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How do you deal with friends of friends?
Thread poster: Susana Galilea
Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jul 10, 2003

I have been contacted by a friend of a very good friend of mine who needs 10 pages of a book translated. She is a visual artist, and the excerpt in question talks about her work. She only needs the translation so she can understand what the book says about her.

I originally told my good friend to have this person contact me, since either I would be able to do the translation myself or I would recommend someone who could (as it's not in one of my primary language combinations). I would like your advice as to how to best respond to her, as from her message I get the feeling she is looking for a favor.

In general, how do you deal with friends of friends who need something translated for their own private understanding? How could I help this person, or direct her to someone who could? How do I find out with tact if she is willing to spend money on this? Should I matter-of-factly inform her of the going rates and see how she responds?

Any feedback as to how you have dealt with this type of situation in the past will be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


[Edited at 2003-10-31 22:00]


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Mauricio Vicente  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:10
Your heart is where your treasure is... Jul 10, 2003

Either,

A) do the job in trade for some neat visual art for your translation business(!)

B) give her a low time cost gist/analysis of the article (so she can know what it says about her).

C) charge her money.

I have done translation for trade, for free and for money.


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:10
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
An artist friend of a good friend Jul 10, 2003

Susana Galilea wrote:

Any feedback as to how you have dealt with this type of situation in the past will be much appreciated.

[Edited at 2003-07-10 22:24]


Over here in Europe we wouldn't normally charge an artist who is a friend of a good friend. We're all secret artists ourselves. Transtaling artist stuff makes us ... more artistic. Artist is the magic word, don't spoil it.

Regards,
Gerard


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Martine Etienne  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 18:10
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
There are simple questions that you can ask yourself Jul 10, 2003

Would you ask a friend baker to give you a bread without paying?
Would you ask to your friend's wife to make you a piece of wardrobe without asking how much it costs?

Then why should you do it without being paid. Some years ago, there was always somebody (a friend of a friend of a cousin..) who needed a small translation, a help for a letter, an explanation for a course. Did they become better friends? I do not believe it. Now, I am a translator, not a writer, not a teacher. So, let her know how much it costs, you may present it in an agreeable manner, saying normally it would cost... but I will do it for you for.... And then you will do a favour.
Good luck.


[Edited at 2003-07-10 23:57]


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xxxjmf  Identity Verified
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another suggestion Jul 11, 2003

In the past, I have done work at 40-50% below my normal rate for university students and professors who need information for academic purposes (almost always involving research). Since they are individuals, I didn't expect them to pay what a business would pay (since they weren't making a direct, immediate profit) BUT I did the work under the following 2 conditions:

1. No rush whatsoever. I only worked on their projects when I didn't have other projects going on, but agreed to have the material translated within a 2-3 weeks (approx. 5 pages of text)

2. The work would be "for information only", that is, I rarely consulted the dictionary, but gave them an easy-to-read into English translation without spending a as much time on detail as I normally would.

All were pleased and I've actually still do work for one of them 4 years later.

Good luck!


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:40
English to Tamil
+ ...
No need to feel shy asking for money Jul 11, 2003

I mean it. I am in this business for more than 24 years and I got rid of such free works in the first year itself. It was a friend of my late father. He told me that he had a set of German drawings to translate, I being an engineer I should find it interesting as well as easy and so on. I didn't reply to him, went through the drawings and then told him that the work would cost him around Rs. 2000 (a big amount in those days), which was reasonable and even a little less than the market rate. The gentleman told me that he was a good friend of my late father. I just replied to him that he should then go to him and get the work done. Then the entire urgency vanished and he said that the drawings were not so essential after all.
One good thing came out of it. I gained the reputation of a serious professional. Amazingly I was respected more for it. This is the only course to adopt. Afterwards if you want you can always do one or two free jobs for really deserving person and not for friends of friends on the kookout for a sucker.


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Sheila Hardie  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:10
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
I quite often do work for a good friend of mine Jul 11, 2003

I quite often do translations/proofreading for a friend of mine, a biologist. He is not very well-off but I do charge him, albeit a special (lower) rate. He understands that this is how I make a living and can't do things for free on a regular basis - besides the work he gives me is quite technical (ornithological papers), so he is getting a bargain. However, he never gives me strict deadlines, so I can give my usual (better paid) work higher priority. This system has worked fine for a number of years and we are still really good friends.


