I was reminded of it today when I looked saw a comment on the ProZ forums in a thread giving advice to a woman beginning her career as a translator. It has been running for quite a while, and numerous colleagues have made useful suggestions and given encouragement. Today I read a comment about how hard it is to start out because one is competing against so many experienced colleagues. I was a bit baffled by this statement, especially as it came from someone in a language pair I know to be in high demand and which also pays very well. So I took a look at the poster's online profile and found something like the following:
|Expertise||Detailed fields not specified.|
|Rates||Slobovian to English -|
Standard rate: 0.08 EUR per word
25 EUR per hour
|KudoZ activity||Questions answered: 5,|
Questions asked: 3 Easy / 150 PRO
|Masters degree in translation|
|Experience||Years of translation experience: 1.|
Registered at ProZ.com: Apr 2006.
|About me||I graduated in Slobovian before|
successfully completing an MA
course in Translation.
The principle applies to translation consumers as well. The opportunity costs of cheap or free translations are huge - far greater than the people pursuing this path realize at first. I won't start on this topic - it is covered with great thoroughness in free brochures from the ATA, ITI, BDÜ and other organizations. However, I think that we as translators can offer our clients an important service by educating them with regard to these opportunity costs. However, first we must understand them, and when I see "colleagues" doing free translation tests (stupid) before even discussing rates with a prospect (even stupider) and posting rates that I wouldn't pay to my cleaning lady, I don't think all of us are in a position to do this.