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What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in regards to getting to be known as a translator?
Autor de la hebra: Adriana Adarve

Adriana Adarve  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 16:59
Miembro 2005
inglés al español
+ ...
Apr 15

Hello,

I have been doing a lot of research lately concerning several aspects of the translation profession. I have been a translator for over 30 years, and have had satisfactory success.

However, I am wondering what the biggest challenge new or already established translators are facing lately in regards to getting to be know as translators, specialists in a specific field, or finding new clients and being hired on a regular basis.

So, if you would not mind, could you give me some insight into what has been turning around in my head lately?

What is the biggest challenge you’re facing in regards to getting to be known as a translator?

Thank you in advance,
Adriana Adarve

[Edited at 2017-04-15 21:04 GMT]


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Carlos A R de Souza  Identity Verified
Brasil
Local time: 17:59
Miembro 2014
inglés al portugués
+ ...
Being credited. Apr 16

Translators are not often credited. We are known for being “invisible”, and this makes it hard for a person to be recognized.

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Jan Truper
Alemania
Local time: 22:59
Miembro 2016
inglés al alemán
+ ...
NDAs Apr 16

Carlos A R de Souza wrote:

Translators are not often credited. We are known for being “invisible”, and this makes it hard for a person to be recognized.


Exactly.
Often, NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) even prohibit us from stating our involvement.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
francés al inglés
NDAs Apr 16

After having worked for more than 20 years with direct clients only, the nature of my client base is changing, not least as having returned to study, I have new knowledge and skills just begging to be used!

I'm contacting agencies again and it has struck me that on the one hand, the agencies require me to sign an NDA, which strikes me as perfectly normal, but on the other hand, ask me to declare who my clients are. I don't, NDA you know!

[Edited at 2017-04-16 11:52 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:59
inglés al español
+ ...
The Age of litigation threats or why we're asking you to sign an arbitrarily written NDA Apr 16

There are too many translators in the different markets, supply exceeds demand. I'm sorry, there are too many degree-yielding novice translators in some language pairs because they were led to believe (by university administrators and marketers) that their bilingual skills are in high demand.

The sophism of the age: being bilingual = being a translator

Many translation agencies (headed by one or many persons) have lawyered up: NDAs are replacing regular agency-freelance agreements to the point that most translators, a) scared by the prospect of not getting work and b) half scared, half excited about working for a recognized agency, sign away without challenging punitive or arbitrary clauses.

Translators do not have to be invisible. If you don't believe me, read Lawrence Venuti. I am no longer invisible, I found ways to be visible. Find yours.

But the biggest challenge remains with our side: we care less and less about writing skills and about reading from different sources to inform that writing. We fall in love with newer technologies but invest little to nothing in learning how to write well, enjoy doing it, and do it often.


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italia
Local time: 22:59
Miembro
inglés al italiano
+ ...
Ghost-translators Apr 16

As others have said, NDAs and/or being uncredited (not just with agencies).

Nikki Scott-Despaigne wrote:

I'm contacting agencies again and it has struck me that on the one hand, the agencies require me to sign an NDA, which strikes me as perfectly normal, but on the other hand, ask me to declare who my clients are.


Quite the paradox...

As for being "normal", it would be if so many agencies didn't regard basically everything as 'confidential', ranging from end-client names to project/product names, irrespective of whether source and translated texts have already been published or not AND, on top of that, if then they didn't also ask you to sign indemnity clauses by which they declare themselves free of every responsibility and obligation, which are almost invariably placed on the unsung 'ghost-translator' (sometimes even toward third parties)...


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Adriana Adarve  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 16:59
Miembro 2005
inglés al español
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
Recognition... Apr 16

On the subject of being "invisible", as Carlos A R de Souza puts it, did you know there is an ATA Code of Ethics that touches on this matter? According to it:
"We the members of the American Translators Association accept as our ethical and professional duty...
[then jumping to numeral 7.] ... to ask for and offer due recognition of our work, and compensation commensurate with our abilities;"

Followed by the explanation: "Due recognition means that translators may seek acknowledgement for their
work."

And then there is a short list of examples in which this recognition seeking can be done. Even though it doesn't say it there, I am sure that this list is not exhaustive.