Sheila


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Ioana Bostan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:10
English to Romanian
+ ...
Such a difficult issue... Jul 11, 2003

Hello.
I have recently confrunted with such a situation. Friends will never accept your real prices for translation, they somehow will always expect low prices from you or, most of the times, favours. Which is sometimes frustrating for your work, first of all that you waste your time without being paid, second of all you feel that your work is disrespected to a certain extent.
Yet, a friend is friend, and we have to help them whenever possible.
When it comes for a big job from a friend I recommend you to refuse the job, it's for the friendship's sake. But when it comes for small jobs like art sake as you have there I think we all should give some help.
I did a lot of free translation for a friend of mine who is a SF short stories writer.
It is also rewarding.
It is only up to you.
Good luck!
Ioana


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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
English to German
+ ...
I have these good friends that care for my well-being ... Jul 11, 2003

which means, they would never ask me to do something for their friends just because - just for free. If they come to me with a question, whether I could do something for their friends it always has something to do with give and take - mutual benefit.
What this might be you have to find out for yourself. I found the point about getting some nice piece of art very fascinating - but then you have to find out, what this friend's friend is able to offer.
Or look at it differently: If you do it just for free, you feel this friend in your debt and this friend feels in your debt similarly - not a good start for a friendly relationship
Relax.
Claudia


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Find out more from your good friend Jul 11, 2003

Hi Susana,
Generally I charge friends and friends of friends when I translate for them (albeit at a much lower price because the jobs are usually small and private) because I still give them a professional service.
I suggest that you see the text that this person wants translated, see how comfortable you feel about translating it, and perhaps ask questions related to pay, etc. to your friend, because even if they can't give you a direct answer, they obviously know this person and may know (or may be willing to find out) if they are willing to pay, etc. Your friend suggested you and thus may well have mentioned already that you are a professional translator who charges for her services.
Good luck and best wishes,
Aisha


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Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:10
English to Croatian
+ ...
I would talk about it over a dinner Jul 11, 2003

If she was my friend's friend and if ...
"She only needs the translation so she can understand what the book says about her" I would spare some time to read the text and accept the invitation for quiet dinner to pass on the message from it to her.

I would learn something new (every book teaches me something), I would meet a new person (artists are surprises of the world, aren't we?) and (or) at least I'ld have a nice and enlightening evening.

Good luck!


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RWSTranslation
Germany
Local time: 18:10
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
as good client Jul 11, 2003

Hi,

nothing more to say

Hans


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 13:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Clap clap clap.... Jul 11, 2003

Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:

I mean it. I am in this business for more than 24 years and I got rid of such free works in the first year itself. It was a friend of my late father. He told me that he had a set of German drawings to translate, I being an engineer I should find it interesting as well as easy and so on. I didn't reply to him, went through the drawings and then told him that the work would cost him around Rs. 2000 (a big amount in those days), which was reasonable and even a little less than the market rate. The gentleman told me that he was a good friend of my late father. I just replied to him that he should then go to him and get the work done. Then the entire urgency vanished and he said that the drawings were not so essential after all.
One good thing came out of it. I gained the reputation of a serious professional. Amazingly I was respected more for it. This is the only course to adopt. Afterwards if you want you can always do one or two free jobs for really deserving person and not for friends of friends on the kookout for a sucker.




Aurora


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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:10
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Ask your friend how to play it. Jul 11, 2003

Narasimhan Raghavan wrote:
I mean it. I am in this business for more than 24 years and I got rid of such free works in the first year itself. It was a friend of my late father.


That's one of the aspects that I like about this site, learning about different cultures. In my country (and considering my age bracket, I guess), such an approach would have been considered disrespectful, to put it mildly.

Having said that, if it's a good friend of mine (and I won't even touch how different concepts of the word friend can be), I would let her/him decide whether or not to charge his/her friend. Keep in mind that what works for me in my environment may not work for you.
Klaus

[Edited at 2003-07-11 16:12]


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Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:10
English to Croatian
+ ...
Good point Klaus! Jul 11, 2003

Nothing to add, nothing to take away!
Hat off, mein liebe Freund!

Cheers!


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