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Apr 23, 2011

Monkeys in the zoo


Ooh. There were so many little monkeys in the zoo this weekend! And the one was a real genius... I wouldn't be surprised if he manages to break out someday soon. It was in an open area, one of the old brick enclosures. He grabbed this really long stick and kept leaning it against the wall and climbing up it, reaching towards the top. Every time he realized it wasn't high enough, he climbed down again and propped it up higher.


It was hilarious to watch, it was just a shame we couldn't give him a longer stick.
One of the other monkeys was watching for a while and once it got what he was trying, it grabbed its own pole.


:D I wonder whether they'd make it out if they worked together.


-- from a Skype chat with my daughter, a beginning university student in translation studies

Doug McCarthy's recent blog post about the Future of Translation discussion at memoQfest 2011 offered a good perspective worth considering. In particular, I think it is good that he has highlighted once again the problems created in generating translation statistics and carried forward the discussion of what is a fair and appropriate basis for the pricing of translation work. Standardizing these factors or at least approaching them in a more educated, understandable manner, is as important to the future of translators as anything that will happen with technology.

Another point that was raised in the panel discussion in Budapest is that the most important elements of the future in translation are the same as its present and past: the people and their relationships. A vision of the future driven purely by technology is a peek through the gates of Hell. So many of the problems we experience in our society, our professions and our personal lives have their roots in a world where too often in crunching the numbers, we crunch our spirits and those of others as well, and the failed crop is called "progress" by those disconnected from their own humanity.

While I support many of the goals of the No Peanuts movement (linked in my blog roll to the left), I do strongly reject what I often perceive to be the confrontational tone and bad attitude toward agency partners. Now anyone who knows me knows very well that I do not shy from confrontation, but the conflict must make a certain amount of sense for me to engage in it. If someone wants to declare war on the TransPerfects and Lionbridges of the world for their ridiculous practices, abuse of translators' and customers' trust and more, count me in to ship a few boatloads of ammunition. The Quadaffis of the translation markets do not deserve our support. But there are so many others, small and medium-sized agencies, and even a few large ones, who are honest partners working diligently in the interests of both freelance contributors and translation consumers (private individuals or organizations of all sizes), and these we should embrace and support. In our relationships with peers and clients, cooperation and respect are the best modus operandi, and in many cases, it's the only way we'll make it over the walls that keep us from where we want to be.



1 comment:

  1. "But there are so many others, small and medium-sized agencies, and even a few large ones, who are honest partners working diligently in the interests of both freelance contributors and translation consumers (private individuals or organizations of all sizes), and these we should embrace and support."

    Amen. That is exactly how I feel about this issue. Except that I don't know a single "good" big agency.

    Maybe there is one out there, but in my experience. "big is bad".

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