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Poll: Have you ever worked for a government office as a language service provider?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:23
SITE STAFF
Sep 9, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever worked for a government office as a language service provider?".

This poll was originally submitted by Paula Tizzano Fernández. View the poll results »



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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Not directly Sep 9, 2010

I translate for an agency who has a contract with a government entity. Which means that I don't deal with said entity directly, nor do I want to. I'm sure they are nice people in person, but their email contacts have been brusk to the point of rudeness.

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Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 16:23
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Yes Sep 9, 2010

I've provided translation and interpretation services for several government agencies both in Argentina and in Uruguay; in some cases I still do.

I have mixed feelings about my experiences in both these countries, sometimes they've been good, but others... well, not so much.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:23
Member (2008)
French to English
Different view of the world Sep 9, 2010

Yes. They definitely have a different view on life than us ordinary mortals.

For instance, since the mandate of the office is to procure for the government, external language service providers are considered their "clients" (they deliver purchase orders to us) while the internal government offices that need work done are their "suppliers" (they provide them with requisitions for work).

Also, they have a terminology list and dictate that this source language term is to be translated into that target language term - just because the government says so, regardless of whether its the best translation. To change official terms, there's a long and mysterious procedure to go through and the suggestion will eventually be accepted or rejected, without explanation.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 15:23
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
no Sep 9, 2010

not directly....I too have done various government translations, one recently. I have to admit doing all that stuff on a regular daily basis would probably send me around the bend. In this case, the project had to be changed and then delayed, so I ended up working all labour day weekend! Due to internal politics.
Of course, they do pay well and have no trouble with my rates, so i can't complain but working for them full time would make me barmy!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:23
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, that's how I got started Sep 9, 2010

Decades ago, I worked as a freelance translator (at the same time as teaching) for what was then called the Ministry of Overseas Development. Rates must have been amazingly tiny back then, but I enjoyed the work and learned so much that I kept in mind the possibility of becoming a full-time freelancer. After many adventures in other worlds, I eventually achieved my aim. I don't know what it would be like working for government departments now, of course. Probably quite different.
Jenny


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 14:23
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, many times... Sep 9, 2010

... and my experience was so horrible that I will never again translate anything else for my government (unless perhaps, if they pay me in advance).

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:23
English to Spanish
+ ...
Great Work Sep 9, 2010

Some of the best work I get is from the government. They are all great people, very easy to work with, appreciate my work, there is no red tape whatsoever and payment is always very prompt.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:23
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes Sep 9, 2010

For nearly two decades I worked as an in-house translator for the US Air Force, back then during the times of the Cold War having been the only legitimate government here in the former and re-instated capital of Germany.

Working for the Air Force's Base Civil Engineering was indeed quite an experience. It was a good time back then - which will never return.


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texjax DDS PhD  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
Member (2006)
English to Italian
+ ...
Great Work 2 Sep 9, 2010

Henry Hinds wrote:

Some of the best work I get is from the government. They are all great people, very easy to work with, appreciate my work, there is no red tape whatsoever and payment is always very prompt.


My experience is similar to that of Henry.


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, but... Sep 9, 2010

If I can include City Councils and government funded entities (universities, museums, etc) I can say yes. My answer to the poll, however, would be, "Yes, but I wouldn't like to".

The local governmental bodies I've worked for have been THE absolute slowest payers I've ever dealt with (between 3 months and 1+ year), and have come up with THE worst excuses for not paying on time. If they were private companies, they would have been out of business a long time ago.


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 16:23
English to Spanish
Simply "no" Sep 9, 2010

.

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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Indirectly, not as an employee Sep 9, 2010

I have done this, but indirectly and as a contractor instead of an employee. A big chunk of my (interpreting) work is with the state via my agency clients.

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Melanie Meyer  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:23
Member (2010)
English to German
+ ...
Yes, Sep 9, 2010

translating was one of my duties when working in-house for a US Embassy and, later on, for a Consulate. I was not a full-time translator though, but an HR assistant.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Sep 9, 2010

Sometimes they pay quite well, but in my experience often take forever to stump up.

I once did a large project for the regional government here, which was for their website, which I then put on my CV. I was later horrified to see that English on the online website was dreadful, an MT shambles riddled with mistakes. It turned out that they had only used my translation for a printed version which they handed out at an inaugural ceremony, but didn't bother to upload it to the web, probably due to budget constraints.
In fact, the website in question is no longer online as it appears they forgot or couldn't afford to pay the hosting fee, and the domain is now up for grabs...

I have also revised some execrable "official" translations, one from the Defence Ministry particularly springs to mind ...


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