Working for WageIndicator ­ A Hummingbird’s Eye View

By Laurent Boquet, teacher, translator and interpreter for Francophone WageIndicator

I’ve been collaborating with Wageindicator for more than two years now. I mainly do translation work from English into my mother tongue, which is French. I translate documents dealing with topics like the living wage, working conditions, the gender pay gap, maternity leave, hazardous work etc.

To Teach is to Light a Fire

Translating is not my main activity. Actually I mostly teach French as a foreign language. I work online and I teach my students using Skype or other Web conferencing services. Teaching French is a very rewarding activity and I am really happy with it. I am my own boss and I organize my time in the way I want. Teaching a language from my not so humble point of view is not only about explaining new words and grammar rules. I love this quote from an Irish poet because it says it all : ‘Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire.’ And this is the way it works. The idea is just to start lighting a fire and ask the student to continue feeding it to make it grow. But I am going off topic... I am supposed to speak about working with WageIndicator. 

A Teacher Inspired

Let me put it in this way: sometimes it happens that the fire is lit by the student herself. This happened to me when I came to know Paulien Osse who needed some help with her French. The topics which were on her mind, and the knowledge and expertise which she brought to them really aroused and teased my curiosity. Today working with WageIndicator gives me the chance to contribute in my own rather limited way to make this world a better place. It is not just words converted into another language: these words are meant to help someone somewhere to improve their life or to ease someone’s burden.

The Contribution of Hummingbirds

By the way, do you know the legend of the hummingbird? One day, there was a huge forest fire. All the animals were terrified, as they were watching the disaster unfold. Only the little hummingbird was active, fetching a few drops of water with its beak to throw onto the flames. After a while, the armadillo, annoyed by this useless agitation cried out : ‘Little bird! Don’t be a fool. It is not with those tiny drops of water one by one that you are going to put out the fire and save us all!’  And the hummingbird replied, ‘That might very well be, but I’m going to do my bit anyhow’. 

I feel like this hummingbird, which is rather funny given the relationship between my size and that of the hummingbird! I know that all the people gathered for the 2015 WageIndicator Conference try to do their bit, and I also know that some are in charge of bigger bits than others. But we can be sure that WageIndicator hummingbirds will continue to convince more and more workers and employers to use the data and the information on our websites to learn about their rights or obligations and to improve their working and living conditions. 

We should not be afraid. And with a touch of humor, let’s finish by remembering that we have nothing to lose but our chains. We have a world to win. Working men and women of all countries, please visit WageIndicator websites and unite!