Recently, LinkedIn notified me of a full-time job as a translator for a well-known international organization. I couldn’t believe my eyes, since most of my translation work comes through freelancing.
The advertisement for this position summarized that the person taking on the job would be responsible for translating publications and correspondence (from English to Spanish and vice versa).
It looked pretty promising. Once I started reading the description of the job, I realized it was just a cover. Not only were they requesting a translator, but also someone who could provide simultaneous interpreting and voice-over. In addition, this person had to perform the work of a clerical assistant, a customer service representative, a tour guide and, literally, perform other responsibilities as assigned.
In short, that company wants a person that can do anything and everything. I’ve been there before, so I know the person taking on this job will be squeezed to the point of eventually hating it. Of course, the salary will never be enough.
On top of that, I noted that the summary alone had two typos. Mistakes happen, but it’s well known that one must always proofread content before publishing it. I could actually help them with that, but only as an independent contractor. After all, they certainly seem to need at least one language professional. And a clerical assistant, a customer service representative, a tour guide, etc.
If you want to have high-quality work performed, you need to have a happy employee first. In order to accomplish that, you need a person focused on a specific area. Multitasking is detrimental to the health of the worker and his/her performance.
Please, don’t be economical with the truth. If you need to increase your staff, hire as many people as you need. Don’t expect to concentrate everything on just one person. And don’t label it as a translator. A translator is not a go-to person that happens to speak two or more languages.
A translator is a person who turns from one language into another, or from a foreign language into his/her own. One needs more than a bilingual person to accomplish that. Furthermore, translating is a profession on its own that doesn’t need to be supplemented with other work to make it acceptable.