Transcollaboration: Working with and not against our colleagues in the T&I industry

Happy Monday! Oops—Tuesday! It definitely feels like a Monday here today. Yesterday was a holiday for us here in the U.S. and although not everybody had the day off, most people did, so today is definitely feeling like Monday (besides the fact that it’s raining, and it seems to inevitably rain here on Mondays).

So, on this rainy Tuesday, I’m sitting here preparing for a meeting that I have with a fellow business owner of a successful company, which is similar to mine, yet quite different. The owner, like myself, has a background in languages and used to work as a contract interpreter. She started her business several years ago and contacted me last week to set up a meeting to talk about ideas for possible collaboration. If you have read any of my previous posts on industry news, you’ll know that I love to collaborate with other like-minded people with similar goals. That said, I have two meetings this week with colleague business owners. The other has a business that is very different from mine, but it seems that we have a lot in common and share parallel ethical values in our business operations and visions.

As I think of ways that we can partner and collaborate on complementary aspects of our businesses, it makes me happy to think that there are others out there with coinciding interests, i.e. a desire to make language accessible to others during a time when the translation and interpreting industry is booming and holding strong during this “rough economy”. So many of us talk and hear about the “rough economy”, but I’m pleased to report that our industry is one that has and continues to hold strong during the recession and evidence of this shines through in the string of phone calls from new clients and translators and interpreters who must rearrange schedules or even turn down jobs because they’re finding it difficult to keep up with all the work coming their way.

Over the holiday break, we had a job come in that at first seemed hard to place. Finally, we found a skilled translator and proofreader willing to take on the job right before Christmas. One mentioned how she followed my blog and agreed with my points on professionalism and collaboration. She was honest about the expected timeline for the project and mentioned that she would try to get the project in early if possible. As it turns out, she did a top-notch job and turned in the translation early. She was a pleasure with whom to work and is someone we know we can count on again for future projects. At the end of the project, she asked to see the revisions made by our proofreader so that she could learn from any errors or see other possibilities for terms she used. She was glad to receive the proofread work and noted that although it can be difficult to see parts of one’s work changed, she agreed with those changes and learned from them.

To me, THIS is a true example of collaboration and professionalism. This translator did not come back to us and argue that “x” term she chose for a word was better than that of the proofreader. Instead, she learned from a colleague and took everything in stride.

I can only wish to continue to have these types of interactions with my colleagues. This is a lesson I think a lot of company owners can learn from our contractors. Here’s to hoping this week’s meetings develop into partnerships across language companies and long-lasting business relationships that ultimately grow awareness of professional language access in our communities and country.

Do you have an example of true collaboration and professionalism to share? If so, please do!

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