Sunday, 21 August 2011

Travailleuse transfrontalière

I meant to write a post some time ago about the issue of rates and translation agencies, after one agency wrote to me proudly announcing that it was expanding, gaining new clients and considerably higher volumes of work. In return for this success and booming business, the agency wanted to assure me that it wanted to keep me on its list of preferred translators, if I cut my rates. It's good to know that it was perfectly happy to pay my rates (which aren't extortionate by any means) when business wasn't going so well, but now with soaring turnover and profits it would be a problem. I started drafting a post about this, and the trouble of the profession not being treated professionally, but then a few other things got in the way...

To cut a long story short, I had two job interviews and two job offers in the space of two weeks. An exciting whirlwind of e-mails, flight bookings, train bookings and a packed suitcase later, and I am now a cross-border worker (or travailleuse transfrontalière). I'm working as an in-house translator in Luxembourg but currently commuting from Thionville, over the border in the Lorraine region of France.

My new job is great so far - the team's very nice and friendly and it's a relaxed atmosphere. Tea and coffee is provided for free, so my caffeine addiction is suitably supplied (and I'm trying not to let living in France set off a bout of brioche addiction...). Train stations aside, I have a nice walk both sides - along by the Moselle river in Thionville and through the winding cobbled streets of Grund along the Alzette in Lux.

However, I've realised it's very important to make sure you know which train you're getting at Lux. It's not simply a case of potentially ending up at the wrong town, but also the wrong country. A train from one side of a platform might go to Germany, while on the other side the destination is France. Or indeed Belgium or Switzerland. Or just elsewhere in Lux. This isn't an issue I encountered when I used to commute to London... Coming from an island, it still amazes me how easy it is to get a train to another country in Europe. My train to Thionville from Brussels took me through Belgium, Luxembourg and France in a matter of a few hours, and would have taken me to Switzerland had I stayed on board (I was tempted - the last time I went through Switzerland on the train was going from Düsseldorf in Germany to Milan in Italy, and the scenery was incredible).

I'm only staying here in France for a month - a friend has very kindly let me stay whilst he's on holiday - then I go home for a week and, when I return, I move to Luxembourg properly. Here's hoping all the form-filling and registration goes smoothly...

1 comment:

  1. I've been on that train! The only drawback is there's no food :(