Innovation, innovation, innovation

Post date: Aug 19, 2014 4:34:21 PM

For people working at the cutting edge of languages, translators and interpreters are often surprisingly conservative. They feel (and often act) like self-appointed defenders of language, struggling to hold back a rising tide of neologisms and bad grammar, while battling the worst linguistic excesses of the "I'm good"* generation.

But what we need right now in our industry is precisely the opposite of conservative people: we need innovators, to exploit the benefits and business opportunities offered by technological advances, and to hoist translation and interpreting into the spotlight as a genuinely creative, forward-thinking sector with innovative professionals at its heart. Words like "creative", "forward-thinking" and "innovative" readily spring to mind when we think about the computer industry, or publishing, or various other technology sectors. But we don't often think of translators/interpreters in that way. Why is that? And what are we going to do about it?

We should all be thinking of ways to innovate. How can we use the web to offer new services, or to add value to existing services? How can we collaborate with our fellow professionals to make things better for our customers? We should be challenging ourselves to come up with some new ideas. And remember that sometimes the simplest ones are best.

*The correct counter-response to the reply "I'm good" is to say "I asked how you are, not where you stand on the continuum between good and evil". It used to work with my kids (at least, it used to shut them up briefly while they wondered what I was on about).