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This just in: thebigword pays out big bonus of over £1.5m to one of its directors November 21, 2013

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Translation.

“With its global headquarters in Leeds, thebigword interprets two million minutes of speech and translates 35 million words every month. With 2,500 clients speaking 234 languages across 77 countries, the family-owned business has more than 8,000 freelance linguists and uses automated technology to co-ordinate its global operation.”

This “unnamed highest paid director who took home a total of £1.99m during the year” and is getting an additional “discretionary bonus of £1.68m” should be proud of the work the company has done… oh wait, none of the 8000 translators or interpreters – who do the ACTUAL WORK – are seeing any of that. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got another e-mail asking for yet another 15% pay cut. You know, because the company is hurting so much in this economy. You know they certainly won’t be RAISING rates since it seems they are now doing so well.



1. Allison Wright - November 21, 2013

I am obliged to comment since I only ever click a “like” button if I actually do like what I have read.
Here is a sum: Of that discretionary bonus of GBP1.68 million, let’s be fair and let thebig___ retain, say 20%= GBP0.336 million.
That leaves a discretionary surplus of GBP1.344 million. Divide that by 8,000 translators, and you get GBP168.00. Which does not sound like a lot.
But then, I seem to remember that rates per word from this “successful” company are pitiful. At 5 cents/word, one has to translate 3,360 words; at 3 cents/word, the word count jumps to 5,600. If you believe the much-touted “average” of 2,000 word/day, this equates to 2.8 days.
Multiply that by 8,000 starving translators and you get 22,400 person days. Divide that by 365 days (I am being kind) and you arrive at 61.3699 years,
If you use the more reasonable, and fairly standard number of working days per year of 252, one realises that one translator (hypothetically) would have to work for 88.8889 years to earn GBP1.344 million – and then have to pay tax on it.
But hey, thebig____ probably already has a macro for this calculation.
As you can tell, I do not like this.

2. Allison Wright - November 21, 2013

I am sorry Jill, I have one more comment: I never have, and never will, work for thebigword!

Jill (@bonnjill) - November 21, 2013

Can I “like” your comments? I have never and never will work for thebigword either. Thanks so much for breaking it down for me. I don’t do numbers or math well, which is why I chose languages. LOL

Allison Wright - November 21, 2013

Of course you can! Besides, you don’t need my permission. You have me laughing now.
And musing over the construction, “I have never worked for tbw, and never will [work for tbw implied].” and wondering why I was so careless. I am slipping up. Yours is correct, in that you have at least got one verb grouped together nicely “never will work” thus making the omission of the past participle of worked acceptable, whereas my expression implies (take out the bit in parentheses) “I never have work” – missing its little past tense -ed inflexion. I still won’t work for them! 🙂 I am not teaching you Jill, but I am aware that translators from all language backgrounds read your blog, and they will notice the difference in how we said the same thing, and might be wondering.

3. Kevin Lossner (@GermanENTrans) - November 21, 2013

That shop really is a sty.

4. Raminder - October 21, 2016

Nice post.
Language Interpreters plays an important role in every organization.
Thanks for sharing.

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