Charlie Bavington

Professional French to English Translator - Business and I.T.

Bringing a pragmatic eye to meeting your needs

Forum frolics

April 28th, 2011 | Categories: social media

Dear Colleagues

I have a slightly unusual situation with an agency or a fellow translator and I’m not sure how to respond. I’m going to be vague about the details at this stage, but I’d welcome your opinion just as much as I know some of you love to give it, because we all know that agencies are essentially Satan’s representatives here on Earth, intent on driving us to bankruptcy, insanity or a custodial sentence for breach, cackling mercilessly at the thought of our tearful families pleading for just a week-old crust of bread. Well, except this agency perhaps, who are basically nice people who I’ve worked with for ages, although they only pay 3 groats a page 90 days EOM, and I can’t afford to upset them, and they give me tons of work, I’ve no time to look for other clients, or indeed to wipe my own bottom. Hence this forum posting.

And this fellow translator, well, the work I’ve received, looks like the output from a random word generator. Or perhaps unedited MT. I haven’t got time to test that theory by actually running it through an MT website to check, I’ m busy on here. Either that, or some relative or other has trodden on a rusty nail, accidently turning the translator’s mobile phone off and disabling their email in the process (what are the odds, eh?), and is now in intensive care, I assume, because the delivery is now a month late and I’m at my wits’ end.

On the other hand they are all so very passionate about languages and words and whatnot, and are quite obviously the very salt of the earth. In no way would they or I be better employed flipping burgers, or spending more time learning to distinguish the humerus from the gluteus maximus.

So anyway, yes, this situation, well, I’d very much welcome your input. There is, naturally, nothing to be gained by proposing anything by way of plausible explanations or attempting to look at things from the other party’s point of view. I might have been unsure of my position when I started this thread, although I probably wasn’t, but typing out the facts has certainly crystallised matters for me, as writing things down or just explaining things to someone else often does, and I now know exactly where I stand. Obviously the sensible thing to do at this stage would be to not post, but where’s the fun in that? This way, I can drip feed extra information (which may or may not be true, how are you to know?) to support my increasingly entrenched position, and make the rest of the forum look like chumps, albeit quite helpful chumps, or trolls and ignoramuses, and I emerge covered in glory. Absolutely.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

  1. Smart Alec
    April 28th, 2011 at 08:56
    Quote | #1

    This is a typical early reply, the purpose of which is to make it perfectly clear that I would never, ever allow myself to get into such a position. You kitchen-table operators disgust me, although forum rules prevent me from actually saying so. I do not propose to offer any practical advice whatsoever, because I have none to offer. You are in a position that I simply could never countenance. So let me just say this. I would never let myself get into this position and you are clearly a complete fool to have let this happen to you. You have only yourself to blame. I suggest you get back to your kitchen table and start using it for the purpose the manufacturer’s intended. And be careful with knives, they can be sharp.

  2. Standard Response
    April 28th, 2011 at 09:11
    Quote | #2

    Wow, unbelievable. You try going into a supermarket or restaurant and telling them how much you want to pay. Or your plumber, I bet he doesn’t offer discounts for pipes that are similar to other pipes. I bet a lawyer wouldn’t put up with being treated like that. We should set the rules and we should stop demanding peanuts. Or an architect, yes, they study for ages as well. Although I didn’t actually study for ages, I just got into it by accident. But yes, translating “buy this stuff ‘cos it’s fab” most definitely requires the same level of govt attention as designing structures that could collapse or professions that could put you in jail or the grave with one lapse. And no fuzzy matches. I’ve worked hard to pay for this, why should my customers benefit from me being able to work more effectively. You try that down the supermarket. Or your plumber.

    HTH. Oh, have you tried phoning?

  3. Zzzzzz
    April 28th, 2011 at 09:12
    Quote | #3

    Fuzzy matches. Peanuts. Plumbers.

  4. Sycophantic Sympathiser
    April 28th, 2011 at 10:03
    Quote | #4

    Poor you. You are nought but a helpless victim. Whatever’s happened, there is clearly no possible combination of events in which any of the blame whatsoever could reasonably be attached to you. Clearly the thing that will help you most in your professional development – and the thing you are probably looking for – is to be reassured that the translation world owes you a living irrespective of your education, business nouse and general common sense, or lack thereof, and that anyone who dares to say anything to the contrary is an arrogant, narrow-minded bigot, rather than possibly someone who has managed to avoid ever being in this kind of position by (a) being properly qualified, (b) having some relevant experience and (c) behaving like a serious professional.

  5. New to forum
    May 2nd, 2011 at 03:37
    Quote | #5

    Could anyone pls give me advise on how much to charge? I just agreed my first transaltion job. What is a good rate. Tx

  6. May 18th, 2011 at 16:00
    Quote | #6


    There, that’s one you don’t get in certain forums!

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