One of the most important things language translators can do is network with others in the profession. While there are plenty of blogs offering networking tips, a good deal of these have to do with using social-media to connect. Lest we forget, there is a life beyond the computer, so the next time you’re attending a translation conference, and find yourself in a room of strangers, put a few of these networking tips into play. They just might help you turn strangers into professional connections and friends.
Connect with confidence: 5 networking tips for language translators
Don’t worry about whether or not people like you
In school many of us worried about whether or not people liked us. Now that you’re a professional, you should be more concerned about finding common areas of interest and earning respect. Likeability follows respectability. That said, if you find yourself being rejected in a conversation, forget about it and move on— don’t retreat to a corner.
Talking vs. Connecting
Talking to another person is cake, but truly connecting with him or her is an art form. While there aren’t any rules to the connection game—outside of the obvious no swearing, no getting sloshed—there are a few best-practices:
- When you meet someone new, you should have a genuine desire to learn something about him or her.
- Ask questions that prompt the other person to share information about his or her life, values and interests (professional and otherwise). Once the person shares information, dig into your own experiences: Do you belong to similar organizations? Do you have a shared interest? Connect over these things.
We said there weren’t any networking rules outside of no swearing and no getting sloshed. There’s one more: no griping. Unless you’re at a Sesame Street conference and talking to Oscar the Grouch, keep your gripes to yourself. Language translators can leave an impression by being positive—not petulant.
Assume the role of a host
The best networkers act like the host even when they aren’t. Hosts don’t hide in the kitchen or retreat upstairs to watch TV. Nope, they do their best to make sure that everyone feels comfortable. They mingle, make the rounds, connect with others and make sure others are connecting too. Here are a couple of ways to assume the role of host:
- When you meet someone new, take a mental note of at least two things about him or her. When you meet someone else with similar interests, introduce him or her to your new friend.
- Does someone look lost or confused? You may not be able to help, but a simple, “Did you need help finding something/someone?” is one of the easiest ways to start a conversation.
Who are the key players?
Language translators should know ahead of time who is presenting at the conference. Take time to investigate them. Have they written any books, published any articles in the ATA journal? Do they maintain a blog or website? Read their work and use it to create talking points for when you meet them in person.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of conferences for language translators, click here.