statements—for example, “If I finish going over my students’ activity sheets, then I can go out for dinner.”
We are living in the era of multitasking. How does that impact on us?
Sometimes, multitasking is only a myth. What we actually do is switch roles. My piece of advice is, have a go at multitasking only when the tasks at hand are really simple, like watching a video on YouTube while training on the treadmill. The reason why we should make a note of this is that our brain can only handle multitasking as long as the tasks to be processed simultaneously belong to the automatic sort.
Whenever a new year is about to begin, we are all full of good intentions: rejoining the gym, going on a healthy diet, learning to save more money… But by this time of the year, it’s more likely we’ll have broken all those promises.
New Year’s resolutions are the very institutionalization of procrastination! We wait until the following year to step into action. Instead, what we should be asking ourselves is, “What can I do now to achieve my goal?” We need to commit to a major aim and, once we’re there, set out specific implementation intentions. Reporting to someone else can also help a great deal. For example, we could ask for a member of our family or a friend to help us stay true to our intentions.
So the all-time catchphrase “I’ll start on Monday” is actually…?
Forget about that. Why wait until Monday? Begin now! What’s the next move that could get you a step closer to achieving your goal? Always initiate one action at a time. Let me put it this way: we don’t embark on projects, we carry out actions. That’s what we learn from David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
Tim, if you could give us one final tip to avoid procrastination, what would that be?
Be good to yourself. If you’ve been procrastinating for a while, change is not something that will come overnight. You’ll go two step forward, one step backwards as you try to pursue strategies for change. That’s why self-pity is essential. Just as you need to be determined and stick to your commitment to change, you’ll also have to come to terms with the idea that to fail is human. If you can forgive yourself, you’ll feel driven to try again. Otherwise, you’ll just want to escape tasks. And that, in fact, is precisely where the problem lies. ◘ ◘ ◘
Photo Credit: Google Images.
This article was originally published in NUEVA Magazine, April 12th/19th, 2015 edition, which is published every Sunday, together with the newspaper edition of "La Capital" (UNO Medios) in Argentina.
On Having Clients See Us As We See Ourselves: An Introduction To The "Every Cloud Must Have a Silver Lining" Series
Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it—autograph your work with quality.
THE OTHER DAY I was at the baker’s and, while I was waiting for the seller to gather a couple of croissants for me, my eyes bumped into this modest-looking, muted pastel-colored picture that was hanging on the wall right in front of me. The picture boasted a yellowish background and a memorable phrase that read: Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it—autograph your work with quality.
I felt my lips curl into a knowing smile.
“You have everything you need?”
In fact, I had just got more than that. I’d only been to the bakery for a couple of late-breakfast supplies and found, as a last-minute bonus, the right inspirational catch-phrase that would just do for my upcoming blog article. Ta-da!
Autograph every job you choose to undertake with quality—easier said than done, right? Yet, as language editors, that is precisely what our job should always consist of: the delivery of faultless quality that meets our client’s expectations, pays tribute to our colleagues’ work, and honours our own reputation as professionals who actually care about meeting the promises we make. Staying true to these expectations is vital when you work as a freelance language editor, especially if you intend to receive a steady work flow from agency clients and keep attracting direct prospects through word-of-mouth referrals.
As we discussed in earlier posts, the person who edits a translation or even original copy must turn quality into their first priority. While this may read like an obvious statement, sometimes quality comes to bear the consequences of impossible time constraints or, even, lack of specific knowledge in the subject matter on the editor's part. But can editors survive in the translation industry if they depict a deficient portrait of themselves by submitting poor quality to their clients? And if so, how long are they likely to last, alive and kicking?
If we take the above quoted phrase at face value, I am sure we would generally agree that quality, for editors, is—must be—a must, given that they take part in what is widely known as the QA process which every translation should, hopefully, undergo prior to the final delivery to a client.
So, how can we ensure we actually put as much into the job as it takes? Do we always need to have what it actually takes? And if not, should we still take the job and juggle it as well as we can?
Every once in a while, we, humans, tend to (involuntarily) fail at our goals, at our exams, at other people's expectations and even at out jobs. We, editors, being human by definition, will, inevitably, run the risk of failure every time we take on the responsibility of doing our job. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies we can pursue which are likely to help us cope with the mixed blessing that a job request might mean in terms of the “To edit or not to edit this text?” dilemma.
How can we make sure we truly edit a text as well as we can, despite time constraints and other minor disadvantages or contingencies? Well, here I remind myself and, hopefully, my readers, of some useful tactics I have come to develop in order to try and strike a balance between what I feel I should and shouldn’t do as a professional editor. We are going to use these as the baseline for the Every Cloud Must Have A Silver Lining series, which consists of a series of upcoming blog posts on a couple of unpromising client feedback scenarios and how I came to solve each case by keeping both feet on the ground and looking on the bright side of the situation. These articles will aim to remind myself and my colleagues that yes, we are plausibly human, just as everyone else but, unlike everyone else, we are willing to make our best attempt to solve a situation for a client when things don’t come about as expected, whether that be our mistake or theirs.
