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How do you consider the market at the moment?
Thread poster: Helena Grahn

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:55
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Nov 22, 2018

Both pricewise and the amount of work you receive now as opposed to a couple of years ago?

 

Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:55
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Not bad Nov 22, 2018

As for me, I have almost the same workload as two years ago, with similar prices.

The only difference: two years ago I happened to get 50% of my workload from new clients; now I am just keeping previous clients (including those from two years ago).

I have definitely dropped both badly-paid job offers and "kilometric" assignments.


Helena Grahn
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:55
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Slow Nov 22, 2018

But I do agree with Fabio. My previous clients still know how to find me, but new (potential) clients are mostly offering me a rate half of my price. Lot of bottom feeders out there. So on that part 'slow'. The market is changing, but I still don't know why.

By the way, the 'amount' of work is still there, but to accept totally unaccaptable prices or not, that is the question (and up to you).

[Edited at 2018-11-22 19:10 GMT]


Helena Grahn
Roy Chacón
Ricki Farn
Josephine Cassar
Arkadiusz Jasiński
Sasha Barral
ahartje
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:55
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
More or less the same... Nov 22, 2018

I have more or less the same workload as two years ago with similar rates. I can’t compare to 2015 though as this was quite an extraordinary year: in August I charged one of my clients what I normally invoice in three months. I haven’t changed my rates for a while (I used to increase my rates every two/three years, but nowadays I prefer quoting on a per-project basis) and I have been trying to apply a higher rate to new clients, but I haven’t been successful on that front with one or two e... See more
I have more or less the same workload as two years ago with similar rates. I can’t compare to 2015 though as this was quite an extraordinary year: in August I charged one of my clients what I normally invoice in three months. I haven’t changed my rates for a while (I used to increase my rates every two/three years, but nowadays I prefer quoting on a per-project basis) and I have been trying to apply a higher rate to new clients, but I haven’t been successful on that front with one or two exceptions. Fortunately, over the years I built a strong client base.Collapse


Pierangelo Sassi
Fabio Descalzi
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:55
Member
English to French
Busy Nov 23, 2018

It might be that this year, end customers have found out that the Christmas break covers end December-Start of January.
Cruising as usual (full time) with a handful of loyal and long-standing agencies otherwise, with a few heated moments (such as now), also as usual.
I haven't raised my rates for too many years now with incumbent agencies (currently EUR0.11/30 days as standard), and I've had no luck offering 0.12 to prospective agencies approaching me. Their loss.

I feel
... See more
It might be that this year, end customers have found out that the Christmas break covers end December-Start of January.
Cruising as usual (full time) with a handful of loyal and long-standing agencies otherwise, with a few heated moments (such as now), also as usual.
I haven't raised my rates for too many years now with incumbent agencies (currently EUR0.11/30 days as standard), and I've had no luck offering 0.12 to prospective agencies approaching me. Their loss.

I feel some agencies seem to be desperate for quality and non-MT-like "style", but won't pay the price for a proper translation. So they try to get a reviewer to fix things instead. So be it, but without me.
There are a lot of FR-speaking people who understand EN, but fewer write FR in a way that doesn't show "translated" all over. The added value of "writing" may soon be the only differentiator to avoid competing with MT or becoming a post-editor.

Philippe
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Valérie Ourset
Sasha Barral
Fabio Descalzi
Sommersonne
Thayenga
 

Merab Dekano  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...
More or less the same Nov 23, 2018

When I compare it YTD with last year's figures it's about 8% up, but our business is seasonal to certain extent. This month has been good, the previous one no so, but September was exceptional. Last year August was exceptional. As we say in Spanish, "vete a saber".

As for rates, it’s been three years I have not changed them. However, I never go down with new customers; if they accept my rates, we are all happy. If they do not, I move on.

Also, I decided to keep my cos
... See more
When I compare it YTD with last year's figures it's about 8% up, but our business is seasonal to certain extent. This month has been good, the previous one no so, but September was exceptional. Last year August was exceptional. As we say in Spanish, "vete a saber".

As for rates, it’s been three years I have not changed them. However, I never go down with new customers; if they accept my rates, we are all happy. If they do not, I move on.

Also, I decided to keep my costs at minimum and limit them to accounting, necessary software, subscriptions, administration, stationary, etc. For example, I will not get Dragon Natural this year; will keep typing. I will not get new office equipment; the one I have is good enough and I see no reason to replace it just yet.

