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Poll: Do you think clients consider age an important parameter when assigning a project to a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Sep 1, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think clients consider age an important parameter when assigning a project to a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by rafaelB. View the poll results »



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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:20
Member
German to English
+ ...
It depends Sep 1, 2011

I think a lot of the time a client or project manager would not be aware of a translator's age. I have, though, had a couple of projects recently where I've suggested they might want to look for a younger translator (one was full of gaming speak, from memory)!

By the same token, there might be projects more suited to older translators (those that are even older than myself!).

But experience has to be a more important factor than age in most scenarios.


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Erik Matson  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 17:20
English to Norwegian
+ ...
No, don't think so. Sep 1, 2011

Mary Worby wrote:

I think a lot of the time a client or project manager would not be aware of a translator's age. I have, though, had a couple of projects recently where I've suggested they might want to look for a younger translator (one was full of gaming speak, from memory)!

By the same token, there might be projects more suited to older translators (those that are even older than myself!).

But experience has to be a more important factor than age in most scenarios.



I have to agree with Mary, experience is a MUCH more important factor. Of course older translators are more likely to have more experience, but this obviously isn't always the case. As Mary pointed out, there are also some projects more suited for younger translators and vice versa.

I think younger generations often have/feel an advantage over the veterans when it comes to utilizing the latest technology at our disposal as translators. Therefore a young person with five years of translation experience and a solid understanding of Trados/Passolo/Google/Xbench might be a much better choice for a large, demanding project localizing a piece of software and accompanying documentation than Grandma with 50 years of experience sitting at her brand new electric typewriter with her dictionaries in hard copy format who has no idea what a "rootkit" does and thinks that "phishing" is a typo in the source text. Thankfully, both Junior and Grandma should have no problems finding appropriate work by specializing in suitable areas. She can still provide the best damn recipe translations and beef stroganoff around. Go, Grandma!




[Edited at 2011-09-01 08:39 GMT]


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Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 17:20
English to French
+ ...
Funny, but sexist and not relevant... Sep 1, 2011

Although Erik Matson's post made me laugh out loud when he mentioned that "phishing" might be considered as a typo by some, on second thought, I think that the supposed "Grandma" he is referring to (and why not "Grandpas", please ?) is the type of woman who has always had a Grandma's mentality, even when she was 25! I have names! Like this woman who has ALWAYS refused to work with e-mails, even when she was in her early thirties! But I have other examples... Like this guy who worked for the Belgian Justice and has always refused... to even buy a typewriter! And this other guy who had university degrees in translation and in law, so felt he did not have to buy dictionaries! Truly true!

Personally, if I were an outsourcer, I would look at a person's experience: not only the length, but also the type of experience, so as to know what that person's specialization fields are. It is just as important as the duration of that person's experience.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 1, 2011

Some more predatory agencies may/do think that tyros will work for less and be easier to exploit than older, wiser, perhaps thrice bitten hacks.

Age tends to equate with experience and accumulation of knowledge and skills, all of which I value greatly, so if working with younger colleagues I tend to keep a closer eye on them and try to be more proactively helpful than with a more experienced translator, who I usually leave to their own devices unless my feedback is requested.


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Marieschen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:20
English to French
+ ...
Pics? Sep 1, 2011

I think most clients do not know our age, but our experience. However, our pictures give them hints, and I guess some pay attention to our "face" as the first and almost only impression they have from us (except emails of course).

Games and specialised vocabulary is more a matter of field and personal tastes : we all know "old" gamers and young "grandparents".


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Horses for courses Sep 1, 2011

Erik Matson wrote:

As Mary pointed out, there are also some projects more suited for younger translators and vice versa.

I think younger generations often have/feel an advantage over the veterans when it comes to utilizing the latest technology at our disposal as translators. Therefore a young person with five years of translation experience and a solid understanding of Trados/Passolo/Google/Xbench might be a much better choice for a large, demanding project localizing a piece of software and accompanying documentation


I agree. Video gaming for example is best left up to those able to enjoy and understand it.

I'm not going to comment on the Grandma issue, just note that the last person who messed with mine lived to regret it for ever and ever, amen. And he wasn't even Norwegian.

