Translation service providers often work in a type of global wonderland: You interact with people around the world who are worldly and open-minded. Unless ones work involves animal testing or abortion or a similar topic, translators are unlikely to get political about their work.
But the world, it is a-changing.
We recently received the following email from a medical translator who has worked for a long-standing device client of ours:
"I'm not sure if you were aware, but there is a boycott in Mexico regarding travel, business, services, etc. related to Arizona and companies based there. It has come to my attention that [medical device company] is a company based in Arizona, U.S.A.It's not like our team was living under a rock and hadn't heard of recent events in Arizona but we were nevertheless surprised.
I offer my sincerest apologies, but I have to terminate my contribution to this project due to my collaboration with this boycott. My timing is highly unfortunate. I realize this will affect our working relationship. I hope you can understand that had I known this earlier, I would have informed you appropriately."
What is your take on this?
Is it the right thing to do to quit work for political reasons? Or should you suck it up and separate translation work from politics?
ForeignExchange Translations provides specialized medical translation and software localization services to medical device and pharmaceutical companies. Contact us to learn more.