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The two-cent mystery

“It seems like everybody’s got a price,” sang Jessie J a few years ago, “I wonder how they sleep at night.” Well soundly, probably, but not for very long if they’re low-rate translators. Definitions of “low-rate” vary, but one common stereotype is translation at two cents (euro or US) per word. It’s easy to find offers of translation projects with this sort of budget, and presumably these purchasers find translators …Read More

Open letter to Dominic Raab

Wakefield, 20 July 2018 Rt Hon Dominic Raab, MP, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dear Mr Raab, I am writing in connection to the press reports about translations of the white paper The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union into various European languages. The press reports claim the translations were not of a professional standard, and this has been confirmed by several of my …Read More

The dragon in the corner of the room

It’s been a while since I posted here, I’m sorry, but I should really finish what was meant to be a trilogy of posts before I start on new material. “In for a penny” suggested that per-word rates were stagnant because of increases in efficiency among translators, not because of the ‘usual suspects’ who are often blamed. “That we might stroll where unicorns graze” pointed out the trap of those …Read More

That we might stroll where unicorns graze

Just to recap, the previous post in this series, “In for a penny” ended with the conclusion that translation rates in the bulk market are not increasing because translators are becoming more and more efficient, at least on average. It also pointed out that competent human translators are relatively rare in comparison to the demand for their services, and so that translator incomes were unlikely to collapse in the near …Read More

Dear anonymous translator…

Dear anonymous translator whose work I revised yesterday afternoon, As you know, there was a little baby boy being carried onto a medicalised plane last night, still very poorly but well enough to return to the country of his birth after having spent ¾ of his time on Earth so far in a Spanish hospital. You know that he’s had two “holes in the heart” patched up, and suffered a variety …Read More

And in the beginning…

Hello, welcome, bienvenue, bienvenida and benvinguts to the Vis Verborum blog! We’ll see how this goes because, while I’m active on Facebook and Twitter, I have never been a very prolific blogger. But I would like a space: a space to discuss issues related to translation and other language services, and at greater length than I can on social media, so here it is. It does sometimes seem that you …Read More