I have read the poll last days with that subject and found out that most colleagues consider their profession is not being apreciated in their country.
I thought a lot and would say and have the same opinion, but would like to open a discussion about the reasons it is like that and what could be done to change it.
Literar translators are well appreciated, interpreters, those who work at the translation of films too.
Also an important difference is the status of the translator: freelance is not yet understood and appreciated in this field.
As a matter of fact only few professions are done (at least where I live) as individual freelance.
Everybody does his/her job either on a regular basis in a company, or having a company.
What other jobs are being done by freelancer (individuals) today? I don't imagine right now.
Earlier there were those people offering services like: repairing shoes, or different things in houses, or selling on the street I don't know what.
Today they all have a status, some rights, some support. They don't work as individuals anymore, have some requirements, have workshops, have unions to protect their rights, including incomes.
What do freelance translators have? Nothing: no oficial recognised status, no union, no insurances, no financial security.
They are also very isolated with their job, except for those who work with the audience through editors and cinema, nobody knows their work, their effort, cause it is not seen.
As far as I know freelance translators do not get credits from banks in order to start the activity, do not have regulated price levels (minimal prices set up), or social securities.
I was once told in Germany, that nobody can live as a translator and I understood that a not employed person who would like to start freelancing would not receive any support, unlike any other private "Ltd.-s" (in German "Ich-AG's).
Even family, friends or people arround do not understand that profesion esepcially when practiced freelance, not to say about clients.
Clients do really not know what this profession means and agencies only know it if managed by a (former) translator.
So how to change this bad image?
1. As any other respected profession, it should be regulated by national laws.
The national translator associations must aim this and work for it.
E.g doctors (I just remember they could practice like freelance but within some limits), or lawyers, are still compulsory members of profesional associatons and unions which defeat their rights and also controle them.
2. Maybe give up isolation and work in groups/offices, within a regulated system.
3. Explain more in the media about their profession.
I looked in the library for such a book, on how to become and work as (freelance) translator/interpreter or subtitling films. Not one book!
4. Avoid exagerated automatisms (CAT-tools) in their work, which also force a bad image ("you just "copy and paste" CAT memories, no big deal") and the agencies use this to pay less and respect less a translator.
Nobody should ever know(have known) what tool you use as a translator. Important is the result.
No wonder machines will replace us soon, if we allow it.
Last but not least: we should respect each other more and be united and not build walls (financial or so, like on ProZ) between us and exclude certain colleagues.
Fact is: no one every succeded alone in any struggle.
Every trade is respecting itsself more than us and if we don't respect ourself, how can we ask the others to do it.
Respect comes also to the human rights we have to allow to ourselves and teach the clients.
I am really shocked reading things on this site like: not taking holidays, or leaves for childcare or for sickness.
We are not slaves, people, not the salves of the clients, they must know we are human beings with rights too.
What is your opinion? I am not such a revolutionary person usually, but things are getting worse and worse in this field.
[Edited at 2007-01-30 10:28]
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