Translating territory unknown Getting on in-house

Greater than 3 minutes, my friend!

I’ve never felt being part of a larger collective. If the group all consisted of translation professionals, those at the beginning of their career and those somewhere in the middle, the situation would be a whole lot different.

The situation I’m currently in is such that that I have found myself within a group of people so unrelated to translation that at times I truly feel so out of place. There are in-house lawyers and colleagues who have more than an inkling of German and English, with whom I could discuss some translation issues (should I favour this or that expression over another, which word would best fit a context so predominantly insurance.related), but basically I0m the only translator officially here.  Again an individual, just like in the days of strict “freelancerdom”. No difference if you’re based within a large firm, it’s the solitary position again, where you act as the only translation provider.

Translating territory unknown

It’s either your expertise and your will to get familiarised with the insurance terminology, or not feeling apt to tackle the cumbersome task, you relent to ask assistance from a translation agency you once worked with when you were strictly a freelancer. The complexities that go along with the unknown territory I opted to take on. So, you turn to the agency which has been providing translation for the firm since time immemorial.

You work for a fixed pay and you earn more than you would working on your own as a freelancer. And that’s just fine. You’re hired to translate everything that comes to your table (insurance, finance, communiques, correspondences etc..)almost with no option to choose. YEs, you’d like to translate the marketing material for the company, but it’s not just marketing that you’re up against. Finance and insurance can’t be evaded. Although even being choosy might work and your unwillingness tolerated, but you must think about being effective and economical. Using as less outside help as possible. It’s the company’s budget you must keep intact or maybe not endanger it too much to the point of scarcity. There’s a budget for everything. Crossing it, overstepping it would be something to frown upon. So, you have to think hard about your abilities and know-how in order to know and take on with full awareness the type of task you are convinced you can deal with, delivering top quality. Only when I know that I lack the sources, the needed terminology, the time (impossible deadlines), then I pull back.  If I outsource, I must again think twice; if I can do the major part of the assignment, leaving a smaller bit to the agency, then I shall do exactly that and spare the company a lot of costs. There’s many pieces to a cake. Apportion, allocate as little as you can. Give your best and solve the mysteries yourself first and just then throw in the towel.

I can’t help thinking that the situation I was prior to moving to this company is very much like my present situation (being in the company). I may not be working as much for myself now, but I have to think about cost efficiency and the quality of the translations I do here.  I don’t set the rates here, but translate many documents for a fixed pay, entering into negotiations with agencies when outsourcing to get the best possible rate and thereby relieve my employer from additional costs. It’s CPD everyday- rummage through terminology, glossaries, compiling, comparing texts (originals and translations), correcting the work of the agencies even (insisting on their providing a discount if I find any major mistakes in the translation). So, the level of responsibility is almost the same, it’s equally important.

Mariann Makrai

About Mariann Makrai

Living in Croatia, born in Szekesfehervar, Hungary. As if that wasn't enough, added two more languages. Now juggling with four balls of fire, minding not to be burned too much.

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