China selects English translators for middle school volleyball worlds

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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:37
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Student exploitation? May 20, 2010

The event takes place in about 5 weeks' time. The fact that secondary-school students receiving a 5-week course on translation (and/or interpreting) will be given this responsibility shows clearly the respect the organizing authorities have for this profession. Will their slightly older peers, first-year dentistry students perform root canals, or will second-year students of general medicine handle the defibrillators?

When university students are exploited by greedy translation wholesalers, it is a serious harm to our profession from one of the players in the field. When state authorities use the same methods, it looks much much worse.

Romina, what's your opinion?


 

RominaZ  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
+ ...
The article does not provide enough information to assume that exploitation is present May 20, 2010

I do not see in the flagged article enough information for me to decide personally if exploitation is present (it is interesting that middle school students would help other middle school students communicate.)

 

Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:37
Member
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Case splitting May 20, 2010

Indeed, the article does not mention anything about remuneration. There are a couple of possibilities:

  • The students receive only in-kind remuneration: the possibility to undergo the training plus the gratification that they were selected and could help. Would you say this is student exploitation? Does this do any harm to the translation profession?
  • In addition to the possibility to participate in the training, the students receive a financial remuneration that is considerably smaller than that of a professional interpreter. Would you say this is student exploitation? Does this do any harm to the translation profession?
  • In addition to the possibility to participate in the training, the students receive a financial remuneration that is comparable to that of a professional interpreter. Does this do any harm to the translation profession?


It is one thing when a secondary-school class invites another one from abroad for a cultural event, and students participate actively. But in that case volunteering is the name of the game for the largest part of the whole organization of the event. When it is a world-level sports event, most other aspects of the event organization are handled professionally. Whether or not students are paid, communication is not handled professionally in this case. So, while I agree with you that it is interesting that middle school students would help other middle school students communicate, I mostly see a lost opportunity for some professional colleagues in China. And much more: the message that ensuring linguistic services at a world-class junior sports event requires a good grasp of English plus a 1-month training is dangerous, especially when it is comes from high above. Those 1700 students who entered this contest are likely to believe this message to some degree, I'm afraid – and I would expect many more people to do so, too.

Kind regards,
Attila


 

Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:37
English to Chinese
+ ...
Usually the students work for free May 21, 2010

Attila, you are right about student exploitation.

 


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China selects English translators for middle school volleyball worlds

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