TransTip: On Lying about your Language Skills to land a Job
Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you lie about your skills to land a job, a potential employer will most likely discover that, and there goes your credibility. This is simply not a smart strategy.
A recent example is when I had an Arabic to French translation project and I needed to outsource a huge chunk of it. I contacted a few colleagues who already had so much on their plate and couldn’t help, but instead they gave me contact details for a couple of potentially interested translators who claimed to translate into French.
Being the picky control freak that I am, I didn’t just rely on what my colleagues told me, so I had the translators take a small translation test, and boy did it smell like translation, which is never a good thing. Of course I ended up not hiring them for the job. It would be twice as much exhausting for me to proofread a poorly translated text than to translate it myself and save time, money and energy. I was also lucky that they did not get help with the test from other translators, because that would have cost me so much when I finally gave them texts to translate. I was lucky to have learned sooner and not later.
Better be good at one language combination than be average at several ones. This is something I live by, and it determines the jobs that I take. For example, I know a little Italian, but that does NOT qualify me as a translator into Italian. There is no way I would fool my clients into thinking I could translate for them into Italian. The same applies for projects that require that I outsource to my colleagues who speak languages other than the ones I speak. If I cannot control the quality and the translation cycle fully – in other words, if I don’t understand the target language, thus being unable to double check before sending to the client – then I won’t think twice about declining the project from the beginning.
Tip of the day? Have a sense of integrity, not just with your clients, but with yourself, and work harder if you wish to have more skills. Bluffing is not the solution.
Great explanation of the fesponsibility code of a translator
Enric Villamor Casas
I fully agree with this article. I have never accepted a translation into or from a Language that don’t know. So I could not verify the quality of the work. In such cases I can recommend some translators that I know personally or from a public list. This is only to solve a problem for a possible customer on another occasion, even if know that this will never customer.
Same here, Enric!