\"Regulation\" - The True Story
Thread poster: Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO) (X)

Werner George Patels, M.A., C.Tran.(ATIO) (X)
Local time: 06:20
German to English
+ ...
Dec 4, 2001

After seeing so many messages posted to this forum by people who don’t seem to understand the simple concept of “regulation”, I think it’s best to clarify and define a few things.

Of course, “regulation” has a negative connotation: it evokes images of the airline industry, the media, etc. But this is not the kind of regulation we are talking about here.

Several of you (including myself) have likened our profession to lawyers and doctors – and rightly so. Others have argued that you cannot compare doctors and translators. Fine. Well, then, take the example of stockbrokers or even lowly financial advisers: they all need to be trained, they have to take several qualifying examinations and they are all required to play by certain rules. Even the lowliest financial adviser will have to meet some of these requirements.

We have been talking our heads off about the issue of declining rates – the topic of regulation has little to do with that. We know fully well that translators’ associations will never set rates or require their members to charge certain rates (“anti-trust”); some associations, however, will issue “rate recommendations”.

Also, there will never be global standards: even lawyers and doctors have different sets of rules in different countries. But every country should and must have such rules.

Regulation in the translation industry is about setting rules of professional and ethical conduct and business practices as well as certain requirements for entry into the profession.

Just like financial advisers must be bound by rules and standards (otherwise, the financial markets would be in even worse shape than they are now), translators must comply with such rules too, because they can and they DO cause a lot of harm.

Such rules, for example, include principles such as “never accept jobs outside of your expertise”, “keep your clients’ information confidential”, etc. You may argue that we all know that; that common sense dictates that anyway. Unfortunately, some have “common sense issues” icon_wink.gif and they cannot see the “forest for all the trees”. As a result, to make it perfectly clear for everyone, such rules must be set out in a Code of Conduct and Business Practices. In addition, you will be in a much stronger negotiating position with your client if you are able to back up your promise of confidentiality, for example, by referring to the fact that you are a certified/accredited member of association XXX. This will serve to assure the client – and he will know that, if you should break your promise or violate professional ethics, he could always contact the association and file a complaint against you. With an independent maverick, he could not do that (he could file a civil lawsuit, but it would be a lot messier for him).

As for the “rate issue”, I am convinced that we would see fewer problems if every country had such rules and standards – in a way, it would be a positive “by-product” of such rules.

While I agree, for the most part, that rates cannot always be equated with quality, lack of professional ethics CAN.


Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:20
Member (2004)
English to Italian
All my support, Werner Dec 4, 2001

I agree entirely.



Telesforo Fernandez (X)
Local time: 16:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Fish in the market Dec 5, 2001

If you take your fish to sell in the open market can you regulate its price and equally regulate what quality of fish you sell?

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-12-05 02:48 ]


Jacek Krankowski (X)  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
Fish and dentists Dec 5, 2001

What do they have in common? The marketplace! I am all not only for high professional standards but also for their enforcement. The only problem is that when I go to a dentists who turns out to be a butcher, and a highly regulated one, I end up giving up and not filing that suit I should file. Same with the licensed builders of my house and the licensed stock broker who happened to give me wrong advice. I am surrounded by licensed and highly regulated professionals in everyday life and I feel too often like kicking all of them downstairs. I am also appalled to see translators walk away Scott-free after having screwed up a job. Unfortunately, it takes more than a degree and a state exam to be a good translator. But I agree that something like that should be a minimum requirement. I think Werner\'s call should be addressed to professional lobbyists and/or bosses of national associations of translators though.

Jacek Krankowski


Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:20
Member (2004)
English to Italian
well, Jacek Dec 5, 2001

I did propose a 3/5 year specialization course, not \"just\" a degree and a state exam... there are butchers in every profession, but we need some standards to minimize the on-going slaughter.



To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

\"Regulation\" - The True Story

Advanced search

Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2019 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2019 has evolved to bring translators a brand new experience. Designed with user experience at its core, Studio 2019 transforms how new users get up and running and helps experienced users make the most of the powerful features.

More info »

  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search