When No One Calls — Making It through the Dry Spells

A few months back I was faced with a bit of a moral dilemma.

You may recognize the scenario: I had been asked by an agency with which I have a long-standing relationship to evaluate the work of a potential new translator. The translation was excellent and earned a high score on the evaluation sheet; simple enough. But when I emailed the project manager with the results I found myself hesitating, as it occurred to me that having another talented translator around might mean less work for me. Did I really want to add fuel to the fire by adding a personal note of praise for this potential interloper?

While the wisdom of involving competitors in the hiring process might be debatable, it’s touching that translation agencies have so much faith in our integrity.The funny thing is that this system actually works. I have found that the occasional backbiting aside, the translation profession as a whole has a pretty unique culture of collaboration and mutual respect.
Usually.
Because it’s easy to be gracious and generous when you’re doing well, but as it happens this request came during a period earlier this year when all work seemed to have dried up. Continue reading

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How not to get burned (again) by deadbeat clients

A few days ago, a colleague on a forum here in California mentioned a particular Canadian agency with a history of late and non-payment. Several people responded they had had similar experiences and recommended steering clear of this agency. I was glad for the heads-up, but it begs the question: how on earth do agencies like this stay in business in the first place?

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Respect and the translation industry

respectfulTwo weeks ago I wrote about the way our interactions reflect on the profession itself. This week I came across the website of FIRST, a non-profit whose mission is to help children get excited about science and technology. One of the driving forces of this group, Dr. Woodie Flowers, coined the term Gracious Professionalism®, which he defines as competing and striving to excel in a spirit of kindness and respect.  I think this is a great concept which strikes me as extremely relevant for our industry, as well.

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Translator’s guide to Project Manager pitches

Are you sure you know what you’re getting into when you accept that great new job from your friendly neighborhood translation agency? Don’t jump at that offer too fast, because not every great project is what is seems. Sometimes job offers are like real-estate pitches; you have to read between the lines or that “minimum editing” job you commit to may turn out to be a major reconstruction project. Watch out for these “opportunities”:

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