Off topic: The Apprentice : Translation related assignments.
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
Flemish to English
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Jun 17, 2008

I found the BBC-series "The Apprentice" (google "apprenctice UK"+"look on YouTube") an instructive series. Suppose of the assignments was: I want you to sell translation/interpreting and generate as much profit as possible".
Or better, I want you to set up a translation agency from scratch". How would you go about?
Wait until assignments appear on Proz.com and or other similar sites and complain about low rates or brainstorm, do a market study, write a biz.plan, select your team, do some hard sales target at market-niches....


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Sp and Fr to En  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Member (2005)
French to English
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Brainlessly upbeat language and "The Apprentice" Jun 17, 2008

Were you as irritated as Lucy Kellaway by the language used in the series?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7453584.stm

I didn't watch, but I was amused by her article.


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Amy Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Italian to English
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The Apprentice Jun 17, 2008

The French translation of the sign in the "let's sell cheese to the French" task in Series 3 still haunts me. I can't find an image of it anywhere, though.
Not an answer to your question, but these Lego clips on youtube are worth a look if you've been following the series:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=618wOxq5Xqw.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Flemish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Language is not the issue Jun 17, 2008

The colorful language of Sir Alan, the participant with “the spoken word is my tool”(I thought he was an interpreter?) and the other participants enhanced my vocabulary with the words “zany, a toff” ,… I already knew what “halal” and “kosher” was. You could notice a lot of English social and regional backgrounds in “the spoken word” of some candidates?
The spelling mistakes by the winner of the program illustrated how "well" some natives of English dominate their native language and after all, the only requirement to translate is to be a native speaker (of English).


That said, language was not the issue of the program. After all, the winner could afford spelling mistakes and he won a £100,000 job.
Business and money were the name of the game. Business is war without guns where you kill with a smile. Sell a product whether it is fish, wedding clothes, hire luxury cars , a photo-service , ….

However, the series made me wonder: what if an assignment was: "Sell translation and make as much profit as you can? Who would be fired at the end of the day and why?


[Edited at 2008-06-17 12:13]


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Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
German to English
I reckon... Jun 17, 2008

Sell translation and make as much profit as you can? Who would be fired at the end of the day...?


... just about any PM you could mention (sorry PMs I couldn't help myself).


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:59
German to English
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Who would win - or who would be fired? Jun 17, 2008

Williamson wrote:

However, the series made me wonder: what if an assignment was: "Sell translation and make as much profit as you can? Who would be fired at the end of the day and why?


[Edited at 2008-06-17 12:13]


Inasmuch as the tasks set are all from fields of business that none of the candidates have experience in, the one to win would be the one who displayed the most business sense.

The (first) one to be fired would be the one who displayed the least business sense.

Describe your candidates - and what they have proposed as a winning solution - and we can perhaps better answer your question. Otherwise you're fired.

Cheers
Chris


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
English to Arabic
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They'd probably decide to do all the translations themselves... Jun 17, 2008

since they all seem to think they're so clever at everything!!

Amy Williams wrote:

The French translation of the sign in the "let's sell cheese to the French" task in Series 3 still haunts me. I can't find an image of it anywhere, though.


Exactly, Amy. I was going to reply earlier mentioning that banner as an example, but couldn't find it anywhere. It definitely had "la fromage" in it somewhere if I remember correctly.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:59
German to English
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Then they'd all get the boot ;-( Jun 17, 2008

Nesrin wrote:

since they all seem to think they're so clever at everything!!



I can hear the great man eloquently saying "You woz all wastin' time arguin' wiv each other and wotz worse is you fought you knew more abaht the job than wot specialists do.

You're all bloody fired!"


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
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TOPIC STARTER
Original question. Jun 17, 2008

My original question not who is going to get fired. It was suppose you got an assignment : "I want you to sell translation/interpreting and generate as much profit as possible".
Or better, I want you to set up a translation agency from scratch". How would you go about?
Wait until assignments appear on Proz.com and or other similar sites and complain about low rates or brainstorm, do a market study, write a biz.plan, select your team, do some hard sales target at market-niches....
--
The question: "Who is going to get fired"? was only a subsidiary question, because the catch-phrase of the series is You're fired....Maybe next year's title instead of the Apprentice.

[Edited at 2008-06-17 15:14]


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Hmm Jun 17, 2008

Williamson wrote:

what if an assignment was: "Sell translation and make as much profit as you can? Who would be fired at the end of the day and why?


It's an interesting thought. Considering the nature of the programme (2 days or so to complete an assignment) I don't think the focus would be on how to set up an agency.
Finding a client in that short time with no previous experience should be the hardest challenge.

One team will do as the apprentices usually do, and ignore the existence of the internet completely. They'll focus their attention on London, driving around from one end to another in taxis and shouting into mobile phones. They will make dozens of phone calls to large multinational corporations, with false claims of having a team of highly experienced multilingual translators, but will fail to secure a single job. In the end, they'll go the easy route by calling translation agencies with the same claim, get small low rate jobs, and then find bilingual individuals with no translation experience to do the job at ridiculous rates.

Now what would the winning team do? That's the really difficult question. Come to think of it, the internet wouldn't be such a good idea here, as they would need to be paid immediately to prove they've made profit, so the client needs to be physically close to them. I think it's almost impossible to guarantee that you can get a translation job within 24 hours, from a direct client in the town where you live, esp. as a newcomer with no experience in the business. Actually, none of us can guarantee that they can get a job today from anywhere in the world.
So... I need to think some more.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:59
German to English
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Fair enough - profit and innovation Jun 17, 2008

Williamson wrote:

My original question not who is going to get fired. It was suppose you got an assignment : "I want you to sell translation/interpreting and generate as much profit as possible".


O.K. let's assume that - like so many - the astute Sir A. doesn't know the difference between translation and interpreting, so we'll go for the money end of the market. Also, remember that participating in his show assumes that I know nothing about the market and I am not expected to do it by the book, but to be innovative!

So, in the creative spirit of his programme, I'd sample three police stations in rough areas (like the East End where Sugar comes from) to find out which languages are in greatest demand for public service interpreting.

Farsi, Urdu, Arabic, Polish, Russian, Chinese? - No idea.

Wander round the pubs and markets, ask around and find a few illegal immigrants who are speakers of those languages and who speak comprehensible English. Tell them they are either in on the action or out of the country, and they get paid £5 per day.

Forge some accreditation certificates.

Maybe try to bribe the police to use my service, which I would run from my mobile phone.

That would be profit.........

So will you hire me - or shall I hire you?

P.S. I rather fancy that this is the kind of "barrow boy" approach that Sir AMS would appreciate, given his track record.



[Edited at 2008-06-17 17:45]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
Swedish to English
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Who's fired? Jun 17, 2008

Nesrin wrote:
I think it's almost impossible to guarantee that you can get a translation job within 24 hours, from a direct client in the town where you live, esp. as a newcomer with no experience in the business. Actually, none of us can guarantee that they can get a job today from anywhere in the world.
So... I need to think some more.


OK, now let's assume this week's task doesn't involve selling/finding clients, but only completing the task (to the end client's satisfaction).

Task - translation (T&Cs) EN-Xlanguage

Team A:
One member of the team has a friend whose uncle knows someone whose cousin got a D in GSCE Xlanguage. Happy to do the job for free to get "valuable" experience.

Team B:
The internet team. Heads straight for the computer and in no time finds ProZ. Posts an urgent job, accepts the cheapest bid (who cares if the languages are the applicant's D and G languages).

Now for the difficult question - who's fired?


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