Monday, July 16, 2007

A Job for “Professioanls” Who Don’t Mind “Loosing”

I’m on a lot of translation lists, and advertisements of translation jobs are a frequent feature of several of them. Not long ago, I saw one job that was so ridiculous that I had to mention it here.

The would-be employer was looking urgently for a highly qualified translator with at least 25 years of experience, who was a member of “professioanl associations”, and willing to translate one million words of a legal text from Arabic to English at, of course, competitive rates. The employer could not afford to pay “unrealistic American and European sky-high rates”, but noted that “whatever you might loose financially on this very BIG job, and others to come in future, you will “definetely” gain in-kind out of this mine of unprecedent legal terminology.”

Hmm, let’s see – does anyone know a single “professioanl” translator with 25 years of experience who would seriously consider a job in which they would “loose financially”, especially knowing that this job would likely lead to more work in which they would “definetely” “loose” more?

Job offers like this, which unfortunately aren’t as uncommon as you’d think, add to my feeling that we translators have to
educate our customers.


Tom said...

Hello. I stumbled across your blog when I was doing some research for my own little effort. I'm not a translator (I speak French in a way that makes native speakers wince, if that counts) but I am word fan. I found your articles very interesting and well-written. I have added you to my blogroll, too - I hope that's OK.

I work in Brussels, so I have seen tortured and distressed English at its finest. I accept this though, as I know it takes skill and effort to learn a language. Any attempt to learn English is fine by me - and I largely find this reciprocated when I start to murder French!

What I cannot bear is when I receive emails and texts from native English speakers with such gems as "We have nothing to loose" and the ubiquitous "Your joking, surely". Some of these people are highly-paid professionals in their field and it is beyond me how they got past the post room.

My English is not perfect - although I was born and bred in the UK - but I try to ensure I don't make simple errors. I'm told it's an age-related condition and that I'm only one step away from talking to the TV but I do get unusually irritated by bad English.

I will stop bemoaning the fate of English as she is spoke now! Very nice blog - it must take time amongst all the other activities in your profile. I have found out that blogging is quite time-consuming if you care about how it looks - so keep up the good work!

paulissima said...

It is a shame that some people would propose such a thing, isn't it? The worst is, however, there will be plenty of people applying for it, and quickly. Maybe not the ones who have 25 years of experience, but I believe the job poster would make concessions. Yes, educating customers is the key, I hope one day we will have won over this.

B.J. Epstein said...

Thank you both for your comments! Education is the key here, both the customers, who don't understand what is involved in translation, and also for customers and even native speakers who seem unable to correctly use whatever language they are communicating it. It can be amusing sometimes (as when a potential client asks what "prize" you offer), but usually not!

Best wishes,