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We need a whole new paradigm
Thread poster: Daniel Frisano

Daniel Frisano
Monaco
Local time: 00:00
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Dec 26, 2017

I don’t know about you, but personally, I’ve had it with clients forcing me to use certain tools or doing things their way, and it’s happening more and more. I wish there were more of us adhering to professional principles, such as:

1. No requiring any specific CAT tools. I’ll use whatever tool I deem appropriate. Try telling your dentist or plumber to use a certain tool, and see what they’ll answer.

2. No working on the cloud, remote servers, etc. Once I had a client complaining that I hadn’t started yet with a 4000-word project with the deadline 3 days away. Dear client, if I do it in a week or an afternoon, this is none of your business. All that matters is that the final product is flawless.

3. No using clients’ platforms for job management or accounting. I have my system, I’ll send my invoices at the end of the month. Imagine having 20 clients with 20 different platforms to logon to. Would your life be easier?

4. No signing 12-page Terms and Conditions, NDAs, etc. Why must I accept terms and conditions when I am the user of something and also when I am a provider?

5. No tests. Do you require that your accountant or your gardener pass a “test” before you hire them?

6. Enough with calling ourselves “freelancers”. Is a lawyer a freelancer?

7. Enough with first-name basis right from the start. It’s Mr. (or Ms., or Mrs.), if you don’t mind.

In the past, yes, I have accepted to use a specific tool, yes, I have worked on Memsource and such, yes, I have used client-side invoicing platforms, yes, I have signed NDAs without even looking, yes (sigh), I have done a few tests, et cetera.

But you know what? Of all my good, long-standing clients, none has ever forced me or even suggested that I do any of the aforementioned.

Conclusion: if we are not treated as professionals, we have none but ourselves to blame. Time to re-focus.

These are my 7 guidelines. Feel free to add yours.

(Proviso: this has nothing to do with rates. To all the usual whiners, you’ll have plenty of future chances to let us know how underpaid you think you are).


[Edited at 2017-12-26 22:20 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:00
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My two cents... Dec 26, 2017

1. I’m one of those translators that are on their way to extinction, also known in the trade as dinosaurs, because I don’t use CAT tools. In general, the type of work I do is neither very technical nor repetitive, with one exception: I have a long-standing customer for whom I have been translating medical devices certifications and, though these tend to be very similar, I don’t need to spend money on a CAT tool just to change a date or a name. Call me old-fashioned, but I’ve always approached my craft more as an artisan…

2. I don’t work on the cloud.

3. I refuse to use client’s platform for job management or accounting.

4. Over the years (I’ve been around for over 30 years) I have signed a lot of Terms and Conditions, NDAs, etc. Curiously enough, I’ve been working with some long-standing customers without a single signed contract or NDA. On the other hand, I have a large folder filled with signed NDAs sent by agencies with which work never materialized….

5. I don’t mind doing translation tests (preferably paid), but what I really, really dislike is sending diplomas for courses I did some 40 years ago! If I’m really interested in a job I'm happy to do a short unpaid translation test, providing we have already agreed on price and payment, and there is no deadline set for the test, so I can do it at my own pace. I would rather do a translation test for free than sending diplomas, references and the like and having to fill endless forms. Anyway, that’s how I got some of my best clients (direct clients and translation agencies) and some of my highest-paid assignments.

6. I love the sound of being a freelancer after 20 (happy) years working in-house.

7. I don’t mind at all being treated in a first-name basis right from the start. It makes me feel young again.


 

Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:00
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, a new paradigm is needed Dec 27, 2017

Daniel Frisano wrote:

(Proviso: this has nothing to do with rates. To all the usual whiners, you’ll have plenty of future chances to let us know how underpaid you think you are).


[Edited at 2017-12-26 22:20 GMT]


Well, irritating though you may find it, I don't see how you can divorce the issue of rates from the seven points that you mention. After all, I really wouldn't care too much about agencies imposing some of the requirements you mention if they also offered rates that allowed me to consistently earn $150.00/hour and provided me a continual flow of work. Hell, under those conditions, I would hardly bat an eye if the fresh-out-of-college PM called me Bob, Bobby, Robby, or Bobo.

Of course, such is not the case. The typical scenario involves the imposition of some of the requirements you list - PLUS a lousy rate, little or no premium for rush jobs, infrequent offers of work, and payment in 60 days.

[Anyway, while I think requiring the use of "Mister" a bit extreme, I do find it grating when a PM addresses me as "Rob" after I have signed my e-mail "Robert." And this is something that I will mention when it happens repeatedly. {Worse still is when you are sent an enthusiastic e-mail with an entirely different name, pretty much unmasking the reality that, at the bigger agencies, the translators in their "pools" tend to be seen as so many interchangeable parts}].

[Edited at 2017-12-27 01:29 GMT]


 

The Misha
Local time: 18:00
Russian to English
+ ...
We don't need a new paradigm Dec 27, 2017

What each of us needs to do is set the terms he or she can live with and stick to them. Those who don't like these terms can always take their business elsewhere. This is actually a very old paradigm.

 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 06:00
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
We need the right paradigm Dec 27, 2017

5. No tests. Do you require that your accountant or your gardener pass a “test” before you hire them?

No, but if I were to hire a musician for an ensemble, I might require a live audition or video sample.

