So. I hear you’re diversifying?
That’s right. It’s all the rage these days, you know. Everyone’s got an online course, a membership programme, a coaching scheme or some sideline or other. It’s about time I got in on the act. I mean, how hard can it be? Sounds like a nice little earner.
Sounds like you’re becoming an instaguru, then.
A what now? I don’t think so; I don’t go much for social media.
Not Instagram, you lummox. Instaguru. An “instant guru”. A shiny expert with all the answers* available for a great-value price (hurry while stocks last!).
* The actual experience and expertise underpinning these answers may vary from that implied.
Hang on a sec –
– Because if you are, you might find yourself in hot water.
I don’t like the sound of that.
Well, quite. We translators have been encouraged to put ourselves out there on social media, on blogs and whatnot, to forge a brand image and show what we know. (Even if some actually end up revealing how little they know.) And with online course platforms like Udemy, or even ProZ.com, backed up by a barrowload of marketing advice about how to make money by creating online courses, there’s a whole new set of opportunities to do just that.
Great idea! People could pay me to tell them how to create their own online course!
Please tell me you’re joking.
Sorry. You were saying.
Although there’s some excellent CPD provision out there from people who really do know their singular “they” from their elbow, sadly some of the other material simply isn’t that good. I’ve had some excellent learning experiences, but I’ve also sat through webinars with rudimentary content, speeches that meandered along until the clock put them out of their misery, and presentations with crowded, ram-packed slides or no slides at all. I’ve read many insightful articles but too many vacuous, poorly written trickles of consciousness that would have been better consigned to the recycle bin.
But I can’t teach an elite-level course for experts yet. I’ve mastered the basics, but I’m still learning the advanced stuff myself, to be honest.
Then you’d probably best hold off for a while. Or, at most, make it clear that what you’re offering is introductory level. You want to be straight with people.
Quite. So I’d better put a dash of honesty in with the hard sell, eh, heh heh?
I’d bin the hard sell altogether. You need to be very careful about selling at all; people can become resistant very quickly if they feel you’re not treating them with respect. Especially if they’re your peers. Fellow translators and interpreters, that is.
But I’m a familiar face; that makes it easier, doesn’t it?
Not if people think you’re abusing your position as an insider, a fellow member of the professional community. Naturally, I want to find out what services are out there that might make me a better translator, but I don’t want to feel like I’m being sold to in a space that’s supposed to be reserved for peers, a place where we can expect to be free of such things. It can backfire spectacularly if folk get the impression you’ve joined or even created a community just to “monetise” it later.
Yes, didn’t that happen on a well-known Facebook group for translators last December?
Sadly, yes (amid much disillusionment and recrimination). For there’s a crucial difference in the relationship: colleagues aren’t like your translation clients. They’re your fellow professionals. People you could be running into online and at conferences for years to come. Some of them might be your friends. There’s less distance between you and them than there is with a translation client. They deserve special care and respect. Enterprise is commendable, but do get it right.
Gotcha. Quality content. Pitched at the right level. Respect, honesty, and a gossamer touch with the marketing. What about prices? You’re not going to say “free”, are you?
Some people might, but I think we need to practice what we collectively preach about high-end work for high-end money by showing that we’re prepared to pay more than a tenner or so for quality CPD. ITI’s Translate in Cambridge cost hundreds of pounds a punt, after all, but the value was immense, from what I hear. A substantial price tag certainly focuses the mind.
So, tell me you’re not going to be an instaguru. Please?
No, I think I’ll steer well clear of all that. I value my reputation too much.
Great stuff. Keep going, laddie.