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Poll: What do you do when a casual acquaintance tells you they can translate and wants to work with you?
מפרסם התגובה: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
צוות האתר
Jan 24

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What do you do when a casual acquaintance tells you they can translate and wants to work with you?".

This poll was originally submitted by Edward Potter. View the poll results »



Ombeni Mtanga
Diana may Salgado
Shide1991
 

Nikolay Novitskiy  Identity Verified
הפדרציה הרוסית
Local time: 12:47
חבר (2018)
מאנגלית לרוסית
They can translate :) Oh my! Jan 24

That was exactly what happened to me a few months ago. I politely declined because that person had no translation practice at all and just wanted to earn some occasional money.

Tom in London
Erika Ballardin
Christine Andersen
Philippe SALMON
Angie Garbarino
Aline Amorim
Paul Lambert
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 08:47
מספרדית לאנגלית
+ ...
Depends who it is Jan 24

I might give them some work to see how good a job (or otherwise) they do of it. However, in most of these cases, my motto is "Hell is other people". Again, it depends on the person and the amount of work I might have at any given time. Some of my friends who work in EFL teaching have suffered a big drop in their income due to the Covid situation, and if I have any extra work I'd probably pass it on to them, if they're up for it.

Dan Lucas
Teresa Borges
svetlana cosquéric
Philip Lees
Cécile Gaultier
Augusto Rochadel
María Coronado Concepción
 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
גרמניה
Local time: 08:47
חבר (2009)
מאנגלית לגרמנית
+ ...
Ask interview type questions Jan 24

This acquaintance (friends are different because I would know) might have obtained a degree in translation without my knowledge. If there is no degree, no translation history record, then the answer would be a polite, yet firm no.

Teresa Borges
Christine Andersen
Adrienne Derrier
Trang Pham
Chloe Luciana
Eula Gregorio
Ottavia Merlin
 

Anthony John Keily
Local time: 08:47
חבר
מאיטלקית לאנגלית
+ ...
Tell them... Jan 24

I'm a part-time dentist, pull out my tool box and ask them to open wide.

Ian Keith Jones Williams
Chris S
Cécile Gaultier
Justin Peterson
ALPTranslations
ipv
Yetta Jensen Bogarde
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
הולנד
Local time: 08:47
חבר (2006)
מאנגלית לאפריקאנס
+ ...
I only "work with" people who are better than me Jan 24

Edward Potter asked:
What do you do when a casual acquaintance tells you they can translate and wants to work with you?


It depends on whether they are actually a translator. If the person just believes that they are a translator but aren't really, and are hoping for a type of mentorship (or they believe that they can just jump in and be a translator from day 1), then I would try to find out how earnest they are, and if they are, I'll give them pointers as to how to become a translator, e.g. register at ProZ.com. It's amazing how many of my family members or acquaintances who actually show great potential for becoming translators don't even take the simple step of registering at Proz.com after being told that that is the first and most important step.

If the person is currently a translator, then I'll ask them to send me their résumé and tell them to join the translators discussion groups that I'm on, so that we can "get to know each other". At least two of my colleagues to whom I have referred clients have previously been a mere friend of a friend who were simply interested in translation and who actually followed up on my advice.


Christine Andersen
Muriel Vasconcellos
Sundar Gopalakrishnan
Philip Lees
Julia Miranda
Trang Pham
Laura SOUPHRON
 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 07:47
חבר (2014)
מהולנדית לאנגלית
+ ...
Basically ... Jan 24

I'm willing to put a certain amount of effort into pointing someone in the right direction, giving them tips, providing links to appropriate resources, etc.

I'm not willing to get involved in a way that risks my own reputation, for example recommending them to my clients, sending them work (I don't outsource in any case).



[Edited at 2021-01-24 14:40 GMT]


Dan Lucas
Jorge Payan
Kaisa I
Ursula Teijink
Christine Andersen
LIZ LI
Philip Lees
 

Liena Vijupe  Identity Verified
לטביה
Local time: 09:47
חבר (2014)
מצרפתית ללטבית
+ ...
Other Jan 24

I don't know, it has never happened. I've been asked advice on how to "become" a translator and received LinkedIn requests from complete strangers who probably hope I will send them work (one time there was even an agency trying to tempt me with "low prices"), but I don't know what would it even mean to work "with" another translator.

I don't outsource any work, so the only thing I could do in that scenario would be to refer them to a client when I'm busy/uninterested, if I h
... See more
I don't know, it has never happened. I've been asked advice on how to "become" a translator and received LinkedIn requests from complete strangers who probably hope I will send them work (one time there was even an agency trying to tempt me with "low prices"), but I don't know what would it even mean to work "with" another translator.

I don't outsource any work, so the only thing I could do in that scenario would be to refer them to a client when I'm busy/uninterested, if I have a legitimate reason to trust their skills and competence.
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Sundar Gopalakrishnan
Trang Pham
expressisverbis
Paul Lambert
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
גרמניה
Local time: 08:47
חבר (2016)
מאנגלית לגרמנית
No one "can work with me" Jan 24

My main objection would be that I am working alone, no matter what. I am not allowed to subcontract work since most of my work is for agencies, and I hate the hassle of managing others anyway.

Apart from that, I have no objections to people who try to translate for a living because they believe they can. That's how I started myself.


