Watch out for the fat cats!

Getting satisfaction from ones job is a must when one considers how much time is devoted to making money. For freelancers the very question of money & satisfaction is one that circulates around the head every time a new job offer pops up in the hub of their business world – the very hive of activity (if you’ve done your sums right) – the email in (with the offers) box.

That satisfaction goes hand-in-hand with many other factors too: Am I respected as a professional? Am I given the due respect I am worth? Actually the nitty gritty of it is- am I being told the truth?

Am I being told the truth? What do I mean?

I participated in the “Take our poll: should new clients test your skills or hire you on trust?” I answered honestly that I thought it only fair to carry out a small translation test of around 250 words. Fair because let’s face it you wouldn’t hire a person you had never met nor interviewed  before would you? Agree as I may I do have something to add to this & whilst I’m at it lets also get back to the original question of “Am I being told the truth?”

On submitting your “test” translation you are doing so in good faith, just as if you were getting suited and booted for that all important job interview. You wouldn’t expect to arrive, be asked to make coffee & then find out that you needn’t have bothered blowing the moth balls off the old whistle because the job never really existed in the first place. Or worst still it was given over to a machine long ago! Confused? Don’t be, I can easily explain …..

It’s plain to see sometimes that what’s actually going on is that no matter how good your test translation may have been you’re just not going to get the job. Scenario, I send off a test translation for a website.  I get one section to translate, and the other 300 translators get the others. Result the website was translated thank you – sorry services no longer required!

Second scenario – The big respected translation agency advertises for – let’s say a freelance legal translator. Legal – pretty serious subject – or so you would think. Out goes the test translation but be careful not to get too technical, too legal, in fact too anything because that Trados proofreader won’t like it! Alert, alert – fuzzy match or what! Apparently even where 2 applicable law systems are completely different it’s still possible to translate legal documents word for word – don’t make me laugh!

The fact of the matter is this; some people are getting too big for their boots. Just because you own an agency does not mean you get to treat your workers no better than shoe-shiners (sorry shoe-shiners you do a great job) & it does not give you the right to pay the hard-working professional peanuts whilst you fat cats get to lick the delicious and thick cream off your lovely whiskers. If you want to pay with peanuts hire monkeys and give “poor” translators a break!

Take the test but watch out for the trick question!

2 Comments

Filed under english translator, french translator, languages, linguists, professional translators, Translations, Translators

2 responses to “Watch out for the fat cats!

  1. Thanks for taking my poll and linking back to the blog!

    I’d love to see the end-result of that multi-translator website! The agencies’ end-clients sometimes get a raw deal too, don’t they?

  2. Yes it’s true agencies’ end-clients do get a rough deal at times. I have been talking about this an awful lot lately! It’s true that if we want a fair system for all then everybody needs to get involved in one way or another. Translators need to provide quality translations, agencies need to pay their translators based on the nature & speciality of the translation and the clients need to endorse this by making sure they use reputable agencies – not just some .com they found browsing through Google. Many people ask me what can be done about this situation and in fairness I don’t have the answer (if I did I would be a very rich woman by now). All I know is that professionals who are serious about their work should be rewarded accordingly!

    I definitely don’t take kindly to providing a 250 word test translation only to be told after that the rate for a legal translation from English into French is 0.05€ per word! Do they have any idea how far apart the two legal systems are?

    I find it very interesting & thought provoking when I come across blogs like yours – thank you

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