Thursday, 27 March 2014

Love Me, Tender... not?

There's been some talk in the lately, and I've recived a couple of such offers by mail and not for the first time, either. This round, however, I had already had a firm resolution not to get involved before it started. Why? Because unless you're really into that type of translation, it's not worth it. And possibly even then.

For starters, you'll be asked to fill in an impossible load of paperwork, some of it rather repetitive. And there will be a lot of detailed questioning about your past jobs and clients. Things you can't fully document you'll probably need to stop claiming (unlike in a more relaxed business setting). Once you're done filling in, you'll be asked to print it, sign it everywhere, then scan it. Like 20 pages or something.

Naturally, being asked to provide details of your clients and jobs doesn't stop at nuisance, it's also a confidentiality problem. And what if it your clients start getting pestered once you have made their contact details available?

Next, it completely doesn't make sense economically. There seem to be more agencies than translators for that type of work, which means that you may be on every single agency's list (or at least a good many of them) but the agencies will still compete against each other for the privilege to offer your same old services at the lowest price.

Incidentally, I hadn't even known until today, but it seems that the lowest price may be playing much more of a role than I'd thought in EU-related translation procurements.

Finally, even if you win it — after going through all the nuisance requirements and surviving requests for clarification, evidence and whatnot — the EU's pool of reference files is endless. This is good when you'd otherwise not know how to translate, but a whole different matter when it's mostly about remaining consistent with previous translations.

So think about needing to check countless bilingual files on EUR-LEX, other legislative, judicial or other databases, possibly several style guides, existing translation memories… ugh. There'd be more checking than translating.

1 comment:

  1. And what if the previous, now 'official' translations are, excuse my French, do kitu? That in itself would hugely motivate me not to get involved. Let them go and destroy themselves with their lousy translations.


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