Are things getting quieter?
Thread poster: NickyO

NickyO
United Kingdom
Dutch to English
Oct 7

I have been a professional, full-time translator (NL-EN) for the past 12-ish years. It was quite hard in the beginning but once I had established myself, the work came rolling in. I have sustained this for the past decade or so and had a pretty successful career. Over the past year or so, however, I have noticed a bit of a downward trend in terms of work. It's nothing dramatic; I'm just not quite as busy as I used to be. I only work for agencies and some of these have changed over the years (tak... See more
I have been a professional, full-time translator (NL-EN) for the past 12-ish years. It was quite hard in the beginning but once I had established myself, the work came rolling in. I have sustained this for the past decade or so and had a pretty successful career. Over the past year or so, however, I have noticed a bit of a downward trend in terms of work. It's nothing dramatic; I'm just not quite as busy as I used to be. I only work for agencies and some of these have changed over the years (takeovers, mergers, etc.) but my name has always stayed on their radar and I've enjoyed plenty of work.
Is this a general trend that other, experienced translators have noticed? I realise that the industry is always changing and that Google translate lurks around every corner but I am just curious to know whether other translators have noticed this gradual reduction too (and also, perhaps, what they have done about it - marketing/reducing fees...?).
Thanks,
Nicky.
Collapse


Katharina Mergl
gordana spendic
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:08
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Very bad for years Oct 7

In Brazil the market has been very bad for at least 10 years. The philosophy of 'My wife's brother's neighbour's friend's lover's father spent a week in Disney and can do it for free' has a lot to do with this, together with the advent of machine translation.

 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:08
Member
Italian to English
Hard to say Oct 7

For me, July and August were crazy busy, September has been very quiet.
As the market changes, we must be prepared to adapt. Possibilities include specialisation and diversification.
I highly recommend the book "Diversification in the Language Industry: Success beyond translation" by Nicole Y. Adams.
I do medical work and am in the process of setting up a new brand and going to industry conferences, in my case cardiology.
Definitely not lowering my rates - that's a very
... See more
For me, July and August were crazy busy, September has been very quiet.
As the market changes, we must be prepared to adapt. Possibilities include specialisation and diversification.
I highly recommend the book "Diversification in the Language Industry: Success beyond translation" by Nicole Y. Adams.
I do medical work and am in the process of setting up a new brand and going to industry conferences, in my case cardiology.
Definitely not lowering my rates - that's a very slippery slope.
Collapse


Dan Lucas
Clio KOUSI
Axel Dittmer
Ildiko Santana
Chris Spurgin
gordana spendic
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:08
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Oct 7

Things have been quite busy these last years in my neck of the woods. As you live in the UK, I wouldn’t be surprised that the Brexit saga and all the current political turmoil are playing a part… Good luck!

 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:08
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Cyclical issues, possibly Oct 7

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:
For me, July and August were crazy busy, September has been very quiet.

Almost exactly the same experience. September was quieter, though I needed a rest and turned work down as well - possibly too much.

Remember that the macro picture is not good. Trade friction, slowing economies and Brexit all cause uncertainty, and that in turn discourages companies from committing to spending they can put off to a later date. Translation is not going to be unaffected by this. But then again October has started off well for me, so who knows?

Regards,
Dan


Clio KOUSI
Helena Chavarria
 

LIZ LI
China
Local time: 14:08
Member (2008)
French to Chinese
+ ...
Estimates Oct 7

I have an easy and leisure start this month, 30% of monthly set goal accomplished by now on a single job during our national holiday.
Usually peak season comes along till Christmas and a major event that I have been working for is about to launch mi-Oct.
I am grateful that AI hasn't been smart enough to do an accurate translation from my mother tongue these days so my business keeps busy.
But it's true that lots of my peers are facing some threats and opportunities that neve
... See more
I have an easy and leisure start this month, 30% of monthly set goal accomplished by now on a single job during our national holiday.
Usually peak season comes along till Christmas and a major event that I have been working for is about to launch mi-Oct.
I am grateful that AI hasn't been smart enough to do an accurate translation from my mother tongue these days so my business keeps busy.
But it's true that lots of my peers are facing some threats and opportunities that never have seen before.
Collapse


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:08
German to English
Scam business heating up Oct 7

I've come to the conclusion that the number of scams rises in inverse proportion to good jobs. Back in the early days of the Internet (think Compuserve and AOL), there was plenty of work at sufficient rates (offers of eight cents/word were considered low). The scams I recall related more to bald money laundering requests rather than collecting bank information under false pretenses. There was an apparent equilibrium of supply and demand, and "Glenn's Guide" published a compendium of agencies and... See more
I've come to the conclusion that the number of scams rises in inverse proportion to good jobs. Back in the early days of the Internet (think Compuserve and AOL), there was plenty of work at sufficient rates (offers of eight cents/word were considered low). The scams I recall related more to bald money laundering requests rather than collecting bank information under false pretenses. There was an apparent equilibrium of supply and demand, and "Glenn's Guide" published a compendium of agencies and related specialties in an effort to help translators meet the growing demand for their services.

