Greater than 2 minutes, my friend!
Recently, I had a friendly argument with my friend, a programmer whom I asked to have a look over my website. I had some issues with my WordPress theme and was not sure how to solve them. After having a quick look she asked:
Actually, that’s some free theme, isn’t it? Ever considered buying a professional one?
No, never. That’s some sort of an attitude towards virtual services. I never pay online for things I can’t touch.
Just want to be sure: how then do you distinguish your translations and other virtual services?
Translations don’t necessarily have to be online and virtual. Take any of my specializations and you will see that people really need my help; I create text which they are proud to show to their customers, translations that make their hospital treatment a lot cheaper, prevent legal issues, documentation which explains the functionality of their machines … and helps them generate new clients!
New clients, you say? You mean, by localizing websites?
So, again, what’s the difference between you helping your client by creating high quality website content which attracts new customers for them; and a programmer who does the very same for you by making your site run smoothly?
That’s where I gave up. My argument that the programmer once works and then can sell his result to as many people as he can find didn’t really count, because together with the product you usually get service and updates, etc. That makes a comparison with a translator once doing a good job and living on it from then on quite difficult.
Far too often I had potential customers thinking that my own translation services are “virtual”, that they “just spend money for work too boring” for themselves and that I should work almost for free. Needless to say, they never happened to buy my services, ending up with poor texts made by some MT editing “translator”. So, in fact I was stuck in similar stereotypes about a programmer’s work as the ones they might have about mine. And you can see that I’m in no way a programmer of any level if you consider that my website looked that way until now.
Something inside me still hesitated to buy a mass product from someone I didn’t know and that’s the point where I opted to pay my friend to create something tailored to my needs. Yet, there are some open questions which I would like to discuss:
- I really like the idea of “my time for your time” and it usually works well, but what do you do in situations when you don’t have the right specialist at hand or they are not interested in such an exchange?
- What services do you usually buy for your work?
- How do you choose the right person to provide you those products or services if you vaguely know what you need in the end but have absolutely no clue about how it shall be done?
- Do you consider your own services “virtual”? If so – and that would be understandable – how do you monetize them? Later in the discussion I can share my opinion about getting enough benefits from my “virtual” translations which are valued by quite a few but which no one would even consider to pay for.
Looking forward to hearing about your thoughts!