Cost retention, cost control, crisis, cut down the cost, reduce expenses – these are the keywords repeated in the airwaves and at corporate meetings. But there is a certain boundary that should not be trespassed.
Copyright © ProZ.com and the author, 1999-2020. All rights reserved.
As in any other area, in translation industry there is a certain balance between quality and cost. Dear existing and prospective clients! I recommend that you consider it when making your choice.
What we see in recent time is that the companies prefer cheaper translation services thinking that this way they can cut their costs. However, it is far from the truth.
As you might know, a True Translator is a human being considering himself or herself a professional like any other professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers. “What a cheek,” – a reasonable reader thinks. “Indeed,” – echoes a Fake Translator. What a big deal! There are machine translation programs, there are dictionaries, there are native speakers who understand the meaning and can easily explain what it is all about. “Any bilingual person can do it,” – thinks the client. “Yes, and I can help for a small compensation,” – the Fake Translator offers. It’s good to have some extra money for holidays, besides that, I’m a native speaker, I’ll explain it somehow, won’t I?”.
And here it comes… It is good if the client understands the language the document is translated into. Then he or she can fix the problem by ordering another translation. What if he doesn’t? Well, it may cost the company lost customers and unearned money. Why? Because a prospective customer might think “I need this product or service, but what kind of company is this that they don’t respect me, a potential buyer, offering poorly written information. They don’t care about my language, they won’t care about me.” Reasonable conclusion.
The True Translator cares, takes responsibility and values his clients. He takes his job seriously and expects the same attitude from clients. He understands that the better he works, the more clients he has. His job directly depends on his efforts. Usually he doesn’t work in teams where one may slow down or screw up things hoping that his colleagues will support him and he won’t be fired for the employment equality or other reasons. They say, one man in the field is no warrior. Not quite true. The True Translator is a warrior, he copes with high work load, he knows various special software programs, he is a creator in the best sense of this word. He can make your foreign audience smile and admire, desire and dream of what you offer. For he loves his language, he loves his work, and he wants to continue on in his profession.
The bottom line is that it is us, people, who create crisis. One of my favorite literature characters said: “What is your breakdown? An old women with a crutch?... It doesn’t exist at all. This is what it is: if I, instead of operating patients every night start choiring in my apartment, the breakdown will come. When these baritones shout, “fight the breakdown” I’m laughing… When they start cleaning barns, which is their direct responsibility, the breakdown will disappear by itself.”
Crisis begins when people don’t do their work properly, when they make wrong decisions and try to correct them using wrong means. With regards to translations it means that those who try to cut costs by using cheap translation services contribute to crisis. True professionals loose potential jobs to casual people looking for fast and easy money, companies lured by low rates lose their prospective clients and their image, and it doesn’t make the overall situation better.
In my opinion, we can fight the crisis just by doing our own jobs. Engineers should design, doctors should cure patients, teachers – teach children, and translators – translate. That’s why I take my job seriously and hope that one day my profession will be respected as much as any other.