Nigel Saych: Feeling threatened ? Take a Fair Trade approach to translation.

Feeling threatened ? Take a Fair Trade approach to translation

Do you regard current developments in the translation profession as a threat or a challenge? Are conditions for freelance translators getting better or worse? Do you see new ways of working as an improvement, or do you secretly hope they will just go away? My presentation will show that agencies need not be the crooks or monsters they are sometimes accused of being. It will also prove that some of them fully deserve that reputation.

I have built up an organisation based on trust, respect and honesty and have shown that this works. It is possible for individuals and small groups of translators to survive against the biggest threats to our profession: the onward march of machine translation and the increasing power of large multinational agencies who work on the ‘bottom feeder’ principle. I will explore a ‘middle of the road’ approach. Fair Trade shows that these three qualities of trust, respect and honesty are not out-dated, can still work and can be financially successful. I will also try to convince you that a sustainable company with a proven environmental policy can also provide benefits to clients and translators alike.

We all associate Fair Trade with selling bananas of coffee, or with not using child labour or sweatshop conditions. These don’t really apply to translation – or do they? Continuing discussions about rates of pay, undue pressure or blatantly unsustainable business practices leads me to believe that our sector is also threatened by decisions that are not made by linguists. As a linguist myself, who just happens to run a translation company, I know this does not have to be the case.

BP17 Translation Conference Nigel Saych Fair trade translation session card

Nigel Saych

Owner and director of a Netherlands-based translation company, experienced conference speaker – but first and foremost a translator, Nigel views the profession through the eyes of a linguist, not as an entrepreneur. Although his philosophy over the years hasn’t changed, he now openly describes his business as a Fair Trade Translation Company. He is convinced that if you are fair to your clients and translators, they will be fair to you. Nigel has built up an organisation that is successful, sustainable and challenging. And with over 100 translators working in 35 languages, that’s something he works hard to maintain. Two of the presentations he gave in 2016 formed the catalyst for his contribution to this conference and he will demonstrate his belief that the Fair Trade qualities of trust, respect and honesty are just as important in the translation profession as they are if you’re selling bananas.

Practical details

This 50-minute session is scheduled for Saturday, 6 May, 2017.  You can attend this session by purchasing a 2-day pass to BP17, covering both Friday and Saturday.