Jul 24, 2010
Alex Eames saves a life
The new themes of the book are found to some extent in the material of his recently revived tranfree newsletter, but there was a lot of other useful new content as well as interesting online media statistics. Although I suppose I could almost be counted as an "old pro" by now (well, "old" at least), I finished the book with a nice little to-do list of changes I need to make in my business marketing. Like earlier versions of his book, this one doesn't make any enormously surprising points if you are blessed with a little basic common sense, but it offers a nice, digestible summary and reminder list that can help brush the dust off the glasses of "old pros" whose vision of the profession has gotten a bit obscured. And the book is as useful as ever for those starting out in the profession. An earlier version was probably the best general advice I received on getting started and was worth in practice about two orders of magnitude more than I paid for it.
There are so many good points in the book that caused me to make a note to myself that I wanted to write a blog post on the subject. Simple, powerful stuff like the discussion of client acquisition costs and the high value of repeat business. Sure, it's "obvious". But how well have some of us learned that lesson if we are still inclined to turn the cannons on customers in difficult situations which, if handled with a bit of grace and intelligence, could be used as opportunities to reinforce one's professional reputation and increase customer loyalty? I've earned a few demerits there this year as I've dealt with reorganization stresses and other issues, and reading Alex's clear exposition on the subject was a fine and necessary mental Kur in a very real sense. The discussion of translator CVs (résumés) is another point which is discussed often, but the guidance of his clear examples will be a great help to many I think. It also reminded me that I need to trim half a dozen pages or so from mine... something I have been aware of and intended to do for a decade now as soon as things slow down a bit :-)
No idea when this year the book is scheduled for release, and some important additions and revisions of the content are apparently still under consideration. But the structure of what I've seen and the updates to the content make this book as relevant to survival as a freelance translator in today's market as the original editions were when I started translating full time. The markets for translation are indeed changing in some interesting ways now, and I think that this new edition of the book will be a valuable mixture of timeless good advice and strategies for staying of top of a rapidly evolving global situation that affects many translators. If you aren't already a tranfree subscriber, I recommend signing up for the free newsletter so you won't miss the release announcement later this year.