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Decline in work overall
Thread poster: Helene Olsen Richards

Helene Olsen Richards  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
Member (2006)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Proz Jul 10

Anil Gidwani wrote:

I think ProZ can indeed take the stand that it is a marketplace for quality translations and either

a) ban MTPE jobs outright, or

b) call for MTPE jobs to be identified as being MTPE, and provide a filter for translators to screen out such jobs from their jobs dashboard.

Is a) possible? Yes, I believe so. Because ProZ does not charge for people to post job ads (correct me if I am wrong). And since job posters are not paying a fee, ProZ can in fact ban MTPE jobs in the interests of the industry.


[Edited at 2019-07-10 09:06 GMT]


So many seem to be against trying to male Proz change. It may not be easy and it may not happen but I got one would want to try as it’s my livelihood and has been for over 18 years. If we can get enough signatures from translators paying Proz saying we don’t want to Renee our membership if they don’t do something plus we have the backing of the Common Sense Advisory— we are telling a potential huge loss. They will end up losing in the end anyway if they keep it up - they are just not at a point yet where they see what’s going on. Truly. If you look at the “idea” and comment section to Proz, you can see they don’t really read whey we have to say. Thru don’t care. People were pleading for years to get a Proz app: it took them years to make one! It’s not that hard. It’s obvious they don’t follow the trends. It’s sll about making money- understandably- they are a business but at some point a business with over 800.000 members- thats just individuals.. need to stop and think about what is good for the community and the future. The way it’s going, there won’t be a future. So we need to make them listen. I’m in the middle of creating a signature campaign/petition and I really hope you all will sign it and share it. The more we can bring to the table, the better our odds are.


writeaway
NG Translation
Kaspars Melkis
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
So right! Jul 10

Andrew Morris wrote:
As freelancers, it's ourselves we have to change.

Absolutely!

Efforts to bring about improvement would be better aimed at governments, as they are the only ones with the reach and the power to do anything about it. The number of "hobby" translators willing to work for a cent or two would be cut if every person had to declare every cent for tax, for a start. And bringing in some sort of industry regulation would cut most of them out entirely. As someone who has very few qualifications of any sort apart from over 40 years of work, 20 of them in the language industry, I think it would be a shame if regulations forced everyone to go through years of training, but some sort of entry requirement ought to be brought in, if only for some of the work. That isn't a job for ProZ.com; it's a job for governments around the world. Very many professions are regulated already.

OTOH, I fail to see that any pressure group is going to be able to do anything to stop the constant progress of MT (in market share if not in quality). The buzzwords in every industry are: AI, hi-tech, automation, big data ... It isn't just the "new" industries that are affected nowadays, nor is it even just the technical ones. Fight it as much as you can, you can't stop it. I'm not fighting it because that would be stupid, IMO, but I can't really take advantage of it either as I'm just too old to cope with such massive changes . All younger translators would do themselves a favour by jumping on board and leading the 4th industrial revolution down the best paths, IMHO.


Andrew Morris
Angie Garbarino
John Fossey
Natalia Potashnik
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:30
English to Latvian
+ ...
@Sheila Jul 10

It is not that the government writes regulations out of blue air. They mostly do it in cooperation with the industry bodies who suggest standards.

Good example in pharmacy is ICH (The International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use) which sets standards for state regulators but was mostly created in response to the industry need to avoid regulatory burden for multinational companies.

Individual translators are in no p
... See more
It is not that the government writes regulations out of blue air. They mostly do it in cooperation with the industry bodies who suggest standards.

Good example in pharmacy is ICH (The International Council for Harmonisation of Technical Requirements for Pharmaceuticals for Human Use) which sets standards for state regulators but was mostly created in response to the industry need to avoid regulatory burden for multinational companies.

Individual translators are in no position to lobby governments. It has to be done by bigger fish, like ATA, and ProZ actually could have some influence. Unfortunately they decided to believe the hype and went PEMT route. Maybe it is more profitable to them, I don't know. But certainly it is not beneficial to translators.

And I think it is quite rude of Proz staff to tell me to change, implying that I have to become PEMT operator too. I have actually changed as a freelancer but in the oposite direction. I have specialized, I got a degree in a field and enjoy working as a freelance translator more than ever. That is my advice to all young translators too. Don't become PEMT operators, that is not a career with development opportunities. Find a subject you really like and go deep.

[Edited at 2019-07-10 11:23 GMT]
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NG Translation
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
No such implication Jul 10

Kaspars Melkis wrote:

And I think it is quite rude of Proz staff to tell me to change, implying that I have to become PEMT operator too. I have actually changed as a freelancer but in the oposite direction. I have specialized, I got a degree in a field and enjoy working as a freelance translator more than ever. That is my advice to all young translators too. Don't become PEMT operators, that is not a career with development opportunities. Find a subject you really like and go deep.

