Tactics for coping with the Coronavirus slump?

Post date: Mar 16, 2020 7:11:34 PM

I have just returned from a truncated interpreting assignment in France, via a last-minute ferry booking, a dash to the harbour terminal at Dieppe, and a thankfully calm evening crossing to Newhaven. That adventure was followed by an overnight hotel stay in Brighton, and a train journey home via London the next day.

Interpreting and other language services assignments are being cancelled all around as we speak. So what do we do now? Here a few quick tips to help translators and interpreters to occupy their time usefully, and preserve their mental health (although obviously I am not in a position to provide medical advice) for as long as the slump continues:

- Develop your translation and interpreting skills: now's the time to do that online CPD you've been thinking about.

- Update your website. Or create a new website.

- Improve your subject expertise (there's no substitute for reading around the subject and getting to know about it - and no excuse not to do it).

- Think about the continuous improvement process (using the Plan, Do, Check, Act model). What could you improve, and how would you go about it? Keep it simple, but make sure you write it down.

- Write a blog. Better still, write a regular blog. It can help improve your writing skills.

- Think about how you could diversify, but tailor your thinking around diversification to the current conditions. Could you do more translation/online training/copywriting/blogging/social media influencing/teaching/novel-writing/exam marking...?

- Look at cutting costs out of your operation (and, if necessary, your personal life) until things improve.

- Stay in touch with customers. It really does help. But don't bombard them with needy emails.

- Think about how you could be more involved with professional bodies (CIoL, ITI, etc.). Be a mentor, join a committee, write an article, organise an online event.

- On a large sheet of paper, draw a map of your network, with all of the organisations and people you know professionally, and think about how you could form better and more useful relationships with them.

- Think about your relationships outside the Translation/Interpreting sector - could you be talking to more people in your specialist field (via LinkedIn, for example)?

- Think about how you could develop your "soft" skills (leadership, interpersonal skills, teamworking).

- See if anybody in any of your networks or communities needs help or support with anything.

- Remember that solidarity, community, cooperation, partnership and mutual support are always better for people and for society than segregation, separation, isolation, exclusion and individualism. Always. And that is more true than ever now.

All the best, stay safe, hope to be back to something approximating normality some time soon.