Quality Control, Part IV

Catch up on the first three parts! Part I, Part II, Part III

Act II

Scene II

Hristo walks back in to the kitchen with his arms full of fruits and vegetables. He sets everything down on the table, careful to put the things that go in the fridge closest to the fridge, and flips open his laptop. He sees a few unread emails, mostly spam, but there is a reply from Linda. He rummages around the table for an apple and takes a huge bite and opens Linda’s message.

HRISTO: (inner voice)

“Dear Hristo,

Thanks for your message, I understand your concerns about the lack of context, please just do your best. This is a difficult test for a difficult project.

Best,

Linda

Sent from my iPhone”

(to himself): Just do my best. OK.

Hristo holds the apple in his mouth with his teeth and begins to clack a reply.

HRISTO: (speaking to himself while typing, typing sounds and email projected above him in real time)

“Dear Linda,

OK. I do my best. I hope your corrector in house knows how difficult of text this is and will be nice to me when he corrects it. I have a question: Do you usually give 2 days to translate 450 words because I can 450 words translate in 2 hours?  We learn that American agencies need translations fast and now test parameters are telling me is not important how fast.

Hristo”

***

Linda’s apartment is revealed on the other half of the stage opposite Hristo’s apartment. Her living room, tidy and complete with IKEA furniture is a small, cozy affair. There is a large, free-standing bookcase with yearbooks on the bottom and two shelves full of great French and English literature proudly on display. An empty vase, an old baseball and some dead batteries adorn the next shelf up. On the very top shelf, out of eye-shot of the average person, is her collection of guilty pleasure reads. The books are not on end as to better hide the titles that slope down their spines. A pile of Sookie Stackhouse books is topped with Fifty Shades of Grey; Linda doesn’t mind that people can see that title because it’s in vogue at the moment. Linda is in her pajamas in the armchair. A mug of chamomile tea spews wisps of vapor around her and a homemade afghan is slightly pulled over her. The Economist, Multilingua and other such periodicals are on the coffee table separating the bookshelf and her chair, but Linda has a French issue of Marie Claire in her lap. The TV is on in the background and David Letterman is in the middle of his monologue when the vibration from her iPhone alerts her of a new email.

(There is no speaking, just an exchange of emails, typed out and projected in real time as Hristo and Linda type their responses to each other regarding the test translation. Hristo’s email is still being projected above his kitchen and Linda reads it on her phone and starts to type away her reply. Between every exchange of email, Linda and Hristo continue their activities in their homes; Linda watching TV, picking up a book, leaving stage [presumably to kitchen] and re-emerging with popcorn, Hristo, putting his groceries away, surfing the Internet, fixing his plant, washing some dishes. There will generally be about a 10-second delay between messages being sent and received by other character; for Linda there is always a vibration from her phone and for Hristo a small chime to indicate the new email, both recorded and played to cue actors.)

LINDA:

“Dear Hristo,

Thanks for the message. For projects we would usually ask you to turn in to us 450 words same day or next day depending on the timing. We give you two days to do the test translation so we can accurately gauge your abilities.

Best,

Linda

Sent from my iPhone”

HRISTO:

“Hello Linda:

I am confused. If you want usually to have 450 words done in one day or less than one day, how do you gauge my ability with two days of time? Is it possible to have your in house Bulgarian translator give me direct feedback on the test?

Thank you.

Hristo”

LINDA:

“Hi Hristo,

We just want to make sure that what you submit is an accurate reflection of the quality you can deliver. I will have to check about the feedback….

Best,

Linda

Sent from my iPhone”

HRISTO:

“OK, Linda. Well, I will do the test today but I want corrector to know that I do translation test in 2 hours, not 2 days. 2 days of translating 450 words shows accurately how slow I translate!! 2 days doesn’t make sense to me, I do it like is real job. By the way, what is your rate for this translation?

Hristo”

LINDA:

“Hi Hristo,

Sure, that sounds great. I will make sure everything is clear when your test is graded. Regarding the rate, well, for the test translation there is no rate, we don’t pay for those. I will have to get back to you regarding what my budget for the actual project is when I get back into the office tomorrow and given your Tetris accelerator.

Regards,

Linda

Sent from my iPhone”

(With that message, Linda turns off the TV and leaves the room, her lights go off.)

Hristo receives the last email and reads it carefully. He reads it again and again scratching his head. He quickly opens a few new tabs and does an Internet search, he goes into the other room and comes back into the kitchen with a large dictionary.

HRISTO: (to himself) …and given my Tetris accelerator. Какво по дяволите?

“OK, Linda, thank you for letting your corrector know. They told me that test translations were not paid often. I did not believe it! I guess is true. But I don’t understand, why don’t you pay the test translation? I can’t give test to plumber when I need him. I can’t give test to doctor. Maybe agencies give different 450 words test translations to 10 translators free and then they have free 4.500 words document!

What is this Tetris accelerator? I do not have one. Do I need one? I can not find them online. Please explain.

Hristo”

Part V here!

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3 comments

  1. Pingback: Quality Control, part III « roughly translated

  2. Pingback: Quality Control, Part V « roughly translated

  3. Pingback: Quality Control, Part VI « roughly translated

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