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Off topic: your most desperate job..
Thread poster: Francesca Battaglia

Francesca Battaglia
Italy
Local time: 07:44
Member (2007)
English to Italian
+ ...
Jun 10, 2007

oh, it seems AGES since the last offtopic post! Since the anti-offtopic posted a couple of weeks ago, OT almost completely disappeared! A bored translator like me what's supposed to do?? I read the professional articles, i searched new clients..I even build a personal website. But i need some good conversation..OH MY!!!
so now I am launching this new one:

That time you accepted that desperate job..

I mean, everyone I am sure, at least once, was so desperate to accept a boring and/or extremely unpaid job..
So this is it, tell us your experiences..

as for me, i accepted about 120 pages for about 300 eu..
desperation must blur your mind, i m sure..

(Not afraid to share amounts..after all, we are in the same world! there should be no taboos!)

fra


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:44
Member
English to Turkish
Because the moderator moves them :D Jun 10, 2007

Ciao Francesca,

Off topic is alive and kicking except for the occasional sleepiness due to high temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. However, the Off topic forum is for topics not related to translation or language. Since you don't seem to be referring to those odd jobs all of us might have done as students or very young people, your thread is not Off topic. In fact, it might well be fit for Business Issues, but as I realize you want to have a light discussion on our desperate jobs, I have moved the topic to the Lighter Side. (Let's see how its moderator will approach the situation, though)

Nice weekend


Ö


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:44
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
hmmm... Jun 10, 2007

Hi Francisca,

francesca battaglia wrote:

oh, it seems AGES since the last offtopic post! Since the anti-offtopic posted a couple of weeks ago


If you are referring to my post, you should have read it more carefully! It was definately not anti-offtopic, I was merely suggesting a different format as an overall improvement to the site.


A bored translator like me what's supposed to do?? I read the professional articles, i searched new clients..I even build a personal website.


So you've used the time usually spent answering riveting questions on your favourite pizza/airline/etc. on something more worthwhile, that can't be bad.

Cheers,
Jill


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Francesca Battaglia
Italy
Local time: 07:44
Member (2007)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
just kidding Jun 10, 2007

Hi Gillian, yes, of course I know there was no real mobbing against the OT posts..I just wanted to laugh about it
I really miss the whole OT scene..I did use my time usefully but I kinda missed the "unuseful" amount of chats..

Since the time spent at the computer is mostly for business purposes, those 15 minutes spent chit-chatting were a breath of fresh air..;D

Fra


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 00:44
English to Russian
+ ...
I misunderstood the title... Jun 10, 2007

Hi, Francesca,

I thought you are referring to a job that you would take without a good look only to find out later that you are way over your head... and at the point of no return...

I was there once and the memory of that ordeal keeps giving me nightmares for 11 years now:-).


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
My most desperate job... Jun 10, 2007

Ok, here's mine: It was a very quiet time so I decided, against my better judgment, to accept a job which involved the translation of a SERIES of HUGE technical manuals (some sort of machines - my subconsciousness has repressed the memory of what they were about!).
Needless to say, soon afterwards the more interesting jobs started coming, but I had to turn them down because I was already committed to that nightmare of a job!
Since then, I've decided that technical manuals are not for me, no matter how desperate I am - much better to hold on for a little while longer and enjoy the free time!


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:44
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Is sarcasm another service Proz.com offers to its members? Jun 10, 2007

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

So you've used the time usually spent answering riveting questions on your favourite ***pizza***/airline/etc. on something more worthwhile, that can't be bad.



And most important of all: why don't you get a life?


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Francesca Battaglia
Italy
Local time: 07:44
Member (2007)
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I do have a life.. Jun 10, 2007

Gianni Pastore wrote:

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

So you've used the time usually spent answering riveting questions on your favourite ***pizza***/airline/etc. on something more worthwhile, that can't be bad.



And most important of all: why don't you get a life?


Gianni...I do have a life...:( but since i'm home at the computer most of the day, that's it..

That was too bad..
sigh

Francesca


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xxxaiman
Local time: 08:44
English to Arabic
+ ...
. Jun 10, 2007

I once accepted a very underpaying job...because it was my first job from PROZ...From a Russian Agency!!...I didn't know the rates then...that was more than 5 years ago.

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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:44
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Fran Jun 10, 2007

francesca battaglia wrote:

Gianni Pastore wrote:

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

So you've used the time usually spent answering riveting questions on your favourite ***pizza***/airline/etc. on something more worthwhile, that can't be bad.



And most important of all: why don't you get a life?


Gianni...I do have a life...:( but since i'm home at the computer most of the day, that's it..

That was too bad..


sigh

Francesca


I was not talking about you

[Edited at 2007-06-10 21:38]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:44
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The off-topic went off the topic Jun 10, 2007

This thread may be used as evidence that two wrongs don't make a right.

Anyway, the discussion was about a "desperate job", and the question suddenly made me realize that most of these cases I had involved audio.

My fixed rate for audio/video work (per minute of playing time) is an average. It gives me a good profit when the job is easy, and I offer very high quality in return, especially for lip-sync dubbing. On the other hand, it covers me from loss, to some extent, when the job is really tough.

