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English Native or Bilingual : did you notice a change?

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
11 of 23

@Corinne L wrote:

I just noticed something strange : I've applied to 2  English-French translation jobs and both of them had "English native or bilingual" as preferred qualifications. Well I applied anyway and it told me "you don't meet the criteria" or something like that.

Then I took a look at 2 other English-French translation jobs and they also required "English native or bilingual". Well, I don't understand. Why would clients require an English native to translate to French? Is this the default setting?

I'm wondering if this is why I'm receiving invites but never for English to French translations.

Did you notice the same thing for other languages?

 


 As a person who knows little about languages or translation (as, I assume, is true for many translation clients who are not regularly in that business), I interpret "bilingual" to mean "can speak both languages." 

 

With that interpretation, it seems like a no-brainer that translation would require the translator to be bilingual in the source and target languages.

 

I realize from prior discussions on Upwork that this is not how that terminology is used in this context, but that's the basic layman's view. Possibly if this is a recurring problem, Upwork needs to include some further elaboration, different terminology or...something to help clients understand.

corati
Community Guru
Corinne L Member Since: Jun 3, 2013
12 of 23

Tiffany, you're right, I think it should just be "native" and not "native or bilingual"

petra_r
Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
13 of 23

Tiffany S wrote: As a person who knows little about languages or translation (as, I assume, is true for many translation clients who are not regularly in that business), I interpret "bilingual" to mean "can speak both languages." 

With that interpretation, it seems like a no-brainer that translation would require the translator to be bilingual in the source and target languages.


Bilingual does not just mean "speaks two languages" - it means "speaks two languages at native level" and that is exactly what the "native or bilingual" tag is trying to put across.

 

A translator should speak / write / comprehend the target language at advanced native level, but not neccessarily the source language.

 

I can, at a push, translate from my 3rd / 4rth languages into either German or English, but would never dream of trying to translate into them.

kochubei_valeria
Community Manager
Valeria K Community Manager Member Since: Mar 6, 2014
15 of 23

Ela,

 

Sorry about that. You post wasn't removed by a moderator. It was temporarily blocked by an automatic filter. I have restored it.

~ Valeria
Upwork
corati
Community Guru
Corinne L Member Since: Jun 3, 2013
15 of 23

Hi Ela, you're right I have browsed freelancers and I found thousands of "English native" French people!

 

Reinier & Douglas Michael : the thing is, I know for a fact that this client is nor crazy nor ignorant since I worked for him and he's literate, witty, well, he's got brains. That's why it's so strange!

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
16 of 23

@Petra R wrote:


Bilingual does not just mean "speaks two languages" - it means "speaks two languages at native level" and that is exactly what the "native or bilingual" tag is trying to put across.


 Agreed.

 

But, I suspect that many clients who are not in the languages business and don't routinely work with translators don't know that it means at a native level, nor what level of fluency is required to make a good translation.

researchediting
Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
17 of 23

For the record, Upwork revised their levels of language competence twice in the last few years. The second revision was in response to widespread criticism and condemnation of the first by language professionals on the platform.

Although Ela has made the distinction more succintly below, Upwork actually ended up with a pretty good short list of the specifics that distinguish native/bilingual proficiency from fluency. It's worth a look for anyone interested in those specifics. Whether such distinctions are actually useful to or used by clients, or used in a way that would make sense to us, remains a matter of speculation.

tlsanders
Community Guru
Tiffany S Member Since: Jan 15, 2016
18 of 23

I think those definitions should be in a pop-up associated with each option for the client. Maybe they already are, but if not, I'll bet it would help.

researchediting
Community Guru
Douglas Michael M Member Since: May 22, 2015
19 of 23

@Tiffany S wrote:

I think those definitions should be in a pop-up associated with each option for the client. Maybe they already are, but if not, I'll bet it would help.


I'm not sure of that. I'm glad the options exist and are (presumably) visible to clients. On the other hand, my guess is that the (relatively) language-naive client who reads through them is likely to assume that more specific criteria equate to a better contractor, and choose native/bilingual, which I believe has the longest and most specific description. 

this-mercedes
Ace Contributor
Mercedes L Member Since: Apr 5, 2017
20 of 23

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