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October 22, 2015

Dealing with negative feedback in social media

Anybody working online may at some point have to deal with negative feedback, both deserved and undeserved. It always brings negative feelings and emotions. Today I am going to share my own experience of dealing with negative feedback in social media. Everything posted there is picked up by Google and other search engines unless it's protected by privacy settings. That's why it's so important, first of all, to know how to deal with negative feedback correctly and, secondly, to stay calm and professional.

Managing a translation school, I periodically come across various negative comments about it in social networks (luckily, it doesn't happen as often now as we are earning a quite decent reputation among Russian translators). At first, I got really upset about those comments, especially if they came from people who didn't even attend any of our e-courses or webinars, but they were sure nevertheless that we were just another info business in the worst meaning of the word. What's interesting is that I noticed that if we offered them a chance to take part in a course they wouldn't even show up. Their main goal was to release their share of sarcasm and proudly walk away. ;-)

Luckily, there are more good people around. Still misunderstandings and problems can occur, and one of the challenges of social networks is that anything (good or bad) shared about your brand is seen by many people who are shaping their view about your services based on what they read online. That's why I always monitor what's being said about the translation school where I work and always reply to comments.

I also realised that there's another issue related to dealing with negative feedback. It concerns preserving your calmness and sanity despite of what people may write about your work. It may be hard, especially if you know you are doing your best. Here's what I do now. If I come across some negative feedback I don't react right away, but I switch to another task, maybe even turn off that social network for a few minutes. When I have calmed down, I open the network again and re-read the comment very carefully trying to see the rational idea behind it or a real problem that I can solve (or that I can get somebody else to solve). If there is a problem, I solve it and then reply to that comment saying that I am sorry for the inconvenience caused and that the problem is now solved. If there is no problem, but a miscommunication has taken place, I try to reply with respect and explain why we do things a certain way. I've noticed that this practice has helped me to become much calmer in general.  I can't say I don't care when somebody criticizes me, but I surely do my best to stay constructive at all times.

By the end of my first year as a manager of a translation school, I have come to the following conclusions:

1. It's impossible to be liked by everybody.

2. If a person wants to find fault with me or to find something wrong in the work of the school, he or she will. That's why it is very important to keep doing my very best and keep constantly growing professionally in order to work better. The most important thing is to work so well that I won't be able to criticize myself. To me, my own appreciation is more important now than the words of others.

3. If you see negative feedback about your work, you need to react to it
а) always;
b) fast (if possible);
c) in a constructive way.

4. Why is it necessary to deal with negative feedback?
а) In order to show your respect for other people, their feelings, their experience, and their fears.
b) Negative feedback helps to see problems that you wouldn't notice otherwise. The most useful reaction to negative feedback is the solvation of a real problem, even though people may have shared about it not in the most constructive manner. Still, they helped you see it and then solve it, and that's good!

I hope that my experience will help you, too. I'd love to hear about your experience in comments!

P.S. The article was originally published in my Russian blog (in Russian, of course).

October 9, 2015

I am back!

Hi everybody! Long time, no see! :)
There literally wasn't any single day when I didn't think about you. All my readers are very special to my heart. Thank you for your messages and for your cards! I am very grateful for your kind thoughts.

As you probably guessed, this is going to be a recap post. I shared a couple recap posts back in 2014, so it probably won't be big news for you if I say that 2014 was an extremely challenging year. Sometimes to the point that I thought I was losing my mind. But at the same time there have been some changes in my life, and I would love to share them with you.

1. Remember last September I talked about another surgery? It happened last December and it went very well. My body has healed well and my soul is healing, too.

2. I am not a freelancer any more. I already wrote once that I became a part of staff in two agencies. Since then the situation has changed even more, and I feel it is a very good change. Now I manage Translators' school in LinguaContact translation company. If you are interested to know more about it, here is our website. As you can see, not all of it is in English (yet). We are paying more attention to the Russian courses right now and offering the following options:
- Basic course for startup translators;
- Theory and Practice of Legal Translation (taught by an experienced legal translator);
- Medical Basics for translators (we are very lucky to work with a trainer who is both a doctor and a translator, and our students love the course!);
- Editing Technical Translation (taught by our staff editor. I used to think I was a good editor until I listened to the first webinar in this course. Inna is brilliant! I want to be like her!)