The #1 most desperate job was an audio CD with an interview. The voices made me visualize two rather elderly gentlemen, talking in English, both with a somewhat heavy Eastern European accent. The recording volume was automatically set too low on account of the tic-tac of what I imagined would be a cuckoo clock closer to the microphone than the speakers. I used my digital audio trickery (aka Acoustica software) to clear most of the ticking. After a few minutes, maybe one of the men lit a cigar, the other twisted his face, and some kind soul turned on a fan with a worn bushing. It is pretty safe to assume that the both recorder and the fan had the usual 3-ft power cords, and were connected to the same outlet, hence close to each other, as the noise totally obliterated whatever the gentlemen said. I had to back off from it.

The #2 wasn't much different. It was a 6-hour recording on DVDs from a panel presentation. Some 5 Brazilian presenters in Portuguese, and one American in English. There was simultaneous interpretation. I was expected to translate the American's comments and presentations only. The whole thing was "professionally" recorded with a camcorder installed beside the interpreters' cabin, at the rear of the auditorium. All that would have been needed would be a $5 cable to tap the interpreters' audio input to the audio in socket on the camcorder to get excellent sound... but they used the camera-mounted microphone. So the recording was crammed with coughs, footsteps, chatter from the audience, and even some "leakage" from the interpreters. The presentation itself was recorded more like a "background noise". They told me to squeeze out whatever I could, but quite honestly I don't think I was able to give them enough for what they paid me. I was amazed that they were quite happy from my delivery on time.

And case #3 must be a winning one, to counterbalance the whole set. I only work between ENPT-BR, but dubbing directors just love my metrics. One of them, a good client, knowing that I had studied 3 years of French and 4 of Italian, regardless of my policy of not translating from these languages, decided to push the envelope. He got me 8 training videos to translate from French. I'd have two proofreaders working together. They were not translators, but actually two executive bilingual secretaries, respectively native from Brazil and France. After they had reviewed it thoroughly and fixed whatever I had missed, I had the chance to readjust the metrics. The final dub came out amazingly good.

However I have become a lot "pickier" when it deals with audio recordings. Sometimes (fortunately not often) I bluntly tell the client that, considering the original, the translation job won't be worth the effort nor the expense.


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Liliana Roman-Hamilton  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:44
English to Italian
there we go Jun 10, 2007

Before this thread degenerates, shall I remind Gillian that an off-topic forum is, as the word says, OFF- topic, that here and elsewhere it IS still possible to express and share our personal ideas (futile or serious) and that this site (thank God, or we would go bonkers) HAS an off-topic section where we can talk about something else other than the tranlsation business?

So, if you don't like OTs about pizzas, airlines, actors etc, or OTs in general, it's your choice not taking part in them, but please refrain sarcastic comments towards a colleague who just wants to take a break or towards us who just want to have a little chit-chat about trivia from time to time.


Answering Francesca's question: years ago I accepted a super-rush but extremely boring job, because a friend of mine really needed it done asap (basically for... yesterday). The text was long and tedious, I ended up working on it well into the wee hours of the night, for a couple of nights, but I got paid well for it. So the desperate was my friend, not me!


P.S. Gianni, allora come e' venuta la porta in plexiglass? Facci sapere.




[Edited at 2007-06-10 23:27]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:44
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Barking mad Jun 11, 2007

Well, I wasn't desperate, but the interviewer must have been....
Monitoring Moscow Radio way back in Brezhnev's time, someone was interviewing a collective farmer about meeting norms for milk production or something equally boring for about 10 minutes, during all of which the farmer's dog was barking away furiously. Neither the farmer nor the interviewer said a word about it, and no-one took the dog away.


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Tina Colquhoun  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:44
Danish to English
+ ...
WWW Jun 11, 2007

>A bored translator like me what's supposed to do?? I read the professional articles, i searched new clients..I even build a personal website.<

There is this thing called the Internet which will provide you with all the vacuousness and time-wasting options you want!!

Tina


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Joeri Van Liefferinge  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 07:44
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
So-calles rush translation... Jun 11, 2007

I once had a 30,000-word job which was "extremely urgent and extremely important", according to the client. The client really needed it back in less than one week. So, needless to say, I barely slept that week, I cancelled all my evening and weekend plans and worked like a madman. And so did my wife, who is my proofreader. But in the end, we managed to get the job done in time, and I sent it back to the client before the deadline. He didn't even bother to confirm that he had received the email. All this was in early August. (So in the middle of the summer, when I prefer being out in the sun instead of working, but oh well...)

One day, at the end of OCTOBER, the client sends me an email: "Could you please send me the file again, I can't seem to open it..." I couldn't believe what I was reading!!!! He was really lucky he wasn't anywhere near me at that moment... He made me work nights and all weekend, and the first time he opened the file was more than two months after the "urgent" deadline!!!

And what's more: in the meantime, they had paid my invoice (with a generous rush rate), so if I had replied: "I am sorry, but for confidentiality reasons, I delete all client files after two months," there would have been nothing they could have done about it...

Needless to say, my quotes for that company are at a much higher rate since that day.

Joeri

[Bijgewerkt op 2007-06-11 13:08]


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