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Is this discrimination or am I hypersensitive?
Thread poster: gdesai
gdesai  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:55
German to English
Oct 2, 2007

Today I responded to an offer posted on ProZ.com and promptly received a reply that has my head still buzzing.
Here it is verbatim (original grammatical/spelling mistakes included):
Quote
thanks but I had very bad expirience with [country name removed] translator. I belive you that your mothertongue is also english but you mainly speak [country name removed] languages
sorry but I can not take you. Nothing against you just bad expiriences.
Unquote
Is this person justified in generalising from one bad experience? Those of us who have learnt a language other than the mother tongue - in another country - have undergone the same unpleasant experience of being treated badly. But do we paint rest of the country with the same brush?
Do I smell racism/regionalism or am I hypersensitive?



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-10-02 15:22]
Thank you for your responses. I am overwhelmed.
For those mao0ngst you who identified my country of origin (by visited my page) would also have read that I am in this line for over 10 years - and this is no small time. Surely, my language (grammar, sentence structure, spellings. etc.) must be up to standard!
And yes, I forgot to mention that I had also translated a sample text provided by the outsourcer and they had no problem with that.
To make it short, I will just overlo0ok this as one more bad experince in my collectrion.
One more time, thank you all for you time.


[Edited at 2007-10-03 03:07]


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Ms.Straus  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 11:25
Member (2007)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
It happens. Good portfolio helps :) Oct 2, 2007

Happened to me too. Twice, actually.

Once an outsourcer doubted the quality of Slovenian translators in general. I calmed her down a bit, provided some references. Now we have a great relationship.

Then there was this American translator I wanted to hire. And she started telling me all about her bad experience with European outsorcers, saying she didn't get paid and stuff. Well, I told her that maybe she shouldn't work for me if she didn't feel safe. She took the job anyway and there were no problems. I won't be contacting her again, though. To be completely honest, I found her open distrust a bit insulting.

To answer you question - maybe you are a bit too sensitive. You see, clients sometimes do have bad experience and yes, they will generalise. Certainly, they were a bit rude to actually tell you this (although they probably did it because they felt you had the right to know why they rejected you). They have the right to choose the translator they are comfortable with.

It's in your best interest to make them feel comfortable. Build up the best portfolio you can, send them reference letters and they will absolutely adore you. They will probably recommend you to their business associates and everybody will be happy.

[Edited at 2007-10-02 12:56]


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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 02:25
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
It depends... Oct 2, 2007

I didn't see the particular job posting, so I can't make any specific comments. But...

1) If the job poster wanted a specific kind of English (say, American English) and you didn't grow up in the U.S. or at least spend a good period of time there during your very early youth, they are completely right. However, if they didn't specify that they wanted a specific kind of English, it would have definitely been more appropriate to tell you that they forgot to specify that in the posting.

2) I have a couple of friends from India living in the U.S. who grew up speaking English as well as Bengali, and although they can definitely speak English properly, their English is somewhat different from that used in Canada, America, Australia, NZ, and the U.K. Now, this is only based on my personal experience with these two friends, but I would assume that, given that languages develop fairly quickly and that cultural experience is also important in translation, the English spoken in India (for example) by people who grow up speaking it is different from that spoken in other countries (just like British English is different from American English). If the intended target is a particular English-speaking country from my short list above, then I believe the poster was also completely right (but still handled the matter poorly).

3) If you did spend considerable time growing up in England, Canada, etc., then yes, the job poster is completely out of order.

I don't smell racism here...I mean, after all, the job poster clearly says "Nothing against you, just bad experiences." I know it sucks because it has to do with a country, but consider this: Assume that you have a company and 4 of your new engineers are from X country. Now, assume that, after 6 months, you realize they're the worst engineers you've ever hired. Are you going to hire someone from X country anytime soon? Probably not. It's unfair because you might be the greatest engineer and happen to live in X country, but companies also have to rely on their experience when it comes to paying people for services.

