December 30, 2020 |
The pandemic has brought massive changes in the way we do business, with a significant impact on the language service industry. If, for many years, change in your translation business was associated with progress, being able to embrace change in 2020 was all about survival.
The pandemic has affected some industries and sub-industries more than others. Consequently, translation niches will come with different challenges in the following years, as industries recover after the decline.
Overall, as we head into 2021, we should expect several mindset shifts, and while making predictions is hard, it’s safe to say that getting ready to deal with challenges should be your top priority. Next year will bring new market trends and innovative processes necessary to keep up with economic recession and uncertainty.
We already know that it won’t be easy. Language service providers need to learn how to embrace change further to remain relevant and support their customers. As a freelance translator, employee, or business owner in the language industry, you’ll need to upgrade your soft skills and learn to cope with change as part of your working routine. Here are some tips that could help.
If you know the best tools and implement the most effective translation processes, you’ll deliver the best services in your niche. To achieve that, you need to keep learning and growing as a professional.
For language professionals, staying up-to-date with the industry news is vital for closing new clients, getting new jobs, and delivering top results. It’s in your best interest to remain connected to your colleagues, professional associations, and experts in your niche.
At the same time, if you’re a Subject Matter Expert (SME), it’s time to increase online visibility and share your knowledge with fellow translators and interpreters.
Networking will be one of the pillars of success in the translation industry in 2021 and beyond. After the first wave of online conferences and virtual networking events, people will find ways to master the art of online networking beyond the big industry events. Make it a top priority to be where change happens to stay relevant and competitive.
Changing old habits is hard work, and becoming part of a community can help you navigate uncertainty with better results. Find a group of like-minded people you can connect with to be ready to cope with change when things don’t go as planned.
After months of social distancing, mobility restrictions, and a pandemic, most of your clients have had to rethink business operations, postpone projects, and downsize budgets. In turn, their clients have been impacted by the same factors, so it’s hard to believe anyone can go back to “business as usual” any time soon.
You need to consider all these variables when negotiating translation and localization projects. Be empathetic; find new ways to add value to your clients to help them understand how working with you benefits their business.
Learn to listen to your customers and try to understand how their pain points have changed. You might need to change your approach to meet your customers’ new needs, dictated by a deep shift in local markets worldwide. Add new services if you see gaps in the market, and learn new skills to deliver those services at the same quality standard your customers expect.
Investing in education for you and your employees is the most effective way to prepare your team (and yourself) for any change, regardless of how profound. With the right skills in place, you can overcome challenges and secure on-going work in 2021.
Pricing and cost control are the top challenges of European language service providers in the post-COVID era. While pricing can depend on external factors, costs depend more on you than on the market as a whole.
If you haven’t tracked your expenses lately, 2021 is the perfect moment to start writing down regularly where your money goes. It’s a useful exercise that can help you control expenses and give you more flexibility in pricing. If you know your costs, you can immediately find solutions to cut them by 5 or 10% and increase profitability.
Pay attention to those costs that can be reduced without impacting your services’ quality, such as subscriptions, bills, or memberships.
Test new technology to find innovative tools and do your job better in less time and with little effort. This might require a change in mindset, especially when you consider that the new generation of tools in the language industry uses artificial intelligence. This doesn’t mean you can replace your collaborators with software. No matter how innovative, software remains a tool worth only as much as the person who uses it.
On the other hand, enabling the best linguists to work with the best tools means you’ll deliver top-quality services and improve your reputation in your translation niche. In the long run, you’ll increase the number of clients in your portfolio and boost revenue.
Moreover, working with new technology makes you more productive and allows you to manage more complex projects. It helps you consolidate your position in the market and makes you a reliable language partner for companies of all sizes.
If you work alone, make it a personal challenge to learn at least one new tool by spring to diversify your services and open the door to new business opportunities. If you manage a team of linguists, encourage them to learn new skills and lead by example. This way, you’ll be more flexible when change occurs and remain competitive in a highly dynamic market.
No one knows exactly what the new year will bring. But we know that quality and consistency pay off. Make it your mission to deliver the best services and excellent customer experience to all the companies and individuals you work with, and your customers will notice.