Assistance for Hubbers for whom English is a Foreign Language.

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  1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
    Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years ago

    Perhaps the saddest thing I see on a regular basis on HubPages is the effort of foreign HubPages members with limited English to establish a readership for their hubs. Too often I come across hubbers whose intentions are clearly very sincere and genuine and who may have very worthwhile things to contribute - particularly expert knowledge about their own countries - but who simply lack the language skills to be able to express themselves in an articulate manner. Many join HubPages but then their hubs are not read because they are disjointed or ungrammatical and may immediately become unfeatured. They want to build up a following and have their articles read, but sadly they are doomed to disappointment and failure.

    It may be such writers could concentrate on similar sites in their own language (if such sites even exist), but then of course the global opportunities which the English language offers them would be denied. I wonder if it would be possible for a service to exist whereby members fluent in English but also fluent in languages such as Hindi, Mandarin, French etc, and even more so fluent in the less common languages of the third world, could offer an effective translation service so that foreign members may be able to write in their own language and then have their hubs translated into English? An alternative suggestion would be that the hubber writes in English, but then has their hubs extensively proofread and corrected. Such a service could be offered voluntarily, or perhaps with mutual agreement the hub could be 'shared' between the originator and the translator/proofreader with any income from the hub also shared? There are several possible ways in which such an arrangement may work, and I'm not sure which would be best or most practical for both parties, or for HubPages.

    It's just a thought. I do find it sad to see writers (particularly in the Third World) who may well have limited opportunities in their own country, and who may have a life long ambition to write creatively or to impart knowledge, but who at present have no hope of success on HubPages or elsewhere. Such writers may have much to contribute from their own cultural experience, but (quite rightly), the importance of maintaining quality on HubPages currently denies them the opportunity to do so.

    1. DreamerMeg profile image83
      DreamerMegposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      That's a nice idea. I am studying at university at present and there are many people there from abroad. One of them was having difficulty with a paper she was writing and I was able to help her with it, however, that took an hour and a half of our time, working together. I do not know any other languages well enough to translate, so it had to be worked on in English. It can be quite time consuming and requires intense work for anyone who is not a professional translator.

      1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
        Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Cheers DreamerMeg; I realise it could be time consuming. Unfortunately I don't speak any foreign languages, but I know how rewarding I would find it if I could help someone in that way (I do sometimes help Engliish friends at college to improve their essay writing, but I guess that's a slightly easier task!)

    2. snakeslane profile image82
      snakeslaneposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I hope you get some positive feedback on this. It's a global community online. I'm fluent in only one language (sad). Can't offer assistance except for encouragement.

      1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
        Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Thanks snakeslane. I appreciate your support for the idea. People from other countries, particularly those third world countries which most of us are unfamiliar with, may have much to contribute on HubPages. I'm sure some look on the site as an opportunity to create something worthwhile, and it's a shame they are disadvantaged in their writing opportunities because English is not their first language. Certainly I've come across a few that I would really like to be able to help. And certainly I'd be willing to offer advice and help to those whose English phraseology just needs a little brushing up. Sadly though, I don't speak any foreign languages either! Alun.

        1. WriteAngled profile image77
          WriteAngledposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          It takes an hour to edit 1000-1500 words. It takes a full working day to translate 2000-3000 words. A full working day with no pay.

    3. WriteAngled profile image77
      WriteAngledposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I make my living as a translator. I often work late into the night to meet strict deadlines. I stand or fall by the quality of my work alone. I get no sick pay, no holiday pay, no pension contributions other than those I fund by myself. When I am unable to work, or choose not to work, I do not get paid.

      My competence as a specialist medical translator is based on 21 years in full-time education followed by over 15 years biomedical work experience and just under 10 years freelance translation experience, most of it moonlighting, before I set up as a full time freelance translator.

      The average daily norm for a competent translator is considered to be about 2000 words, so maybe 1-3 hubs' worth.

      Are you seriously proposing that those of us who pay our mortgages and buy our food with the proceeds of translation work should simply give up our time to translate for free on behalf of people who are greedy enough to think they can make money on an English-language site despite lacking any competence in English?

      Sorry, but I find this an extremely offensive proposal. has translators in every language combination, who will translate for the normal level of payment in their particular language pairs.

      My going rate for translating 1000 words out of my seven source languages into English is £75 sterling, 95 euros, US $120. I think I am about mid-range in my fees.

      Do I expect any enquiries from HP members who do not master English? I very much doubt it!

      1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
        Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        WriteAngled; I'm not seriously proposing that any one should give up their time for free if they don't want to. I'm seriously suggesting that some may like to voluntarily help those who want to make a start in writing on HubPages, particularly those who perhaps don't have the money to pay for professional translation services. I did offer several possible suggestions as to how people may be able to help, including jointly sharing the hub. We're not talking 'greedy' people looking to make money here, and it's sad that that's how you view them. Why do you feel the need to express such an extreme reaction to a simple, compassionately expressed desire to help people get a start in writing here?

