Looking for an interpreter ...

English: Active nuclear power plants in Japan....
English: Active nuclear power plants in Japan. Deutsch: In Betrieb befindliche Atomkraftwerke in Japan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day, a German gentleman asked on a certain mailing list, whether somebody here in Japan might be interested and/or willing/capable to work for ONE MONTH as an interpreter (Japanese-German) for an on site engineering supervisor WITHIN a nuclear power plant. Meaning within an area, where the workers are exposed to a certain degree of radiation, even thogh that is considered "safe".
Naturally, nuclear power plants are located AWAY from human settlements .. for "safety reasons".

Given these conditions, there cannot be that many people capable/willing to work there.
The very polite German person who initially asked, made the JAPANESE person in charge contact me.
From that person I heard totally different, very surprising conditions regarding timing and location.
That person offered payment for 8 hours/day; NO payment for Saturdays/Sundays; a marginal (10%) increase for overtime etc.
Possibly THOSE are the usual conditions for professions like welders, electricians etc., but NOT for interpreters!
In the business world of interpretation that offer is/was preposterous.

For my own reasons, I wrote back, I BASICALLY accept the conditions, but still have a few questions.

That was on a Friday evening.
The person in charge replied after the weekend:
"Since you did not answer my question (whether I accept the conditions) with YES or NO, I will look for someone else."

That Japanese person is supposed to be ASKING EXTERNAL EXPERTS FOR HELP, not ordering his personal slaves.
As such, I personally believe this is a VERY rude and arrogant attitude.
(This refers to the Japanese person. The German manager was very polite and business like.)
Not only in Japan, but also in Germany or any other part of the world.

Maybe giant corporations like this one (the request came directly from them):
KSB Service GmbH, (Germany; KSB Aktiengesellschaft) have so much money, they believe they can BUY people and treat them like dirt.
Or maybe this particular Japanese person sees himself as one of those medieaval feudal lords ...

Trials and their "evaluation"

I have been writing about this before.
Some company contacts me regarding a possible "cooperation" (meaning, they want me to work for them), BUT ask me to do a little "trial" first.
This happens all the time, but there was one particularly interesting one the other day.

The company, "A.C.T. Fachübersetzungen GmbH" contacts me and asks, whether I would like to work for them.
The person in charge, a German lady, then sends me the "trial material" for Japanese to German translation with the words, "this a not too technical general text (instructions for a headlight)". Naturally, the lady cannot read the original material.

Having a look shows that this is supposed to be a part of an easily comprehensible user manual.
HOWEVER, the Japanese original is VERY strange in several places. So strange, that educated Japanese could not make sense of some portions.
Ok. I do the translation. After more than a month(!), the company tells me, that my translation is "not good enough".
BEFORE I got that verdict, I accidentally noticed, that someone (= the reviewer!) had to ask SEVERAL TIMES(!) the Proz.com community for help to understand the original.If educated Japanese cannot understand the text and the reviewer (also a lady) needs to ask several times for help ... this can hardly be "a not too technical general text". (I did not have to ask for help ...)

When I asked the company, whether they can show me the corrected text ...............
No answer at all.

Maybe I am prejudiced, but if that company and its reviewer have so much confidence in their absolute superiority (and MY inferiority), they should be confident enough to show where I was wrong.

If they cannot do that ... I can only assume, that they are afraid, their judgement might be proven wrong.

Somehow I pity the customers of that company.



The other day (do not remember how far back that was) I apparently applied to a job ad on Proz.com.
After quite some while, I received a "generic" from a company called "Text United GmbH" reply telling me the following:

"Dear fellow translator,
Please follow the instructions below carefully in order to be available to us and, hopefully, establish a collaboration with us. You will be eligible to receive projects from Text United as soon as you complete a short registration process.
You can do this in 3 simple steps:
1.       Register on the Text United website (www.textunited.com, please use the “Professional translator? Join” link in the upper right corner)
2.       Download and install our free App
3.       Fill in the basic information, relevant rates and language combinations (in the App)
NOTE: We need all of your information (language combinations, rates, phone number(s) etc.) entered into our App in order to be available to allocate you to jobs. Otherwise we will have only your name and surname and cannot work with that."

To which I then replied:
"Well, I have been working as a freelance translator over a period of 30 years for a few hundred agencies.
NO company has EVER required the installation of a company specific tool just to offer me work.
This shows clearly, that there IS NO need for such a tool. All other companies do just fine without it. (not even the Chinese!)
As a professional the person in charge should know that I have signed NDAs with all the companies/agencies I work for.
These NDAs usually include stipulations that forbid the presence of any sort of file sharing software on the service provider's computer. These NDAs are legally binding.
Since I have absolutely no idea what exactly your "free app" will do and only your word that it is safe ...
I cannot and will not risk everything I build in 30 years."

Or is it me? Am I just plain stupid and missing the point entirely?
Would every other (freelance) translator just jump to this opportunity?

Probaly I a paranoid, but to me this seems to be both suspicous and dangerous.