Nowadays there are numerous websites devoted to erratic payers and outright fraudulent actors in our business. Last year someone started a Yahoo group for "preferred clients" ("Best Companies ..."). Don't bother to look, there's not much there.

For years pundits have been predicting an industry-wide shake out, forcing mergers among agencies and reduction of bit players. The mergers have occurred (along with acquisitions by private equity investors), but the small fry have been hanging on, and – as far as I can tell – have actually increased in number, resulting in a downward rate spiral, but not increased opportunities for translators who need to make a living from their efforts.
Collapse


writeaway
Ildiko Santana
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:08
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
No Oct 7

I have billed 22% more work in the past 12 months than in the preceding 12 months. So for me it has been getting busier, not quieter.

I've always found that bad times (economically, politically) translate into good times for translation work. Bad times generate more paperwork (bankruptcies, government related documents), a certain proportion of which need translation.


 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:08
English to French
Quite, yes. Oct 7

I can't say I was drowning in work before, but I went from regular work every month to absolutely nothing since the start of this year, all my clients (agencies) saying that they simply don't receive anything for my language pair. Now, this can have many explanations; maybe I was unlucky with those specific clients, maybe my language pair has become less wanted or it could even be specific to my field (subtitling). But I do believe that there is a reduction in work in general. Your thread is not... See more
I can't say I was drowning in work before, but I went from regular work every month to absolutely nothing since the start of this year, all my clients (agencies) saying that they simply don't receive anything for my language pair. Now, this can have many explanations; maybe I was unlucky with those specific clients, maybe my language pair has become less wanted or it could even be specific to my field (subtitling). But I do believe that there is a reduction in work in general. Your thread is not the first on this subject and a lot of translators were worrying in the comments.Collapse


Anne Navarro
gordana spendic
 

DIANNE BEREST  Identity Verified
Montenegro
Local time: 07:08
Spanish to English
+ ...
Scarily slow for several months Oct 7

I have had several, loyal, fairly large direct customers for many years, but work volume has been dropping slowly for the last few years and has taken a nosedive in recent months. The economic situation is affecting my target market (international development organizations) and translators in my language pair are offering even lower rates than usual - even experienced translators. I'm scrambling to: get training to improve my skills and to have some certification, improve my LinkedIn profile a... See more
I have had several, loyal, fairly large direct customers for many years, but work volume has been dropping slowly for the last few years and has taken a nosedive in recent months. The economic situation is affecting my target market (international development organizations) and translators in my language pair are offering even lower rates than usual - even experienced translators. I'm scrambling to: get training to improve my skills and to have some certification, improve my LinkedIn profile and learn how to connect with potential new customers there, and take a clear look at which of my services are most profitable and how I can specifically grow those services - all things I should have been doing all along. Also going back to teaching English while I work to get my translation and interpretation business strong again.Collapse


gordana spendic
 

Chris Spurgin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:08
Member (2016)
Russian to English
+ ...
Paradoxical situation Oct 8

I have noticed fewer big jobs this year, but I have done some pretty big jobs all the same. Things seem to be quieter on the offers front but more agencies are recruiting on Proz.com. So I think things are quieter and my income is slightly down on last year but I am actually busier and making more than I might have otherwise thought.

Causes could be varied - general slowdown, MT, who knows. We just need to focus on what we can control and what we can change.


gordana spendic
 

Laurent Mercky
France
Local time: 07:08
Member (Jul 2019)
Chinese to French
+ ...
it depends Oct 8

Very quite between March and July, but very busy again since August for the Asian market.

 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:08
Member (2012)
French to English
For me, yes Oct 8

Things have been very quiet for the past few months.

 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:08
Member
English to French
less busy overall this year Oct 9

I work only with agencies. On average, jobs are smaller, and besides my own feeling, sales are about 15% slower than usual.
On the brighter side, I secured two new returning clients this year, even though they still are in the Sporadic tier (and not the Daily tier) of my client base.
I have no reason to panic so far with my pricing point. But I think I could get more work if I agreed to get closer to the "standard" rate, and deliver "standard" translations, with prospective agencies
... See more
I work only with agencies. On average, jobs are smaller, and besides my own feeling, sales are about 15% slower than usual.
On the brighter side, I secured two new returning clients this year, even though they still are in the Sporadic tier (and not the Daily tier) of my client base.
I have no reason to panic so far with my pricing point. But I think I could get more work if I agreed to get closer to the "standard" rate, and deliver "standard" translations, with prospective agencies approaching me.
Let's see how 2020 and 2021 pan out.

Philippe
Collapse


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Are things getting quieter?

Advanced search







Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search