Off topic: On weird requests...
Thread poster: José Henrique Lamensdorf

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jun 9, 2015

Having a web site highly ranked on Google is great for leading new clients to contact me. The downside is that it attracts some people who are clueless to translation as well.

Yesterday a man contacted me about the translation of very detailed instructions for some slightly complex electronic apparatus that should cost about $50, at most. He should have considered his total lack of familiarity with the English language before buying it, since translating all that information would cost him $3,000+ (and this is not any close to the worst such cases I've seen).

Quite often I am queried about the cost of translating and subtitling a video someone "liked" on YouTube, or a DVD they bought from Amazon US. They think it shouldn't cost more than going to the movies alone.

This morning, weird translation requests reached the peak. I'll translate the gist of it:
I receive letters in English from my boyfriend once a week, and I'd like to have them translated. This requires absolute non-disclosure, because it involves my intimacy.


The woman provided her full name (fake or otherwise), e-mail, plus a local cell phone number.

It made me wonder....

1. Is her boyfriend using a translator from Portuguese to English at his end?

2. Letters? Has that Romeo ever heard of e-mail? (she sent me one, so it's not her case)

3. How did they find each other and arrange to have a love affair? Was it a misunderstanding? Is she delusional?

Intimacy? I'm concerned about the possibility of Romeo coming over to meet her.
Will she request interpreting services from me?
I've translated sex scenes on video for both dubbing and subtitling, had my own in both (and occasionally a couple of other) languages, but never did live interpreting for these.
Would it be simultaneous or consecutive?
Would the interpreting be done on site, or would they leave a speakerphone there, so I'd do my job remotely?

Too many questions, I'm out!!!


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:48
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Hmm Jun 9, 2015

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Yesterday a man contacted me about the translation of very detailed instructions for some slightly complex electronic apparatus that should cost about $50, at most. He should have considered his total lack of familiarity with the English language before buying it, since translating all that information would cost him $3,000+ (and this is not any close to the worst such cases I've seen).


Is that what you told him?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
In a nutshell, yes Jun 9, 2015

Tom in London wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Yesterday a man contacted me about the translation of very detailed instructions for some slightly complex electronic apparatus that should cost about $50, at most. He should have considered his total lack of familiarity with the English language before buying it, since translating all that information would cost him $3,000+ (and this is not any close to the worst such cases I've seen).


Is that what you told him?


On a first approach, he merely asked me how much it would cost to translate a few technical manuals. Of course, it was from a Gmail address, so I guessed it would be an individual client, though refrained from taking it for granted.

I wrote him saying that I hoped that it wouldn't be for his personal use. A publisher or manufacturer pulverizes the cost of translation among thousands of copies/units, so nobody notices it. However getting it translated for a single user is usually too expensive.

Anyway, I told him to send me the files, so I could give him a cost estimate. I have the tools to do it quickly, though he sent me (like most do) password-encrypted PDF files.

And then I gave him the price I'd charge to do it, mentioning translation as streaming text and bundled DTP on PDF as separate items.

I never learned the retail price of his gizmo, just guessed it from what I saw there.

I end my contact by warning that an affordable option is free online Google Translate, however they must be thoroughly familiar with the subject matter at hand, since they'll have to decode the no-brainer gibberish it delivers. A cheap amateur translator will usually provide just another kind of gibberish.

They acknowledge it, and thank me for my attention and prompt response.


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Grace Shalhoub  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:48
Member (2014)
French to English
+ ...
José, I like your sense of humor Jun 9, 2015

A friend of mine, a French speaker, met a Russian speaker a few years ago and they fell in love (no idea how). They didn't speak English or any language in common. Google translator was their only way of communication, until she learnt some Russian and he learnt some French. (In my opinion, they still don't communicate properly...)

They now have a beautiful daughter and LAUGH about the nonsense google translator used to generate.

This story is sweet (if it's real). I would have helped the poor girl with her letters.


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