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The extra mile
Thread poster: Andrew Morris

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:54
German to English
+ ...
"extra", agencies, what it seems to be about (Andrew) May 7, 2019

It's been hard for me to figure out what this is really about. A story about an interaction with a client in the context of a project, where that interaction seemed ordinary and unremarkable to me, and so on. Whatever posts followed. Now I read this:
Andrew Morris wrote:

And for those translators who want to work for agencies for the rest of their lives, and avoid any marketing or "schmoozing", well then that's possibly all it takes? I've always agreed that it's fine to set out our stall and receive work in that way.

There seem to be assumptions and an assumed picture here. To start with, I have several kinds of clients: individuals on the street, companies small and large (automotive, legal firms, a farm etc.), and agencies. The agencies are among my clients. With a few exceptions, and not always, the interactions are the same. There isn't a dichotomy between two entities and two realities as you seem to be presenting. Nor any idea of "graduating" from one to the other.

Of course there is an oft-presented image of the agency as a pseudo-employer. That's not a thing to graduate from; it shouldn't exist in the first place.

What you present as an "extra mile" is nothing more than good professional service. It is not a marketing play; it is not an extra service; it is not separate from translation skills, but is part of professional service. When my humble end client comes with a university transcript which includes two pages of fine print outlining in-house rules and regulations, I don't rub my hands with glee at the extra earnings, but ask, "Are you sure they'll need that part? It makes it twice as expensive." The client checks with the officials, decides to leave it out, and also passes my name to others as someone trustworthy and reliable. Is this an extra mile, or is it professional quality service?

If an agency sends me the same kind of thing, I might well say, "Ask the client to check with the officials blablabla." This also has a ripple effect of giving the agency a reputation for looking out for their client. They don't always think about such things.

It's not extra mile, and it's not marketing apart from translation skills,but part and parcel (imho).

Is that really what you think entrepreneurial translators do? Hang around chewing the fat and being cosy? That's a pretty weird vision, in my opinion.

Not sure what "entrepreneurial" is meant to mean. We run businesses, provide a professional service, and try to do well with it including financially. "Entrepreneur" and the like is a buzz-word. Actually, I do hang around here sort of the "chew the fat". More precisely, to see what people are thinking; what trends and mis-trends exist. But I don't get my business much in discussion forums.

[quote]What's more, they might want to do that as well as being good at what they do. These are not mutually exclusive... [quote]
Being good at what you do is at the heart of it. Maybe it depends on how broadly you define "what you do" in terms of the profession of translator. The extra mile is not an extra mile. *If* the client's request is essential for the project, then it's part of what you do.

Yvonne Gallagher
IT>EN Legal
Kay Denney
Helen Shiner
Kevin Fulton

Gloria Teixeira  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:54
Member (Mar 2020)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
INTERESTING ! May 7, 2019

Katalin Horváth McClure wrote:

Tina Vonhof wrote:

First, the editors never asked me a single question. I didn't take this as meaning I did such an excellent job; on the contrary it worried me and, sure enough, once I saw the finished product many months later, I recognized some things I could have said better. Where were the editors? I wish they had called or emailed me, any time day or night.

Some agencies have an actual policy about having a "Chinese wall" between (i.e completely separating and hiding the identities of) the people who work on the same project in various capacities. I can see some advantages of this, but I think in most cases it causes problems and less-than-optimal outcomes. My favorite clients use a collaborative approach where the translator and the reviewer can communicate and go back-and-forth about certain terms or phrases and ideas. The outcome is considerably better, both in terms of the quality of the finished product and the sanity of the participants. It feels like you actually matter, not like being a small commodity cog in a large machine.

I agree, for a translation to come out on the level, it should have communication between the translator and the reviewer.

Melanie Meyer
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