Writing about art raises an age-old challenge. It is of course far harder to write concisely than to drone on for page after page. Because it requires a certain tightness of structure and language, a clear road map and an equally clear purpose.
Like many (all?) human stories, Vicky Bokengo’s background is remarkable. It contains hidden gems and golden nuggets – and the job of the writer is to shine a light on them so that people engage with that story, and then of course take action: reaching out, making deals, doing business in whatever form.
The most important step by far is talking to you, the client. You know your own clients, what drives them, what keeps them awake at night, what the problem is that’s driving them to seek out your product or service. You may not have all these facts at your fingertips but through the questionnaire I send you and the subsequent discussion, you’ll have a much clearer idea of where you stand, maybe even stumbling across ideas you’ve never thought of before.
For me as a translator it’s been a great learning experience — seeing that so much unites us all, from our aspirations to our working practices, despite the differences in local backdrop. And yet at the same time to become far more aware that some of our colleagues are working in the context of war-torn nations, while others have no national associations, and no recognised status to speak of in their country.
It turns out standing out from the crowd is not so difficult when it comes to the websites of freelance translators, as 99% of them make the same broad mistake – writing only about themselves, their passion for languages, and their services. A felicitous mix, perhaps, but one in which the client figures precisely nowhere.
How to write about a field which lies outside your immediate experience? Well, as ever, the most obvious place to start is by talking to the client. And not just to set up the brief, but to find out as much as possible about the business, its clients and the benefits it offers.