Of Vendors and numerical codes and stuff
Thread poster: Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:54
English to Polish
+ ...
Feb 26, 2014

Hi, Agencies.

Do you really think it makes you more attractive to us, (freelance) translators when you call us Vendors, expect us to send our e-mail to something like vendormanagementdepartment27@toughguys.com with 21345235343 in the subject line? And then expect us to fill in a 10-page questionnaire and sign your 20-page contract without proposing any changes? (Said contract full of hardcore legalese, more tough talk and muscle flexing and reeking of territorial marks? Where putting a lien on our houses wouldn't take it much farther than it already has been taken?) And then a notoriously convoluted online system to bid for jobs, a user-unfriendly custom CAT because you can't just accept Trados files, and even more formalities for billing and invoicing?

If so, think again. We are and have been inside the same industry for years. You know us, we know you. The muscle flexing, the technological terror, the territorial marking... it's really as transparent as a mum-and-pop translation outfit that boasts of a 'team of 1000 professionals' on its website (i.e. one thousand dudes in the database who just simply are there and once a year they get an e-mail, usually around Christmastide).

And think once again, harder. You're after translators. Translators are linguists. Okay, there are dudes who translate heavy-duty engineering stuff and financial statements, those surely aren't your run-of-the-mill artsy guy or gal. But are you really after robots and number crunchers for all of the translations you do?

Don't turn into zombie farmers. Please.


Dude on the Internet 2344067

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:54
Chinese to English
I'm not a number, I'm a free man! Feb 27, 2014

Wait, no, I didn't mean that kind of free. You still have to pay for it...

It is bizarre, isn't it. I mean, are these people aware that we have wacky devices called computers these days which are so good, so good that - get this, it's amazing - they can find entries in the list of translators by looking at the translator's name. They can actually read strings of letters just as well as strings of numbers.

They can be pretty self-defeating, these systems. As soon as something goes wrong, a real person has to step in and look at it and fight through all the numbers and letters to the actual meaning and real dialogue with the translator. Why not just act like human beings from the start?

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Oh how I agree! Feb 27, 2014

You're so right, Lucasz, how infuriating it is! Last week I had a mass email from an occasional agency client headed "EXCITING NEWS!"
The body of the message announced an appallingly annoying on-line job assignment and invoicing system that "will make it all so much easier for our translators". Oh, no it won't, I muttered. I replied that it would take a bit more than that to make me feel excited. The exciting message ended "Invoices will not be honoured unless they are issued in this way".
Why are we translators so meek? Why do we accept all this rigmarole? I can't imagine telling the electrician or plumber who comes to fix a domestic problem, the mechanic who services my car or, indeed, my dentist, that I won't pay their bill unless they invoice me on a certain day in a certain way, quoting a string of meaningless numbers and references.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Freedom is an illusion Feb 27, 2014

But I want to protect my illusion to the maximum extent. I utterly and entirely agree with your posting!

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