In other words, this years has been not very different from the previous onces.
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
It depends on your language pairs Nov 23, 2018

I think it depends on your language pairs. Some of the rates quoted by some posters here would be off the scale in my language pair (Italian to English).

Perhaps not coincidentally, in Italy as a general rule very few people understand English and even fewer understand it well, and the rates for translation are lower than they are in other language pairs. In other words, they don't understand English, place little value on it, and are therefore unwilling to pay for it - UNTIL they
... See more
I think it depends on your language pairs. Some of the rates quoted by some posters here would be off the scale in my language pair (Italian to English).

Perhaps not coincidentally, in Italy as a general rule very few people understand English and even fewer understand it well, and the rates for translation are lower than they are in other language pairs. In other words, they don't understand English, place little value on it, and are therefore unwilling to pay for it - UNTIL they see the difference between a bad translation and a good one.

Which is where I come in with my (ever so slightly) higher rates. In that regard I agree with Philippe:

Philippe Etienne wrote:

.....The added value of "writing" may soon be the only differentiator to avoid competing with MT or becoming a post-editor.



I can write, and I'm resident in the country where my target language is spoken. That's the difference.

Far out on the horizon I think I can see an increase in my rate. It's still a long way off, but it's coming. I haven't increased my rates for 7 years due to the consistently low inflation there has been here in Europe, but some things are changing now; my internet access and electricity bills have suddenly almost doubled and the price of food has also doubled over the past couple of years.

But when you decide you need to up your rates, you need to choose your moment carefully.

So far as workload is concerned, despite my (slightly) higher than average rate I think it has been increasing somewhat due to a change in the kinds of work I've been getting. I'm getting more people who've headhunted me through Proz, including one or two new clients who are happy to pay more, and pay faster. I don't know why that is but I'd like to think it's because over the years, I've stuck to my guns on the quality/rate relationship. If you build up a reputation for quality it will begin to have an effect.

I also dump those people who keep on trying to offer me a "longlasting proficuous relationship" for silly rates I was being paid 15 years ago. But I still get annoyed by agencies who think that if a translation job is big, they could get away with paying me less. I can't see the logic of doing more work for less money. If someone can explain it to me, I'd be grateful.

[Edited at 2018-11-23 09:23 GMT]
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Sasha Barral
Colleen Roach, PhD
Omar Lobao
Jorge Payan
Alistair Gainey
Nadia Silva Castro
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
"The market" Nov 23, 2018

The market as a whole is probably slightly bigger and better than it was a couple of years ago, because the market will vary with economic activity (if it varies at all).

Individual experience of that market will be, well, individual.

I'm getting roughly the same amount of work at slightly higher prices. I wouldn't expect that ever to change. Stuff needs translating.

Tom in London wrote:
I haven't increased my rates for 7 years due to the consistently low inflation there has been here in Europe

Prices have still risen more than 10% during that period!

the price of food has also doubled over the past couple of years.

Only at Waitrose.

But I still get annoyed by agencies who think that if a translation job is big, they could get away with paying me less. I can't see the logic of doing more work for less money. If someone can explain it to me, I'd be grateful.

I think their position is logical. With big jobs, you will normally have to do less research, text will be repeated, and you won't have empty days with nothing to do.

That said, I don't do discounts for big jobs either, because I get bored after a while and they reduce my flexibility to take other work.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
I wouldn't know Nov 23, 2018

Chris S wrote:

Only at Waitrose.



I wouldn't know but I can see where you're trolling from.


 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:55
Member (2009)
French to English
Declining Nov 23, 2018

In my case, I have less work than 3 years ago. One client (small agency) has ceased trading, a couple of direct clients now either translate their material in-house (by non-translators!) or use other providers (due to changes in how the company is run), and a university or two have decided I'm too expensive. I note that new agencies I approach (or that approach me) will not offer more than €0.08 per source word, which is what I was charging 7 years ago. I keep ticking over thanks to some loyal... See more
In my case, I have less work than 3 years ago. One client (small agency) has ceased trading, a couple of direct clients now either translate their material in-house (by non-translators!) or use other providers (due to changes in how the company is run), and a university or two have decided I'm too expensive. I note that new agencies I approach (or that approach me) will not offer more than €0.08 per source word, which is what I was charging 7 years ago. I keep ticking over thanks to some loyal regulars and the odd lucky break. At the moment, I also have a part-time job in a prépa, which cushions the blow somewhat. Anyone who has any constructive, concrete advice to offer on how to drum up trade is more than welcome to do so!

