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Poll: Have you built a good network of fellow translators in your area?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:58
SITE STAFF
May 2, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you built a good network of fellow translators in your area?".

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



 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 19:58
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No May 2, 2013

I always assumed that we translators are by nature solitary animals.
I do, however, see the advantages of networking and swapping stories.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:58
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Subject and language area? May 2, 2013

In these Internet days, the geographical area is not so important, although I do in fact work with several colleagues who live within a couple of hours' drive.

Denmark is a small country, but from here it is almost as expensive and time-consuming to get to Copenhagen as hopping over to London on a cheap flight. Crossing the border to Germany is easier!

I have a good network of colleagues, but subject area and languages are more important factors than where we actually live.

We do have a very good Danish powwow every year, and draw in colleagues from far away - and then keep in touch by mail afterwards.

[Edited at 2013-05-02 09:25 GMT]


 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 12:58
French to English
+ ...
Two words open to question... May 2, 2013

"Good" and "area".

I have assumed Good = High Quality and Area = subject area and have therefore answered "Yes".

If the question means "large" and "geographically local" then it should have been "No".


 

Enrico Zoffoli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:58
Member (2013)
German to Italian
+ ...
No May 2, 2013

why would I?

 

Harry Heijkoop  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:58
English to Dutch
+ ...
No May 2, 2013

I am a Dutch translator, living in Portugal. Quite rare...

 

Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:58
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Yes, and I really appreciate them May 2, 2013

But as Christine mentioned, the geographical distance is not so important, since most of our communication is by email.

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, and it works in many ways May 2, 2013

"Area" may mean geographic or subject area.

In terms of geography, my 3-D network spans from two floors below, in the same building, to Australia - 14 time zones East of me, and to Canada - some 12 hours' jet flight North from here.

In terms of subject area, some important members are specifically OUTside my coverage. I immediately refer highly technical translation requests that I can't fulfill to them, as specialists: I have two for medicine, and two for finance.

However I have many network-mates whose coverage overlaps mine (and vice-versa, of course).

An important point in such networks is that reciprocity, or payback, works somewhat differently. Outside a network, one translator would try to provide retribution to a specific colleague who referred them. In a network, payback is to the network as a whole.

For instance, there is one colleague who covers basically the same area I do, however she doesn't do any video work whatsoever. Whenever she gets a video translation request, she'll recite my phone or e-mail, and ask the prospect to send me her regards. Most likely I wouldn't have work I couldn't handle to divert her way; however other network members do. Meanwhile, as I said before, I am diverting all medical and financial translation requests to those four specialized colleagues.

On another front, some colleagues covering the same areas I do have a demanding clientele: frequently huge jobs with short deadlines. So they'll split such an order over 4-6 colleagues in the network whose output they know, later reassemble the entire thing, and gather more and more of such demanding clients. When I tried to refer them some huge requests I had, they were thankful, but too busy to handle them.

Different language pairs are another facet. I keep colleagues working different languages in my network. We refer each other and, of course, there is no reciprocity, since possibilities of payback depend strictly on demand.


 

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:58
Italian to English
+ ...
Because ... May 2, 2013

Enrico Zoffoli wrote:

why would I?


... you can refer work to them when you are offered jobs that you can't do, and in turn your network of colleagues may refer to you. Everyone's a winner icon_smile.gif.


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 12:58
Member (2008)
English to Italian
Yes May 2, 2013

I have a good network of translators who work in the same area (field) and in several language combinations. That is really helpful for the following reasons:

- emergency - I can ask a colleague to do a job for me, and I have asked to do jobs for my colleagues - When I had a surgery and my work was carried out very slowly, my colleagues offered to help me, and I knew I could trust them
- terminology - Comparing my ideas with other colleagues who work in the same field is always of great help
- cooperation: several time I have offered my service + review by a second linguist, since it was requested.


 

lillkakan
Local time: 12:58
English to Swedish
No May 2, 2013

Oliver Lawrence wrote:

Enrico Zoffoli wrote:

why would I?


... you can refer work to them when you are offered jobs that you can't do, and in turn your network of colleagues may refer to you. Everyone's a winner icon_smile.gif.


Not when you can't stand social interaction. I chose freelancing because my previous job required teamwork which made me sick over several years. Freelancing, and being able to choose when and how I interact with people, has made my symptoms go away. I realise a team or network of colleagues could be beneficial at times, but for me the expense would be greater at the end of the day.

Don't always assume there is only one 'right' answer to everything.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:58
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes May 2, 2013

For expert advice on terminology and style: I network with my ex-colleagues (I worked as in-house translator for 20 years).

For cooperation: I built up over the years a tight group of trusted freelancers.

But they are not necessarily in my geographical area...


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sort of May 2, 2013

I haven't really "built" anything. I do have a few translator friends locally and even more acquaintances, so maybe in terms of people I've collaborated with... actually now that I come to think of it, I do have about ten colleagues who fit the description.
Then there's always the local network (Xarxa de Valencia) and Gary who organised the proz conference and pow-wows etc., so you could say that yes, I have "accumulated" a network, although mainly by inertia.

[Edited at 2013-05-02 15:23 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Several reasons May 2, 2013

Enrico Zoffoli wrote:

why would I?


It's good to have people to bounce ideas off and brainstorm; people who can understand your woes and are willing to share your moans over a quiet drink or whatever; people you can recruit if you need to form a team... colleagues who might recommend you if they are offered work they can't or don't want to take on themselves. Etc.

"No man is an island..."


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
My wife's in the other room... May 2, 2013

I have been fortunate enough to find several Spanish speaking interpreters in my area. Though my pseudo-agency is in direct competition with their real agency, it's always fun to get together and visit.

As far as the "why," I'll share something that happened just last night. I am currently translating a birth certificate from Peru. As most of the information is hand written, I was having a little trouble making out the name of the district. I had an activity last night with the local boy scout group (there's a video game merit badge!? Where was that when I was a kid?) and one of the boys' mother is one of these interpreters, and she just happens to be from Peru. I showed her the document and after a few minutes we realized that it wasn't just sloppy handwriting, the doctor had misspelled the name of the district, twice, and with two different spellings. Luckily she was familiar with the area and was able to help me out a lot.

I told her that I normally paid terminology experts $0.20 per word, but since she was available in person to help me out, I would give her a 25% bonus. I told her to invoice me, but she was worried that I didn't give her a P.O.


 
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