Please do not waste our time or yours (aka: the market can eat you alive)

I was happily juggling my tons of works and errands (in these: find a new flat in London, organise the move, and the likes, to say the least) when an LSP emailed me about a job.

I’ve never heard of them but I assume they must have found me on my website, or the usual database of ITI or IoL etc. (I won’t know, as they did not bother saying).

Well, I know the market is caught in a never-ending spiralling abyss, where the ‘so-called’ *top agencies* charge a lot to clients and pay translators peanuts, just to mention one scenario.

A market where niche clients can still be found (and trust me, quality still pays) but plenty of non-trained providers are out there desperate to accept even the lousiest of jobs (someone always does).

I mean, some of them are maybe rightfully desperate (we don’t really know what they have to put up with, do we?), and the sad thing is I am sure many will also be qualified and professional.

But let’s be true: translation is becoming more and more a profession people take up just because they ‘can speak a language’ or ‘their great-grandfather was an Italian living in Australia’. I do not mean to generalise, of course but again, the phenomenon includes the following:

a)  non-native speakers working into their B language saying they are ‘bilingual‘;

b)  unqualified, untrained people labelling themselves translators;

c)  CVs embellished with fake details;

d) candidates taking up work that’s beyond their skills, just because ‘you can’t say no to work’;

just to mention some. I could go on for ages!

Back to our beloved agency, their message is probably the most aggressive request for suppliers I’ve ever seen in my career.

But honestly, on a second thought, I realised it may be translators who (unvoluntarily?) caused this.

The message seems to be especially referring to point a), above:

<This is the last paragraph of the e-mail. I highlighted in red the best parts>

“WE REPEAT. ONLY NATIVES OF THE TARGET LANGUAGE WILL BE CONSIDERED. UNLESS YOU HAVE LIVED IN A TARGET LANGUAGE COUNTRY SINCE YOU WERE AT LEAST 10 YEARS OLD, YOU WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED FOR THIS, NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU THINK YOU ARE RIGHT FOR IT.

PLEASE DO NOT WASTE OUR TIME OR YOURS IF YOU DO NOT HAVE 100% NATIVE FLUENCY IN THE TARGET LANGUAGE”.

Is this the new way to deal with providers? Or did our category naturally caused this?

Just a thought. And quite a scary one, as well.

Happy Friday.

Val

380---oct-5---11-2008---sick-of-work

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About Val

London-based Rainy London Translations is offering a full range of top quality interpreting, localisation, translation, consultancy and voice-overservices for both businesses and individuals. Need something else? Just ask! It may sound like a cliché, but just get in touch: what you need can be done, at a reasonable price. Valeria is also offering a 'branding' clinic service, to help freelancers find their perfect business name or polish the existing identity by finding a logo, a tagline with sound creative consultancy. Based in the City of Westminster area, the heart of London, UK, since August 2011.

One response to “Please do not waste our time or yours (aka: the market can eat you alive)

  1. Hi! I bumped into your blog while reading up on the translation industry. I am just beginning to get my feet wet, but I completely agree with this post! As an inexperienced translator–I am able to recognize that although I may be fluent or "bilingual" there’s a lot more to translation than people think–in fact, I’d rather put the time and effort in delivering quality so I can build a meaningful career down the line. Sadly, in this economy people see T&I as easy money makers…Also: thanks for the book recs for translators. Have already ordered a few off the list!

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