I started this post on Christmas Eve after yet another busy month on both the work and home fronts left me with very little spare time to think about writing for the blog. I always find in hard in December to keep up with everything because of the added stress of buying Christmas presents. And Christmas Eve was no exception as I made a frantic dash for the shops only to discover that one of the gifts I wanted to get my husband from M&S was already cellophaned up with a lower price tag for the Boxing Day sales.
But I mustn’t get ahead of myself. This is a post about November. The month that saw Trump elected to the White House. After Brexit didn’t go the way I hoped, I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked. Although I know many think the same way I do, it is still hugely upsetting to see another side win that makes me fearful for the future, because the ramifications of the Brexit and Trump victories will undoubtedly be felt worldwide.
the translation sector has been experiencing a bumpy ride of late
Recent world events often make me feel that we’re living in a ‘house of cards’ just waiting for a trigger to go into free fall. And the translation sector has been experiencing a bumpy ride of late too. High-profile resignations from the IAPTI have underscored the need for associations to be transparent and for proper systems to be put in place and adhered to for elections and to check finances. And as colleagues that have left recover from their disappointment and look for alternatives, they question whether associations that allow corporate membership (which the IAPTI does not) can truly represent their interests.
Then there’s the issue of The Open Mic and Dmitry Kornyukhov’s fundraising campaign. Bizarrely, after intermittent access to the site when it first started, I now cannot see any of the pages at all (I suspect this has something to do with my broadband provider, but I haven’t had time to look into it yet because, frankly, there is so much else to digest in the blogosphere I haven’t felt the need). Simon Berrill’s post on the topic and Kevin Hendzel’s comments list several reasons why asking for money in this way might not prove the best of ideas, especially since the climate in the translation world has shifted to viewing anyone trying to diversify into providing “services” to fellow translators with a certain amount of suspicion.
On the subject of fleecing our colleagues, little did I know when I published my last ‘What I learned’ post just how under fire a much maligned ‘guru’ would become on Facebook just a couple of days later. After Andrew Morris announced that the Standing Out® group would turn into a paid group from January, members began protesting and leaving in droves. Many joined a new group, Standing Up, hoping it could take SO’s place, although some were disheartened by vehement digs at the SO founder and a dismissive tone, which resulted in them hastily clicking the ‘leave’ button. They may even have returned to SO as Morris backtracked on making people pay for access and membership figures have risen again. At the time of writing, I’ve just learned that SO has teamed up with ProZ.com for a new group initiative in 2017.
While I can understand that people want to be paid for the time they spend writing posts, fiddling with websites, preparing CPD for colleagues (webinars, courses, workshops and books), and that requesting a fee for doing so is often a reasonable request, it also always puts you under the spotlight. An oftentimes unforgiving one. Many members of our profession will get out their magnifying glasses and start looking for faults. And given that we are all flawed humans with differing opinions about many aspects, they can sometimes be all too easy to spot and/or exaggerate.
Despite not managing to get to many conferences or events recently, I have met many of the players in the above three stories in person and/or I have chatted to them virtually. None of them strike me as being money-grabbing monsters who need to be brought down at all costs. I might well be proven wrong in the long term, but right now I’d prefer to see how everything pans out.
In the meantime, for full disclosure, I am still a member of the IAPTI, but in light of recent events and the questions they raise, I will think carefully about whether to renew my membership when it falls due. I cannot access The Open Mic so I won’t be supporting the fundraiser. And I have not been a member of any SO group for a while and have no plans to ever join again.
creating us or them sides will only further divide a sector that is splintering into unhealthy factions
I do believe, however, that if people gain something from being members of the IAPTI, The Open Mic and SO, they should be allowed to continue to do so without any harassment. By all means voice your opinion and point out what you don’t like about associations, websites, FB groups, etc., educate the masses if you must, but try to do so in a spirit of tolerance. Creating us or them sides will only further divide a sector that is splintering into unhealthy factions because we feel forced to choose rather than partake of the tasty bits of several pies. Let’s not turn the translation profession into the shadow of the deeply divided messes of Brexit versus Bremain and Trump supporters versus his haters.