Translator and globalization: page 3
Internet is characterized by a very high degree of anonymity. This means that any user can, if he wants, to pull on any mask and pretend to be a completely different person. However, if necessary, you can find anyone, but at an expense of some efforts, which justified, for example, when you’re hunting for hackers and virus distributors, but are hardly possible for the average user. That ended in hordes of crooks and swindlers of every stripe, and simply dishonest or unscrupulous people, offering different goods, services, ways to earn money, etc., swarming in the Internet. The sphere of translation is no exception. Thousands of people, who have never considered such work, suddenly imagined that they can earn their living on translations and rushed to offer their services via the Internet. It is easy to imagine the level and quality of such translations. This tidal wave of “quasi translators” absorbed and almost closed the much more lesser group of professional translators who are trying to work on the Internet. In the anonymity of the Internet it is difficult for potential customers to separate “good and evil seeds”, especially since they often do not speak the target language (otherwise they would not order the translation!) and they are not able to check the quality of the translation.
Another drawback of the global market are frequent problems with payment. One can understand the reluctance of the client to pay in advance: put yourself in his place - send money for the not yet rendered service to a man whom he has never seen and doesn’t know, risking to remain without translation, and no money ... On the other hand, a translator takes the risk of, doing translation and sending it to the customer, never hearing of him again, if he agrees to do the work first, and then get paid. It is happening on the global market today, that the right to take risks is often given to the translator - the practice of payment after the order prevails, and each translator, having worked on the Internet at least several years, inevitably has a “black list” of non-payers.
Finally, the so-called machine translation has become very popular with the advent of the Internet, which is quite is natural: Internet users want at least to have an idea of what is on the web pages they visit. Concerns about replacing translator’s work by machine translation and disappearing of the profession as a result of this are the subject of another endless debate in translation circles.
Can machine translation replace a human translator? Theoretically feasible statement, though hardly possible in the foreseeable future. Translation is a creative work, including intuition, personal experience, the ability to read between the lines, and many other things. Translation is even more difficult than expressing your thoughts in one language. I would believe that machine translation is successful when a computer learns to write novels that become bestsellers among people. Yet no one can really understand how the human brain works so far, not to mention to reproduce its work. The result of existing machine translation cannot even be called a metaphrase. Personally, I flatly reject the offers to edit machine translation, as it is a more labor-intensive activity than a new translation of the same original. The machine translation, however, may take the jobs of those “quasi translators” whose translation quality is not much better than machine’s.
In the second part of the article I want to give some practical advice to translators who are just starting to take a shot at the global market and to appeal to all the translators with a call for cooperation.
If you choose to work as a freelance translator on the global market, get ready for a long and hard work on your establishment on the market. The experience of many translators shows that it takes three-five years of hard work to get a niche in the market, before the efficiency becomes substantial. There is no quick and easy money, which you can get without really bothering. And even after this time have passed you will have to constantly work on retention and improvement of your position. It is like riding a bike - you always have to pedal, or you stop and fall. Translations in the work flow of a freelance translator constitute no more than a half of the whole activity (and some say that even less up to 20%). As for the rest – it’s marketing, advertising, searching for customers, “knocking-out” money from defaulters etc.You can order a test translation —