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

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

Leave a comment

Have your say!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.