        It is not an 'extremely offensive' proposal. Your objection is presumably because you see it as a threat to your own professional services. It isn't. The sort of people I am talking about helping would not be in the market for professional services given the very small proceeds available from writing on HubPages. It's simply a wish that the mechanism could exist for one person who has the time or the inclination could offer a bit of help to another person less fortunate than them.

        1. snakeslane profile image82
          snakeslaneposted 10 years agoin reply to this


  2. Simone Smith profile image92
    Simone Smithposted 10 years ago

    It would be lovely if such a translation service were available! Now, it seems people have to rely on friends for help (or hire translators).

    It's a cool idea- thanks for sharing it! Perhaps someday we could offer something of the sort. big_smile

    1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
      Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for your support for the idea Simone. I appreciate it.

  3. alancaster149 profile image80
    alancaster149posted 10 years ago

    Alas, alack, those for whom English is another planet are too many - including them that were born here of English stock who wouldn't know an apostrophe was if it came up and bit 'em!
    There's just some that can write - and most that can't. They have trouble reading their bus ticket. I went to school with some of them, Dan!

  4. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image88
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 10 years ago

    I agree with WA. Certainly, if HP chooses to create a service to help people learn English, that's their business, but it seems contrary to the basic goals of the site. HP can't be all things to all people. Just because someone is 'sincere' or has 'worthwhile things to contribute' doesn't mean that sub-standard writing should be accepted, or that it would be a cost-effective business decision to 'help' them.  There are plenty of writers who already publish in excellent English. The problem here is having their very good content downgraded in search rankings because of the poor writers who publish here.

    This is not supposed to be a site to teach people how to write; it's a site where people who already know how to write well in English can publish their work. I'm not fluent in French, for example.  Should I expect publications or sites in that language to 'help' me?

  5. WriteAngled profile image77
    WriteAngledposted 10 years ago

    However, Greensleeves, as someone working for the NHS you get full benefits while still working and an index-linked pension when you stop. I will never be able to stop working, because my private pension fund will not provide me with sufficient income to do so. I'm afraid that, in my circumstances, spiritual rewards and warm fuzzies take strictly second place to making a living!

  6. WriteAngled profile image77
    WriteAngledposted 10 years ago

    The whole discussion begs the question of why these people cannot write for sites, or indeed set up writing sites, in their own language.

    Oh yes, because writing in English brings in more money.

    Too bad!

  7. WriteAngled profile image77
    WriteAngledposted 10 years ago

    Oh, and I guess most freelance editors would be in a similar situation to freelance translators with respect to lack of holiday pay, guaranteed work, sick pay, pensions, etc, etc.

    My standard editing rates are £25 sterling, or 40 euros or US $50 per hour. Again, I doubt the non-English speakers here will be banging on my door.

    1. alancaster149 profile image80
      alancaster149posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Having always done my own editing - and then seen real howlers after passing my ms as 'fit' - I wouldn't know the going rate, although £25 hr doesn't look like an avalanche about to splat me. If you've got the cash to splash, go for it!

  8. aa lite profile image85
    aa liteposted 10 years ago

    I hearby offer my services to translate from Polish for any hubber having problems with English......however I won't exactly be able to do this if I am thrown out of my flat for not paying rent, if I don't have electricity to use a computer, if I don't have the money to buy food.

    Therefore I suggest as simple system, I will do the translations, but in the spirit of hubber solidarity and helping people, you guys who think this is a good idea can pay my rent, bills, and help me with all my expenses (which are really quite modest, honest).

    I think this is an excellent idea.  Bypasses the whole sad employment problem altogether.  I'll just pop over to my profile to set up the paypal donate button right now.

    1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
      Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      It really saddens me that such a simple well meant proposal attracts such venom. If you don't want to help then fine, but why get so angry about such an idea? All I can say, is that there are people that I've come across whom I would spend time assisting - not in a foreign translation because I can't do that, but certainly in advice and in other ways, time permitting. If you don't like the idea that's fine, no one is asking you to do anything, but I would ask people not to be so aggressive about a compassionate suggestion.

      1. WriteAngled profile image77
        WriteAngledposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Did you read my previous reply? It takes A WHOLE WORKING DAY to translate 2000 words!!! Moreover, this is a working day of intense mental concentration. It is not equivalent to half an hour of "advice".

        If you cannot offer translation, and are not conscious of what it involves, please do not volunteer those of us who can and are conscious.

        1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
          Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          WriteAngled, please stop this. It is ridiculous how venomous you are being over this. I am not volunteering your services and I am not tryiing to take any business away from you. You clearly have not read my suggestion. I did read your reply, but did you read my original post? It was simply out of synmpathy for those who have problems writing here. It's a free world. No one has to do what I suggest. I'm sorry you find it such an offensive suggestion that someone somewhere may be able and willing to help improve someone else's hubs.

      2. aa lite profile image85
        aa liteposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Angry? Who says anything about me being angry?

