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Upper limit of years of experience?
Thread poster: Daniel Šebesta

Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 08:54
Member (2007)
English to Czech
+ ...
Jan 12, 2008

Recently, I noticed several job postings where one particular outsourcer chose to limit the maximum number of years of experience to (for example) fours years, stating that longer time in the industry than four years means "over-experience". I can understand this approach from the economic point of view; a more experienced translator is likely to ask for a higher rate. However, do you think there can be other reasons for such limits?

Daniel


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:54
English to French
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Old methods Jan 13, 2008

Other than the obvious financial issue, the only thing I can see is that the more experience a translator has, the older their knowledge is. Language is still language, so no matter how old their academic knowledge is, this shouldn't make a difference. However, "older" translators may be a little less open to using technology and in some cases can also have more trouble using a computer. So, I can imagine that if the outsourcer wants to use CAT tools and needs someone to work on certain more recent file formats, like for example Quark Express or InDesign, then it is likely they prefer younger translators to do the work since the majority of younger translators is more comfortable with technology.

But I doubt this technical experience question is a big issue for outsourcers. I bet this is more about the money than anything else.


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
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Ditto Jan 13, 2008

I rather suspect this is a financial issue as well. Had the outsourcer said 15 years or more I would have wondered, but as it is, this must be financial!!

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:54
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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Puts me well over the top Jan 13, 2008

With 55 years experience behind me, I still don't feel I'm past it, so I hope it is purely a financial consideration!

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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
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Hear, hear Jack Jan 13, 2008

You're only as old as you feel!

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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 02:54
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
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It's gotta be the bottom line. Jan 13, 2008

We already know that quality is often left by the wayside, for other considerations (i.e. and extra 2 cents), so why should experience be any different? Hang 'em high Jack!

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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:54
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
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Upper limit of years of experience! Jan 13, 2008

Oh darn it!

There goes my philosophy "Somethings get better with age: cheese, wine and me, of course."

Way to go, Jack! I am not even half way there, all the more power to you.

Greetings from sunny Suriname!

Lucinda


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:54
English to German
+ ...
Age discrimination combined with utmost greed and idiocy Jan 13, 2008

The finest!

In the United States you would be welcome to wring their necks in court a little bit on the grounds of age discrimination.

How I wish to have Jack's experience beamed into my brain..


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Daniel Šebesta  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 08:54
Member (2007)
English to Czech
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TOPIC STARTER
Experience, not necessarily age Jan 13, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:
In the United States you would be welcome to wring their necks in court a little bit on the grounds of age discrimination.


Nicole,

Don't forget that they didn't limit the age but the length of experience. I started translating professionally (= as a job) when I was 15; others might get into the business after a different career, say at the age of 40. Limiting the years of experience doesn't directly imply age discrimination.

Daniel

[Edited at 2008-01-13 17:56]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:54
English to German
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When does experience start? Jan 13, 2008

Daniel - I can't even tell the exact date when I became a translator. I certainly didn't change my profession. I am doing the very same stuff that I've been doing for about a quarter of a century. Always working with international customers and we would adapt each others marketing-stuff for our respective countries. Hey, there weren't even any computers! We used Telex and postal mail.

You know what? Everything worked just as fine as today.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:54
English to French
+ ...
Or even better Jan 13, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:

You know what? Everything worked just as fine as today.


I can't attest to this because I have always used technology - I can probably say I belong to the new breed of translators. I have always been technologically inclined as well - my dad trained me to program BASIC on a Commodore 64 when I was seven.

But even though I wasn't translating in the Telex era, I am sure that things worked even better back then. Even though I have no experience working without technology, I am convinced that the good old days when technology was nowhere near translation, people could concentrate on their main task instead of spending their time formatting and converting documents, extracting text, sending, receiving and reading (yawn!) e-mail, etc, etc.

One of the last times I went to McDonalds, it took a half hour to get my simple order of fries - their ultra-modern cash system had a bug and they had to write down each order manually and calculate the change on calculators, which took quite a while. All this because they heavily rely on technology - which can still break and when it does, there is no technician on site to fix it. I am still scared at the possibility of having cars which drive themselves - what if a motion detector breaks and stops detecting? Ugh!

I am sure the older translators were much better off when they were younger translators. If it was still feasible, I probably wouldn't say no to working old school style...


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Angeliki Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 09:54
Member (2006)
English to Greek
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You are never too old to learn Jan 13, 2008

and if you want to remain in the game, so to speak, you keep adding to your knowledge and experience. This is why I strongly object to this:

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

So, I can imagine that if the outsourcer wants to use CAT tools and needs someone to work on certain more recent file formats, like for example Quark Express or InDesign, then it is likely they prefer younger translators to do the work since the majority of younger translators is more comfortable with technology.



I'm sure I am not alone in having actually learnt to use "recent file formats" well into my forties, and I have been using them professionally ever since.

All an outsourcer has to do is ask for qualifications or test the candidate; age has very little (if anything) to do with it.


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Sandro C  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:54
English to Georgian
+ ...
Can't agree more... Jan 13, 2008

Lucinda wrote:

....There goes my philosophy "Somethings get better with age: cheese, wine and me, of course."

Way to go, Jack! I am not even half way there, all the more power to you.

....



there's really nothing else to add


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 02:54
English to French
+ ...
I know Jan 14, 2008

Angeliki Papadopoulou wrote:
I'm sure I am not alone in having actually learnt to use "recent file formats" well into my forties, and I have been using them professionally ever since.


I have absolutely no doubt about that, and I have worked with translators from the Telex era who are just as good at techno stuff as the ones who grew up with it. But let's face it - there are as many kinds of outsourcers as there are outsourcers. Some of them do think that the younger, the more technology-oriented. In some cases, they are right, but nobody can generalize on this.

I feel that our market is a little too demanding as far as technology is concerned. It should be the translator's personal choice if they want to use CAT tools, for example. Sadly, technology is increasingly becoming a requirement. The saddest thing about it is that in many cases, this is because end clients are not educated on the time it takes to do a quality translation, which means they often have unrealistic expectations. Instead of educating them, agencies turn to CAT tools and other technology to be able to keep up with the end client's expectations, which in my opinion doesn't really help the situation and in some cases actually hinders it.


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:24
German to English
I couldn't agree more.... Jan 14, 2008

Angeliki Papadopoulou wrote:
All an outsourcer has to do is ask for qualifications or test the candidate; age has very little (if anything) to do with it.


...with you, Angeliki.

Without wanting to generalise, I also think older, more established translators are more likely to have a genuine interest in the subject matter, something I consider quite important in producing high quality translations. Younger translators may be thinking more along the lines of building up a clientbase and income generation.


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