[Edited at 2018-11-23 13:22 GMT]
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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Specialise Nov 23, 2018

David Hayes wrote:

Anyone who has any constructive, concrete advice to offer on how to drum up trade is more than welcome to do so!


My suggestion: Your profile says "this list of fields is non-exhaustive and I consider each project on an individual basis"

I think you may find it productive to go in the opposite direction, i.e. to specialise in one narrow field (whatever that field may be) in which you can offer particular expertise that no-one else (or very few others) can match. It will take time, but over a period you'll find that people who need that particular type of translation will come to you, specifically.

[Edited at 2018-11-23 13:37 GMT]


Kaspars Melkis
123Translations
 

David Hayes  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:55
Member (2009)
French to English
I know Nov 23, 2018

Thanks, Tom. I know this to be true on some level, but I cannot invent expertise I do not have. I have a vintage BSc in Botany (1994 - never worked in the field since and hardly ever had a job offer related to plants) and various degrees in theology. My translation qualifications are perhaps my best asset. The agencies that do use me appreciate the fact that I'm more of an all-rounder, but I know the trend is towards specialization.

[Edited at 2018-11-23 17:47 GMT]


 

Daniel Frisano
Switzerland
Local time: 17:55
English to Italian
+ ...
In good health Nov 23, 2018

Hanging on in Italy, quite healthy with a good outlook in whole Western-Central Europe (NL-BE-FR-DE-CH-AT-CZ-PL), lively in Spain but low rates, holding their breaths in the UK, slowly on the rise from the US.

I had to let go of a couple of once reliable clients because of surprising payments delays.


 

Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:55
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
You must "show" your specialization, the rest will come Nov 23, 2018

David Hayes wrote:
Thanks, Tom. I know this to be true on some level, but I cannot invent expertise I do not have. I have a vintage BSc in Botany (1994 - never worked in the field since and hardly ever had a job offer related to plants) and various degrees in theology. My translation qualifications are perhaps my best asset. The agencies who do use me appreciate the fact that I'm more of an all-rounder, but I know the trend is towards specialization.


In my case I started out offering my translation services without any translation-specific qualifications (I did have certificates of international exams in languages, which is not exactly the same). But I decided to SHOW that I am an architect and to SHOW that I translate GER>SPA (a language pair few people master). I was telling the truth about my de-facto experience, as I am a native speaker of Spanish who previously had to use both German and Spanish in a professional environment in Germany, including "technical-legal-cultural translation" of sorts (for a German company that planned to work in South America, a long story...).

The point is: in my profile you can see "GER>SPA translator in architecture", a razor-thin specialization. This makes many people wonder, come and ask: "Do you translate ONLY architecture?" My answer: "No, of course I also translate this and that, and I have been efficient with this, etc." Or: "Do you translate ONLY GER>SPA?" My answer: "No, I also translate ENG>SPA and on selected projects also POR>SPA, etc."

So far, in 15 continuous years of freelance translating I have successfully undertaken texts of logistics, printing, medical devices, industrial processes, even contracts. Architecture and construction make up only 25% of my whole income as a translator so far...

Your profile, your website, your blog, your emails, etc. are the equivalents of your showcase, your flyers. You must SHOW if you wanna sell. If what you show is attractive (or surprising, or astonishing, or... a bit disturbing, maybe?) you will have people asking for your services.

[Edited at 2018-11-23 15:39 GMT]


Josephine Cassar
Sheila Wilson
Gareth Callagy
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:55
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
More and more Nov 23, 2018

Helena Grahn wrote:
Both pricewise and the amount of work you receive now as opposed to a couple of years ago?

My workload is up pretty significantly, due to additions to my clientele and steady flows of business from existing clients. For the current fiscal year, I expect revenues to be about 50% higher than for the equivalent period two years ago. My blended rate is also slightly higher.

It's been a busy couple of years. Back in 2016 I had plans for all kinds of things - Relaunch website! Take this qualification! Go on this course! -but all that has been swept away by a wave of work. That's a bit of a concern, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so I focus on the work I have today.

As ever, it would seem to depend on your pair, on your area/s of specialisation, on your ability to market yourself and other factors. There is no single, monolithic market.

Regards,
Dan


Omar Lobao
Gareth Callagy
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 
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