Translation experts, in arms!

As all translators working from home, I, too am in the need of being in touch with the world outside my office, mainly being online in several social and communication networks while I work. While having a short but well-earned break from my work, I pop in these networks to see what is happening out there.

One day, while on Facebook, I saw this ad on the right had side of my screen:

It reads:

Become a translator

If you are bilingual in English, become a translator. Take the test by clicking here.

My first thought was: WHAT?!?

I was aware of course the perception the world has about translators ( our profession is a hobby, everyone can translate if one speaks a second language, translation is very easy, get a real job, blah, blah, blah!) but I felt this was a step too far. Their campaign runs for months now!  Out of curiosity, I clicked on the link, and I was directed to a very professional website (drop me a line if you wish to find out which one it was).  At first glance, they illustrate the procedure a potential “translator” needs to follow in order to start “working”.

Then, I could help but wonder why a professional translator agency would actually boycott itself? What I mean is, if this is the caption of their ad (stating clearly that they are in need of anyone who is bilingual in English and Greek), what would their clients think about the quality of these translations and of course the academic and professional background of this agency’s collaborators? Does it underestimate all those freelance translators that have actually spend years educating themselves in universities around the world and investing their money and effort in completing master degrees and PhDs in the translation field? Do they carry the message to clients and non-translators alike that translation is not that hard and anyone can actually do it without any prior knowledge and expertise, but just a dictionary will do? It infuriates me!

We, the TRANSLATORS, and they, the TRANSLATION AGENCIES need to fight the battle with all those people that think translating as a piece of cake, and not to give them arguments to undervalue us even more. If such ads go around Facebook, one of the most popular network sites in the world, all it happens it to fuel the fire against translators. Should this agency be told that they are actually doing more damage than they think? Should they rephrase their caption?  Some food for thought!

This Post Has 2 Comments
  1. Interesting topic – I am surprised oterhs have not commented.When I started translating 10 years ago I sent out a few CVs and got zero response. On ProZ I responded to some job offers, and got one or two jobs – a very low bit rate.Then I expanded my ProZ profile, and after a very slow start that brought in a growing volume of work mainly thanks to translation companies trawling through ProZ looking for translators. I also signed up with other translation websites and got some work. In short, I am persuaded that registering on translation websites, and playing an active part, is the best marketing. As for social networks (I am on LinkedIn), they are some way from challenging the likes of ProZ.

    1. Fernando,

      Thank you for your comment. This ad did not appear in Proz, there was an ad campaign in Facebook. Since my post, I never say it again, so they may have stopped it.
      My point was that I do not think anyone can be a translator and if translation agencies imply this, then they are underestimating their and our work!

      Thank you again for your comment!

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