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I work as a translator for the company.

This employee I deal with within the company is asking for a personal favor to translate something for him. He is capable doing this himself, as he is proficient the both the languages as well. I don't know why he is asking me.

Is this appropriate? He is a decent person, should I do this favor one time for him?

  • 8
    It is OK for him to ask and it is OK for you to say no. – paparazzo Nov 28 '16 at 8:53
  • Possibly related: How do I prevent a client from bleeding me dry with small questions and tasks they expect to receive for free?. This however looks more like a personal matter, and the only thing that makes it job.related is that this guy is your contact at the company. – BgrWorker Nov 28 '16 at 8:55
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    It's perfectly OK to decline. If you don't know why he is asking you, it's also perfectly OK to say "Why are you asking me?" – Laconic Droid Nov 28 '16 at 15:03
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    Is this thing he wants doing anything to do with work, or entirely personal and unrelated? – DJClayworth Nov 28 '16 at 15:12
  • I would ask him if there is something about this translation he is having trouble with. Is it a minor thing or a long process? – Nick Young Nov 28 '16 at 16:56
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If it's a personal matter for him that does not involve the company (not even as a potential competitor), then there is no ethical problem.

That was the part where the workplace comes in. Do you want to do him this favor? we cannot know. You decide.

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He is a decent person

This is not a decent person. A decent person values other peoples' training and time, and works with integrity. It doesn't matter that you both speak the language. This guy is trying to get something for nothing; and as a contractor, you have no expectation of being around to have the "favor" returned.

  • If he wants you to do it, and it's valuable, then he'll offer to pay you for your time, off-the-clock!
  • If he asks you to do it on company time, then he's asking you to commit fraud.
  • If he implies that you should do it because of any common culture shared between the two of you (i.e. "we are brothers!!!"), then he's trying to manipulate you. You don't owe him anything.

Kindly decline and go about your business.

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    Plenty of people get something for "Nothing", plenty of people do something for nothing. If everyone gives and everyone takes everyone is whole. ' – Nick Young Nov 28 '16 at 16:54
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    Everyone that uses StackExchange is asking others to do something for nothing. Does that make us all indecent people? :) – Cypher Nov 28 '16 at 17:56
  • This is what I was thinking. Maybe he was trying to take advantage of me. But I guess it is a personal matter. – Lonol Nov 28 '16 at 22:30
  • @Cypher StackExchange is a context for sharing information. The office is not a context for what happened to the OP. But since you're all about using stuff out-of-context, when would you like to come by, and change the oil, feed the cat, and do some other housework for me? Hmmm. I'll wait. :) – Xavier J Nov 29 '16 at 18:24
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In some companies, this is expressly forbidden - it's not permitted for an employee ask a contractor or fellow employee do "personal" work for them, paid or otherwise.

The problem with "one-time favors" like this is that they're rarely one time - once this employee knows that you're willing to do this work for him, at no charge, he'll come back for more. And more.

If, as you say, this individual is proficient in the language(s) involved here, there's really no reason for him to ask you to do this and it would seem he's trying to take advantage of you. He may see your time as less valuable than his own.

If this individual were a stranger who walked up to you on the street asking for this translation, would you do this it for them, for free?

1

when it is personal, and doesn't involve any conflict of interest (this favor may be personal but the job is not personal in nature like related to company, competitors or other aspects of work relating material), it is your decision to do this favor. if it's not interfering with your other responsibilities (work and personal) I encourage you to do this favor for a decent co-worker. if you consider this person decent, then there must be some reason for him to ask you to do this favor. humans needs to help each other. this is how society works better. but remember that it is a favor, if it is done only 1 time. more than once it may become duty or expectation.

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