Off topic: Do Translation Agencies treat freelancers as professionals?
Thread poster: cchaudhry
cchaudhry
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:21
German to English
+ ...
Apr 23, 2012

I am an MA student answering an essay question regarding the issues of translators and professionalism. I wondered how freelance translators feel that they are treated by agencies and whether they do feel that they are treated as professionals and if not , why not?

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xxxchristela
Mine - yes Apr 23, 2012

But it took me 15 years to get there. A careful selection process and survival of the fittest.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:21
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes! Apr 23, 2012

In over 16 years in business, only two agencies have treated me and my team unprofessionally at some stage, but all the rest of the agencies have treated me very well so far, in all respects. Needless to say, I do not work for those two agencies and dropped them as customers as soon as I noticed that they were not going to change.

I think that it is important for professional translators to steer away from agencies that mistreat them, thus making such outsourcers gradually excluded from a quality market.

[Edited at 2012-04-24 05:05 GMT]


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:21
German to English
+ ...
It is a two-way street Apr 23, 2012

Sometimes the translator has a higher standard of professionalism than the agency. Sometimes, the reverse is true. I am not sure if one can generalise. I have not had any particularly negative experiences, but then I have probably steered away from agencies who would treat me in a way that offends my sense of "professionalism".

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:21
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Impossible to generalise Apr 23, 2012

It's impossible to generalise but, yes, all the agencies I work for treat me as a professional - I wouldn't work for them otherwise.
Jenny


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
They are trying Apr 23, 2012

In my experience they usually try to, but sometimes you can perceive that they don't give a toss about who is working with them as long as they can get the job done as quickly as the client demands.

Personally, what really gets me is when I state my terms and the formats I am prepared to work with and then they go ahead and send me material which doesn't fulfill these conditions. It makes me feel they haven't paid attention and thus undervalue me as a translator.

[Edited at 2012-04-23 14:39 GMT]


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
shortly: NO Apr 23, 2012

Aren't we far too politically overcorrected?

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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A qualified yes Apr 23, 2012

Roughly 3% of agencies I've dealt with have treated me in what I would define as a crassly unprofessional way, so I can't say I've suffered greatly as a result of overtly unprofessional behavior. However I am disturbed by the asymmetry of attitudes toward delivery and payment deadlines. Thus, it is unacceptable (barring the legitimate claim of a real emergency) for a translator to let a deadline pass and wait for the agency to contact him or her, before stating with a greater or lesser degree of remorse and sincerity that the document will be forthcoming shortly. Yet this is precisely what some agencies do as a matter of course regarding payment.

And if we talk about this kind of lack of professionalism, the percentage I've cited above jumps to something like 15-20%. This is unacceptable.

But this is still--thankfully--a minority tendency in my experience.

[Edited at 2012-04-24 01:22 GMT]


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