Poll: Do you do translations for free for friends and family?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:17
SITE STAFF
Nov 20, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you do translations for free for friends and family?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, but it depends Nov 20, 2014

I often have to go and help out my mechanic explaining things to his guiri customers. I don't mind as he does me the odd favour in return. I also do stuff like that for my landlord and sometimes accompany him on hospital visits and the like. In return, if I ever need, for example, a lift to the airport or whatever, he is only too willing to help out. Later this week he'll deliver me a load of firewood and I know he'll give me a good price.

I wouldn't do it if I thought I was being taken advantage of, or for granted.

PS: I translated the menu for a local restauarant I used to frequent a lot and they gave me a free lunch. They treat me like royalty now whenever I take people there, which I suppose is good PR.

[Edited at 2014-11-20 11:47 GMT]


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:17
Member (2008)
English to Italian
it depends Nov 20, 2014

if the job prevent me from doing other paid jobs and most importantly if they ask how much it is... in that case I am more flexible and sometimes a coffee and a nice chat is enough.
and as Neilmac said: never if i think they are taking it for granted.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 10:17
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A juggling act Nov 20, 2014

Always a difficult one this one. It would feel awful to ask a family member to pay me for something like this, but what if I had to forego significant paid projects in order to help out?

If it's not a large amount of work (and most definitely only if you are not feeling taken for granted) then fine. But watch out for those self-nominated friends, the friends of friends, the boyfriend of a friend of a friend etc etc.

On a slightly different note, I love it when I can provide a service which someone really needs in return for something I get satisfaction from, either because I really need it (Neil's car mechanic sounds a deal I'd be interested in) or I really like it (the massive painting on my living room wall).


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Other? Nov 20, 2014

Is that people with no friends or family?

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It depends! Nov 20, 2014

Let’s start by saying that I haven’t been asked often…

Over the years I translated for free a few CVs for family members, a restaurant menu for a friend and occasionally my youngest daughter needs my help writing a letter. Some years ago I collaborated on a translation (mostly reviewing) with one of my nieces, who is a medical doctor, for a very, very special price…

I’m also the first port of call for my only translator daughter (the middle one), sometimes she considers me as her private dictionary (not that I mind!)…


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I rarely get asked Nov 20, 2014

But tend to take on the small things that come.

I only work for free for real close relatives or non-profit purposes.

I have some lovely glass vases and a charming abstract 'creature' that I have been given as thanks for translations...


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Magdalena Altieri
Argentina
Member (2010)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
It depends, of course! Nov 20, 2014

A couple of months ago, I have been asked to translate some Italian school documents for a very good friend of mine coming back to Argentina. Even if I appreciate her and her children a lot, it was a huge amount of pages and I was not able to do it for free. I had to tell her: that's my work, dear, and I CAN'T do it for free, even if I'd love to help you! (naturally, because if I take these free jobs, I am leaving aside some paid work).
On the other side, if it's some kind of short document / letter, and it doesn't take much time, and I am able to do it without compromising other deliveries for my usual clients, I have no problem at all and I'm always happy to help.
In short, in our profession... it's all a matter of time!!!


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Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Cuba
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Sure, why not... Nov 20, 2014

For friends and family, no problem at all... I have a lot of good acquaintances and buddies, but friends as such... it's a rather short list, but let's stay on-topic.
Of course, they don't ask me to do long texts or anything. Just the occasional instructions for using a medication, excerpts from equipment manuals, etc... It's not very often though, and no, I don't expect anything in return. I'm just glad to help, as long as it doesn't become a regular hassle.
Last week I helped out my best friend translate some bits of text that he needed to make a slide presentation for a conference on his field of specialization and I didn't even think about charging a dime to him, it would just not feel right; he's been there for me through good and bad.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 03:17
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Nov 20, 2014

Yes, because they help me in their respective fields and, sometimes, they feed me.

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Marjolein Snippe  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:17
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
That's what friends are for Nov 20, 2014

Yaotl Altan wrote:

Yes, because they help me in their respective fields and, sometimes, they feed me.


Exactly. I also help them move house, babysit and offer them coffee. They wouldn't ask me to translate vast documents anyway.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:17
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I've done many Nov 22, 2014

But answering "yes" implies in a present perfect tense, which in turn implies in a regular activity, and that does not apply.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:17
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, "other" Nov 22, 2014

Chris S wrote:

Is that people with no friends or family?


... means people who thought "yes", but it's not a regular thing I do to answer "yes". Yes means regularly, which is not the case, of course.


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