Here is the link to that document: https://www.atanet.org/governance/code_of_ethics_commentary.pdf

Has anybody seen this before, and/or applied it? Does anybody know if codes of ethics like the ATA's exist in other countries for translators?


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Adriana Adarve  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 16:59
Miembro 2005
inglés al español
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
NDAs... Apr 16

What kind of NDAs are being used? Are they general or are they specific to the translation industry?

Going back to the ATA again, they have a guide to translation services agreement that does NOT mention non-disclosure or invisibility at all!

Here is the link: https://www.atanet.org/business_practices/translation_agreement_guide.pdf

Once again, has anybody seen or used this agreement before?

We are the translators, we are our own business! Yes, we need to collaborate with agencies sometimes (or a lot of times for some), but in the end, we are running our business. We are providers to translation agencies, and as such, we have the right to set terms too, or at least to discuss them, do we not?

Do the comments here signify that we are letting agencies and/or direct clients dictate how they are going to run OUR business?

The same translation agreement from the ATA does mention confidentiality, but it has to do with information confidentiality; i.e., the text we are translating, nothing more, nothing less...

So, my question now is, if we, as translators, have a translation agreement model, why are we giving license to clients and agencies to dictate the kind of agreement we are supposed to sign for them? Why are we not putting forward a translation-specific agreement instead of using a general one?

And, as I asked on my previous reply, are there agreements like the ATA's in other countries as well? If so, do they mention the invisibility of translators or any NDA clauses?


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:59
inglés al español
+ ...
Recognition depends on various factors Apr 17

Adriana Adarve wrote:

On the subject of being "invisible", as Carlos A R de Souza puts it, did you know there is an ATA Code of Ethics that touches on this matter? According to it:
"We the members of the American Translators Association accept as our ethical and professional duty...
[then jumping to numeral 7.] ... to ask for and offer due recognition of our work, and compensation commensurate with our abilities;"

Followed by the explanation: "Due recognition means that translators may seek acknowledgement for their work."

And then there is a short list of examples in which this recognition seeking can be done. Even though it doesn't say it there, I am sure that this list is not exhaustive.

Here is the link to that document: https://www.atanet.org/governance/code_of_ethics_commentary.pdf

Has anybody seen this before, and/or applied it? Does anybody know if codes of ethics like the ATA's exist in other countries for translators?


I was an ATA member for decades until I decided to quit it. That Ethics code is just a paper with little value. Why? You are just expected to read it. There are no mechanisms to enforce its tenets.

It's more like a wish list. The commentary for point 7, for example, is very limited and offers 4 examples that are found in market niches, not the everyday experience of most translators and/or interpreters.

Seeking recognition is one thing, finding it is quite another and it is subject to negotiation on a regular basis with the same or with different clients. Plus, let's face facts: there are thousands of translators in the major languages, and more are coming into the markets. So, are we talking about recognition (“Thank you for your excellent work, Marisa”) or differentiation (“Alberto, you are one of the few who understands this kind of text to translate it”)? Professional conferences (ATA, ITI, etc.) have seminars, clinics and workshops on how to build your website, how to write a resume, etc. But what client has the time to comb through dozens of well-written resumes or websites? So, standing up is an advertising game, and being recognized depends on where your thank-you ceiling and name recognition goes.

Some translators I know seek and like the recognition of having visitors to their blogs, Facebook or Twitter followers. None of that necessarily improves the profession overall.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:59
inglés al español
+ ...
Translator-specific agreements and contracts, no boilerplates Apr 17

Adriana Adarve wrote:

What kind of NDAs are being used? Are they general or are they specific to the translation industry?

Going back to the ATA again, they have a guide to translation services agreement that does NOT mention non-disclosure or invisibility at all!

Here is the link: https://www.atanet.org/business_practices/translation_agreement_guide.pdf

Once again, has anybody seen or used this agreement before?


Yes, and it's woefully outdated.



We are the translators, we are our own business! Yes, we need to collaborate with agencies sometimes (or a lot of times for some), but in the end, we are running our business. We are providers to translation agencies, and as such, we have the right to set terms too, or at least to discuss them, do we not?


