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Do we need client education?

By: Jonathan Downie    Date: October 19, 2016

A couple of days ago, I wrote this post on LinkedIn on the power of interpreting at business events. And, sure enough, some events managers have read it, which is great. The most positive response, however, has come from fellow interpreters.

That prompted me to ask, on two different groups, whether it is actually interpreting clients who need to be educated about the power and potential of our work. How easy do we find it to believe in our own worth and to argue for our professionalism not on the basis of need but on the basis of the benefits we bring to clients?

We can ask the same question about professional websites. How many of our websites clearly and unequivocally tell clients what we can do for them and how we can make a difference to their business? How much of the time do we protest, instead of actually sitting down and listening to the people who are going to be paying us before we try to put together a business proposal?

Protest might help assure rights but it won’t increase respect. If we really want interpreting to be respected and valued, we need to do the hard work of training ourselves to see that value and then working out how to explain that to clients.

That’s not marketing; it’s plain old common sense. If we want to change the world, let’s start by changing ourselves first. So, here’s the challenge, in the comments box below or on whatever group you read this, write a single short sentence that would explain to clients how you can benefit them.

And, if we need to use words like “accurate”, “trained”, “qualified” or “certified”, it might be a sign that we need to think again about why clients buy our services. It’s not easy but once you get it right to the point that you are talking the same language as your clients, you will see more of a difference than you could ever imagine. Try it.