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assignments getting more demanding
Thread poster: mroed

mroed
Local time: 10:47
Italian to German
+ ...
Oct 16

I had a very busy year, many really big assignments.

One thing I noticed though: The projects (I work mainly in the legal field) are much more demanding than before leaving me quite exhausted sometimes.

Is there anybody out here who has noticed the same trend?


Susan Madden
Sebastian Witte
Katja Schoone
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Natural upward trend? Oct 16

mroed wrote:
...much more demanding than before leaving me quite exhausted sometimes.

My take is that if you turn in good work, clients come back and give you more work. As you accumulate clients over time, the trickle of projects becomes a flow, then a stream, then - at busy times - a torrent. Some of this you can accommodate in normal working hours, but if you don't wish to disappoint clients who are also clearly struggling, then sometimes you end up working very long days, and maybe nights as well.

For me, last year was my busiest yet. This year seems about the same, maybe (for the first time) slightly less busy, but hard to tell until it ends in February 2020.

Or maybe you meant something else by "demanding"?

Regards,
Dan


Teresa Borges
John Fossey
 

mroed
Local time: 10:47
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
demanding = difficult Oct 16

with "demanding" I mean more difficult, more time consuming

 

Alexandra Hirsch  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 10:47
English to German
+ ...
Spread the workload? Oct 16

Sorry to hear that you are exhausted. Make sure you take a break!!!

My work has actually dried up since September of this year (Where have they all gone all of a sudden?), but if you are experiencing a glut, why not hire some help? I know this can be frustrating sometimes, simply because others don't uphold the same high standards as yourself, but it could be the first step towards expanding your business while keeping your clients --who will always try to offload as much as they ca
... See more
Sorry to hear that you are exhausted. Make sure you take a break!!!

My work has actually dried up since September of this year (Where have they all gone all of a sudden?), but if you are experiencing a glut, why not hire some help? I know this can be frustrating sometimes, simply because others don't uphold the same high standards as yourself, but it could be the first step towards expanding your business while keeping your clients --who will always try to offload as much as they can get away with, believe me -- satisfied and coming back for more.
Collapse


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What do you mean by demanding? Oct 16

Tighter deadlines? Bigger projects? Smaller budgets? ...

 

mroed
Local time: 10:47
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
simply more difficult Oct 16

sorry, but I don't know how to put it any other way. It's simply that until some time ago I used to have more routine jobs (General Conditions etc.). Now most of my assignments are very demanding, difficult to translate. I'm wondering if this is due to machine translation - the routine jobs are machine translated (and maybe postedited) and only the "rest" goes to the translators?

Tomasz Sienicki
Sebastian Witte
Katja Schoone
Diana Coada
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
That is my experience Oct 16

Teresa Borges wrote:

Tighter deadlines? Bigger projects? Smaller budgets? ...


I am not sure what Mroed means, but in my case this is exactly what is happening. Just the other day for example, about 15.000 words in 2 days for an unacceptable low rate.

Where is this leading to?


 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:47
Member
English to French
Ageing Oct 16

mroed wrote:
...It's simply that until some time ago I used to have more routine jobs (General Conditions etc.). Now most of my assignments are very demanding, difficult to translate.

As we get older, everything gets more demanding and difficult.
Like reading an ingredient list on a package or coping with a hangover.

mroed wrote:
...I'm wondering if this is due to machine translation - the routine jobs are machine translated (and maybe postedited) and only the "rest" goes to the translators?

More seriously: I also find that my productivity is lower, but it may be that I find it more difficult to focus long hours.
This said, I also think MT is reshaping what non-MT translators get. We used to translate everything, but today with widespread and (allegedly) more usable MT in more areas, I think a lot of work is passed through the MTPE route. Therefore on average, the hourly earning rate has decreased. Except maybe for translators turned post-editors, who can withstand long hours of it all year round without brain damage or medical treatment.
Eventually, translators who can produce better outcomes than post-edited MT may choose to serve only "demanding" markets, while the others will thrive as post-editors.
And the "demanding" market being "demanding", it will become a seller's market. Wishful and positive thinking.

In my opinion, "demands" had already increased after the 2008 "Credit Crunch": payment terms, discount grids, homogeneity/internal fuzzy matches, pressure to lower rates, crisis pushing people to find new ways to earn money (one of them being frealanse trazlation), etc.

