Communication, communication, communication

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 15:36 Erika Baker

After another day of spending half an hour giving a detailed and personal answer to an enquiry from someone about how to become a translator, and not even getting an acknowledgement, I have to say to all of you budding entrepreneurs out there:


So how will they judge you? By the way you talk to them. If you can convince someone that you’re polite, respond to enquiries quickly, professionally and with a touch of friendliness, if you keep them informed about what’s going on, and thank them for their responses to you, you’re much more likely to make them think you know what you’re talking about than if you communicate at a very minimal level.


  1. If you cannot reply to an enquiry straight away, send a quick “thank you for your email, I’ll get back to you shortly” mail.
  2. If you have said you’ll get back to someone shortly – do it!
  3. If your project is delayed for any reason – tell them, explain the problem, suggest interim solutions.
  4. Engage politely and constructively with anyone, even if you don’t think they’re particularly useful to you now – they may be in the future.

It’s not rocket science, yet it’s astonishing how often people get it wrong.


And you young people who write to me asking for help with your next steps:


  1. I know I don’t always give you the answer you want to hear! Thank me anyway, it’s good practice.
  2. If you write back with some kind of genuine reaction, we might end up having a conversation and, who knows, I might be able to help you with something else after all.
  3. If you do end up becoming a translator, and if I remember you as someone who communicated really well, I might think of you, even in years to come, and put myself out to help you find work. Or contacts.


All else being equal, the most successful people in all spheres of freelance work are those who have learned to communicate well. It really does make all the difference.