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An introduction that makes all the difference…

First impressions are important.

Sadly, this is where many of us fail miserably.

And it’s not because our job is boring or unimportant.

Translation is BOTH exciting AND important, but we don’t actually get many chances to practice pitching our services.

Many of us are freelancers.

This means we spend most of our time glued to our screens, enveloped in the comfort of our homes.

Quite often our interactions with fellow humans are minimal, and to make things worse, when we do interact with other people and tell them what we do for a living, most of the times it looks like this:

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And herein lies one of our biggest challenges.

99,99% of the people I know have never met another translator in real life.

They’ve never had the need to hire a translator and I’m the only representative of this seemingly rare profession in their social circles.

Add to this that our profession is not that “hip” and practically invisible in mass media.

We have no shortage of movies, sitcoms, books and articles being written about lawyers, doctors, architects, web-developers and many other fine folks in service industries, yet translators mostly stay in the shadows (with a few exceptions).

So when I start explaining what I do for a living to strangers I’ve met at birthday parties and other social gatherings, I often get mixed responses.

A lot of times people have a hard time trying to understand what it is I do and how I can make money translating. Why on earth would anyone pay a translator when we have Google Translate?

Of course, for me it’s an exciting opportunity to show my passion for this amazing profession and enlighten these people.

After all, the world as we know it cannot exist without translators.

We build bridges and connect nations. We help develop global trade, contribute to conflict resolutions and help people understand each other. This world would be lost without us.

That’s why I think it’s very important to get our message across and shine a more focused and brighter light on our profession.  Let’s make translation sound more enjoyable, exciting and relatable, so that the general public can easily understand what it is we do.

In the spirit of making my profession sound more fabulous I’ve come up with a simple formula for introducing myself that I use whenever I meet new people and they ask me what I do for a living.

Here’s what I say:

I’m a {your_source_language}-{your_target_language} {specialization} translator. I have my own company where we help {who} translate {what} into {what_language}.

This formula does wonders for me because I specialize in video games.

Every time I say that I have my own company where we help video game developers translate their video games into Russian I can see genuine interest in the eyes of my conversation partner.

And using I have my own company instead of I’m a freelancer makes it sound like what I do is extremely important and serious. I mean, come on! The guy has his own business!

I'm kind of big deal

And this simple formula can work for other fields of expertise too. The key here is being able to give a clear, interesting example of what you do.

For example:

I’m a German-French medical translator. I have my own company where we help heart surgeons translate manuals for medical equipment into French.

I’m a English-Polish financial translator. I have my own company where we help Wall Street financial institutions translate their quarterly reports into Polish.

You get the picture. 🙂

Since I started using this formula, I’ve seen a significant increase in interest from people I meet at events and social gatherings.

It’s very simple, yet highly effective, and I think you should give it a try.

And if you do, don’t forget to let me know about it, ok? 😉

~ D.K.  (proofread by J.T.)

This is something I wrote for my mailing list, Dmitry’s Rebel Club. If you found it valuable, if it resonates with you, you can sign up below to get articles like this one every Sunday right into your inbox (plus you’ll get access to all of my previous articles).

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What the fork, Dmitry?! Why don’t you have a comment section?

It’s not like I don’t care what you think, I DO care! It’s just that there are way better platforms for discussion.

Head over to The Open Mic if you want to leave a long-form comment or simply  with your bite-sized thoughts about this article. Looking forward to having a lively discussion. Thanks!

~ D.K.


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Dmitry Kornyukhov

Entrepreneur. English-Russian Translator. Video game localization specialist. Helping small and medium-sized businesses go global. Loving every minute of it.