Posted by: patenttranslator | May 26, 2019

Who Controls the Distribution Network for Translations?

One of the things that changed in modern world is the pattern for acquisition of resources, or of material wealth, if you will. Unlike in the past centuries, powerful countries no longer simply invade and occupy with military force countries that are not able to defend themselves to acquire their resources. They may still attack and invade largely defenseless countries based on some pretext from time to time, but not in order to turn these countries into colonies. Instead, all that is needed now is to gain control over the network for distribution of resources, or the network for distribution of the labor force in those countries, a labor force that is hungry and ready to work for very low wages, which is where the real wealth of China lies.

Apple, for example, does not manufacture anything. But the company is extremely profitable because it controls the distribution network for iPhones, very smart gadgets that are assembled from parts manufactured in a whole number of countries. China only provides the labor force to assemble the phones and ships them to United States and other countries requiring a constant supply of smart gadgets. It says “Manufactured in China” on the iPhone in my pocket, in very small font that I can barely read. But this is not true because the phone was only assembled in China from components, such as the touch screen displays, memory chips and microprocessors that were manufactured in Korea, Taiwan, Japan and United States.

The statement ” Give me a fixed point and I will move the whole world, attributed to Archimedes (287 – 212 BC), is sometime rendered in several different versions, such as “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world”, or “Give me a lever and a place to stand on and I will move the earth”.

We will most likely never find out what were the exact words the Archimedes used and what precisely he meant by them … before he was killed by a Roman soldier when he asked him, rather impolitely in the opinion of the soldier, not to disturb the funny circles that he was concentrated on drawing in the sand.

But what is apparent is that we are all surrounded by many fluid fixed points that move and change every few decades or centuries, although their essence remains essentially the same. Whoever is aware of these invisible fixed points and finds a way to acquire and turn them into a fixed point with a long lever will find a way to control everything, or everything that matters these days, which is to say money.

In the 21st century, one such fixed point that can move the whole world (with a lever that is long enough), is control over the distribution network for stuff. The banks figured out how to create and control a distribution network for money, and that’s all they need to control the whole damn world.

And what a fine job they are doing, aren’t they?

I could go with my rant on and on, but since this blog is supposed to be about translation, the question that I am finally getting to here is what is the distribution network for delivery of translations, including your translations, and who controls it?

To a certain extent, it is currently controlled by translation agencies rather than by translators themselves.

If the “professional” associations for translators such as the ATA (American Translators Association) really cared about translators instead of trying to make as much money as possible from laughable baloney such as “continued education points” or whatever term is used for this nonsensical charade now, they would try to wrestle the control over the network for distribution of translations back from translation agencies, or Language Services Providers, or Language Providers or whatever absurdly propagandistic term they prefer to adorn themselves with now.

What is professional about an association of “professional translators” that anybody and their grandmother and her dog can join for a fee, no questions asked, and rather a modest one at that? Nothing, of course, absolutely nothing. Unlike for instance in some European and Latin American countries, translators in United States are among professions that are not regulated by the US government. If you call yourself a singer, writer or a journalist, that is what you are. If you call yourself a translator, you are a translator. You can be “accredited” by a court or by an association or another organization, but that does not make you per se a translator, at least not in the United States, because anybody can hang out a shingle with the TRANSLATOR sign and start translating.

It is both a good and a bad thing, of course, because a lot of people who try to translate for a living should probably be doing something else where they can do less damage, for example becoming dog walkers, or psychics who talk to the dead, like Whoopi Goldberg in the film Ghost.

That makes control over the network for distribution and delivery of translations even more important. Although as I have noted, this network is to some extent controlled by translation agencies, none of the big agencies is able to control a significant portion of the entire system, for example the way Microsoft still controls the network for word processors with a greedy scheme forcing most customers to pay for software by the second in perpetuity, the same software that they used to be able to own in perpetuity once they paid for it. Fortunately, not even all of the translation agencies, big and small, are able to control most of the system for distribution and delivery of translations.

About three decades ago, when it became possible for each of us to express our opinion via comments on a newspaper’s web page, a blog, or (God forbid!) later also on the Facebook, internet made it possible for any individual translator to create his or her own distribution network for delivery of translations.

So I created my own network for distribution of my own translations with a website and a handy domain name that fits the kind of translation that can be easily found with relevant keywords on Google, a website that has been working with minimal investment for me for two decades and is still working for me now.

The main difference between my job two or three decades ago and now is that thirty years ago, I was delivering only my own translation, while now I deliver through my own distribution network along with my translations also translations done by talented and reliable translators who agree to work for me.

I still deliver my work through the distribution network of a few agencies, but since most of the “translation industry” has been turned in an ignorant, deeply immoral and incredibly greedy monster, I am able to work only for about three or four very small agencies that for the most part do not operate based on the principles of the distribution network of the “translation industry”.

Isn’t it up to us whether we control our own translation distribution network and who we will allow to control our network for distribution and delivery of our own work? Are you in control of most of the network for distribution of all or most of your translations, or is somebody else in control?

And if it is somebody else, why is that the case?


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