Poll: Do you often miss out on jobs because of your (native) language variant?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 11:04
SITE STAFF
Jan 7

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you often miss out on jobs because of your (native) language variant?".

View the poll results »



 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:04
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Only sometimes Jan 7

Sometimes clients insist on British English, but I don't really consider that I'm "losing out" because I have plenty of work into US English.

 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:04
Member (2006)
German to English
Do not know Jan 7

How am I supposed to know, I only offer my langauge pair and never get asked for anything else.

 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other: It's not an opportunity Jan 7

Let's adopt this definition (Cambridge Dic.) of "to miss out on" (my emphasis):
fail to use an opportunity to enjoy or get an advantage from something.

If the client doesn't want my variant, it's definitely NOT an opportunity, so I'm not missing out on anything.

My L1 is Brazilian Portuguese and, quite frankly, I fare better in IT/FR/ES - languages that I speak but NEVER translate - than in proper European Portuguese.

I'd say that most of the jobs I miss out on are those that demand Trados absolutely, language skills being secondary, and where the CAT tool used will be clearly irrelevant, if at all possible to use.

Such Trados-only jobs have become so overwhelming on Proz, that I'm waiting for the day they'll state "non-paying Proz users may quote after 24 hours; non-Trados owners may quote after 48 hours".


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:04
French to English
No Jan 7

I cannot miss out on something I am not qualified to do.

That said, a certain number of clients ask for "international" English, which is meaningless. It often means avoiding British idoms, which is a shame as the idiomatic language is what gives it colour and character. Are US English translators asked to do "international" English? If so, what does that involve?


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:04
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
"International English" Jan 7

The United Nations and many of its agencies follow the OED (hence they write "labour") but use "-ize" instead of "-ise". Hyphenation is slightly different from both UK and US English. They have a style manual that might appear to some as a mish-mash of UK and US spelling but actually has some logic to it if you study it closely. I think that's what the term means.

Furthermore, documents produced by agencies in the United Nations family rarely use colloquialisms. The language is usually bland and straightforward.

[Edited at 2018-01-07 11:53 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:04
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No Jan 7

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

I cannot miss out on something I am not qualified to do.

icon_smile.gif

I make it clear that I only translate into American English, but from both British and American English into mainly German. In case a client should ask for UK-English, then I only decline what has never been an opportunity/option in the first place.icon_smile.gif


 

xxxGitte Hoveds
Denmark
Local time: 20:04
Danish to English
+ ...
No variants Jan 7

I don't think I've ever seen a job posted that specified a specific variant of Danish. icon_biggrin.gif

 

Aïcha Louzir
France
Arabic to French
+ ...
Arabic dialects Jan 7

The only situation I may think about is interpreting tasks when I feel not comfortable with a specific Arabic dialect; for instance, the Moroccan one. I perfectly understand many dialects but when it comes to this one, I prefer declining the offer as I do not master all the meandering paths.

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:04
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Question incorrecly devised Jan 7

José Henrique explained it very well.

The only jobs where this happens is when the client mistakenly sends me jobs to Pt-Pt or En-UK because THEY didn't read my profile properly. I agree that is not an opportunity, therefore not lost.


 

Joohee Kim  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 03:04
Member (2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
Sometimes... Jan 8

Few months ago, a client send me an email regarding English-Korean job opportunity. Later, he said he wanted a Native Korean speaking all but Seoul variant. Well, I have been living Seoul more than 20 years... So I missed the position.

 

Juan Uslar Gathmann  Identity Verified
Member (2011)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Spanish variants are definitely exaggerated Jan 10

ProZ.com Staff wrote:

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you often miss out on jobs because of your (native) language variant?".

View the poll results »

yes indeed! I do miss out because I am a specialist in banking & finance and there is (almost) no difference between my supposed Spanish variant and that of a colleague that is Argentinian, Chilean or whatever in banking or finance...But many PMs ignore that (because many do not even speak Spanish...) and just limit themselves to copying and pasting their clients own ignorance... when this is only true about translating everyday chitchat that is obviously local... I have even seen requests for translation into “Colombian dialect”!!! ... For heavens sake...


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 15:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
On variant differentiation "spread" Jan 10

juslar wrote:

Spanish variants are definitely exaggerated

yes indeed! I do miss out because I am a specialist in banking & finance and there is (almost) no difference between my supposed Spanish variant and that of a colleague that is Argentinian, Chilean or whatever in banking or finance...But many PMs ignore that (because many do not even speak Spanish...) and just limit themselves to copying and pasting their clients own ignorance... when this is only true about translating everyday chitchat that is obviously local... I have even seen requests for translation into “Colombian dialect”!!! ... For heavens sake...


Global warming has become a frequently discussed issue. As stated, it seems that our planet is getting hotter, like food in a microwave oven, but slower. Some people rightfully challenge that. I tend to see it differently: anywhere in the world, the minimum temperatures are getting lower, while the maximum temperatures are getting higher. Facts show that my view is undeniably correct.

Unfortunately, we don't have a min-max "thermometer" for languages, nor water freezing/boiling points as a reference for them.

Do variants matter in single-country languages, like Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Greek, etc?
There are single-language countries, like Italy, where regionalism shatters one language into multiple variants, not always mutually comprehensible.
The same language spread over a seamless geographical area - e.g. German spread over Germany, Austria, and Switzerland - can result in different variants. On the other hand, different "variants" across the USA (compare New York with Texas or Louisiana) often display a sharper difference than across the border with Canada.
It is natural to have differences across an ocean, like the French variants used in France and Québec. or the Portuguese used in Portugal and Brazil.

This leads to the differences in Spanish among a continuous sequence of 15 countries.

Most amazing is that, being myself a Southern Brazilian who learned to speak fluently a pan-Hispanic 'mix' by osmosis - without any formal classes, the easiest of all Spanish variants for me to understand is the faraway Mexican. To me, it sounds like a newcomer from Argentina making a deliberate effort to speak Portuguese.

And this finally leads to translation... Many years ago I wrote a 70-page software manual in both EN and PT. It was translated into ES in Mexico, where it was mostly intended for. An Argentinean translator read it, and said it was 'all wrong, barely comprehensible'. So I showed it to another Mexican translator, who rated it as 'a superb translation job'.

I recently delivered my 600th job (sic!) for a translation agency in the USA. A bit over a decade ago, one of my single-digit-numbered jobs for them, into Brazilian Portuguese was shown to an European Portuguese interpreter, who would be working at a conference on that very subject, for the same client. The man read it, and said bluntly, "This is awful! It seems to be unedited machine translation." Of course, the PM had cold feet, as I was new there, but I stood by my guns, and time proved me right... however that interpreter was not wrong either, considering his standards.

WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE ON LANGUAGE VARIANTS?

Having neither a "thermometer" nor universal "boiling/freezing points" for language variants, the only way out is to have clients relying on their selected translator's HONESTY, viz. "Will variant X work for geographic location Y?" I think we - translators - should honor this trust, by refraining to pretend that we are able to translate into the required variant when we aren't, as well as abstaining to say that there is a 'universal' or 'neutral' variant of our target language when there isn't any, just to grab that job.

In order to avoid leaving it unmentioned, this is TOTALLY different from doing a job with, say, MemoQ, when the client specifically required Trados, if the final result delivered shows no difference whatsoever.


 


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