Collaboration doesn't equal submission or a giveaway of our rights. Of course we need to learn how to read a translation agreement, how to identify which clauses do what, our rights and obligations (and the client's), and build our own translation agreement

Do the comments here signify that we are letting agencies and/or direct clients dictate how they are going to run OUR business?

The same translation agreement from the ATA does mention confidentiality, but it has to do with information confidentiality; i.e., the text we are translating, nothing more, nothing less...

So, my question now is, if we, as translators, have a translation agreement model, why are we giving license to clients and agencies to dictate the kind of agreement we are supposed to sign for them? Why are we not putting forward a translation-specific agreement instead of using a general one?

And, as I asked on my previous reply, are there agreements like the ATA's in other countries as well? If so, do they mention the invisibility of translators or any NDA clauses?


It would be very useful and interesting to see translation agreement samples from other countries and cultures, to pick what we can and adapt it to our particular situation.


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Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:59
lituano al portugués
+ ...
Native language Apr 19

A blind sticking to 'native' - some translators don't even get a chance to be accredited in some language combinations because there are agencies that wouldn't let go this absolutely obsolete criterion in the global market.
Curiously, a translator is reknown for translating from C to A and from C to B but the foreementioned agencies seem to be somehow incapable to digest an idea that the translator can also work from A to B and vice versus.
I know several translators like this. Here go their chances...


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Chris S  Identity Verified
Reino Unido
Miembro 2011
sueco al inglés
+ ...
Far from obsolete Apr 19

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

A blind sticking to 'native' - some translators don't even get a chance to be accredited in some language combinations because there are agencies that wouldn't let go this absolutely obsolete criterion in the global market.
Curiously, a translator is reknown for translating from C to A and from C to B but the foreementioned agencies seem to be somehow incapable to digest an idea that the translator can also work from A to B and vice versus.
I know several translators like this. Here go their chances...


There's actually a very good reason for such a policy, and you are a prime example.

I could produce translations into Swedish that adequately convey the meaning of a text, but they would be far from flawless and so make a poor impression on the reader, just like your English.

And if customers just want the gist, rather than any kind of style, they have Google Translate.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
España
Local time: 21:59
Miembro 2007
inglés
+ ...
? Apr 19

Inga Petkelyte wrote:
Curiously, a translator is reknown for translating from C to A and from C to B but the foreementioned agencies seem to be somehow incapable to digest an idea that the translator can also work from A to B and vice versus.

Can you explain? I'm not sure I follow, unless perhaps you're referring to interpreters, who necessarily have different limitations. But even then it doesn't seem to hold water.


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Maria S. Loose, LL.M.  Identity Verified
Bélgica
Local time: 22:59
alemán al inglés
+ ...
Google Translate is not good enough for Eastern European languages Apr 19

Chris S wrote:


And if customers just want the gist, rather than any kind of style, they have Google Translate.



Google Translate is not a solution for Eastern European languages. I often have to read Eastern European legislation and Google Translate is useless. I'm glad there are translators like Inga who translate from their native language into English (Lithuanian into English, Croatian into English etc.)


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Adriana Adarve  Identity Verified
Estados Unidos
Local time: 16:59
Miembro 2005
inglés al español
+ ...
PERSONA QUE INICIÓ LA HEBRA
Hmmm, sorry, cannot agree with you... Apr 19

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

A blind sticking to 'native' - some translators don't even get a chance to be accredited in some language combinations because there are agencies that wouldn't let go this absolutely obsolete criterion in the global market.
Curiously, a translator is reknown for translating from C to A and from C to B but the foreementioned agencies seem to be somehow incapable to digest an idea that the translator can also work from A to B and vice versus.
I know several translators like this. Here go their chances...


There is actually a very god reason for that. You, being a translator too, should know the reason. Translating into a language that is not our mother tongue carries inherent risks. It is true that we might understand the foreign language well enough, or even almost to native level, to translate from it, but there are the underlying nuances and characteristics of the language that ONLY native can grasp.

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but your message does show that your command of English is not as sharp as I am sure your command of your mother tongue is. This doesn't mean that you cannot translate from English into your mother tongue, not at all! What it means to me is that the quality of the translation going in the other direction, your mother tongue into English, will definitely not be as high as your translation from English into your mother tongue.


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