Was that CLOUD or CROWD? Or just a fancy word for we don’t want to pay you?

“Every silver lining has a cloud.” – Mary Kay Ash

Being clever with words is, in my opinion, part of the job description when searching for a quality translator. Furthermore, I have to believe that considering present working conditions (underpaid with unachievable deadlines), the only reason anybody would want to get into this line of work is because they seriously believe they are professionals dedicated to producing translations of the highest caliber.

This as you may be aware is a subject close to my heart and my associates and I have been actively pursuing support of like-minded professionals to achieve a common platform of conditions for all.

Imagine then if you would at how astounded I was to read that professional linguists are weak, act as if they are uneducated, live on the streets and beg for their life! I beg your pardon? And if that is not bad enough – wait for it – also treated like peasants of the 19th century workers during the era of the Industrial Revolution! [sic]! The article went on to say that translators are “sweatshop workers” living in developed countries such as Spain, France, Italy and the US!

Hold on a minute, why are people getting away with rubbishing a skill that is needed by almost every country trying to get international business and recognition? Why? Because we are not “shouting out loud”, “banging on” about our rights and allowing small minded people to make rash statements about something they know nothing about!

Which small minded person was it that felt qualified enough to make such rash and scathing remarks? Well, of course the undisclosed person was an “employer of freelance translators” who also went on to say that they have the ultimate ethical obligation to treat their people well!

At this point I would like to refer back to my opening line “being clever with words” –  Quite honestly, as far as I am concerned, there was nothing clever in this article other than this “person” used it to make an attack on translators in order to advertise their very own cloud-based translation tool. A poor ploy indeed, ensuring translators stay poor & insulted whilst he promotes his own little “tool”.  Another little thought – If the “cloud” was used to translate this, take it back to the workbench.

Why am I writing this – am I in my own sick way promoting his article? The answer honestly – NO WAY – Once again I am pointing out that in keeping silent and putting up with an unregulated industry, we deserve no better! If enough people voice their dissatisfaction, put a name to their voice and make an assertive effort to gain support we can do something to halt the hacking & distributing of partial texts to translators in different corners of the world, the inability to demand rates that reflect hard-worked for experience, and most of all stopping these “employers” from making baseless decisions on whether the work is eligible for payment or not!

Watch out if the crowd doesn’t get you the cloud will!



Filed under english translator, french translator, languages, linguists, professional translators, translation company, Translator services, Translators

6 responses to “Was that CLOUD or CROWD? Or just a fancy word for we don’t want to pay you?

  1. Good points. In case you’re interested, here’s a mild-mannered dispute I had about the same underlying topic, with our esteemed colleague Charlie Bavington.

    Bottom line: silence is the poisonous lubricant of abuse.

  2. Thanks for the comment – After following your link, reading the article & readers comments – my bottom line is this; there are many supposed professionals out there who abuse their “regulated” business status. Why should the professional & hard-working majority of us be left out in the cold just incase there are some out there who prefer to “bang on” about the subject rather than WORKING to make a difference.
    The Financial Industry is regulated but that didn’t stop massive financial abuse! I hardly think regulating the Translation Industry could bring about as much devastation!
    Some translators study just as hard and for just as long – it’s not an arguement that is going to fade into thin air!
    So no silence here …….

    • Hi – OK, I’ll bite 🙂 I’ll ask you what I asked the 2nd commenter on my blog post, to no avail. What specifically do you suggest? And in response to what specific issues, and how will “regulation” of the translation industry solve those issues? Let’s get down to brass tacks here. Because as you know, many of us are inconvinced by the general tenor of the “something must be done” brigade. Perhaps proposing actual solutions to actual problems might convert us? Look forward to hearing from you 🙂
      Yours amicably wondering…

      • OK – the bite was more of a little nip!

        Could I possibly do you justice in a mere response to your very interesting and thought provoking question?

        I fear not my sir – so as long as you are in agreement I will reply in the way of a blog entitled something along the lines of “Will regulation translate to quality?”

        I have a lot on my plate at the moment but how could I look myself in the mirror if I were not to do your poke justice?

        Yours amicably responding …


      • I’ll just offer an open thought: while some common problematic threads (e.g. downward pressures on remuneration, or more generally, increased insecurity) run globally through the field of independent language service providers, that doesn’t mean their possible “solutions” are just as commonly applicable. E.g. here in the USA the idea of a sworn translator is a bit like Gandhi’s apocryphal retort to someone asking what he thought of British (or Western) civilization: a good idea.

        Sure, regulation might be a part of the solution, depending on the context, but so if not more is enforcement (as the already drawn parallel with the financial world showed us). Even so, it cannot and should not even be expected that delegated governmental powers provide “the” answer. A lot if not most will depend on effective client education, and more generally promoting the profession as a respectable profession. Which in turn brings us back to Charlie’s bigger point: great, so we agree there’s a problem, now what do we do about it?

        To round out the open thought, that’s where professional associations fit, in to help coalesce and somewhat coordinate a heap of disjointed individual thoughts into a broadly common approach, focus, and ultimately action. But not to do the work for us.

  3. Pingback: Translators Shush – you’ll make them curious « SJC Translations

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