Translators are exploring and facing new challenges, technology is a tool as well as an opponent at some point. But something is dangerously missing and we all must stand up quick to change the translation history.

Regrettably, in this industry the standards to protect translators, interpreters or any other related worker are absent. The empirical will is the only thing that has remained over the years and unfortunately, bad habits and ignorance or legal foundations related to the profession have left unavoidable drawbacks.

The lack of cohesion as a group to protect minimum welfare has been dissolved between the great differences, interest of colleagues and related industry individuals, (something that must make us stronger!) and market degradation of the profession by unscrupulous individuals depicting as translators and offering lousy services at absurdly low prices, among several other points.

All these problems sharpened by software translation, a branch of computational linguistics that emerged between 1949 and 1954 when Warren Weaver launched his Memorandum on Translation and Yehosha Bar-Hillel, began his research at MIT (1951) followed by Georgetown University MT research team (1951) with a public demonstration of its Georgetown-IBM experiment system in 1954. Expressions as Machine translation, sometimes referred to by the abbreviation MT and computer-aided translation, machine-aided human translation (MAHT) or interactive translation are now part of the industry and enhanced day by day with corpus statistical and neural techniques not precisely as tools but as an excuse several agencies take to lower translation rates.

As you can read, we are now far from insurance, retirement, legal defense, protection from abusive practices, etc… Defenseless, alone, in an infected and competitive market without knowledge, backup or any recognized lawful standards. Is what we are and we do nothing about it. The way to establish proper and legal standards recognized worldwide is not only far away but also without any base.

Low rates, short deadlines, long gaps for payment, non-payment, tests, free samples, abusive payment channels, few opportunities to succeed, ignorance about good practices, expensive and (unprofessional) certifications, lack of medical, accident, life or any other insurance, exposed as easy targets to dishonest individuals and agencies… I could say many others but those are the main situations we are facing.

We have the solution and is not simple but definitely, it is possible. While associations point their efforts to language or related fields, there is not even a single organization who can cover you for insurance of any type, who can at least guarantee some money for retirement or who can defending you legally when there is no payment or other situations. Not a single place where you can get access to experience and situations in a sane ambiance to learn how to face any situation worldwide. There is of course several organization offering education and support for learning. However, what I am talking about is something very different.

It is time to come together approaching a unique circle of real professionals with benefits but at the same time with responsibilities, is time to search for a representation on the Worldwide forums, to value the translation and related industry work, if we do not act now, the future will show our indolence and lack of dynamics. Stand up and fight together to establish and write translation industry history. We can stop old practices and show everyone that our work is as valuable as any other.

Copyright, 1999-2006. All rights reserved. -
Abusing practices among translation industry
Author: Joel Pina Diaz
English to Spanish translator
Platinum since May 15 
By Joel Pina Diaz
Published on 12/2/2019
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