[Edited at 2019-07-10 11:23 GMT]


Kaspar no one was suggesting you as a person have to change, and still less to become a PEMT operator. If I may so, that is an absurd inference from what I wrote.

In fact, I would agree with you on being specialised. That is in fact what I meant by freelancers changing – even though the specialisation route is just one option among many.


Jorge Payan
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:30
English to Latvian
+ ...
@Andrew Jul 10

Andrew Morris wrote:

Kaspar no one was suggesting you as a person have to change, and still less to become a PEMT operator. If I may so, that is an absurd inference from what I wrote.

In fact, I would agree with you on being specialised. That is in fact what I meant by freelancers changing – even though the specialisation route is just one option among many.


And what those other routes could be?

In any case case, it sounded like a suggestion that translators shouldn't need Proz to change but Proz needs translators to change.

Since Proz is becoming more a place for job offers involving PEMT, it is a very logical conclusion that the change implies being able to accept those offers. But in case I have misunderstood, could you, please, clarify what you really meant?


writeaway
 

Andrew Morris
ProZ.com team
If we don't change, we will go out of business. Jul 10

Whichever way you look, we need to adapt.

Yes, we all need to change. Like in any industry, in the history of the planet. If we wait around for the industry to make the changes we seek, we may be in for a long wait.

In terms of other routes, well there are several: giving better value in terms of service is one route. Seeking out direct clients is another. Either way, it may mean many of us have to look beyond agencies.

As for the ubiquitous PEMT. I've b
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Whichever way you look, we need to adapt.

Yes, we all need to change. Like in any industry, in the history of the planet. If we wait around for the industry to make the changes we seek, we may be in for a long wait.

In terms of other routes, well there are several: giving better value in terms of service is one route. Seeking out direct clients is another. Either way, it may mean many of us have to look beyond agencies.

As for the ubiquitous PEMT. I've been translating for ten years now. Fewer than many here, but enough to draw a few conclusions. And I've never yet been offered a PEMT text to work on. Not once.
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Jorge Payan
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:30
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Nobody is telling you what to do Jul 10

Kaspars Melkis wrote:

It is not that the government writes regulations out of blue air. They mostly do it in cooperation with the industry bodies who suggest standards.

Individual translators are in no position to lobby governments. It has to be done by bigger fish, like ATA, and ProZ actually could have some influence.

I agree, it's a matter for bodies such as ATA and others around the world. I doubt that ProZ.com would be asked to play a part, but I suppose it's possible.

Unfortunately they decided to believe the hype and went PEMT route. Maybe it is more profitable to them, I don't know. But certainly it is not beneficial to translators.

And I think it is quite rude of Proz staff to tell me to change, implying that I have to become PEMT operator too.

Who has done that? I've never heard ProZ.com telling us how to run our businesses. In fact, they've always stayed well away from that aspect, unlike other platforms that insist on 100% communication through the platform. This site is just a meeting-place.

I have actually changed as a freelancer but in the oposite direction. I have specialized, I got a degree in a field and enjoy working as a freelance translator more than ever. That is my advice to all young translators too. Don't become PEMT operators, that is not a career with development opportunities. Find a subject you really like and go deep.

Maybe my previous post wasn't as clear as I intended. I'm a specialist too and I always encourage others to be the same. Life as a generalist in any of the principal pairs must be hell; the only people who need to tackle most subject areas are those working in extremely rare pairs, in conjunction with monolingual subject specialists where necessary. I'm not saying anybody should become a generalist PEMT operator (although I'm sure they exist). But even in your specialist subject area, you need to embrace the new technologies, not fight them. Demanding that they go away simply isn't realistic.


John Fossey
Andrew Morris
Jorge Payan
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:30
English to French
More than translators Jul 10

it is the industry that needs to change. Not that I disagree that translators should change as well. Like everywhere else, we have to adapt to new technologies and trends. But the core of the problem is: price is valued over quality and when prices go down to stay "competitive", only translators pay the price.
To stay in the topic of decline in work, I am now up to five different agencies (in subtitling though) telling me they don't send work simply because they don't receive any in my lan
... See more
it is the industry that needs to change. Not that I disagree that translators should change as well. Like everywhere else, we have to adapt to new technologies and trends. But the core of the problem is: price is valued over quality and when prices go down to stay "competitive", only translators pay the price.
To stay in the topic of decline in work, I am now up to five different agencies (in subtitling though) telling me they don't send work simply because they don't receive any in my language pair. Alternatively, I still see many subtitled series and movies coming out, more and more with atrocious translations (looking at you, Netflix).
So I'm changing. I use this (long) time without work to train and add new services and soon a new language. But I know this won't solve the problem of agencies and clients overall replacing good translators with people accepting slave rates. More than translators, this is the entire industry behind translation that needs to change.
If they keep pressuring the people who do the actual work of translating (while they're still paid the same doing nothing), not only quality will disappear, but translators as well. Who wants to work in an industry where you can't even make minimum wage even when you work all month?
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Elizabeth Chivers
 