Jorge Payan
Liena Vijupe
Kaisa I
Christine Andersen
Rachel Waddington
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
LIZ LI
 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
ארצות הברית
Local time: 23:47
חבר (2003)
מספרדית לאנגלית
+ ...
What happened to "Other"? Jan 24

I answered "Ask interview-type questions," which is what I would do, rather than give an outright "no." But it ain't gonna happen. I can only see two ways in which they could "work with" me: Either I would subcontract work to them or recommend them to one of my clients. The clients I work with expect me to do the work that they assign to me. Years ago I subcontracted work to a colleague, telling her I would get in trouble if anyone found out, and shortly afterwards she "told" on me to my client ... See more
I answered "Ask interview-type questions," which is what I would do, rather than give an outright "no." But it ain't gonna happen. I can only see two ways in which they could "work with" me: Either I would subcontract work to them or recommend them to one of my clients. The clients I work with expect me to do the work that they assign to me. Years ago I subcontracted work to a colleague, telling her I would get in trouble if anyone found out, and shortly afterwards she "told" on me to my client and I lost their business. As for recommending the person to a client of mine, I would only do that in the case of a colleague whose work I'm already very familiar with.

[Edited at 2021-01-24 23:02 GMT]
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Sundar Gopalakrishnan
Teresa Borges
Christine Andersen
Mario Freitas
Trang Pham
Josephine Cassar
Chloe Luciana
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:47
מגרמנית לאנגלית
+ ...
never happened, and ... Jan 25

I largely get hired to do certified translations, meaning that I certify that the translation has been done by me, as a certified translator certified in that language pair. The translations bear my stamp. I haven't ever had that conversation with anybody, but I also don't have any acquaintances who are certified translators, or have my training. (sort of an odd question?)

Chloe Luciana
Michael Marsch (PhD)
 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 08:47
חבר (2010)
מספרדית לאנגלית
Other Jan 25

Talk to them about their plans with respect to translation, and give them some advice if they want it.

Cécile Gaultier
Marjolein Snippe
Yetta Jensen Bogarde
Ana Florencia Fernandez
Federica Scaccabarozzi
Chloe Luciana
David Richardson
 

Teresa Borges
פורטוגל
Local time: 07:47
חבר (2007)
מאנגלית לפורטוגזית
+ ...
Ask interview-type questions Jan 25

I don't know, it hasn’t happened for a long while, though since the pandemic started both my inbox and my spam box are flooded every day with CVs from complete strangers who work with different language pairs than me (BPT works exclusively from and into European Portuguese) and these emails go directly to the bin. I outsource work very occasionally to translators whose work I know and with whom I have been working for a while (some of them are Prozians) and if I’m not available or I’m not ... See more
I don't know, it hasn’t happened for a long while, though since the pandemic started both my inbox and my spam box are flooded every day with CVs from complete strangers who work with different language pairs than me (BPT works exclusively from and into European Portuguese) and these emails go directly to the bin. I outsource work very occasionally to translators whose work I know and with whom I have been working for a while (some of them are Prozians) and if I’m not available or I’m not familiar with the subject matter I’ll recommend them.

P.S. Like Muriel I answered "Ask interview-type questions" for lack of "Other"...
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Chloe Luciana
Michael Marsch (PhD)
 

Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 08:47
חבר (2007)
מספרדית לאנגלית
Depends if he/she is a colleague, or just an ignorant opportunist Jan 25

It's one thing if they actually have experience and/or credentials. That's different.

But some bilingual acquaintance who thinks translating sounds easy and would like to get in on it? Ugh. Frankly insulting.

Nobody would say: "Oh, you're a chef? Can I join you in the kitchen tomorrow? I know a thing or two about cooking"
"Oh, you're a teacher. Can I teach part of your class?"
"Oh, you're a mechanic? Let me do some of your work at the shop tomorrow"
... See more
It's one thing if they actually have experience and/or credentials. That's different.

But some bilingual acquaintance who thinks translating sounds easy and would like to get in on it? Ugh. Frankly insulting.

Nobody would say: "Oh, you're a chef? Can I join you in the kitchen tomorrow? I know a thing or two about cooking"
"Oh, you're a teacher. Can I teach part of your class?"
"Oh, you're a mechanic? Let me do some of your work at the shop tomorrow"
ETC ETC
How would you like it if you're a client paying for a specific translator, based on his education, knowledge, experience, background, credentials, and/or past work, and there is some other person involved about whom you know nothing? "Oh, sorry, that was Joe, he was helping me out ... " WTH? Totally unprofessional.

This kind of attitude is based on gross ignorance of what goes into producing a high-quality translations, and people should be politely but firmly turned down should they make such an insulting request.
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Christine Andersen
Angus Stewart
Alexandra Speirs
Trang Pham
Ana Florencia Fernandez
Milena Cosby
expressisverbis
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
דנמרק
Local time: 08:47
חבר (2003)
מדנית לאנגלית
+ ...
Other - depending on who it is Jan 25

I would probably ask interview-type questions, but not to encourage whoever it was.

The response to working with me would be an outright no, for the same reasons as others have given - I work with agencies and I work best alone.

However, there are not too many really good translators, so if it was the kind of person who had actually thought about translating and potentially could do it, I would ask different questions. How could they use any other experience they have,
... See more
I would probably ask interview-type questions, but not to encourage whoever it was.

The response to working with me would be an outright no, for the same reasons as others have given - I work with agencies and I work best alone.

However, there are not too many really good translators, so if it was the kind of person who had actually thought about translating and potentially could do it, I would ask different questions. How could they use any other experience they have, for instance? I would try to refer them to someone more knowledgeable or more suitable than me.

Otherwise I start banging on about legalese and medical Latin, and tell a tale or two about mistranslations. If people still don't get the idea that it takes a more than a bilingual childhood to be a translator... then I find an excuse to move on, thanks, it was interesting talking to them!


[Edited at 2021-01-25 10:35 GMT]
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expressisverbis
Chloe Luciana
 
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