Translation firm must pay $1.47M to 2,400 underpaid workers
Thread poster: Vadim Kadyrov

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 08:58
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Dec 23, 2015

http://globalnation.inquirer.net/134051/translation-firm-must-pay-1-47m-to-2400-underpaid-workers


Quite an interesting article. Were they all freelancers?


The gem:
“Contractors that do business with the federal government must abide by the law, pay their employees the required contractual rates and benefits, and keep accurate and complete payroll records,” said Susana Blanco, director of the Wage and Hour Division in San Francisco.


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:58
Member
English to French
Thank you Vadim Dec 23, 2015

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:
Were they all freelancers?

Terms used in the article are confusing. It sounds like the company owes wages and benefits and can't pay employees less than $7.25. But then I wonder how they can have 2428 employed translators/interpreters at that rate, or that 2428 freelancers seem happy to be exploited.

Now there was that case in 2010, precisely about what "independent contractors" mean: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/pa-commonwealth-court/1521646.html

Fortunately, their BB is a series of 5s with shiny comments.
Other opinions are also found here: http://www.careerbliss.com/language-line-services/reviews/

Philippe


 

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
They are not freelancers Dec 23, 2015

Philippe Etienne wrote:

Vadim Kadyrov wrote:
Were they all freelancers?

Terms used in the article are confusing. It sounds like the company owes wages and benefits and can't pay employees less than $7.25. But then I wonder how they can have 2428 employed translators/interpreters at that rate, or that 2428 freelancers seem happy to be exploited.

Now there was that case in 2010, precisely about what "independent contractors" mean: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/pa-commonwealth-court/1521646.html

Fortunately, their BB is a series of 5s with shiny comments.
Other opinions are also found here: http://www.careerbliss.com/language-line-services/reviews/

Philippe


Language Line is the biggest employer of telephone interpreters. These people are not freelancers, and yes, they are happy to be exploited, unfortunately. Language Line, on the other side, has been sued because someone died due to the inability of one of their interpreters to understand an address correctly in a 911 call.

Giusi

[Edited at 2015-12-23 11:48 GMT]


 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:58
Member
Italian to English
Happy to be exploited? Dec 23, 2015

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:

These people are not freelancers, and yes, they are happy to be exploited, unfortunately.


"Happy to be exploited"? No-one is "happy to be exploited" - that's a new one on me. It may be that they have no other choice; that they are ignorant about other choices open to them, or perhaps don't have the courage (or the option) to stand up for better conditions.

Or am I missing something?


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:58
Member (2014)
English to German
Image of the profession Dec 23, 2015

Sadly, this article is another example that portrays translators and interpreters as low skilled and vulnerable minimum wage labourers. Someone posted a similar article a few months back. No wonder the public and some agencies take that same view.

 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:58
English to Spanish
... Dec 23, 2015

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:

These people are not freelancers, and yes, they are happy to be exploited, unfortunately.


"Happy to be exploited"? No-one is "happy to be exploited" - that's a new one on me. It may be that they have no other choice; that they are ignorant about other choices open to them, or perhaps don't have the courage (or the option) to stand up for better conditions.

Or am I missing something?


I think the sentence "they are happy to be exploited" was meant as a some form of sarcasm, meaning "they accept to be exploited".

It should not be taken literally.


 

LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:58
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's an English idiom Dec 23, 2015

It means something like "essersi volentieri sfruttati". It means that they know they are being exploited and that they are not forced to accept the work, but for some inexplicable reason, they accept anyway.

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:



"Happy to be exploited"? No-one is "happy to be exploited" -
Or am I missing something?


 

The Misha
Local time: 01:58
Russian to English
+ ...
Which means they deserve every bit of what is happening to them Dec 23, 2015

Jeff Whittaker wrote:

It means something like "essersi volentieri sfruttati". It means that they know they are being exploited and that they are not forced to accept the work, but for some inexplicable reason, they accept anyway.

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:



"Happy to be exploited"? No-one is "happy to be exploited" -
Or am I missing something?


You know what they say - you are a victim the first time it happens. From that point on, you are a volunteer. Some folks just wouldn't learn.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
$7.25 Dec 24, 2015

Philippe Etienne wrote:
Terms used in the article are confusing. It sounds like the company owes wages and benefits and can't pay employees less than $7.25.


The sentence about $7.25 occurs towards the end of the article. This is where journalists dump factoids from their research that they could not fit in elsewhere. The absolute minimum wage that would theoretically be applicable to this situation would be $7.25, but no-one is saying that the company had actually paid only (or less than) $7.25.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Guiseppina Dec 24, 2015

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:
[They are] the biggest employer of telephone interpreters. [They have] been sued because someone died due to the inability of one of their interpreters to understand an address correctly in a 911 call.


Do you mean this one?
http://www.proz.com/translation-news/?p=93577
Although they were named in the lawsuit, it is unclear what their liability was, since they were not the company who provided the interpreter who gave a bad interpretation.


 

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Yes but... Dec 24, 2015

Samuel Murray wrote:

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:
[They are] the biggest employer of telephone interpreters. [They have] been sued because someone died due to the inability of one of their interpreters to understand an address correctly in a 911 call.


Do you mean this one?
http://www.proz.com/translation-news/?p=93577
Although they were named in the lawsuit, it is unclear what their liability was, since they were not the company who provided the interpreter who gave a bad interpretation.


Yes, if you read the whole article, they are included in the lawsuit: "In addition to the City of Portland, the Valdez-Lemus suit also lists as defendants: Language Line Translation Solutions, Lingo Systems, Language Line Service, AT&T Corp. and the unknown name of the company that provided the Spanish-language interpreter in Valdez-Lemus’ case."

I have worked in the U.S. as an independent telephone interpreter (so at about 5-6 times that wage), and it works like this: When a company needs an interpreter and all its interpreters are already busy, since time is of the essence, the call is forwarded to other companies which must have some kind of agreement for this.

I know a person who works for Language Line and asked her how much money she was awarded after this lawsuit, she said: "Less than 50$". She is one of those people who prefer to work as an employee.

As far as the sentence "happy to be exploited", I simply reused it from one of the first posters in this thread.

Giusi


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:58
Russian to English
+ ...
Wonderful news—they are just the first company, many more to come Dec 25, 2015

Yes, contractors that do business with the government must pay their employees the prevailing wage not the minimum wage (it is about $35/hr in construction, I am not sure what it is in translation in the US, I guess $35-50/hr at least, but most likely more alike $75.

The same with subcontractors—the GCs have to o abide by the law.
Federal contractors that go oversees get about $200,000 per year, so I guess, yes $50-75/hr sounds right.

Marry Christmas and Happy holidays, lots of interesting work offers, exciting texts, long deadliness, good compensation, but most of all health and joy of the season.

[Edited at 2015-12-25 09:38 GMT]


 

apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:58
English to German
+ ...
"Happy to be exploited..." Jan 25, 2016

There are diverse forms:

some are not aware that they are being exploited,
some are but are made "happy that you have this job at least or otherwise the place under the bridge is waiting for you".

It all comes down to unions.

In Germany, you have a union for basically all service jobs. Translators can join to Fachbereich 8
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vereinte_Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft#Fachbereiche_und_Personengruppen
(you also can open the tag 8 on
https://www.verdi.de/wegweiser/%20%20co%20%20ee809444-cfd3-11e0-5780-0019b9e321cd )

Freelancers are welcome:
https://selbststaendige.verdi.de/


Do the US have something similar?


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Translation firm must pay $1.47M to 2,400 underpaid workers

Advanced search







TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search