Monday, 25 February 2013

A love letter to my clients

The snowdrops are out! How I love seeing their little bell-like heads shining above the dark soil. We have several different kinds of snowdrop in our little cottage garden, each one prettier than the next. Snowdrops mark the beginning of what I think is England’s most beautiful season – spring. Years of living in continental climates have really taught me to appreciate the long, drawn-out British spring, where we seem to move slowly from the blooming of one gorgeous flower to the next – snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells and apple blossom, roses…

But I get ahead of myself. We’re still in February, which is not just the month of snowdrops, but also – if you want to believe what the card and flower industries tell us – the month of love and St. Valentine’s Day. So for this month’s post, I thought I would write a kind of love letter to those people without whom I could not do the job I love doing – yes, that’s right, I’m talking about clients!

A love letter to my clients

So why do my clients deserve a love letter?

Because they are interesting: When I set up my business, I made a conscious choice about the kind of work I wanted to do and the kind of people I wanted to work with. (After all, as a business owner you get to call the shots!) So I have been lucky enough to work with some fascinating people from all over the globe – scholars, researchers, artists, writers, journalists. And through translating and editing their work I am able to gain insight into their interests and passions.

Because they are passionate about their work: I choose the word “passion” purposely, for the one of the things that makes my clients so interesting is their love of what they do. On the one hand, this raises the stakes for you as a translator and editor – your client is making not just a financial, but an emotional investment in your services – but it also makes your work much more rewarding.

Because they give me an opportunity to learn: Why work with people who don’t challenge you and help you to grow? It’s not my idea of fulfilling work at any rate! The texts and the kind of work that my clients provide me with is constantly broadening my horizons and forcing me to “think outside the box” (I don’t really like that phrase, but it fits here). I have learnt huge amounts of fascinating stuff through them – some of which has made me change the way I view and do things in my own life.

Illustrations © C.A. Hiley
Because they appreciate what I do: Last but not least, all of us like to be recognised for the work we do. I am lucky enough that most of my clients really appreciate the work I do for them and let me know it (and let others know it too!). Getting an appreciative email or card really makes my day! In fact, I often print these messages out and put them up round my work space to remind myself of my clients’ awesomeness and why my work is great.

So, dear clients, this is why you are getting this love letter from me! Thanks for being such wonderful people and please keep on doing the wonderful work that you do!

Fellow translators and business folks, let’s share the love – what are the things you love about your clients? I’d love (there’s that word again…) to hear them!