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Local authorities in the UK could be spending £100m annually on translation
Thread poster: xxxmediamatrix
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 07:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 7, 2007

At least, that's what the BBC says here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7131768.stm

I wonder what share of this sum ends up in the bank accounts of Proz.com members and users.

MediaMatrix


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:26
German to English
+ ...
You speakee English? (Oh sorry, I didn't mean to shout) Dec 7, 2007

This was on the news last night. It is significant that the BBC were using translation as an umbrella term. I'd like to know how the bottom line pans out between translation and interpreting.

Good point from Mediamatrix. Do public servants refer to Proz? Do you have to be qualified? What does e.g. the constabulary do when someone says "We need a translator quick, sarge"... Official channels or nip down to the market and say: "Any of you lot speak English?"

Leads inevitably to the discussion as to whether this aspect of the Race Relations Act helps immigrants in the medium to long term (see the video link on the URL).


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:26
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I saw it too Dec 7, 2007

Textklick wrote:

This was on the news last night. It is significant that the BBC were using translation as an umbrella term. I'd like to know how the bottom line pans out between translation and interpreting.

Good point from Mediamatrix. Do public servants refer to Proz? Do you have to be qualified? What does e.g. the constabulary do when someone says "We need a translator quick, sarge"... Official channels or nip down to the market and say: "Any of you lot speak English?"

Leads inevitably to the discussion as to whether this aspect of the Race Relations Act helps immigrants in the medium to long term (see the video link on the URL).


I saw this on last night's news too - no distinction made between translating and interpreting - most people don't know the difference anyway.
Down here in West Cornwall (where we have few Asian immigrants), local authority documents (housing and benefits mostly) are available in various Asian languages. On the other hand, we have many Poles here now, mostly working in the fields, harvesting cauliflowers (known as broccoli here) potatoes and daffodils, hard work for low pay, and I understand Polish interpreters get quite a lot of work, either for the police or the hospital.
Yes, do local authorities know about Proz?
Regards,
Jenny.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:26
French to English
Must be a slow news day ! Dec 7, 2007

I'm sure this came up a few months ago

There are road signs in Polish in East Anglia, and indeed I've seen those "caution wet surface" type (and similar) temporary signs in Polish dotted around where I live.

I'm not sure any one-size-fits-all approach fits here anyway.
There are certainly some communities of Asian origin where, for example, the womenfolk are very much discouraged by the men from learning English for social and cultural reasons. Whether you think that is right or wrong, it's a situation that needs handling, so I think that e.g. healthcare literature in the appropriate languages is probably needed, and would probably cost the country more money (e.g. NHS treatment for preventable conditions) if it wasn't done, quite apart from just being the decent thing to do.

Whether the same can or should apply to, say, more recent economic migrants from Eastern Europe is open to debate. A debate which undoubtedly cannot be held here!


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Stephen Gobin
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:26
German to English
+ ...
Sitting Ducks Dec 7, 2007

It would be a different story if it were big business wanting to spend money on translation to become an even bigger business.

Local authorities are always in the firing line because public spending is just one big liability.

And general news items, even from revered institutions like the BBC, are just that: general.


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:26
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Local authorities in the UK could be spending £100m annually on translation Dec 7, 2007

Charlie Bavington wrote:

I'm sure this came up a few months ago



you are thinking of this...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6738603.stm


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:26
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Broccoli... Dec 7, 2007

Jenny Forbes wrote:

harvesting cauliflowers (known as broccoli here)


what? You call cauliflowers 'broccoli' in West Cornwall?


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:26
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, really Dec 7, 2007

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Jenny Forbes wrote:

harvesting cauliflowers (known as broccoli here)


what? You call cauliflowers 'broccoli' in West Cornwall?


It's true, ask any Cornishman. Down here in the boonies, white cauliflower is called broccoli ( pronounced "brockly"), and green broccoli (normally called just broccoli in England) is called calabrese (pronounced "kalabreeze").
Regards,
Jenny.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 07:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In case no-one here has noticed... Dec 7, 2007

... the topic of this 'Money Matters' thread is supposed to be Prozians' share of the relatively lucrative market represented by UK local authortities' expenditure on translation.

As Charlie has said, whether the provision of translations is justified is a political matter that should not be debated here. And I fail to see the relevance of horticultural terminology - however fascinating some colleagues might find that.

Does no-one here care about sources of revenue for people in this profession?