I wouldn't say you're hypersensitive either. You got upset because, like I mentioned, the job poster handled the issue extremely poorly. It's just that I think that the poster in question was clumsy, rather than racist.


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:25
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Is this discrimination or am I hypersensitive Oct 2, 2007

I agree with what Marcelo has just said.

Sounds as though the poster needs a lesson in diplomacy and tact, rather than anything else!


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Rita Bilancio  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
English to Italian
+ ...
Forget it... Oct 2, 2007

gdesai wrote:


Is this person justified in generalising from one bad experience? Those of us who have learnt a language other than the mother tongue - in another country - have undergone the same unpleasant experience of being treated badly. But do we paint rest of the country with the same brush?
Do I smell racism/regionalism or am I hypersensitive?



I won't bother: I think that can sound disappointing and it is really. Maybe portfolio can help or in such case if it is an interesting project/client provide them with a sample translation. If they don't think you're the right person simply forget them and look for other clients...

[Edited at 2007-10-02 12:45]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
At least ... Oct 2, 2007

... you got a response to a job offer and a reason. That's far more than most outsourcers do.

You may not agree with it, you may feel insulted, but it's helpful to you to understand why this and perhaps other bids have not been successful.

You've got something to work with now - so turn the whole thing on its head and prove them wrong.

It's always better to know what you're up against in life.


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Beatriz Galiano
Argentina
Local time: 06:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agree with lawyer Oct 2, 2007

It sounds like truth, maybe he/she is still upset, or he will always be at translators of indian origin because of his experience.

He is being sincere but at the same time hes being unfair coz your are not the translator that let him down.

Anyway, you could answer that letter/mail and let him know hes misjudging you as he does not know your qualifications, and that you are not supposed to pay for the mistakes others make. kindly.


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:25
Member
English to Turkish
Moved the topic to Business Issues Oct 2, 2007

Off Topic forum is for discussions that are NOT related to translation and/or this site - as its name actually implies


Cheers!

Ö


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The Misha
Local time: 05:25
Russian to English
+ ...
Hypersensitive, all right Oct 2, 2007

The other folks are perfectly right. Ours is an "at will" job and the client has a perfect right to accept or reject your services as he sees fit, with or without explanation. If he is rude - which does not seem to be the case here, he's just not very comfortable with English - he is a ...., but even then he's right on the merits.

Every time I bid on a job translating into English - not my mother tongue, but I'm still damn good at it - I have to prove my worth to every new client. Most of them never even bother responding - and thus miss out on a great service provider like myself. I don't get particularly upset since those who do respond love me forever and never leave. These are the sad facts of life (who said life is fair?) and you'll simply have an early heart attack fretting over them. Don't.


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gdesai  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:55
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all for your response. I am overwelhmed. Oct 3, 2007

Eva Straus wrote:

Happened to me too. Twice, actually.

Once an outsourcer doubted the quality of Slovenian translators in general. I calmed her down a bit, provided some references. Now we have a great relationship.

Then there was this American translator I wanted to hire. And she started telling me all about her bad experience with European outsorcers, saying she didn't get paid and stuff. Well, I told her that maybe she shouldn't work for me if she didn't feel safe. She took the job anyway and there were no problems. I won't be contacting her again, though. To be completely honest, I found her open distrust a bit insulting.

To answer you question - maybe you are a bit too sensitive. You see, clients sometimes do have bad experience and yes, they will generalise. Certainly, they were a bit rude to actually tell you this (although they probably did it because they felt you had the right to know why they rejected you). They have the right to choose the translator they are comfortable with.

It's in your best interest to make them feel comfortable. Build up the best portfolio you can, send them reference letters and they will absolutely adore you. They will probably recommend you to their business associates and everybody will be happy.

[Edited at 2007-10-02 12:56]


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Sabine Akabayov, PhD
Israel
Local time: 12:25
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Correct your profile Oct 4, 2007

Sorry for your bad experience, but a little tip: I read your profile and there are a few mistakes in your German. You might want to correct those.

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