Client: Thanks for your interest in our finance translation project! You just have to sign this contract.
Me: What's this clause stating you have the right to come to my premises and search my house and belongings?
Client: Wait, what clause?
Me: This one right here.
Client: Wow, I never noticed any of that! Let me ask legal about this.
Client: OK, I got back from legal, and oh, that clause just means we have to install a spyware program on your computer to search all your files, including those on which you're working for other clients, regardless of any preexisting confidentiality agreements you have with them! We need this to comply with EU privacy laws. This is definitely about safeguarding privacy. Here's a sales pitch on how handing over every single piece of personally-identifying information in your possession to, um, identify vulnerabilities, or something, can actually improve your security!
Don't worry about the in-house inspection clause! It's meant more for corporate subcontractors and will never be invoked with you probably maybe!
Client on Thursday: Thanks for your interest in this medical project! Sign up for a timeslot so we can meet over Zoom to discuss project details over videoconferencing instead of email for some reason!
Me on Thursday: I'm available Tuesday morning, but I'm afraid I can't install the Zoom client due to security reasons. Like, actual security reasons, not alleged EU stuff. Can we meet on Skype or Teams instead?
Client on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday:
(meeting time passes)
Client, somewhat later Tuesday morning: Sure, Skype would be great! Can we try this again tomorrow morning? Send me a link!
Me on Wednesday morning: Hi there! Here's the link! Let me know if there are any issues!
Me, a half-hour after the meeting time, over phone: Hi, Client; since teleconferencing doesn't seem to be working, maybe we could do this old-school? I'm leaving a message at the extension in your email sig. Here's my phone number.
Client: Hello, trustworthy subcontractor with whom we have a previous working relationship! We've developed sudden amnesia and have decided we have no idea who you are or if we can trust you with our files! We need you to fill out this booklet with the complete details of every single job you've completed in your career. Be sure to include the date, character count, detailed subject matter, title and journal of publication if applicable, and current contact info for your supervisor on every single job! It won't take too long! There are only literally over 50 categories! We need this to comply with EU privacy laws.
Client: We mean, ISO standards. We need this to comply with ISO standards. Everyone's doing it!
Me: You are off your rocker.
Client: Hey, can you lower your rate for this gaming project?
Me: Well, it's the off season. I can give a discount for just this one project, sure.
Client: Hmmm. Can you go even lower?
Me: Sorry, but no. That's a significant discount as it is.
Client: OK. Take these tests, which consist of text from Yu-Gi-Oh cards whose commercial translations can be easily looked up online, material we absolutely should not be using to test a prospective translator's skills. We're in a hurry, so can you rush them, by the way?
Me: Well, OK.
Client (through second rep): Also, we need this sample of text from the game to be translated. This has to be rushed!
Second Rep: Hold on, I actually need you to format your test into this Excel file. Can you do that? We're on a tight deadline! We're looking to start work in a couple days!
Me: All right.
First Rep: Also, could you fill in this lengthy form on our site regarding your professional background?
Me: *sigh* You know I'm not giving up my bank info until we get a little more concrete on this collaboration, right?
Me, a couple days later: Hey, First Rep, is there any news on that project? I was told you needed to start very, very soon. By the way, I also took a test for Second Rep. Were you and Second Rep on the same page?
First Rep: Oh, you were never in contention for that project!
Second Rep: That's right! You're way too expensive! We could never, ever afford you! Whatever gave you the idea that we were considering you for this project?
First Rep: Instead, we're going to be representing you to other clients, provided you pass our strenuous Yu-Gi-Oh-based test that, incidentally, takes us 20 days to grade! By the way, we're setting your standard going rate at that one-time discount rate you quoted.
Me: You're absolutely not doing any of that. I'm erasing all the info I posted on your website. Also, I think the translators' association would like to hear of the misrepresentation taking place during your onboarding.
Translators' Association: No, we wouldn't! Despite time-consuming tests being standard onboarding practice in this industry, we don't consider misrepresentation to be possible if you haven't been paid! It's not work if you're not paid, remember! Long, long tests aren't actually work, and they're also a Get out of Jail Free card for any lies the client tells you! We see nothing but thoroughly upstanding behavior here!
Client: Hey, remember when we tried to neg you via a bad comedy routine in a public email chain during our onboarding process and thought, erroneously, you would take it because we're a shitty game-translating company dependent on grinding down starry-eyed 22-year-olds with no experience in the industry who will accept any treatment just to work in gaming? Also, remember when we blamed you for pointing out a big formatting problem we didn't understand because we demonstrably never, ever looked at the game we were retranslating, even though we were paid to do so, then when confronting that problem became unavoidable, attempted to claim you were the only one intent on ignoring the problem you identified? Then you quit for some reason. Anyhow, we need your help on another project.
Me: Man, you must be in a jam if you're coming to me after how we parted. While anyone with a brain cell would tell you to shove off after the above synopsis, I will be a complete idiot and agree to help you out this once. Maybe your previous missteps were due to immaturity instead of malice. Maybe reapproaching me is a sign you've grown and want to make amends. Also, maybe I've had a lobotomy.
Client: Hey, we're going to try negging you in a public email chain again by sending out a set of guidelines on what not to do in translation that's populated solely with examples from your work! We think this will inspire you to form a closer working relationship with us, as we believe your ego and professional self-confidence are contingent solely on our approval! This despite the fact that negging didn't work the first time! We didn't learn our lesson, either.
Me: Wow! I guess you weren't in a jam after if you have so much energy to devote to complete high-school bullshit! Allow me to call you on that bullshit to your face, with complete reciprocation of the professionalism you've shown me! Would the other translators in your email chain care for a brief account of the debacle that led me to quit the first time, plus details on how your standards for payment and workplace conduct are completely inadequate compared to other gaming translation companies? I can make it extra-bitchy!
Should I have made that email private? Oh, well.