situation critical

In the UK, I think people talk of the ‘recession’, but here in Spain we’re not mealy-mouthed – no tenemos pelos en la lengua – so it’s a full-blown ‘crisis’.

Despite the world’s financial problems, though, I’ve been fortunate to have a reasonable amount of work, and I’d begun to hope that things were getting better for other people, too. So I was a bit taken aback to receive this in an email from a translation agency this week (my emphasis):

Dada la situación actual de crisis, algunos clientes nos están solicitando un precio muy competitivo, sólo por un tiempo, en principio. A cambio, nos proponen un volumen grande de trabajo. Por esa razón, solicitamos tu colaboración para que nos indiques cuál sería tu precio más reducido en los próximos meses.

Years ago, I sent out my CV to a number of such agencies, but have never taken any work from any of them.

A couple of them did ring, but since the call usually came at 7pm on a Friday, with texts that were needed first thing Monday at the latest and were only paid at five or six pesetas a word when the going rate was ten for non-urgent work, I was persuaded by my partner that my weekends could be better spent.

I’m not sure how I came to be on this particular agency list, but the question “Just how little are you prepared to work for?” doesn’t lead me to believe I’ll be accepting any jobs from them.

Incidentally, the ACEtt website has some interesting information on (suggested) prices for literary translation. I particularly like the part in the section on translating poetry where it says,

Por poema – mínimo 60€

I don’t know many magazines that pay that much for original works, so maybe I should simply give up trying to write my own stuff and concentrate on re-writing other people’s.

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

7 thoughts on “situation critical”

  1. Buyers for several new proposals of mine are thin on the ground too. Thin to the point of non-existent. It’s quite alarming for the self-employed author, and (to be honest) annoying when you think that the people in offices and publishing corporations who make the decisions about commissioning creative work are not always the most imaginative or intuitive souls, yet they are on the receiving end of monthly cheques for doing nothing creative at all. As they say, don’t get me started…

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    1. If writers with established reputations have it hard, it must be even more difficult for those who are trying to break into the field – so I’m glad I have little interest in writing fiction. It’s true that it’s relatively simply to produce a good quality self-published book now, but the ‘digital revolution’ hasn’t yet solved the problems of publicity and distribution that come with self-publishing.

      As for getting you started: please, be my guest! – ranting is surely one of the things blogs are for.

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  2. Yes, ebook publicity and distribution. I keep reading that you have to put the word out about yourself via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and so on, but self-promotion has never been a strong point of mine (and I really don’t care for Facebook or Twitter). Even the thought of embarking on a ‘Here-I-am!’ programme makes me yawn, which is why I’ve not yet got a proper blog going. I keep hoping to bump into some hyperactive marketing wizard who will promote my ebooks for a share of the profits, but no one has popped out of the woodwork yet. You probably have to launch Facebook and Twitter ‘profiles’ to attract the notice of such celestial beings, so… back to Square Zero!

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    1. Most of the authors I know assure me that FB & Twitter are essential marketing tools. I have accounts on both, but haven’t done anything with either. I think I might eventually take to Twitter for “twit-ku” type posts, but not until I stop chasing my tail with other projects and have time to work out what needs doing.

      I keep popping back to see if your blog has developed further. I’ve been writing here for over four years and it does ensure I write something of my own rather than just re-hashing other people’s words from Spanish to English, which is essentially my ‘day job’ at the moment. So far, though, no talent scout has ‘discovered’ the blog!

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  3. Following your last comment I have finally stirred myself to posting a second blog (of sorts). I’m not sure if this sort of thing is allowed, but it seems worth a try. Curiously, all my indents have disappeared. If this is what usually happens it looks as if I’ll have to put a space between paras in future (if there is a future).

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