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:30
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
This is what I was told... Jul 10

... by a PM at an agency that used to give me a LOT of work 8 years ago, and for better rates than they are offering now (for a very sporadic workload):

"What I do know in a general sense is that competition is up across the board for all types of clients in all types of sectors over the last several years, such that prices are problematic industry-wide. I've sat in on some very drawn-out discussions on the matter at ATA and some other fora in recent years, but no one seems to have
... See more
... by a PM at an agency that used to give me a LOT of work 8 years ago, and for better rates than they are offering now (for a very sporadic workload):

"What I do know in a general sense is that competition is up across the board for all types of clients in all types of sectors over the last several years, such that prices are problematic industry-wide. I've sat in on some very drawn-out discussions on the matter at ATA and some other fora in recent years, but no one seems to have a good solution."

Having made the mistake of putting all my eggs in one major client basket before, I now try to aggressively pursue new ones while keeping the ones I have happy.
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Elizabeth Chivers
Lisa Grayson
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:30
English to Latvian
+ ...
@Andew Jul 10

Andrew Morris wrote:
As for the ubiquitous PEMT. I've been translating for ten years now. Fewer than many here, but enough to draw a few conclusions. And I've never yet been offered a PEMT text to work on. Not once.


If it is such a non-issue, wouldn't you agree that prohibition to post PEMT jobs on Proz would be a good idea?


 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:30
English to Latvian
+ ...
ATA, Proz etc. Jul 10

MK2010 wrote:
I've sat in on some very drawn-out discussions on the matter at ATA and some other fora in recent years, but no one seems to have a good solution."


ATA, just like Proz, accepts both individuals and companies as paying members. Inevitably it causes the conflict of interest and makes them inefective in solving the problems of either party.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 22:30
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Working Men of All Countries, Unite! (Unless you're making money, in which case you're the enemy) Jul 10

I think it's absolutely hilarious that people are calling for people to unite in a thread that has people denigrating and defaming others not experiencing decline in work as self-advertising braggarts and telling them to get the flip out.

Empathy my evacuating rectum.


 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:30
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
. Jul 10

If it is such a non-issue, wouldn't you agree that prohibition to post PEMT jobs on Proz would be a good idea?


I wouldn't go that far. There are cases where TM makes sense, i.d. where the machine translation is actually very good and needs little to no editing. This is mainly the case for very repetitive texts with an easy structure (I have seen such translations, although not very often).

What definitely should be banned are agencies that try to sell MTPE as normal editor work without labeling them.

Maybe the agencies that are using TM heavily now are dying out in the near future, who knows?

The MTs of the agency I mentioned before are so bad, I am wondering how they find people for the editing work. It is in no way lucrative for the editors. I can't imagine that they will keep a quality level when they are going on like this, and it was a medium to upper range agency before.


IanDhu
 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:30
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
And by the way Jul 10

Please, dear ProZ, ban all agencies that are paying a lower rate than 6 or 5 cents per word, or at least introduce a an option to mark them in some way.

Elizabeth Chivers
IanDhu
Yulia Zubkova
Anil Gidwani
Lisa Grayson
 

Elizabeth Chivers
Chile
Local time: 11:30
Member (Jun 2019)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, I agree very much Jul 10

Helene Olsen Richards wrote:

Hi

Has anyone else noticed a general decline in the amount of posted ads and work coming in? I have heard the same from many colleagues/clients.



I have been working in the field for about 7-8 years, so a lot less than many of you. However, I have seen a very large decline in work this year, and especially over the last few months. I started working in the field without having obtained a degree in the field of translation. So, I decided to get a Master's Degree to really solidify my profession and try to become as educated as possible to perform my job. Well, since receiving my degree, I have actually had less work! Many of my old clients started asking me to reduce my rates, and if I didn't, they found someone else. The average rates have gone down where I live, while the cost of life continues to go up. I am now trying to pay back student loans for a degree that I suddenly realize may not have the worth or weight I had hoped it would. The trend scares me greatly. I too am trying to diversify, specialize, etc., but I would really appreciate other opinions about how to move forward with a Master's Degree in this field if there is not going to be enough work in the future. What other jobs will be open to us? I also thought about trying to get ATA-certified, but they also charge a ton of money to take the test, and I wonder if it even makes a difference. I am so sick of paying money to get educated, certified, become a member of ProZ, and there just seems to be so little in return.

Thanks for listening.


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