Wednesday, 30 October 2013

There, but for the Grace of God...

Who has never made a mistake in a translation or any other form of work or part of life?

I daresay none of us could raise our hands in answer to the question above.

Yet wherever we look (online, because, there, people hang out their dirty linen for all to see), we find the same sort of futile dispute: 

"you paid me late or not at all and forgot to tell me my work was not satisfactory, or my work was good and you found some 'editor' or 'proofreader', as they are called, to tear it to shreds unjustifiably; you are not a mindreader and failed to divine what work was required even though the instructions you received were at best ambiguous and contradictory and the source was rubbish; your work was bad and I certainly won't be working with you again (that's why I didn't pay you for six months)"... 

Etcetera, etcetera. 

I think these people would do well to take a good look at themselves before tearing into others and admit that they, too, may have made a mistake or got something wrong. I am not encouraged to work with companies or individuals who go in for this sort of public slanging match, and I'm sure many others feel the same.

The best way to deal with criticism, I have found, is to respond calmly and with dignity, using logic and examples to justify any choices made and accept any errors and correct them. The best way to deliver criticism is to be charitable and constructive. We all appreciate being treated as human beings, with respect and compassion, and we should realise that there, but for the grace of God, go I.

Problems, and how we solve them, are at the heart of good business and good businesses.

If your customer has a problem or complaint you and your business will be judged by the way you handle it, and this should be seen as an opportunity to get to know the client better, and persuade them to appreciate your business and the way it is run. 

Sometimes it is better to avoid an argument about a particular phrase or term and get on with life rather than insisting on proving one is right. 

Sometimes the customer wants to be right over something. This happened to me the other day. The customer insisted on using a particular English word in a particular way, even though its true definition was different. So be it. I will be working with them again.