I found a job posting at one of the freelancer search sites that I thought I was a perfect match for: We have a text presentation in English which should be translated into Czech and Slovakian.
Oh nice, I said to myself. I’m a native Slovak translator so I just may be the man for the Slovak part of the job. I placed my bid and scrolled down the page to see who the other bidders were.
There were 18 bids in total (excluding the one I made). To my surprise, only four of them were from native Slovak and/or Czech freelancers (judging by the flag appearing next to their names), one was from a Slovak living in Ireland, and the rest … . Well, you may guess. The rest (the great majority of them) came from such exotic locations as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam and India. Since when have the Slovak and Czech translators moved to Asia? Or is it so because it’s summer, they all have gone on vacation but cannot live without translating?
I have always believed that the best way to have your text translated is by someone who has a perfect knowledge of the source language and is a native, or near-native speaker of the target language.Yet, it seems I must have been wrong all the time.
And as I was writing this article I decided to check translation projects posted for other languages, too. This time, I wasn’t surprised at all. No matter which language you need (German, Swedish, Polish, Italian, Spanish …), a majority of bidders always come from Asian countries. The only possible answer is that countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and others in this region must really have superior language schools that can teach you to master any language in the world.
Then I browsed postings in other job categories as well and it’s now clear to me that not only translators, but virtually all freelancers do live in Asia…
…so long, I’m going to Bangladesh.