The perks of being a wallflower

Please excuse the shamelessly ‘borrowed’ title. I couldn’t resist.

Speech Marks Translation Presentation

Me speaking at the Language Show Live in 2012. Not my most comfortable moment…
Photo by Ilenia Goffredo

A lot has been made of translators as introverts. There are notable exceptions to the rule but, generally speaking, there are a lot of us out there. Take the How I Work series on Adventures in Freelance Translation for example. The vast majority of interviewees identify themselves as introverts. Personally, I feel more comfortable and confident in one-on-one situations or small groups, and it seems that I’m far from the only one.

But is this such a bad thing?

Recently, it seems that the perceived negativity of introversion is melting away and more is being written about the benefits. Some of these benefits are discussed by digital marketing consultant Fran Swaine in her guest post for The Business of Introverts. Fran points out that being an introvert can result in excellent listening skills and the patience to respond to clients’ needs rather than selling before knowing what they are. This instils trust in potential clients and creates a positive foundation, on which to build long-term business relationships.

Further reading for introverts:
Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain
Leise Menschen – starke Wirkung by Sylvia Löhken, as recommended by Elisabeth Hippe-Heisler

Blogs, posts and websites
•Susan Cain also has a website: The Power of Introverts, which offers articles and a forum.
Quietly Fabulous has blog posts, a great FAQ section and book suggestions.
The Business of Introverts hosts a kick-start course in addition to blog posts. Kathryn also welcomes contributions from fellow introverts wishing to share their story or give tips and advice.
•Fellow translator Rachel Ward has some sage advice for networking as an introvert.

How do you feel that being an introvert (or extrovert, for that matter) helps or hinders your business?

If you’re curious, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator lists 16 personality types, depending on how you see and deal with the outside world, and there is a short, informal quiz on Susan Cain’s website to help you determine if you’re an introvert or an extrovert.


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This article was written by: Megan Onions

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