A small but animated group of eight met up at Bistrot Centraal on 9 January for a post-holiday catch-up and to discuss the ups and downs of our professional lives.
The topics discussed were many and varied. One issue brought up was potential clients not being able to find your work on the internet if your translation is only used for something like an app, especially one for which people have to pay. (The example was a tourism app from one of the Dutch VVVs.) While you can refer prospects wanting to see samples of your work to a published book/journal, or send them to a web page via a search engine, search engines can’t ‘see’ apps. When the sole destination of your translation is an app, the chance of a possible client finding your pet project is virtually nil. There is no solution yet, but if you’re proud of what you’ve written/translated for that app, beware, and see if there’s a way to make it available (eg, on your own website).
Getting yourself sworn
Someone else was curious about what being a sworn (beëdigd) translator entails, as well as what advantages it might have. Fortunately, one member who was present is a sworn English-Dutch translator and was happy to share her experience. In brief:
- there is probably more work from Dutch to English; much is short documents like birth certificates and diplomas, but we don’t know enough to say how much work might be longer documents
- there is no option to register a specialization (eg, medical), so be responsible about what you can do
- translating the same kind of documents may feel tedious at first, but soon you’ll build up a ‘library’ and it will go much faster
- since the translated document is supposed to also resemble the original as much as possible, you’re often fiddling with PDF conversion, which is not everyone’s cup of tea
- if you’re working for a court, they have often contracted with an agency and fees are therefore not negotiable
- it costs €125 to become sworn, plus €40 for the VOG (Verklaring Omtrent het Gedrag or Certificate of Conduct)
- you need to keep up your PE points (80 per 5 years) but there’s the option of following a minor at eg, ITV Hogeschool instead of attending several workshops/courses
- liability insurance is also recommended
- the status seems to impress customers even if they don’t need a sworn translation.
For those wanting to know about the current terms for registration, they can be found on the WBTV website.
Quoting for jobs
There was also a question about rates and how to quote for a job. This seems to be a hot topic right now, according to people who use other forums, with translators encouraging one another to charge more for their services. Perhaps the economic upturn is making even translators optimistic? One member pointed to the Editorial Freelancers' Association's list of the typical hourly rates for different types of editing and other work including translation. If you’re interested in knowing more, Sally Hill has written three articles on ‘Quoting for jobs’ for eSense. (Part 1 is on p.12 of eSense 41, part 2 is on p.13 of eSense 42 and part 3 is on p.18 of eSense 43.
Upcoming SENSE events
As an aside, we heard during our meeting that work has already begun on organizing the 2020 SENSE conference. Although nothing has been set in stone, there is already some planning and extending of feelers. Spirits were high; we even got as far as proposing Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama as keynote speakers! More information about both the conference and the upcoming (September) Professional Development Day will be forthcoming at SENSE’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 23 March.
Our next meeting is scheduled for 13 March, venue to be announced.