We are working on widening the scope of the courses and starting the training for the English-speaking colleagues, too! We do see some voids in what is offered right now as CPD for translators and interpreters, so there's definitely room for one more translator school online. :-)

3. Since I am not a freelancer any more and since Translators' school now takes all my time, I have to admit, I had thoughts to close this blog. But I see people subscribing to it every week and commenting about different posts, and it inspires me and shows that this blog turned into something useful. And that's awesome. I didn't even dream about it when I started it 5 years ago. So I am going to keep this blog, and I am going to update it as regularly as possible, sharing about freelancing and my work for Translators' school, and about translation, too, since I am still a translator. The only difference now is that I freelance part-time. But I still do. I think that after several years, freelancing has become a part of my nature, so it's next to impossible to completely stop doing it. Blogging was also one of the parts of my life as a freelancer, and I missed it so much! I revived my Russian blog a few months ago, and I will be very happy to revive this blog, too.

So what kind of posts would you like to see here? I'll be looking forward to your comments!

October 18, 2014

Top language, translation, marketing and freelancing tweets: August and September 2014

Hi everybody! How is your weekend going? Mine is a non-working one, first time this month! So I am using it wisely, updating my blogs, catching up on reading, and doing some things about the house.

We got first snow yesterday! Can you imagine? Actually, the streets look much better all white and shiny, instead of dark, wet and gloomy, so I am not compaining.

I remember I promised to write this post a while ago. So now I owe you top tweets for two months! So here they are. Check out those links. They are quite amazing!

October 4, 2014

Meet the linguist: Joseph Lambert (@jaltranslation)

Hi everybody! First of all, belated congratulations to all my colleagues! International Translation Day this year was filled with all kinds of events, both online and offline, in different parts of the world. It is so great to belong to such a wonderful army of smart, beautiful and talented people! I wish you all a prosperous, busy, adventurous and successful year!

Another piece of good news is that my post "10 worst mistakes I made as a freelancer" won ProZ Community Choice Awards as the best post for freelance translators. Big thanks to everybody who voted for it!

Today I'd like you to meet another special person and a great professional. Joseph Lambert is an experienced translator, whose specialty fields include sports, marketing, medical, as well as technical translation! He also runs a blog, which is a part of his website jaltranslation.com. So let's meet Joseph Lambert!

September 19, 2014

Meet the Linguist: Fedor Kondratovich (@Albalonga_spb)

Hello everybody! It's time for a new interview in the Meet the Linguist series. Today I would like you to meet Fedor Kondratovich, a translator, interpreter and a head of Alba Longa Translation Company from Saint Petersburg, Russia. Though the company is fairly young, it is already one of the most reputable translation companies in Russia. Besides, they have been nominated for ProZ Community Choice Awards for their online translator training courses which are very popular among Russian translators. I have been working with Fedor since May and I had a chance to see that he practices what he preaches, i.e. shares in his interview. So let's start!

September 4, 2014

Summer 2014 at Your Professional Translator: bad things turning out for good

Hi everybody! How are you doing?
Last time I promised to share a big summer recap post with you, so that's what I am going to do now. This summer turned out to be one of the most challenging summers in my life. At the same time, I was blessed beyond measure. That's why the title mentions bad things turning out for good. So let's start and I hope I won't scare you away :)

August 29, 2014

Your Professional Translator blog nominated for ProZ.com Community Choice Awards!

Hello everybody!

I would like to share a great joy with you and also ask you for a favor. The joy is that my blog Your Professional Translator has been nominated for ProZ.com Community Choice Awards in the best blog category. It’s a great honor for me. But that’s not all: my good friends from Alba Longa Translation Company have also been nominated for the same award thanks to the training courses they provide for translators and interpreters in St. Petersburg. So I would like to ask you to click this link and vote for this blog and for Alba Longa. If you are not registered at ProZ.com yet, you can do it quickly, easily and for free :) The voting will last till September 22nd, and the winners will be announced on the 30th of September on International Translation Day. Thank you in advance for your support!

P.S. I was volunteering at a children’s day camp this week, so no new posts from me yet. But a big summer recap post is coming soon!