This is not turning into a fucked translators blog, but it is said that freelance translation (or journalism, or such) in Spain is born of the same lunatic heroism that impels people to buy houses there or to walk its pavements.
The numbers and rules are available at the Ministerio de Desempleo e Inseguridad Social and in collections of legislation, and if I could make head or tail of them I’d probably have an official car and chauffeur too. All I really know is that one hands over some €260 a month in social security contributions before scratching chalk on slate.
This is a legal requirement, but in the recent past if one worked for publications like La Vanguardia there existed a don’t ask-don’t tell policy. Both sides knew that most of the freelancers would starve to death if registered as such, what with the precipitous drop in rates of pay as the digital and economic crises kicked in.
And so freelancers were paid with a grandiose lack of interest in the bureaucratic niceties, and they tried not to think of that kindly old pension dragon in Madrid, and of how bitterly it would weep when it discovered that there was no longer a crock of gold for it to sit on.
But the state needed money, money, money, and there was a crackdown, and since then it seems to me that the living dead have bifurcated: many freelancers have shambled into billing cooperatives, while the remainder are said to have acquired Romanian gypsy costumes and macaronic Italian and to have been seen begging quite happily up on the Paseo de Gracia, or wherever.
How do these billing cooperatives work? Again, I am the wrong person to ask, and you -I have always looked up to you, you know that- may want to investigate and report back.
But as I understand it, a hippy accountant signs up translators and journalists to pretend to be his/her associates in a cooperative. Associates can then legally bill their clients, but they only pay social security contributions for the days on which they work; they can eat and drink once more, while the accountant takes his/her cut, changes clothes, and trots off for a round of golf with the PP secretary and the guy from Comisiones.
It is obviously then tempting to declare that one translated the entire works of Bulgakov, wrote an opinion piece on the return of Americans to Cuba’s brothels, and built the great wall of China on Thursday the 18th of December. Because maybe that old pension dragon wasn’t so kindly after all.
But is it legal? And is it (or anything else, apart from Ryanairing off to a provincial English city) advisable?
Discreet fans of camping, footing, and other progressive Anglicisms may be comforted to know that that I did not put the -ing in Ryanairing.
- A revolutionary Balkan gypsy begging flyer
The gypsy beggars and backing-track musos who work the Barcelona local train service systematically and efficiently are an example to Spanish local authorities looking to improve their act: no grasping, arrogant, incompetent, Weberian civil service; a fine tradition of no-budget graphic design; and simple, effective copywriting in the language most likely to mean something, not
- The worst translator in the world? “Quoth she, so much I hate this nation, / I’ll damn this author in translation”
The London Magazine, 1734:
Verses occasioned by Mr. Budgel’s modest Proposal, in the Daily Post-Boy of Aug. 31. to give the Publick a new and accurate Translation of a late celebrated French Treatise, on the Causes of the Grandeur and Declension of the Romans, and which has been already translated.
Dulness, good goddess, chanc’d to
- Some Itanglish in a Dryden comedy
One José María Trilladas has apparently been combing the accounts of the black card looters of Caja Madrid and has discovered that between them the great and the good, lefties and righties, spent everything on, to put it mildly, wine, women and song, and not a single cent on the printed word. But let that not
- Professor Asshole
This is Stronzo Bestiale, the fictitious Italian physicist, author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers. However, stronzo bestiale surely isn’t total asshole – that’s stronzo totale, which I think entered the Italian language via translations of American airport lit – but rather bestial arsehole, or monstrous arsehole, concepts much less sanitised and more evocative of our great shared