Well, what the senior translator said might be true decades ago, but it is unlikely the case nowadays. The reason is simple: competition. Translators today have to face more competition than ever. Take a look at some popular freelance translator platforms, and you can see how competitive the market is.
I mainly translate books and work with publishing houses. Although no precise numbers exist that says just how competitive the book translation job market is, basically the scenario is quite similar. Such being the case, it is inevitable that the unit price for translation has stayed so low: This is a buyer's market.
However, having fierce competition does not spell certain doom. In fact, there are many opportunities to be explored.I'll show you how to find your niche market in later posts. But first, I want to delve into a psychological phenomenon which I find very important: why do some people just don't like “marketing”? If this is you, I suggest that you think hard about this is so before you read on.
Why do you hate marketing so much?
Some people just can't get along with marketing ideas or terms, and I think I'm an excellent example of that. In fact, it is not just "branding" or "marketing" that made me roll my eyes when hearing them. Not long ago I couldn't stand words like "business model," "B2B," or "upsell strategy," either.
For example, I was once stopped by a salesman on the street who so desperately wanted people just walking by to sign up for credit cards. Even though I declined and walked away, he was not willing to concede and kept bothering me for a while. The only thing I remember about this now was the name of the bank he worked for. I recall myself saying, "I definitely don't want to do business with his bank." This is a negative example of marketing!
If your brain deems a piece of information useless, it filters out the info immediately.What kinds of info are most likely to be wiped out? An email that looks like an ad; a cover letter that has obviously been recycled; a flyer that tells only how good your product is. The list goes on and on. If your message is considered irrelevant by your target audiences, no matter how hard you work, you work in vain.
So, what is branding? Branding is making clients immediately ask for your help when they are in need.
A: Clients ask for your help because they consider you "useful" to them. Or, in business term, you can provide "value" to them. Value is a critical concept. Branding and marketing all center around value, but since the business "value" is the same word as our everyday "value", we don't appreciate it enough. I'll save this part for another day.
Q: What can we do to make ourselves useful to potential clients?(How)
2. If you are uncomfortable with business ideas and terms, please figure out why. This is very important.
3. Branding is about making your clients ask for your help when they are in need. Sending useless information is not marketing at all. It’s suicide!mation is not marketing at all.It’s suicide!
This article was originally written in traditional Chinese by Joanne Chou, Co-founder of Termsoup, and later translated into English by Gary Liaw.