St. Jerome: a good role model for translators?

Kinetic sculpture of Saint Jerome, by Michael Landy,2012:  Saints Alive, a new exhibition at the National Gallery in London, features “large-scale kinetic sculptures by Michael Landy that bring a contemporary twist to the lives of the saints”. The saints on display include St. Jerome, renowned for his translation of the Bible and the patron saint of translators.

St. Jerome (borrowed from a painting by Cosimo Tura from 1470) is shown hitting himself continuously on the chest with a chunk of rock, as he was said to have done when seeking forgiveness for his sins.

Beating yourself up over fees?

On what might seem a different topic (but read on…), here are excerpts from two articles on free-lancing and pricing by Walt Kania at The Freelancery: No more self-inflicted discounts, and Writers Worth: A Dirty Little Secret About Pricing:

I catch myself doing this from time to time. And I always want to slap myself.

It’s what Mike Monteiro of Mule Design calls ‘negotiating on behalf of the client.’

Which means, when wrestling with an estimate or a quote or a proposal, we end up finding all sorts of reasons to lower the fee. I was a master at this.


If the client beefs and tries to beat down the fee, that’s one thing. From there, you get to decide yes or no. That’s your call.

But don’t beat yourself up first. Even if it feels the safer way out.

What do you think, translators (and small-business owners)? Who’s the better role model: St. Jerome, or Walt?

Credits and information:

Michael Landy, Saint Jerome, 2012 – Duerckheim Collection
© Michael Landy, courtesy of the Thomas Dane Gallery, London / Photo: The National Gallery, London

With thanks to Corinne McKay for pointing out the Walt Kania articles.

The Saints Alive exhibition runs until 24 November 2013 at the National Gallery in London.

By Marian Dougan

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