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Conference interpretation and flexible customer service

Recently, I wrote an article (“Beyond the interpretation contract“) for Multilingual magazine. The gist of the article is that to do my job well, I have to do more than my job. Or rather, more than my job appears on the surface to entail. In addition to all the logistical stuff that can go wrong (interpretation equipment lost in transport, sick simultaneous interpreters, etc), conference interpretation clients often make unexpected changes or requests. When I manage a large corporate interpretation event, I’m always having to think quickly and flexibly.

Not just conference interpretation

You could extend the point to any aspect of business, really. People need things done, and they don’t always know in advance what those things will be. A service provider that solves problems is a service provider who will live to provide another day. Whether the service is conference interpretation, marketing, or IT, the B2B client cares primarily about the end result.

Own the client’s end goal

This is a mentality that I try to adopt, and it helps me to be more nimble and resilient in the face of unforeseen complications. By which, I mean that I take the client’s end goal and make it my own goal. For example, every client wants to save money. If I see an opportunity for a conference interpretation customer to save money, I proactively bring that to her attention even if it results in less revenue for U.S. Translation Company. The client knows this and trusts me more because of it.

What I’m really providing

When I provide conference interpretation services, I’m providing something more than the sum of the parts. More than the interpretation booths, mics, headsets, consoles, simultaneous interpreters, and other assorted necessities. If I do my job well, I’m giving my conference interpretation client the ability to transcend linguistic boundaries. To convey information to anyone, regardless of nationality, language, or ethnicity. I’m giving them easy, hassle-free communication, enabling them to extend their organizational message much further than they otherwise could. If I keep my eye on that goal, then everything else is secondary.

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