Whenever I lose track of why I accepted this job or other, or feel rather daunted by a job request which sounds tempting from the point of view of profit, but rather unwelcome from the point of view of cost-effectiveness, I try by all means to apply these three principles before I say either “Yes” or “No” and start working on it:
1. Buy less of the “No pain, no gain” philosophy—we are no know-alls, after all!
It is a truth (almost) universally acknowledged that, in the beginning of our careers as editors and translators, we must all be in want of a steady work flow and a good income. But, as we grow both realistic and more confident, there will come this moment of epiphany when we realise we actually can’t do five things at a time (or take two 2,500-assignments for the same deadline). There comes a point in our lives as editors and translators when we can tell in advance whether we can do or not do a job, and feel almost 100% sure we made the right choice. Every client will expect fast and easy, but also, every client will expect good quality from you, in exchange of which you are going to ensure you are rewarded accordingly. The “No pain, no gain” philosophy is a widespread motto that may be helpful to some for a start, but once you define your areas of expertise, either purposefully or through daily practice, those are likely to be the fields you truly feel comfortable working in. The direct result from learning to tell the difference between what we could do but wouldn't like to do, and what we could and definitely do well plus enjoy is that we must start saying no to certain jobs in order to make the most of our time, effort and—let’s face it—experience. When you say no the things you honestly don’t feel like doing, or don’t feel capable of doing because that’s simply not your area, you feel better at ease with the kind of work you actually do. As a result, you are naturally less prone to make mistakes because you know the field, feel positive about what you are doing and can fully trust your skills on the subject. Hence, you stand a better chance of providing your client with better quality. Finally, in the long run, knowing what you’re good at and enjoy doing most will be the key to confidently marketing yourself as a specialised linguist in a couple of specific areas of your taste and knowledge. That’s when you can give the client your full assurance that yes, they can trust you and yes, you will get the job done as it should, or even better!
2. Stay focused, time to get the job done. Repeat after me: Time to get the job done.
Once you find your way out of the jobs in which you feel you are unlikely to be the best possible editor available, you need to learn to appreciate the opportunity you've decided to take to do exactly what you enjoy and feel good at doing, and clear away those tasks which somebody else could do better. Sometimes, we are better at things we don’t enjoy that much, but which we don't mind doing anyway, so we can get the job done without procrastinating and without taking many pains to meet our deadline or the quality that is expected from us. Some people will claim they can't do certain things—like their jobs!—unless they absolutely enjoy at least the vast majority of it, which must be why so many people keep working to earn their living: they must work, we all have to, but if we can do something to enjoy it, the better.
Of course, when we say yes to a project, we always run the risk of having to deal with one contingency or another, either be that on the part of the client or on ours. But then, that’s where the adrenaline lies, isn’t it? Some adrenaline is good to keep your sense of adventure well fed, and yes, every cloud will probably have a silver lining. As we'll often say in Spanish, “No hay mal que por bien no venga”.
Now, when we are entrusted with the an editing task, we are likely to encounter a great deal of issues (not just terms) to do some thorough research on, even when we work in a field (we assume) we know very, very well. So, I think one of the tips to get the job done is, like in every trade and profession in this life, make sure you STAY FOCUSED. How? Well, I believe that very much depends on a series of factors, one of which is our own character traits, another the kind of job we're doing, and, also, the circumstances in which we are doing it, that is, whether you’re a freelancer or in-house linguist, whether you share your (home) office with other people, your working hours, etc.
One of the things I’ve been giving much though to these days is this: Can editors do a good job when they listen to music during their working hours? Can editors provide their best possible quality with their TV on crooning in the background?
I assume many people would say that depends on what helps you relax, on what helps you stay tuned while enjoying the atmosphere a bit for as long as the job lasts. In my case, I often find music to be one of the worst distractors. First, because I play musical instruments and can never resist the temptation of doing something with my hands or my feet or, erm, my voice, if I’m listening to music, and second, because it is a scientifically proved fact that the more stimulated our brain is, the more energy it has to invest in responding to every stimulus. This can have a positive effect in the long run, and is very likely to help you boost your split attention if you train it as a skill to acquire in the long term (interpreters will know first-hand what I mean), but in the case of editors, I have often found that a regular 1-hour task might take me up to 2 hours if I do it while listening to music and, also, will increase the probability span for unseen errors. So, if you are a freelancer who’s not sharing their office with anyone else but still can't help listening to music while you work, try to a) choose either instrumental music (like peaceful movie soundtracks, classical music, karaoke tracks, etc.) or songs in a language that differs from the ones you happen to be working with; and b) keep the volume from moderate to low, so that it consumes as little energy as possible from your attention span. Needless to say, these are the tips that work best for me, but of course, it takes all sorts... Now, I imagine it must be a little harder when it comes to in-house linguists. Perhaps their work environment allows for a bit of music, or perhaps not. If music is totally unacceptable or most likely to bother your colleague, you can always request your boss’ permission to wear your own headphones while working on a light deadline, and always keep sound at a low volume in your computer, so that you don't totally switch off from what’s going on in the workplace.
