Weekly log: 20120219

What is it really like to be a volunteer translator? Is it like in-house, or is it like freelance, or is it, like, neither? (After all, people have this silly notion that volunteers have a lower standard, don’t they?) It really depends. At one place I volunteer with it is like in-house, by which I mean you are given regular assignments that you need to complete, and you have to complete it before a (hard) deadline, even if it is totally outside your specialty. I was once given a poem. At another time, I had to research for hours and all the useful results I got were written in French (back when my French was at A1 or so). At another place it is more like freelance, in the sense that you get to decide whether to take on any particular project or not. Of course, unlike real freelancing, you don’t need to worry about “losing the bid”, “bidding too low”, or “getting not enough jobs” since money isn’t even involved; and if you figure out after-the-fact that you really can’t do the translation properly, you can always talk to your coordinator (PM if you like that sort of term) and let him/her find a more competent translator. And as in the other case, you are also faced with deadlines (that are usually somewhat softer). So this is my rant. I know, just a rant and nothing else. But are you aware that in certain volunteer translator circles professionals are looked down upon as people who don’t care about quality? There really need to be a bridge between volunteers and professionals a job for translators, it seems.
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