[Edited at 2011-09-01 09:32 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:20
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Preconceptions and prejudices go a long way... Sep 1, 2011

Erik Matson wrote:

I think younger generations often have/feel an advantage over the veterans when it comes to utilizing the latest technology at our disposal as translators. Therefore a young person with five years of translation experience and a solid understanding of Trados/Passolo/Google/Xbench might be a much better choice for a large, demanding project localizing a piece of software and accompanying documentation than Grandma with 50 years of experience sitting at her brand new electric typewriter with her dictionaries in hard copy format who has no idea what a "rootkit" does and thinks that "phishing" is a typo in the source text. Thankfully, both Junior and Grandma should have no problems finding appropriate work by specializing in suitable areas. She can still provide the best damn recipe translations and beef stroganoff around. Go, Grandma!




[Edited at 2011-09-01 08:39 GMT]


From a Grandma who knows what rootkit and phishing are and rarely translates recipes... Best regards,

Teresa

[Edited at 2011-09-01 10:56 GMT]


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:20
German to English
+ ...
What is a rootkit? Sep 1, 2011

Nevermind, I could possibly have the last word on beef stroganoff, and there is *nothing* Grandma about me! I guess someone is trying to phish us off

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Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:20
Partial member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
Sexist? Prejudices? Sep 1, 2011

Come on, folks, let's not be too quick to take offence from Eric's light-hearted remarks; we all know there are plenty of exceptions to any generalisation, but that doesn't devalue the basic point (horses for courses).

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:20
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Two sides of the same medal Sep 1, 2011

Isabelle Brucher wrote:

Personally, if I were an outsourcer, I would look at a person's experience: not only the length, but also the type of experience, so as to know what that person's specialization fields are. It is just as important as the duration of that person's experience.


The years of experience a translator might have based on the time elapsed between having obtained the degree and the present date, might be 2-bladed sword.

Someone who has been translating, let's say for 10 years, doing nothing but translations, can produce a more profound knowledge and experience than that claimed by someone with 50 years of experience (again between the date of the diploma and the present date) who has spent 3 - 4 decades in a different profession.

For some jobs a young, inventive, open-minded and "easy to form" translator might be best. For other project the lengthy experience of an older translator (translatoress?) is essential.

Some agencies might believe that a young translator is more willing to work for "an apple and an egg" than a long-standing translator. But all this depends on the translator her-/himself.


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Kemal Mustajbegovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:20
English to Croatian
+ ...
Where's my typewriter.... Sep 1, 2011

Teresa Borges wrote:

Erik Matson wrote:

I think younger generations often have/feel an advantage over the veterans when it comes to utilizing the latest technology at our disposal as translators. Therefore a young person with five years of translation experience and a solid understanding of Trados/Passolo/Google/Xbench might be a much better choice for a large, demanding project localizing a piece of software and accompanying documentation than Grandma with 50 years of experience sitting at her brand new electric typewriter with her dictionaries in hard copy format who has no idea what a "rootkit" does and thinks that "phishing" is a typo in the source text. Thankfully, both Junior and Grandma should have no problems finding appropriate work by specializing in suitable areas. She can still provide the best damn recipe translations and beef stroganoff around. Go, Grandma!




[Edited at 2011-09-01 08:39 GMT]


From a Grandma who knows what rootkit and phishing are and rarely translates recipes... Best regards,

Teresa

[Edited at 2011-09-01 10:56 GMT]




Good on you Teresa!

Regards from grandad!


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:20
English to German
+ ...
Age (not the years in the translation business) might play a role Sep 1, 2011

A review of the latest Emo album translated by an old hag like me might not sound right. On the other hand, a speech by a 60 year old CEO might not sound right when translated by a very young translator. Sometimes the wording requires the use of slightly old-fashioned wording to sound natural. It's like acting.

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Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 10:20
English to Dutch
+ ...
don't know Sep 1, 2011

I really don't know whether they do or not.
I don't think age is very relevant, not even for games. A translator just has to know what he is capable of doing. I would never translate games for instance, because I know the end result would more than likely not be what gamers expect. If a grandma or grandpa knows all about how youngsters talk, then she or he will definitely do a better job than I ever could, even though I'm only 29 (and I get so tired of having to mention both men and women to be politically correct...).

More important to me is the quality of the translator (and even though experience is important, I know several very experienced translators that are just not very good at what they do!).


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Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 17:20
English to German
+ ...
Why not Sep 1, 2011

It seems to me they ask for the lowest rates, and that's it.

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