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Off topic: Demeaning comments regarding Indians
Thread poster: Poornima Iyengar

Poornima Iyengar  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:22
German to English
+ ...
Jan 7, 2004

Dear Friends,

I have been a proz member for over two years and during this period, I have made some very good friends on this forum.

Recently, Werner George Patels posted some very demeaning and ugly comments on the ability of Indians in general and translators of Indian origin in particular. (link to the article at the bottom of this message).

Indians have been known as a very tolerant lot, but I could not take it this time around. How can he crucify all of us on account of a few "black sheep"? I have found "rubbish" being churned out by translators from other countries and that "rubbish" has been sent to us for "Proof-reading". Is it because we are so "unprofessional" with "no sense of quality" that we have survived in this field for so long?

I think Werner Patels comments are outrageous and are targeted at Indian translators with some "not so good" intentions.

This is an appeal to all the translators on proz, who know that Indians do make good translators, to disallow such kind of attacks. Werner Patels is no "Authority" on the English language to undermine the capabilities of people from non-English speaking countries. Today it is Indians, tomorrow it could be German or French translators, who knows...!!!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/translation_proz/message/522

Thanks
Regards
Poornima


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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:52
Member (2001)
English to Italian
+ ...
The usual rant... Jan 7, 2004

Poornima Iyengar wrote:
Dear Friends,

I have been a proz member for over two years and during this period, I have made some very good friends on this forum.

Recently, Werner George Patels posted some very demeaning and ugly comments on the ability of Indians in general and translators of Indian origin in particular. (link to the article at the bottom of this message).

Indians have been known as a very tolerant lot, but I could not take it this time around. How can he crucify all of us on account of a few "black sheep"? I have found "rubbish" being churned out by translators from other countries and that "rubbish" has been sent to us for "Proof-reading". Is it because we are so "unprofessional" with "no sense of quality" that we have survived in this field for so long?

I think Werner Patels comments are outrageous and are targeted at Indian translators with some "not so good" intentions.

This is an appeal to all the translators on proz, who know that Indians do make good translators, to disallow such kind of attacks. Werner Patels is no "Authority" on the English language to undermine the capabilities of people from non-English speaking countries. Today it is Indians, tomorrow it could be German or French translators, who knows...!!!

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/translation_proz/message/522

Thanks
Regards
Poornima


Dear Poornima,
the views expressed in the mailing list that you mention are standard fare for that person who, in case you are not aware, has been expelled from this site three times (readmitted twice after promising to not indulge in similar offensive behaviours).

His mailing list is, of course, unrelated to this site, despite its name, and very far from our ethics and from the general principles of absolute respect for all cultures, people and ideas that we hold dear.

This person is not attacking India or Indian professionals in particular, don't be upset. He also dislikes all Russians, all Eastern Europeans, all Belgians, all Southern Europeans, all Chinese, and great part of the rest of the planet Earth. Anyone, in fact, not conforming to his elitist view of himself and to his very personal world.

As you have noticed, he is also offensive to the owners of this site, to the agencies using the services of this site, to the volunteers working as ProZ moderators and to all the site members. En masse. Voilà.

In short: the usual pack of offensive remarks that everybody in this business expects from him. It is not a novelty, he never tires to do this, everybody else has tired of him.

Happy New Year
Gianfranco



[Edited at 2004-01-07 22:55]


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Aisha Rishi
Pakistan
Local time: 06:52
English to Urdu
+ ...
Ignore the prat. Jan 7, 2004

His little blabber didn't just point to Indians but all the countries where translators do work for low rates for one reason or the other.

True there always be some unprofessionals lurking around these kinds of forums, but that doesn't mean that all of us who benefit from Proz or such sites are not capable of what we say we are. I have benefited hugely from Proz. I have found some great clients and we are both enjoying a good working relationship.

As he was blabbering about un professional translators wrecking the jobs, he forgot to mention that there are such companies too who never pay for the jobs they get done by professionals, and Proz is always very responsive as to banning them. Although I personally think that there should be a system on Proz where the clients whom the translators work for, could leave some comments about their quality of work.

So, don't take it to heart, we all find such kind of people once in a while, they are just ignorant, thats all I can say for them.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 21:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
These comments don't deserve your attention Jan 7, 2004

Don't worry, Poornima.

That list has nothing to do with ProZ in spite of its name. And such comments have nothing to do with our usual behavior.

I think that talking about them here is a way of giving them too much importance.
They are worthless.


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sandhya  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:22
German to English
+ ...
ignore the fool! Jan 7, 2004

dear translators!

The great Mr. Patels was forwarded to me, while on vacation. I replied to Mr. Patels (very politely and professionally:-)...

Sandhya: I have a few things to say about your opinion on Indian translators. And NO, I do NOT intend this to become a war between so called first world countries and the third world countries. Neither is this a discussion on outsourcing work at cheaper rates... that is a business issue and each company/client is free to decide on its business practices.

Patels: That's true - which is also why I am entitled to my opinions.

