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Soldiers and Generals

In a ProZ webinar during International Translation Day (September 30), speaker Claudia Brauer made a fitting analogy that I hadn't thought of before. I find it helpful when people hang a label on concepts floating around in one's mind.

She said that she was addressing the soldiers and not the generals. In other words, we translators who work freelance with mainly agencies and are not bent on building a business are soldiers. The generals are the people setting up businesses and seeking niche markets. I would think that they also charge higher rates than what we receive from agencies, but the skillset is different as well as the risk and time involved.

I was trying to come up with some synonyms for soldiers and generals. I like: factory workers and factory owners. Worker bees and queen bees. I think worker should be either stated or implied because though our work is electronic, I always have the sensation that I am assembling sentences as if they were pieces of metal or wood—–not to discredit all our intellectual work that goes along with it.

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