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Off topic: How do you feel about being used?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:18
English to French
+ ...
Jan 27, 2007

I have noticed lately the fast increase in the use of the word "use" referring to giving work to a translator. Clients and agencies say they "use" such and such translator - as if we were a mere screwdriver they dispose of...

How do you feel about that? I feel... well, used!

Also, another variant of this is translators working FOR clients. I find this inappropriate - I don't work FOR people (they are not my employers), I work WITH people.


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 07:18
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I thought it was a linguistic problem Jan 27, 2007

I've heard that the verb "use" was used for translators and didn't appreciate it, but thought that in English the meaning was larger than in other languages in which it sounds like if we were disposable.

About working for and working with, I have two kinds of clients. I work for some of them and I work with the others. It's a sort of natural decision that comes after a few mail exchanges.

Claudia


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Piotr Wargan  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:18
English to Polish
+ ...
Not only in relations: client - translator Jan 27, 2007

is this word used. Companies often "use" their people in projects etc.

I do not care as long as the word does not get "ab" before it.

Best regards,
Piotr


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Fan Gao
Australia
Local time: 20:18
Member (2006)
English to Chinese
+ ...
It's only words Jan 27, 2007

"Working with" people is a nice, comforting, friendly idea but when it comes down to it, they are paying you to provide a service "for" them and not "with" them.

As far as I'm concerned they can use "use" or whatever term they want to use as long as they pay us what we want, when we want:)


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:18
German to English
"Use" very common Jan 27, 2007

Bankers I know "use" various law firms / consulting firms and pay their attorneys / consultants $400/hour. We translators should be as lucky, or even half as lucky when people use us.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:18
English to German
+ ...
With Kevin Jan 27, 2007

Simply google: "Use an architect" / "Use a consultant", etc.

It could be worse.



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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
German to English
+ ...
no need to feel insulted... Jan 27, 2007

... if the term is used impersonally (at least IMO, it's more honest than 'working with' in most cases). I'd only feel insulted if a client would say 'it's been nice using you', 'we enjoy using you', or the like.

On a related note, when I was working as an engineer I once participated in a meeting with a group of people from a would-be supplier (the Canadian office of a US company). When we exchanged cards, it turned out that one of our visitors held the position of 'something-or-other Major Opportunities'. I must say that I didn't feel especially flattered with the idea that my company was regarded as an 'opportunity', even if a major one. Of course, that was related to the attitude of our visitors, who seemed to think they would be doing us a big favour by selling to us.


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William [Bill] Gray  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 12:18
Member (2006)
English
+ ...
Let's not be too sensitive... Jan 27, 2007

I for one am VERY happy to be used (or employed, or worked with, or appointed, or retained, or whatever they want to call me)!

This point is that I get work, and if they pay me my asking price (or sometimes just a little lower than that, and the VERY exceptional just a little higher ), then who am I to worry about the terminology they use for me. I also USE my dictionaries, my programs, my internet links, my friends and colleagues (to ask for help, and they likewise use me for similar purposes). I use ProZ.com, my favorite website, and I even use those of you who are reading this, since I value your input, your suggestions, your criticisms, and even your excellent contributions to forums, Viktoria! Thank you for that; please keep it up. You are much more "use" than maybe you realise !

Having "used" so much precious time with that paragraph, I must now get on with "using" my time properly, or I'll get "used" to being diverted from what I am really "useful" at!

Regards, and have a wonderful weekend,

Bill


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Henrik Pipoyan  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
Member (2004)
English to Armenian
There is one good thing about being “used” Jan 27, 2007

A used car usually costs less than a brand new one, but a used translator is always more expensive:)

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Graciela Guzman  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 07:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
Usual enough Jan 27, 2007

Hello,

This use of "use" is widely spread in the United States. I don't know if the same happens in Europe.
No need to feel offended. Hasn´t anybody ever told you: "Use me as a reference if it can help develop your business"?

Have a nive weekend,
Graciela


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:18
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Context Jan 27, 2007

BlueBoard record: Don't use him/her, s/he does shobby work.

I have nothing against the word "use" being used in the correct context, as in "use your services". But we are people, and I don't think we can be used. I am not offended, I just feel that we are somehow being compared to ScotchTape and software and hammers. I feel this is a very impersonal way of addressing a person.

There is an active thread on here that discusses clients having respect for translators. They mention agencies that e-mail you at 10 p.m. on a Friday and if you write back to them a half hour later, they tell you you didn't respond fast enough and they gave the job to someone else - as if we were sitting in front of our computers 24/7, waiting for them to contact us. In that thread, people are expressing how they would like clients to understand that they are people first and foremost, not tools and services, even if in the end, that's what their purpose is from the client's perspective. Another thing is that, when a client doesn't realize you are a person, how can you collaborate with them in an efficient and pleasant way to make sure the translation will correspond to what they are looking for?

My favorite clients (read: rates are good, pay in time, communicate efficiently) are also incidentally the ones who talk to me like I'm a person, and they never use such words as "use" in a context where they are talking about people. I say incidentally - they are not my favorite clients because they don't "use" me, they are just my favorite clients for the reasons that are, I believe, common to most of us. And I have come across clients that talk to you like you're a machine of some kind and don't even consider not calling you on the week-end.

My question was basically about more than wording. As the running poll seems to say, translators, whatever part of the world we work in, are not appreciated as they should be. I am rather trying to see how you all feel about that. I always thought - and my father always told me - that whatever work I do, what's important is not the level of income it will provide me but how good I feel about doing that job. Since I spend more time working than anything else for most of my life, I might as well do something I enjoy (even though translation is good money when you get to negotiate and when you have work full time). However, it is hard to enjoy a job - especially a people job like this one - when you are considered a merchandise, a service or a tool rather than a person. And this also goes for drive-through jobs - I never understood why so many McDonald's clients don't wish a good day to the cashier. It doesn't cost anything...

The bottom line is, I somehow feel that as our industry develops, we are being increasingly taken for tools. I was wondering how others felt about that and if anybody here thinks it will stay where it is or if this will actually worsen - I have a feeling it will.


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 05:18
English to Russian
+ ...
Much better than an unused translator Jan 28, 2007



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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sounds normal to me Jan 28, 2007

It doesn't have the negative connotations you're attributing to it.

It's often used in very positive ways, such as "We're using a different travel agency these days and we're very happy with their service."


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Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:18
English to Croatian
+ ...
Uti non abuti Jan 28, 2007

I don't mind being "used" by an agency but I really do mind being abused.
BTW, I use agencies to get more jobs every day.

Regards all!

[Edited at 2007-01-28 13:11]


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Ara Mkrtchyan  Identity Verified
Armenia
Local time: 14:18
English to Armenian
+ ...
Using your services Jan 28, 2007

Maybe a compromise would be (and perhaps more tactful) to say "we would like to use your services" rather than "we would like to use you". Depends on how directly the thought is expressed. I admit, though, that I wouldn't feel quite happy having been said "we'd like to use you for the upcoming project", and once I had to hint to a client that we are actually cooperating rather than she giving me an employment/assignment. The interesting part is that the project was assigned to someone else with "very high professionalism", and then the client got back to me asking to edit the whole job, cooperating:)
In a word, don't go too sensitive, but don't let clients "make use of you" (and don't everyone to be tactful).

Rgrds,
Ara


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