Tests are definitely shoved back in terms of priority on my schedule, but methods of performing due diligence on an accountant or gardener are often unavailable when it comes to translators. I consider it a more reasonable way to determine suitability than CV browsing.

7. Enough with first-name basis right from the start. It’s Mr. (or Ms., or Mrs.), if you don’t mind.

Setting aside the fact that this is a fairly common practice in the US, or the fact that not all translators choose to reveal their gender...

An agency that does this is inviting a lawsuit. Not that I think it's right, but if I were running an agency, I would expressly forbid the use of gender honorifics in communications by my project managers. So if you are uncomfortable with being addressed by first name, the only option would be by full name, i.e. "Dear Daniel Frisano", which is downright demeaning in many cultures.

Also, I don't trust people to tell where the given name or surname starts and ends. My blood pressure rises a bit every time I see something addressed to "Dear Lik".


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

MODERATOR
Daniel - Australia does it right NAATI + AUSIT Dec 27, 2017

In Australia, the only way to be hired as a translator is to have passed NAATI (National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters) accreditation. https://www.naati.com.au/

Part of the testing is on the code of ethics prescribed by AUSIT (Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators). https://ausit.org/AUSIT/About/Ethics___Conduct/Code_of_Ethics/AUSIT/About/Code_of_Ethics.aspx

You can only become a member of AUSIT if you have NAATI accreditation (unlike certain US-based translators associations - that are "open to all").

Competence is accepted because the NAATI testing is thorough and hard (90% failure rate), respect is always given (not to the extent of Mr./Mrs. but that's not really Australian culture either), and there is a range of support and guarantee mechanisms for both client and practitioner within the system.

One aspect is professional development, which is required to be able to renew accreditation.

If we had a global form of NAATI accreditation, that could be very useful and would really shake-up this industry. Sadly it's those at the bottom who influence the way the rest of us are treated (silly hours, low rates, unprofessionalism etc.).


 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 00:00
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
To whom it may concern Dec 27, 2017

Daniel Frisano wrote:

7. Enough with first-name basis right from the start. It’s Mr. (or Ms., or Mrs.), if you don’t mind.


[Edited at 2017-12-26 22:20 GMT]


Better avoid a BBC interview, then....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2V8sFfQo6SA


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:00
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
NAATI Dec 27, 2017

DJHartmann wrote:
In Australia, the only way to be hired as a translator is to have passed NAATI accreditation.


I find nothing to confirm this claim.

In addition, NAATI no longer has an accreditation system. Instead, they now have a certification system (although if you underwent certification, you're not referred to as a certified translator... except if you happen to land on a page of their web site that says the opposite, which happens).

If we had a global form of NAATI accreditation, that could be very useful and would really shake-up this industry.


Maybe. But having such an accreditation system for *translators* would not change the way clients/agencies deal with translators.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:00
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
my name Dec 27, 2017

I have long railed against having to let people know whether I'm married or not with Mrs and Ms, then getting accused of being a rabid feminazi because I ask to be called Ms.

My first name is male in some countries, so I get called Mr too sometimes. Much easier to just call me by my first name. My clients are all French, so I still get a mark of respect because they use the polite "vous" rather than the familiar "tu".

There's just one agency who makes me use a CAT tool and a silly invoicing system, and I'm looking to increase the number of direct clients so that I can gradually phase them out.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Have a horrible day Dec 27, 2017

Daniel Frisano wrote:

what he wrote


I agree with all 7 points. To which I would add: please never say "have a nice day". I am not in California and it isn't 1986. Even then it was annoying.


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
OT, I am curious Dec 27, 2017

Tom in London wrote:



please never say "have a nice day". I am not in California and it isn't 1986. Even then it was annoying.


Hi Tom, I ignore this, can you tell me the story of California and 1986 for "have a nice day"? And what do you suggest instead?

Thank you!


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:00
Member (2008)
Italian to English
"Goodbye" Dec 27, 2017

Angie Garbarino wrote:

Tom in London wrote:



please never say "have a nice day". I am not in California and it isn't 1986. Even then it was annoying.


Hi Tom, I ignore this, can you tell me the story of California and 1986 for "have a nice day"? And what do you suggest instead?

Thank you!



"Have a nice day" is a really annoying, presumptuous, arrogant, and now very dated American expression. What do I suggest instead?

"Goodbye".


 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Oh Dec 27, 2017

Tom in London wrote:


"Have a nice day" is a really annoying, presumptuous, arrogant, and now very dated American expression.


I did not know it sounds arrogant and presumptuous, thanks for informing

Happy New Year!


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:00
Member (2008)
French to English
Outsourcers' code of conduct? Dec 27, 2017

Daniel Frisano wrote:

These are my 7 guidelines.


Perhaps Proz.com could include them in some form of PRO outsourcer's code of conduct, like the professional guidelines that translators are asked to endorse.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
The old paradigm Dec 28, 2017

The Misha wrote:

What each of us needs to do is set the terms he or she can live with and stick to them. Those who don't like these terms can always take their business elsewhere. This is actually a very old paradigm.


Where I come from, it's called the “Take it or leave it” paradigm.

icon_smile.gif


 
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