If you haven’t got round to making any business resolutions yet for 2011, or are stuck or ideas, here are some belated suggestions.
Raise your fees, if you haven’t already, especially if you live in the UK. See my own Resolution no. 1. If you’re a translator, check out Kevin Lossner’s post on the latest BDÜ rate survey and 3-year trend. It focuses on Kevin’s German to English language combination but makes interesting reading for all of us. If you’re not a translator, check it out and be bemused by the complexity of our fee systems!
If your work involves writing, editing or translating, print off and read your work in hard copy before delivering to your client. It’s a surefire way to improve quality — you’ll notice mistakes and clunkiness you just don’t see on the screen. If you’re worried about ink consumption, use Century Gothic or Ecofont (which apparently use less ink than other fonts) and print in draft mode if available. To minimise paper consumption, buy recycled or otherwise “green” paper to start with and either print on both sides or re-use the paper by printing other drafts on the blank sides.
Get involved in educational outreach. Schools and local authorities who organise employability and careers days are always on the look-out for people from the world of work to take part. If you work with languages, contact the language department at your local school. The teachers will probably welcome you with open arms: you’re evidence that language-learning can be relevant (even if it doesn’t involve Chinese!).
Go to see The King’s Speech. It’s a marvellous film on so many counts. For small-business owners it also provides, in the form of Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, an object lesson on how to handle clients — on your terms. A bit extreme for most of us, maybe, but food for thought.
Learn a new skill. Your business will benefit, and so will you.
By Marian Dougan