Flexible Pricing and Cheap Translation

Flexible pricing is one of the odd things to be aware of here in Abu Dhabi.  Even big, shiny, reputable looking companies do it.  Case in point: the company that we were recommended (Let’s call them IfS; the name has been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty alike). They don’t have prices for some of their services posted anywhere. I have, like several others, paid 110 dirhams per document for translation services. I also paid 200 dirhams to have my marriage certificate attested. Yesterday I left my driver’s license with them to get it interpreted, again paying 110 dirhams, which is what I paid for the marriage certificate translation.

I have since discovered that there are also several people who got things translated for 60 dirhams and attested for 150 by the very same folks in the very same establishment. That’s a considerable difference in pricing, with no difference in service or explanation for the discrepancy.

IfS is also not the most affordable place around (at least not when they decide to charge folks the higher prices). There is talk about a place on Hamdan Street behind the Etisalat building (that would be the one with the golf ball on top, if you know AD) which translates for 75 dirhams per document. Other folks tell about getting a quantity discount because they went in a group. A reliable source tells me that the driver’s license facility actually will translate it while you wait for 60 dirhams.

dirhams

Here’s the moral of the story, kids: ask around about pricing for services, and insist on the lower prices if you hear of a place which, like IfS, has flexible pricing. Sadly for me, I didn’t know that other folks were having things done more cheaply until I’d already paid up front for the service.

As a sort of footnote, don’t underestimate the helpfulness of the hotel concierge, either. The concierge can give advice on a wide range of things. It’s very possible that the concierge could have recommended a place that would be reliable and more affordable for these services. One of my colleagues got a laptop fixed very cheaply because the concierge steered him in the best direction.

When it comes down to it, the 420 dirhams ($114.50) that I’ve paid for having my license translated and marriage certificate both attested and interpreted isn’t just totally outrageous. I mean, Jenia is worth that much to me and then some, and I’ve got to have this stuff done in order to get her here. But if you make this journey, bear my words in mind, because you might save some hard-earned cash if you are a bit more savvy than me.

Thursday List: Things to Do Before the Great Move

1. Finalize Shon’s paperwork, obviously.

2. Quit our jobs.

3. Travel in the US together. California? Maine? Michigan?

4. Become a US citizen.

5. Buy a second laptop.

6. Get VPN.

7. Type up all of my recipes so that I carry a file, not a pile of cookbooks and recipe cards with me.

8. Have a yard sale.

9. Donate our stuff.

10. Pack and move the things we want to keep to Shon’s dad’s house.

11. Find new homes for our dogs.

12. Get new glasses and/or contacts.

13. Sell the car and possibly the truck.

Do you have anything to add, Shon?

First Fail

Well, actually, it’s not a failure, really, it’s a minor setback.  My documents came back from the SOS in Atlanta today–and lo and behold, they didn’t need a notarized copy of my marriage certificate, they needed the original.  Lo and behold, the SOS website says as much, but I was too hurried to pay it careful enough attention.  Still, I called the SOS office to be sure I had everything done correctly before I mailed it, and I said, “I have copies of my degree, my teaching certificate, and my marriage certificate, all notarized, and a statement from the local Clerk of Court for all of them.  Does this sound right?”  The reply was, “Yes.”  So I figured I’d be good, right?  I mean, I confirmed everything with the very office I was mailing these things to.  I almost included the original marriage certificate when I mailed everything, just to be on the safe side, but then I decided against it.  Silly me.  Now I’m set back about a week. The extra week wouldn’t really matter, but Teach Away has decided to bump the “due date” for finalized documents up to May 9 (a deadline which I can’t possibly make, even if everything is expedited).  So there is a certain stress factor, but I’m determined not to worry inordinately about it.  Things will progress as quickly as possible, and that’s just the way it is.

Heck, I might just drive up there one day next week and hand-deliver everything in Atlanta.  Sure, it’ll cost me $50 in gas, but at least it’ll be done instantly and I can move on.  Or I could just pay another $7.00 and use the postal service.  Comparing numbers makes the post office look pretty good.  Yeah, I’ll probably just mail it all.