Nov 16 2016

ECB obsessed with paperwork

Category: RantsFinancial Translator @ 4:09 pm

I recently got this basic email from a number of agencies regarding an ECB tender. Just keep in mind that the ECB is seemingly requesting this information from all its freelance translators. The mind boggles as to what will actually be done with all this documentation.

“The ECB has contacted us asking to provide the following documentation (both in hard copy and via e-mail) for all the freelancers involved in the translation of their documents (currently or in the future – we are due to receive some large projects in Sept – Dec):

1. Completed and signed freelancer statement (attached). Additionally, I have attached a ‘guide’ on how to fill in the freelancer statement with the sections that need to be completed highlighted in yellow (PDF file).

2. Proof that you have the relevant translation experience (at least two years of experience required) – i.e. either references from previous employers or 2 years worth of invoices required

3. Proof that you have a bachelor’s degree, or higher degree, in a relevant linguistic field – i.e. copies of degree certificates

4. Proof of your signing power (e.g. commercial register/power of attorney, a copy of identity card, if you are a freelancer) – i.e. copy of passport / ID card

5. Official certificate proving that your company has paid its social security contributions – This only applies if you are registered as a company rather than as an individual freelancer. If you are a registered
company then a self-declaration is sufficient. (see attached)

6. Official certificate proving that you/your company have/has paid your/its taxes – Self-declaration form is sufficient. (see attached)

7. Extract from the judicial record (or equivalent document issued by a competent judicial or administrative authority) proving that you/your company is not in one of the situations listed under item 2, 3 or 4
above, Declaration of honour. – Self-declaration form is sufficient (see attached)

8. Profit and loss statements and balance sheets or extracts from profit and loss statements and balance sheets for at least the three financial years specified in Section 3. If the accounts for these financial years have not yet been closed, please submit equivalent documentation if the company law of the country where your company is established does not require you to publish the profit and loss statement and/or balance sheet. – This only applies if you are registered as a company rather than as an individual freelancers. If you are a registered company then 3 years worth of Profit and Loss Statements required.”

Aug 30 2016

Translation Quality and Time Pressures

Category: RantsFinancial Translator @ 4:11 pm

Anyone notice how deadlines seem to be getting shorter? Everything seems more urgent? How delays finalising a document now often tend to mean a project is split among more translators rather than having the deadline postponed? This must surely be having an impact on the quality of the final deliverable but no one seems to notice or at least no one seems to care. Translation is clearly seen more as a necessity than a priority.

The endless quality procedures drawn up by the industry ensure all the boxes are ticked, but do they really ensure quality? To my mind the time pressures mean translators have little scope to do more than the bare minimum. How many people now read through the source text before translating? What about printing out the final text and reading through it? These used to be standard procedure but are now sadly too often overlooked. Many projects either have no translation style guide or provide a mountain of information that is impossible to digest in the time allotted.

So what can be done? To my mind, much of the problem comes down to poor management and a lack of planning. For starters, translation needs to be integrated into the drafting process and not tagged on at the end. Many documents are drafted over months and yet translated in days. Would it not possible to have sections completed early translated in a calm and composed manner? Clear and simple style guidelines would evidently be positive. A small glossary of key terms is also better than a 1,000 term string dump. Simple steps that would at least help ease the pressure.

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