Striking a balance in a post-COVID world

STRIKING A BALANCE IN A POST-COVID WORLD

a view from the booth

The trend towards interpreters increasingly having a solid digital presence has been picking up steam for quite a while now and it is no news that, as with many other things in our lives, COVID has accelerated it like a racing car out of the grid.

Traditionally, interpreters were expected to be ‘invisible’ both when interpreting and when not. I am not entirely sure where this comes from; probably the unintended combination of what is common practice in the institutions and the pressure for non-solicitation by agencies and consultant interpreters.

As a result, interpreters ended up relying on slow-drip networking with, and word-of-mouth referral from, colleagues who might or might not mention their names when needs must.

Almost two decades into the internet and social-media revolution, the waters around interpreters’ online visibility are still divided – into three.

There are those who believe interpreters should not have a social media presence at all and deem it extremely unprofessional to do so, certain that traditional, low-profile, face-to-face networking is the only way to go; there are those who have barely dipped their toes in but have not dared to go any further, leaving a trail of half-filled LinkedIn profiles followed by the sad conclusion that social media marketing does not work; and, finally, there are those who believe that having a social media presence means sharing unauthorised photos from the booth and unknowingly disclosing confidential information in a poor attempt to show the world how good they are at their jobs.

There is, however, a fourth way: the savvy post-COVID way that combines the global reach of a virtual presence with the unique value of remaining local. I call it being ‘globally local’, but you can call this delicate balance between in-person and digital whatever makes better sense for you.

Why global?

Well, because these days the whole world is our stage. And this does not just apply to the participants in the events at which we interpret. Anyone can get any client anywhere anytime, which is great and opens a world of possibilities – literally. And what is going to lay the world at your feet? The power of the internet.

Used wisely and cleverly, your digital presence can highlight your professional profile and bring you a step closer to success whether you prefer to pursue your own clients, work for agencies, or both.

Why local?

Because faced with ‘anyone, anywhere, anytime’, our best option for standing out is to harness the power of our most immediate network and that which distinguishes us from ‘the rest of the world’ in the eyes of those clients we wish to attract.

We are only starting to get the first glimpses of the post-COVID world. Who knows what it will be like, and who knows what changes it will bring? Once thing is certain, though: we cannot pretend it is simple any more.

In this time and age, not having a professional digital presence is (almost) equivalent to not existing. Everyone is going to google you, and Google is the first place where people will go to find your details. Likewise, a solid place of belonging can easily become the cornerstone of your entire business.

How far you take your online networking and how much you remain reliant on in-person interactions is entirely up to you. The only logic to follow when making your choice is to decide how each serves your vision for your business and your career.

The one thing we can no longer afford is not to embrace both the global and the local. The one thing we can (and must) do is to find the right balance for ourselves and, quite simply, to relish it.

The old rules are no more.

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STRIKING A BALANCE IN A POST-COVID WORLD

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