Sandhya: Your comment about cheap rates affecting the translation market.
Let me enlighten you on the reasons WHY India accepts work at cheaper rates. I assume you are aware of differences in Foreign Exchange rates. 1 Euro = INR 50 approx., 1 US$ = INR 45, 1 GBP = INR 75 (INR being the Indian currency). Now, 1 Euro might not be much for you, BUT INR 50 is a lot of money for an average Indian.
This naturally also applies to other European countries like Italy, Spain, Mexico, the East Block that charge much less than USA and UK.
Believe me, Werner, as an Indian living and working in India, I too am often aghast at the low rates that other Indian translators charge! I would like them to be paid as much as the international rates.
In our industry (pardon me for using "our", in case it offends you to accept an Indian as a fellow translator!), rates are not always defined by quality, experience or professionalism. Most often they are defined by good/bad business sense, economics and financial need.

Patels: Rates must be based on quality, credentials and experience - nothing else. Anyone (translator or client) who does not follow this rule has no business being on the market.

Sandhya: I personally charge my clients 10-15% less than the accepted international rates, and refuse to accept work when paid less. However, many clients argue that I live in India so I must charge less.
Clients that want to pay less and save money are not ALWAYS concerned with quality! So, they will go to the cheapest translator... regardless of where that translator is located, in USA, UK, Canada, India or Mars.

Patels: And these are the clients I would never want to work for anyway.

Sandhya:Finally, it is a bit foolish to assume that a high rate automatically implies good work quality and that a low rate implies poor quality!

Patels: No, it's not foolish. Low rates always translate to poor quality (without exception!!!!)

Sandhya: While it is true that the international standards for English are measured by US or UK English, I believe it is time to think global and accept that English is (un)fortunately NO LONGER the sole property of UK. I understand, USA has also "borrowed" the language from the British and has not invented it like it did McDonald burgers!
Hmmm, as to your point about Indian translators not being able to produce quality English is partly true and partly false. I think it is incorrect (never mind rude!) to make such a sweeping statement about an entire country and its people! Each human is an individual, each individual has his/her own standards. I know several Americans/British that write miserable English.
Quality comes with education, experience, dedication, hard work and a willingness to learn and improve!
Yes, we in India have a long way to go, I accept that all Indians are not as perfect as all Americans/British (assuming every single A/B is perfect indeed.

Patels: For lack of a better word, "international English" is what we are looking for, and Indian English just does not cut it (poor and wrong grammar, words in use that have long died out in the developed world, Indians making up nonsense words that simply do not exist in the English language, etc.).


Sandhya: Your argument about assigning translations into French/German etc. to Indians.
I FULLY agree with you here! It is morally improper of an Indian to accept work into a language that is NOT his/her mother tongue!
However, forgive me for saying this, but some of us do consider English as our mother tongue, as we were educated in that language and speak/write/read it more fluently than any Indian language.

Sandhya: Being fluent in a language does not make it your native tongue. Your native tongue is the language that at least one of your parents passed on to you and the language that was spoken in your home when growing up. Besides, again, the English that you are taught in India does not meet Western quality standards of any scale! If you want to consider Indian English your native tongue, that's fine, but Indian English is unacceptable in the West at all levels.


Sandhya: Lastly, I agree with your comment that translation must be treated as a profession and that one needs proper training at a University. The translation industry is still a fledgling industry in India and some universities are becoming slowly aware of languages as a profession. There is certainly tremendous scope for improvement and such issues are being addressed by some "true professional translators"!
You have unfortunately opened a ‘can of worms’ by voicing your harsh opinions in a public forum! I can understand the origin of such opinions – perhaps you had a bad year, perhaps as a professional, it hurts you to see the deteriorating standards of the translation industry, perhaps you were a victim of ‘under cutting’!!

Patels: I am not a "victim". I work only for clients that pay me 25 to 35 cents a word, and I am very successful. What goes on in the market segment of "peanuts and pinheads" (=low rates and self-anointed wannabe "translators" without any qualifications or brains) is of no personal concern to me. I only speak up in solidarity with those that are affected by these trends.

Hmmm, in the light of Mr. Patels replies, all I can say is: He is a bigot, a frustrated fool! As has already been said by the others, such people lack basic etiquette and do not respect other humans (regardless of their nationality!).
Taking his comments seriously and giving it undue importance would be like rising to his bait, and I personally do not believe this gentleman is worthy of it!

The clients have faith in Indian translators, so who cares about the rest of the world!

cheers
sandhya


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 21:52
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Dear all Jan 7, 2004

The rules for our forums are not to give names of people or agencies.

Here the case is different, as the first poster thought that Mr. Patels was related to ProZ because of the name of his list.
It seemed fair to makes things clear, but I wouldn't like this thread to become a thread about him.

I hope that for Poornima (and many others) everything is clear.
He is responsible for what he says, and he is not related to ProZ.

I'll lock this thread, and might hide it later.
Thanks for your understanding.


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