Off topic: In-house translators ("Once upon a time in Translatorland there lived a little Translator...")
Thread poster: Mervyn Henderson

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 21, 2007

Once upon a time in Translatorland there lived a little Translator. Not a nasty, dirty, horrid little Translator such as you might find living in a horrible little hole in the ground, but a good-natured friendly little Translator who lived in a nice little flat in the capital of Translatorland, Wordtown.

The Little Translator was not actually a Translator as such yet, but he had been to Translator University and had done many exams, and was looking for his first job in Wordtown.

One day he saw an advert in the Wordtown Chronicle, "In-House Translator Required - Opportunity". "In-House Translator, that could be me!", the Little Translator said to himself. How happy the Little Translator was! He rushed excitedly about the flat, uttering little cries of joy, gathering up his CV and certificates and all his Important Papers and this and that, and went to the address.

He had a little difficulty finding this address, because it was a long long way from the centre of town. He went up a set of rickety old stairs, up up up went the Little Translator right to the top where it was very dark, and knocked on the door with a plate saying "Translations Anytime". There was a rather strong smell of smoke on the landing.

A tall man with a big big smile opened the door. Really, his smile was enormous, absolutely huge, although the teeth were all yellow. "I've come about the In-House Translator ad in the Chronicle", said the Little Translator. "I want to be an In-House Translator, you see."

"Of course, of course, come straight in", said the man with another big smile.

The Little Translator opened up his little briefcase and took out all his papers and things. "Here you are, Sir,", he said, "as you can see, I studied at Wordtown University and I have all the qualifications you need here. I did a post-graduate in Very Very Hard Translations, with a thesis on the Copulative Maladjustment of Esperanto."

"Certainly, certainly", said the man from Translations Anytime, taking the papers and placing them on a rather dusty shelf behind his chair. "This is all fine, quite excellent in fact, and our panel of experts will certainly subject your qualifications to an in-depth analysis, but here at Translations Anytime what is more important is Attitude."

He said it just like that, too - "Attitude", with a capital A. "Attitude?" said the Little Translator, puzzled. "I'm not sure I know what you mean".

The man laughed a long, long laugh. "Never mind, never mind, you'll see. If I decide to take you on - and I'm not saying I will, mind, because I've fifty interviews this morning, and another fifty tomorrow - I'll teach you Attitude all right."

"Oh", said the Little Translator ...


.....

...


to be continued at some point

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-07-21 19:11]


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
German to French
+ ...
Is that not a bit extreme and cynical?? Jul 21, 2007

I think the PM who made 100 interviews didn't make his job quite properly in the first time.

[Edited at 2007-07-21 16:37]


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Memories Jul 21, 2007

Hi Yolande,

Could be. You can call it a trip down Memory Lane for me, if you like. I look back and laugh at this stuff now, but for most people the start of a career is tough and you lose ideals, that's all.

Mervyn


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
German to French
+ ...
My experiene with interviews Jul 21, 2007

Everybody was very nice, talking about the future, looking promising and telling me to call back in x days for the decision or they will call back and nobody ever called back and if you were asking for the person you talked with, nobody knew where they where and when they will be available (when you don't get an answering machine).

What would you then think of me?

Only people with GPS find me, I had to put a huge board to say I am there or people would pass the house saying they can't find.

Maybe you are right with the "a long long way from the center of town" In my case it's such a long way that there is hardly a town.

On the other way, going to interview for translators, I found the premises were either in old 3 floors buildings with rooms scattered all over or in a wide open space (and I mean open, when I turned, I could see from one side to the other of the building) were the only thing that has a wall was a lift and that you had to ask for the information's desk man to give you a card with the right floor number to be ever be able to use the lift (hidden behind a cinema entrance). OK this company was one of the few to give me a fair answer that they took somebody with more experience, and I was not keen either to go through the whole Vienna twice a day but all is possible.

[Edited at 2007-07-21 11:42]

[Edited at 2007-07-21 11:43]


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Great tale! Jul 21, 2007

I am sure this was only the first of many exciting adventures for the little Translator..

Looking forward to the sequel,

Harry


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Another "yes" vote Jul 21, 2007

Hi Mervyn,

This other "little Translator" (me...) was just passing by Proz.com on a Saturday afternoon (it's been raining the whole day here in Wiesbaden), and the title of your post caught my attention, mainly because it was flagged "off-topic", even though it contained the words "in-house translators".

So your "tricky" title worked in my case, because I then felt tempted to read your story, which I find very promising and quite nicely told. I myself had a very similar beginning as "little Translator", so I get the impression that you have managed to depict a universal character.

Maybe you should put a "copyright" sign somewhere, to make sure one day you get credit for it, should you wish to get it.

I hope your weekend is full of new ideas for this story,

Ivette

[Edited at 2007-07-21 17:28]


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MGL  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:44
Russian to English
extreme and cynical? nah... Jul 21, 2007

That's not as extreme and cynical as I was after my in-house experience. I believe I reached Code Orange, aka "Bitter and Jaded."

It wasn't so much getting the job that was the problem, as the daily belittling and demoralization one can face as the lone translator, which most of my coworkers saw as a title not quite on par with "glorified secretary."

Don't get me wrong. My in-house experience was invaluable to me in many ways. But boy, oh boy am I glad to be freelancing now!

[Edited at 2007-07-21 23:26]


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Yolande Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:44
German to French
+ ...
I can't get you wrong Jul 22, 2007

My experience as a translator itself had not gone past the trial month (and it was not even in a translation agency, here without a translation diploma, I would not have the slightest chance) but I have great experience translating in other branches and I can't imagine that was as bad.

I think one of my best experience (working mostly in banks) was is the foreign department of a bank. There was a Tunesian bank who had been ignoring mails for 3 months and the department didn't know what to say anymore with their little school French. They said me to write them a letter with "XXXX".
I developed it with the strongest tone in a perfect French and here the next day the money was there.

I had a feeling on how I help the company and how happy they were. Maybe that's what's missing in our job, the deeply gratitude of a client of helping them out of a dead end situation. They pay and take it as granted (some of them say many thanks though).

I have also very good contacts with some agencies (sometimes quite big) so I don't think they are all that bad but like I am always told the biggest company never put an add (or mostly not). They receive enough applications to pick the one they like when the moment come or the hire the possible translators that x knows, x being a friend of y, y being somebody attached with z taking the decision and knowing they need a translator.

[Edited at 2007-07-22 04:13]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:44
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The beginning was already a happy ending Jul 22, 2007

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Once upon a time in Translatorland there lived a little Translator. Not a nasty, dirty, horrid little Translator such as you might find living in a horrible little hole in the ground, but a good-natured friendly little Translator who lived in a nice little flat in the capital of Translatorland, Wordtown.


"So he became a good-natured friendly little Translator who lived in a nice little flat in the capital of Translatorland, Wordtown."

But, sheesh, in my case I ended up living in ProZ.com

But please continue!


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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 16:44
English to Spanish
I wonder how to title my story. Jul 23, 2007

I had an enormous luck when I applied for the in-house translator position in a publishing house.

It turns out that the man who was going to be my boss hated diplomas, certificates, and CVs, and his only requirement was: "Write! Write to me a story of your life on only one double-spaced page! I want it here tomorrow morning."

Among a number of applicants, I got the job. (Not the same with agencies, is it?)


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Phong Le  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 05:44
Vietnamese
+ ...
Is it a .... Kudoz game Mar 9, 2008

Just a joke!

the man from Translations Anytime is a non-member of Proz.com and could ask for 05 questions a day while he wants to ask for 50 as per the story.

He decided to put an ad to find out an in-house translator....

L. Phong


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