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Off topic: The weirdest job offer you've ever received...
Thread poster: Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:06
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Oct 20, 2006

Hello everyone,
I've received many extremely valuable contacts and job offers through my profile page over the years that have turned into long lasting business relationships.
Having said that, this evening I definitely received the weirdest ProZ mail ever!
The request was for an academic paper translation for a grant proposal- nothing strange about that. But then at the end of the e-mail, the person writing it says that he would "like to be there during the translation to be useful to understand some of the concepts"! Um... did I get that right? Which concepts might those be?
He then went on to give me only his first name and cell number...

So- does anyone else have a weirdest job offer to share?

A great weekend to everyone!
Jennifer

Ugh- gross typos... Friday night burn out!

[Edited at 2006-10-20 17:34]

[Edited at 2006-10-20 17:35]


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Maria Karra  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:06
Member (2000)
Greek to English
+ ...
concepts Oct 20, 2006

JL Baker wrote:
But then at the end of the e-mail, the person writing it says that he would "like to be there during the translation to be useful to understand some of the concepts"! Um... did I get that right? Which concepts might those be?


He probably means that he'd like to be there to answer any questions you might have (explain the concepts to you, whatever those concepts might be - probably details concerning the research they're trying to get funding for).
Maria


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:06
French to English
Generic viagra website Oct 20, 2006

Before I even joined Proz (or any other site), a bloke called "John" emailed me, to translate his generic viagra website into French.
No surname, just John.
No address.
Refused to say where he got my email address.
Payment in cash.

Obviously, with such rock solid credentials, I did the job.
No, seriously, I did.
AND I got paid. Not in cash, but with a postal order, so at least I know that "John" was passing through Halifax that day.

Honest, if anyone asks you to translate a generic viagra website, just say yes. They are all identical. Take you ten minutes. It is money for old rope


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:06
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Patent abstracts Oct 20, 2006

I have been producing translated abstracts of patents for many years.
They have included the following:
A Soviet patent for an ornithopter (flapping-wing) flying motorcycle for sporting purposes.
A device for assessing the age of a male patient by measuring the strength of his urine jet.
A dental anaesthetic device which involved connecting an electrode to the patent's tooth and passing current through it (my own dentist was horrified by the idea).
There have also been several other weird translation jobs which I had better not mention because of client confidentiality.


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Kirill Semenov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 09:06
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Received but not accepted Oct 20, 2006

The weirdest work I was ever proposed was a proposal to review a 20,000 word translation. It took me a second to understand that it was a machine English-Russian translation, and it looked really WEIRD. I refused and never heard of the outsourcer after it. I don't regret, in fact.

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Yolanda Broad  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:06
Member (2000)
French to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Dog's Website Oct 20, 2006

Written from the dog's point of view. Lots of chitchat about what the dog had been up to...

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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:06
Member (2004)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Awesome... Oct 20, 2006

Jack Doughty wrote:

A device for assessing the age of a male patient by measuring the strength of his urine jet.


...!!!


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Sonia Hill
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:06
Member (2010)
Italian to English
Unrequited love letters Oct 20, 2006

I translated some love letters from an Italian to an English TV presenter. This was all done through an agency and there were several letters. He seemed to be rather surprised that she didn't ever answer him. What was most amusing was that he said he would like to send her some flowers but he couldn't because they would be dead by the time they arrived in England. I suggested that the agency tell him about Interflora

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Steven Sidore  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:06
Member (2003)
German to English
dog's view Oct 20, 2006

ybroad wrote:

Written from the dog's point of view. Lots of chitchat about what the dog had been up to...


Now that you mention it, I had one of those too.

It's not "wierd", but translating a sex toy catalog definitely provided the most conversation pieces...


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:06
Member (2004)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
I did one of those, too... Oct 20, 2006

Steven Sidore wrote:

but translating a sex toy catalog definitely provided the most conversation pieces...


The English vocabulary was quite challenging, and the research was interesting, to say the least...


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Johanna Timm, PhD  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 23:06
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
love letters Oct 20, 2006

Late one evening I got a call from an older gentleman who wanted to have his private correspondence translated, ‘on a regular basis’, as he stressed. It turned out that he was writing to an old flame of his “in the old country”, trying to win her back. They were both very old school; he was a true gentleman, respectful and very sweet, and would occasionally consult with me to find out if I considered a particular expression that he had used appropriate, or he would wonder why she had not written back for so long, could she possibly have misunderstood something in his last letter?
This went on for about a year. Then one day, their letters simply stopped. And I am still wondering what happened. Did she get tired of him? Did he pass away? Had I somewhere along the line chosen a wrong word?

Not really a weird job, but a memorable one.


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Kathryn Strachecky  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:06
French to English
Same as Steven and JL Oct 20, 2006

I was offered a "marital aides" catalogue too when I started out. I was a real beginner and desperate for experience, but I still turned it down because of my personal religiouse convictions.

Tony, I love the sound of some of your patents. Did any of your clients become millionaires then?


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Erika Pavelka  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:06
French to English
My weirdest job Oct 20, 2006

It was probably a police report on the disappearance of a Canadian in Mali. It was years ago, so I can't recall all the details, but he was in the jungle and he disappeared somehow. Natives came across his belongings, but I don't think he was ever found.

I've also had students contact me to translate their transcript or diploma and ask if they can wait while I do the translation.


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 08:06
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Complaint against Martians invading someone's garden... Oct 20, 2006

which wouldn't be that weird per se, except that it was a letter from a US citizen officially complaining to Polish government and requesting them to take action against Martians in his garden in USA.

And I also had a client who insisted to stay with us during translation - a nightmare it was, believe me. I don't know how it happened I let him in... never again!

Magda


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lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:06
Portuguese to English
coo! Oct 20, 2006

[quote]Jack Doughty wrote:

I have been producing translated abstracts of patents for many years.
They have included the following:
A Soviet patent for an ornithopter (flapping-wing) flying motorcycle for sporting purposes.
A device for assessing the age of a male patient by measuring the strength of his urine jet.
A dental anaesthetic device which involved connecting an electrode to the patent's tooth and passing current through it (my own dentist was horrified by the idea).
There have also been several other weird translation jobs which I had better not mention because of client confidentiality.

Gosh, what an intersting life you've led, Jack. I only wish I could cap it with a urine-powered ornithopter for orthodontists!


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