        You've said you wanted to help, but you can't because you don't speak foreign languages.  I'm simply showing you how this could be achieved.  I speak a couple of languages (I could probably help with Arabic, if anybody needs that), you help me pay the rent.  This would really be like you helping the poor hubbers who would like to write here but don't speak English.  I would merely be a conduit of your compassion.

        Sorry I thought I was being helpful.

      3. snakeslane profile image82
        snakeslaneposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Hi GH, just to let you know that someone else has posted a similar idea as yours, here's the link:

        1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
          Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          snakeslane; thanks for that. I'll check it out. At the risk of reigniting the debate, I am sure the reason why some reacted badly to this idea is twofold:

          1) They felt it belittled the skill of translators. Of course that was not the intention. Good translators I'm sure may be worth every penny they get paid.
          2) They felt that such a service being offered voluntarily would compete with and adversely affect their earnings from professional translating.

          However I think in a way, the two objections work against each other. If professional translators do a highly skilled job which deserves good pay rates, then this is certainly not a service which would be of interest to the kind of hopeful, budding writers on HubPages which I have seen. The ones I am talking about possibly could not afford it. I can't speak for others but after all the time and effort I've put into hub writing over two years, I'm still only earning about 1-2 dollars a day total. Clearly a professional translation service is not an option for anyone earning such small amounts as are available to the great majority of writers on HubPages, (though without wishing to sound too patronising I daresay a couple of dollars a day would mean a lot to some disadvantaged HubPage members in some countries).

          My interest is simply for those who are able to and who wish to, to give a supporting hand to those who are genuinely trying to write well on HubPages, but are handicapped by language difficulties. Those who write professionally and do so to earn big money, can and should employ professional translators.

          Once again snakelane, thanks for the link. Alun.

  9. WriteAngled profile image77
    WriteAngledposted 10 years ago

    I react as I react because I am sick to the teeth of people in well paid and pensioned jobs assuming that translation is a profession carried out by dilettantes with an independent income, who have all the time in the world to contribute.

    Translation happens to be a fairly skilled endeavour. It is not something one should be expected to do for free. Believe me, the results of translation by a two-bit translator (and I have had to review work by many of these too) will be as dire as the Engrish currently polluting this site.

    Hey AaLite, I'll compete with you in translating out of Polish! I bet I can undercut you, since I bet my bills in the Rhondda are lower than your bills in London. *evil laugh*

    I'll throw in Croatian, Serbian, Bosnian, Slovenian, French, German and Spanish as well, all for a pittance, since these are my other working languages. After all, translation is only a hobby to be done at odd moments of boredom, with no skill or special knowledge required, according to some!

    1. aa lite profile image85
      aa liteposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I really need to move out of London.  I'm so uncompetitive!

      I used to speak (and write) Arabic fluently once upon the time.  I bet you can't compete with that!

      1. WriteAngled profile image77
        WriteAngledposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I concede to you on the Arabic, AALite. I can go as far as Merhaba, which I think might be Arabic for good day, but there I stop.

        Furthermore, I would not dream of competing against you in translating material about frogs and diverse other amphibians, plus genetics and developmental biology out of Polish! Specialist knowledge is a further vital factor in determining translation quality, and you beat me in those fields any day.

  10. WriteAngled profile image77
    WriteAngledposted 10 years ago

    Hey Snakeslane, you live in Canada. Well then, I'm sure you can offer your services for free in the French to English direction. After all, it's easy to pick up a language and be a translation hobbyist. I'm sure you could get there in an evening or two.... [sarcasm]

    1. snakeslane profile image82
      snakeslaneposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the heads up on that (sarcasm).

      1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image92
        Greensleeves Hubsposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        snakelane; sorry you got some flak for your support. It astonishes me that the reaction has been so hostile to the well meant suggestion that the facility should exist for anyone to help a fellow hubber if they wish to do so. Anyone would think I was proposing that HubPage members should be obliged to offer comprehensive translation services to all and sundry! :-)

        1. snakeslane profile image82
          snakeslaneposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          It's OK, I don't mind. I was expecting some heated discussion.

  11. snakeslane profile image82
    snakeslaneposted 10 years ago

    Hey Alun, your compassion is not logical, what were you thinking?

    "Compassion is the understanding or empathy for the suffering of others. It is regarded as a fundamental part of human love, and a cornerstone of greater social interconnection and humanism —foundational to the highest principles in philosophy, society, and personhood" [Wiki]

  12. WriteAngled profile image77
    WriteAngledposted 10 years ago

    That was not an advert, LOL! I am more than fully booked with translation work for most of the time.

    I was trying to make the point that the OP's suggestion implied that some people here with the appropriate skills should not mind spending time equivalent to hundreds of dollars in lost earnings giving away their professional services for nothing.

    I used my standard rates to illustrate the point.

  13. Californialaw profile image59
    Californialawposted 10 years ago


    you can always write hubs in your first language smile people use google search around the world, and not all queries are done in english. There's an audience for everyone I believe

  14. tillsontitan profile image88
    tillsontitanposted 10 years ago

    Hubbers can always take advantage of the assistance of other hubbers to ask questions or ask for help checking their hubs.


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