The use of phoney billing cooperatives by Spanish freelancers to avoid paying exorbitant autónomo social security contributions

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.


Even the Russian central bank is struggling

Though its interest rate hike press release is only slightly more difficult to understand than Joseph Cotterill's comment, and, despite its rather pressing concerns, it is still doing much better than the Ajuntament de Vic. Here's a free comma to hang behind "loans" in para 2: ,.


Non-compete agreements for freelance translators: the Groucho clause

My standard fare is NL/FR>EN legal and industrial, which goes down with a general lack of fuss and fury.

But every now and again some loon writes, looking for someone to undercut Google Translate on, say, Serbian>Welsh, and sometimes I put out my horns, like the little Kyloe cow (do click!): for Romanian, for example, in order that one day I'll be able to chat with my new friends in London; or for missives from south of the Pyrenees, because some amusing madness tends to ensue.

This morning's Spanish mail is essentially a false freelance agreement: a contract of service masquerading as a contract for services, with employee responsibilities but without any corresponding rights.

The non-compete clause is particularly fine. If you signed such a thing as part of an full-time employment contract, you'd expect a quid pro quo of perhaps 6 months salary.

But here, with no compensation, you'd be prevented on pain of fearful penalties from working freelance for anyone who they may claim at any stage during their freelance relationship with you, and for two years thereafter, to be a client of theirs. And they don't even provide a current client list.

So, it's not a "don't poach my client" so much as a "slave or starve" agreement, and worthy of Groucho: why would an agency want to work with anyone foolish enough to sign such a thing?


JA>ES translator gets it wronger than the Madrid police

If you're in Tokyo the logical assumption is that that local police car is not a Yokohama one, so the "Tokyo" (or whatever) always (?) gets left off:


That the apple is the forbidden fruit is NOT down to translation error

One Alfred López, rehashing what he has found in a thousand other places on internet:

¿Sabías que fue un error de traducción lo que convirtió a la manzana en el ‘fruto prohibido’?


si cogemos la Biblia original (escrita en hebreo) y la repasamos no hay ni un solo momento en el que aparezca nombrada la manzana como la fruta que dio origen al llamado ‘pecado original’.

Esto se debe a que fue un error de traducción, cuando en el año 382 d.C. Jerónimo de Estridón recibió el encargo por parte del papa Damaso I de realizar una versión en latín de la Biblia (la conocida como Vulgata, debido a que estaba escrita para el vulgo, modo de llamar al pueblo llano).

Jerónimo no dominaba el hebreo y, a pesar de trasladarse a Belén para aprenderlo y perfeccionarlo, hizo que en la transcripción de algunos pasajes cometiese algunos errores que han llevado a la confusión a lo largo de todos estos siglos.

Originalmente en el Génesis, aparece el pasaje en el que Dios indica a Adán y Eva que no deberán comer del fruto del árbol del bien y del mal. El término ‘mal’ fue traducido al latín vulgar por ‘malum’ que tanto servía para designar a un acto negativo como para llamar a una manzana, por lo que el vulgo que comenzó a leer la nueva versión de la Biblia se quedó con el significado de manzana.

Unlike Mr López I can't read Hebrew, but Jerome's Latin refers simply to "the tree of knowledge of good and evil", not to "the tree of knowledge of the orange and the apple" (nor obviously, as López would have it, to "el árbol del bien y del mal"):

de ligno autem scientiæ boni et mali ne comedas

There's no good alternative to "malum" here, and the pairing with "bonum" leaves no doubt as to what Jerome intends. Anything else is down to the wit of clever punners like the British C16th/17th Latinist John Owen:

Nudus Adam vétita quod vulsit ab árbore, mālum
Haud fuit, at mālo peius: origo măli

... or is just dumb internet lore.

Cecil Adams dives deeper into the fruitbowl.


Clergyman > clerimang

This encourages my suspicion that dyslexic but often anagrammatic barbarisms are part of a defensive strategy, conscious or not: we must needs take from the foreign devil, but we will transform our takings to frustrate his evil intent or disguise our weakness. There is a parallel, of course, in the way we northern devil-worshippers use "Santa Claus" instead of "Satan Lucas (i.e. Lucifer)" or "Satan's Cause".