This section of my website is about the translation industry, some industry practices, and the business of translation. I believe there is something seriously wrong with it given some of the things that are going on. There are certain things that I have been carrying around for so long that I will burst unless I speak (or write) about them.

Translation and interpretation is the only industry that I am aware of that is overwhelmingly concerned with the bottom line to the exclusion of almost everything else. Clients will hire less than competent translators and/or interpreters just to save a few dollars. They will jeopardize expensive and serious projects for a dubious immediate advantage.

To me, this attitude is strange, to say the least. It would never occur to the same people to seek out a lawyer, a doctor, or any other professional and engage his or her services for no other reason than the he or sher charges lower rates than his or her colleagues. For obvious reasons, the clients will look for the best professionals their money can buy. And frequently, money is a secondary concern at best. Customers look for solid professionals, at least, and then ask them what they will charge for their services.

Why is our industry different? I do not have a good answer for that. I suspect it has something to do with the status of a translator or an interpreter. Many people still think that the only thing required to be either or both is command of two or more languages. However, very good language ability (I am not talking about people that grew up in foreign country speaking their parents' language at home. It takes a lot more than that to become a translator or an interpreter), is only the beginning.

The medical and the legal professions have been around a very long time (there used to be a time when barbers were part of the medical profession). Lawyers and doctors began establishing professional associations that lobbied the powers that be for educational and licensing requirements to be introduced with respect to those that practiced these professions. Maybe, by the time our profession has been around as long (it has been but not as a separate professional activity requiring specialized education and oversight on the part of a professional association), we will have achieved comparable status.