according to my experience since 1971...
Mats Wiman wrote:
During my 7 years of work as a professional translator I have more a and more come to single out one type of customer for which I will not work:
THE MULTINATIONAL TRANSLATION AGENCY.
Reason: Most, but not all, are arrogant exploiters which make translation a tedious slavery.
Their appoach is characterized by:
”We are big and beautiful and we call the shots here.”
”You are to do what you’re told or else….”
They put one-sided contracts before you to sign, containing ridiculous clauses stating all you should do including threats to pay nothing if…. or even bestowing themselves the right to extort damage money from you if…whereas they themselves have to do very little as part of the contract.
It’s also natural to them to start negotiating AFTER you’ve made your offer, almost almays with the argument the ”more is to come if you do well….” (something the will repeat to the next ’victim’). Very often nothing much will materialise.
Especially cute is that the often start by breaking their own rules. We yesterday got a rush job to which we nodded a Yes. After that, they started to exert pressure on price and demand a shorter delivery time than the already short one. ”As a global company, a contract is mandatory…bla, bla… I’ll send you the contract…”. They did not – it arrived by snail-mail today with a lot of unacceptable clauses, one of them being that I should meticulously abide by the conditions laid out in the Purchase Order as well as their General Business Conditions.
And: They did not send a PO and of course not the GBC.
To their surprise (we should be grateful…) we have told them that we will not enter into a business relation with them.
These companies normally tells you to conform to all normal rules of the trade, which you have honoured during all 7 years of being a freelance translator:
· Do not reveal your customers to anyone
· Do not tell anyone the contents of the text
· Do not transfer the full text to anyone but your customer
· Do not ’steal’ your customer’s customer
Many of us certainly find it insulting to be told to obey these self-explanatory rules and the listing of them creates a sort of mistrust right at the start of what is hoped to be a mutually prosperous cooperation..
We should also check the spelling. REALLY!
We should print the text on paper and if we can’t, they could do it for us @ 1 cent a word… INDEED!
We should proof-read our own text. ERROR 1: Wrong party. ERROR 2 It carries a price.
We shall make a maximum of 15 spelling errors out of 50 pages of text or else….
Typical for so-called global companies is also that the often toss you around when it comes to problems:
”For this matter you’ll have to talk with Mr X at our New York office…. ” , ”For payments, our Paris office is responsible….”, ”The files you’ll have to send to Miss X at our Brussels office….” etc. etc.
I.E.: Global is truly a negative factor.
Another negative factor: To become and stay big, with their hydrocephalus overhead they have to hire low-cost non-linguistic staff, that hasn’t a clue about translation or Trados/Déjà Vu/SDLX etc. They also have to squeeze the translator for all possible discounts, be it volume, repetitions or because of empty promises about future work.
Summing it up:
We have had the best experience with small and medium-sized agencies based at one location and with one boss and with a few to many years of experience. Our seven-year old partners sent us half a page of policy and asked us: ”Do you agree?” That’s how it should be done – period!
Thanks for letting me let my steam off!
Mats J C Wiman
Übersetzer/Translator/Traducteur/Traductor > swe
(Proz.com moderator (deu>swe))
SE-872 97 Skog
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[Edited at 2003-10-24 12:39]