The people at Webflakes have a great idea for translators: Come work for free!
Yes, it’s yet another business that hopes to profit from other people’s unpaid work (in this case, “language buffs – professional translators or students, active or retired, and passionate people”). Sure, because “passion” and being a “language buff” are plenty enough to call yourself a translator. That, and the URL of Google Translate perhaps.
Translation is a profession, not a hobby. Translators are professionals, trained in their field, not retirees with extra time on their hands.
The people at Webflakes ought to be ashamed of themselves. They won’t be, but they ought to be.
Webflakes says they want to “liberate content from the boundaries of language?” Maybe they could take on a much more important “global cause”: Stop liberating translators from their livelihoods.
Webflakes promises to “share revenues” with translators “once we begin monetizing the content you translate.” That’s yet another fancy way of saying: “WORK FOR FREE. If we get enough ad clicks on your post, and once we’ve scraped off our profit from your unpaid work, there could be something in it for you.”
How does Webflakes decide when “monetizing” begins? At what level of earnings is the translator cut into the deal? What will the translator’s percentage be? When and how often does payment happen and for how long into the future does the agreement last?
Oh, you funny translators and your questions!
Newbie translators who want to explore volunteer translation for résumé-building purposes should stick with legitimate nonprofit organizations that are committed to real “global causes.” (The only global cause” Webflakes is committed to is its desire to earn money from all corners of the planet.)
Meanwhile, translators who are willing to work for royalties alone should be well informed about the (slim) possibilities of ever seeing a farthing for their labor.
There’s a technical term for businesses that promote this approach to translation. It starts with “d” and rhymes with “nix.”
Which is exactly what you should be saying to the flakes at Webflakes.