Ethics are important in every job. In our field, our customers rely on us to be the experts, especially as they may not have the knowledge to check over our work. It is up to us to make sure we translate the words correctly, edit the text multiple times, and so on. Doing something incorrectly or sloppily can cause a lot of damage for our clients.
So I can’t help but wonder what it means for their clients when a translation company plagiarizes and doesn’t seem to be overly concerned about ethical and legal behavior. It could very well imply that said company doesn’t have good oversight and that they don’t care about doing things the right way. That’s bad news for the company’s clients.
A few weeks ago, I was made aware that a British translation company called Merlin Translations (I won’t link to them, so as not to give them additional traffic) was plagiarizing me. They post this blog on their website so that it looks like they themselves do all the work of researching and crafting these posts.
I emailed them. A manager claimed not to have been paying attention to what an employee was doing. That suggests a clear and worrisome lack of supervision that shouldn’t exist in any company, including a translation company. I said that either they could credit me for each post they used or else they must remove all my content from their site. Not only have they made no improvements to the situation, but they also have continued to post the content from Brave New Words.
I’m a person who works hard at what I do. I take my work as a translator, writer, and editor very seriously. I also enjoy making knowledge about translation more widely available via this blog. So it is disappointing and upsetting to me personally when I am being plagiarized in this way. But on a bigger scale, the fact that a company that provides services to clients would use unethical means to try to make themselves look better (that is, increasing the material on their website by plagiarizing others) is disturbing indeed.