3. Ensure you deliver your best possible quality—better be safe than sorry!
Generally speaking, editors seem to be more likely to lay their hands on a wider range of fields and topics than translators normally do, as there are usually more linguists willing and held skilled to translate than take up editing jobs. This is because, in a way, editing takes quality to the next level, so much so that quality must be, like I said before, our number one priority. Also, while some translators are likely to handle 2,500 to 5,000 words per day, well-trained professional editors may be willing to edit up to 7,000 words per day, though I wouldn’t recommend editing that amount of works on a regular daily basis non-stop. While editing can be a very interesting job from the point of view of diversity and the variety of themes editors will often deal with in a day, it is also as stressful as—and, sometimes, more demanding than—translating a text for whose quality will depend half on the translator himself, and half on the editor of the language team. Because clients are, more often than not, in a hurry, both editors and translators are expected to work on generally tight or, at least, not always flexible deadlines. In fact, editors are sometimes expected to work faster. As they always come second in the TEP operating line, everybody will feel inclined to assume that the hardest part has already been dealt with by somebody else, i. e., the translator. In my experience, editing is likely to take almost as many—and sometimes more—working hours than a regular to slightly complex translation. Even when the quality submitted by the translator is very good, there's always room for correction, and if there isn’t, there is always a wide range of other issues to keep us busy with research, in order to ensure we check again every aspect of the translation, such as: target market/audience, terminology, general stylistic guidelines, client preferences, etc.
In any case, we can always stay out of trouble by caring to provide our best quality and, therefore, making that portrait of ourselves help our clients see us the way we actually want them to see us—like the true professional editors we are. For that matter, I always try to review my own edited version of a text before I send it to my clients. Usually, that means taking into account all the deadlines I have in a day or two, plus the rest of my weekly routine, so as to plan for this second editing phase to come neither too soon after my first review of the text, nor too late in connection with my deadline. If the client is new, I struggle to make sure I do go through the text twice before I deliver it—better cause a positive first impression and get off to a good start, than go around picking up the pieces of your own poorly done job.
However, many editors will claim there are a number of issues that may keep them from doing this at times. Whenever I feel I won't make it for the second review, I work even harder on my concentration skills. I know I can concentrate hard on my job for a limited amount of time, as it is only natural that it should be so for all human beings in general. So, when I get down to a job I know I will only be reviewing once, I actually do absolutely nothing more than that, and keep up with it for as long as I know I can be productive and fully aware of the changes I make. This means I must consider my choices very well before inserting an edit, so that I only exceptionally come back to it after I finish editing. Exceptions may occur that may cause me to retrace my steps even when I thought I had made every change possible, such as when the client asks for a sample of the edited translation and they come back with feedback requesting a couple of preferential changes, or if I or the translator realise a term would be better translated as X instead of Y, then the client approves and, as a result, that change is my responsibility to make.
Finally, I would rather say every editor should aim at autographing their work with their best possible quality, and not just “quality”. Doing our best is the key value that will help us keep the boat afloat if the client comes back with issues, and will also provide for the ideal starting point before discussing every sort of feedback with the client. In short, if we are fully aware of the work we've done and confident that we actually did as much as good as we could, we are in a much better position to stand up for our job and quote the word "quality" as many times as we choose to within our reply to our client's concerns. Ultimately, an editor's goal is to demonstrate we have cared to provide what we firmly believe in: quality.◘ ◘ ◘
Recommended Translation Blogs and Articles:
◘ How to succeed in the industry: An interview with Marta Stelmaszak
◘ Life as a translator, by Scheherezade Surià
◘ Looking-glass Translations, Marie Jackson's industry blog
◘ Thoughts On Translation, Corinne McKay's industry blog
◘ Marketing Tips for Translators, Tess Whitty's industry blog
◘ Algo más que traducir, Pablo Muñoz Sánchez
Delfina Morganti Hernández is a freelance English<>Spanish translator, reviewer and interpreter specialising in Marketing, HR, Literary Criticism, Subtitling and Digital Journalism. She recently started The Magic Pen Edits, her second blog ever, which aims to address the complex challenges faced by freelance linguists, especially editors.