Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When being decent works against you

A very thought-provoking post from a UK based conference interpreter:

She says that the reason she is not getting much work despite being an excellent interpreter is that she never says anything bad about her colleagues, even when she should because they are stuffing up, and because she fights for decent work conditions.

"I know one colleague who is a wonderful human being but the embodiment of a sub-standard interpreter, and he has much more work than I do. We get on well, to the point that he passes the odd job here and there on to me. This is very nice but lately it has been bugging me. Why would people offer a job to a below-average interpreter before they even try to ring a good one? Why do the agencies think he is the most capable person when anyone who has worked with him can tell them that he isn't? Why don't they care?

It must be because he is so nice. He accepts terms as sub-standard as himself without argument. He is pflegeleicht, or low-maintenance, if you like. That's why. People who insist on being provided with the right conditions to be able to do a good job, and to be fairly compensated for doing one, are seen as querulous, difficult, and are taken off the calling list."

I would love to hear other practitioners' opinions on this.

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