When looking back at this period, it looks like perfect storm conditions :
° Expansion of industrial-scale MT
° Market leader SDL Trados releasing the oh-so-wonderful "internal fuzzy matches" option, quickly followed by all other players that hadn't already implemented it
° Increased competition, i.e. buyer's market

Perhaps the delayed effect 10 years later is: more "demanding" projects and thus a productivity level decreasing.
But there are obvious solutions to offset the loss.

Philippe


Katja Schoone
dkfmmuc
texjax DDS PhD
philgoddard
Florian Stauber
 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
probably Oct 16

mroed wrote:

sorry, but I don't know how to put it any other way. It's simply that until some time ago I used to have more routine jobs (General Conditions etc.). Now most of my assignments are very demanding, difficult to translate. I'm wondering if this is due to machine translation - the routine jobs are machine translated (and maybe postedited) and only the "rest" goes to the translators?


That seems entirely plausible. I would think that is exactly what is happening - or perhaps the easy stuff is just being sent to cheaper translators who themselves rely on MT.

It follows that to survive we will need to excel at difficult translations for which MT is not an option, and charge accordingly.


Yolanda Broad
Kevin Fulton
Teresa Borges
Tradupro17
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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Ah Oct 16

mroed wrote:
Now most of my assignments are very demanding, difficult to translate.

"Very demanding" or, as we like call it, "conducive to job security".

Dan


Kevin Fulton
Teresa Borges
Rachel Waddington
Yolanda Broad
texjax DDS PhD
Kay Denney
Diana Coada
 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:47
French to English
When the going gets tough... Oct 16

mroed wrote:

sorry, but I don't know how to put it any other way. It's simply that until some time ago I used to have more routine jobs (General Conditions etc.). Now most of my assignments are very demanding, difficult to translate. I'm wondering if this is due to machine translation - the routine jobs are machine translated (and maybe postedited) and only the "rest" goes to the translators?


Once you become familiar with a particular type of text within a particular field, you become more efficient and the work remains pretty much within your comfort zone. But the legal field is ever-changing and so you have to keep up. It makes it more interesting as it is challenging. If challenging becomes too tough, then you might be a little out of your comfort zone. It can push you and that can be rewarding; if it ends up dragging you along kicking and screaming, then you might be a little too far from your comfort zone a little too often.

Novelty is one of the attractions of a field of work for many people. Translators tend to thrive on it. It is important to keep a check on it all though. If you are finding all of your work hard to the extent that your pleasure is decreasing, you may need a break, and/or to consider making certain adjustments. That can also mean turning certain jobs down. If you don't enjoy your work generally, most of the time, you might end up suffering. It might be time to sit back and think about a number of changes you could make.


Yolanda Broad
Liviu-Lee Roth
Josephine Cassar
Ivana UK
 

mroed
Local time: 10:47
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Comfort zone Oct 17

"But the legal field is ever-changing and so you have to keep up. It makes it more interesting as it is challenging. If challenging becomes too tough, then you might be a little out of your comfort zone."

I'm a lawyer. So law is definitely my comfort zone...


dkfmmuc
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:47
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
You have my sympathy Oct 17

mroed wrote:
I'm a lawyer. So law is definitely my comfort zone...

I did 20 years in finance. Still find some financial projects difficult!

Dan


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:47
Member (2018)
French to English
. Oct 17

Dan Lucas wrote:

mroed wrote:
Now most of my assignments are very demanding, difficult to translate.

"Very demanding" or, as we like call it, "conducive to job security".

Dan


Now that's a very positive spin on the situation!

mroed, I see that you've said you are a lawyer. I reckon that what's happened is that you're a victim of your own success. Clients have given you the run-of-the-mill terms and conditions of sale and you've managed to produce great work, so now they've upgraded you to the tougher stuff that non-specialist translators can't get their heads round.

Now that you have clients who appreciate your talents, you might want your rates to reflect what you're worth. How about telling them that demanding files will be billed at a higher rate? You could choose a rate that reflects the extra time needed to research finer points of law, or the extra time needed to unwind properly after the headache-inducing knots you have to unpick during the translation.


Rachel Waddington
Dan Lucas
Michele Fauble
Teresa Borges
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Ivana UK
 

mroed
Local time: 10:47
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
different things Oct 17

I'm afraid that I'm not able to make clear what I want to say.

it not a personal problem of mine, I'm perfectly comfortable with legal translations and - of course - there have always been assignments which weree more difficult than others.

But whereas until 1-2 years ago it was a good mixture, now there is a shift away from easy to translate standard/routine jobs towards very demanding, time consuming (and mostly very large) assignments.

That's all.


Rachel Waddington
Renée van Bijsterveld
Jennifer Forbes
 
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