MediaMatrix


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 12:26
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
how true is the gossip? Dec 7, 2007

I have heard (but just "have heard") that UK local authorities are very good clients because their rates are really good. They have a lot of material to be translated (because the number of immigrants is big), and such material is not very difficult as it is some general info about UK laws, living conditions, social guarantees, housing, etc. I use to receive more and more of these texts, but via UK agencies, i.e. not directly from the local authorities (as "end clients"). So, any idea how true is that "gossip"?

One more thing - do you think we should approach these institutions directly proposing our services ? Maybe it is better for the Mohamet to approach the Mount instead of waiting till the Mount approached Mohamet, i.e. why we should wait till the authorities get to know proz - we can offer them our services directly. There will be no one "in between" (like agencies in UK) who will take the cream from the pie? And the authorities can work with job doers directly - it will mean a better efficiency of the process, and better rates for both sides.

But a question again - do you think these authorities will trust "freelancers"? Maybe big and established agencies will appear more "reliable" to them?


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 11:26
French to English
+ ...
http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20071207/tpl-uk-britain-translation-ed79be6_2.html Dec 7, 2007

The next stage has been reached...

While I can understand that cutting back on translations could mean a loss of earnings for some members of the profession, it is also worth remembering that it is taxpayers' money that is being spent (and that presumably includes tax-paying translators in the UK) and that there is every likelihood, given the degree of chaos in any form of public/civil service, that the same material is being translated over and over again.

I know this will be unpopular but I hate the thought of working for chaotic principals. When I encountered people who made extra work for themselves by their lack of discipline and order, my only wish was to go and organise them, show them how they could save time, money and stress but keeping better track of what they were doing. Maybe I might have been shooting myself in the proverbial foot but I would have preferred not to have had to bale them out at the last minute because of their lack of organisation and to have been able to produce a better end result (better in the sense of more finished) by not having been engaged in a race against the clock....

I suppose my "staffer" mentality is coming out once again


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Rad Graban  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:26
English to Slovak
+ ...
Not that easy Dec 7, 2007

I suppose I'm lucky to work in one of the A8 languages and you are right, I'm very busy.
However, I don't think there is a chance to work directly for the authorities. I translate and interprete for most of them but it is all through the agencies. There are three major companies in the UK who secured government contracts and provide translation/interpreting service to the UK government - K-International (translating), the BigWord (translating+face-to-face interpreting) and Language Services Associates (telephone interpreting). All of them require that translator resides in the UK as some of the documents are very confidential (not talking leaflets or road signs, but immigration/police documents etc.). As I said, they keep me busy but I have to work for "agency rates" rather than "direct client" rates.

[Edited at 2007-12-07 17:08]


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Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:26
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
This is due to UK government's own policy... Dec 7, 2007

The way it used to work was that most local authorities had a section and/or department that dealt with their own translation and interpreting needs, and it used to be the case that those authorities worked directly with the freelancers, us.

Then came the new trend of outsourcing every single government contract out to a third party (through tenders), third party that would, in turn, allocate the work to freelancers. This has happened in all areas of government administration, from social services to health services. Thus, all of those departments were shut down gradually.

The contracts that are offered out to tender are rather lucrative for the various agencies. If the public are concerned about how much of taxpayers' money is going into this (not forgetting that translators and interpreters form part of that taxpaying base too), then the media should inform itself better regarding the facts of the matter in question.

I used to work directly for my local council and at some point they told me to go and register with agency X because things were about to change. Either way, I was still being paid the same rate by the agency as I was when the council contracted me direct. Well, you do the maths. That alleged bill of £100 million could be cut right down if it were not for this 'let's outsource to a third party' trend that has taken over most industry sectors in this country.

Regards to all,
Myriam


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redred  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:26
English to Chinese
+ ...
they believe a third party Dec 11, 2007

MariusV wrote:

But a question again - do you think these authorities will trust "freelancers"? Maybe big and established agencies will appear more "reliable" to them?



For those authorities and conglomerates, they usually believe a third party, they would not directly contact with a freelance translator, unless otherwise you have keen relationship with the personnel-in-charge. If you register a company, it may be different, it is not difficult to handle, then your status will be changed.

The work of freelance translator applies to small and medium size companies, some end customers even like to directly find an individual to complete the job, it is convenient to communicate with each other.



[Edited at 2007-12-11 03:11]


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