FORMING A GUILD was an idea I brought to the floor when the founding members of the International Association of Professional Translators and Interpreters (IAPTI) first started talking about forming the group (which now has chapters in about 60 countries) before it was founded. I mean, I was perfectly aware that "the one percent" had in recent years sought (and has had great success in that task) to propagandize against unions, guilds and co-ops. In fact, US big business has been doing that ever since Ronald Reagan dealt unions a crushing blow during his administration, which is probably why corporate types revere him as a sort of god of conservatism.
But having myself been a card-carrying member of the American Federation of Musicians already when I was only 15 and coming from the same hometown as screenwriter Dudley Nichols, who became the first person in history to turn down an Oscar, because the American Screen Writers Guild (of which he served as president) happened to be striking for better conditions when he won it, I was more than a little surprised to find how many fellow freelancers looked at me as if I'd just cast aspersions on their mothers by saying that word: Guild.
I still believe that while, for the past several years now, IAPTI has been doing an excellent job of sparking awareness about how to safeguard translation and interpreting quality and the professional status of the T&I community, there is a major front that remains uncovered and vulnerable to attack by bottom-feeding wholesalers, corporate MT hawkers and many of our own peers who simply give up the fight because they think fighting B2B on an individual basis is hopeless, no matter how bad the quality-level of service wholesalers are offering might be. And I also believe that guilds and co-ops could provide an absolutely viable solution. In fact, call it what you will, any organization that could provide individual freelancers with a rallying point around which to form a proactive business front would do the trick.