(As it appeared on iPetitions: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/translation-industry-jobs/)
We, the undersigned, are a group of translators based around the world.
The purpose of this petition is two-fold. Firstly, it aims to protest against the way ProZ.com manages and supervises its job postings made available to both paying and non-paying ProZ.com members on its “Translation Industry Jobs” board. Secondly, it requests that ProZ.com revise its current policies and procedures on job postings, which we believe are harmful to individual translators and to the industry as a whole.
Over recent months, we have witnessed a steady and alarming increase in the number of ProZ.com job offers that contain rates and working conditions we consider totally unacceptable. One recent example of such a post provoked the enraged reaction of thousands of translators and interpreters and was reported in the Italian national press, in addition to being widely discussed by thousands of other translators on translator mailing lists, blogs, Facebook, and elsewhere. The Italian Minister of Tourism ultimately released a statement disavowing the working conditions contained in the job posting that appeared on ProZ.com.
The post in question is only one example of many such job postings that appear daily on ProZ.com. For our part, we are convinced that such posts have always offended and continue to offend the dignity of professional freelance translators.
ProZ.com’s company policy states that it aims to serve “the world’s largest community of translators” and deliver “a comprehensive network of essential services, resources and experiences that enhance the lives of its members.”
Job postings that do not offer translators a living wage or which contain detrimental working conditions clearly fail to “enhance the lives” of translators. On the contrary, they actively harm our livelihoods and our profession.
To cite one specific example: the fact that ProZ.com allows job posters to set prices and conditions is, in itself, a form of “market distortion” and reveals one of the main reasons why we believe the ProZ.com job posting system is fundamentally flawed. When offering translation services, the freelance translator acts as a service provider, not as a client. To this respect, as in any freelance profession, we believe the freelancer and not the client should establish working conditions, prices, etc.
We hope that ProZ.com will take swift action to revise its job posting system to bring it in line with its stated mission to “serve translators” and deliver “essential services, resources and experiences that enhance” translators’ lives. Such action is in all of our interests and would only enhance ProZ.com’s reputation as a reliable, responsible service for translators and translation clients.
Until such time as ProZ.com takes clear, decisive steps to achieve that purpose, however, we shall be committed to taking the following action:
1) we will refrain from quoting on all jobs received through the ProZ.com posting system;
2) we will inform job posters of this protest and of the reasons for refusing to quote on their jobs;
3) we will refuse to join the ProZ.com site as subscription-paying members;
4) if we are currently paying members, we will not renew our memberships when they expire;
5) we will urge our colleagues, through every means at our disposal, to do the same.
[signed by 844 translators, about 2/3 of them ProZ.com members]