LinkedIn endorsements have been around for about a year now, and many translators seem to have taken to them like ducks to water. Being so much easier to give than recommendations, and with so much quid pro quo going on, collecting a sea of faces on your profile really takes no time at all, and may, I suppose, even appeal to some.
It’s not a feature I’m very enamoured with, however. I haven’t yet jumped on this bandwagon and I don’t think I’ll be doing so anytime soon. That’s why I’ve turned my endorsements well and truly off, even though I have received a few I would be quite glad to display.
One of the problems is that people I have never worked with, who don’t even share the same language combinations or specialised subjects, endorse me for expertise they cannot possibly know I have. I expect this is partly because that pesky box keeps popping up every time they visit their LinkedIn page and clicking on its buttons makes it go away.
My main bugbear about this feature is that people can suggest skills for you rather than just limiting their endorsements to the ones you wish to highlight. I’ve been endorsed for CAT tools I don’t use, skills I don’t have and services I don’t provide. And the sneaky suspicion that I’m expected to return the favour, and may even be given grief if I don’t, makes me feel decidedly uncomfortable.
Frankly, I would even go so far as to say that the use made of this feature sometimes borders on unethical. An endorsement should be a public statement of your approval and knowledge of another translator’s abilities and business practices. Yet much too often the endorser doesn’t know you from Adam, and hasn’t got a clue what you translate, let alone how well you might do it. If we actually took endorsements seriously, and worried that our reputation would suffer as a result of handing them out willy-nilly, then they might actually be meaningful. But, as they stand, they are a pointless decorative feature in a profile which would probably benefit from less clutter and more substance. Seeking proper recommendations from clients and/or colleagues is certainly more time-consuming and requires more effort, although it is undoubtedly the best way forward.
This was first published on 05/11/2013 on my previous blog.