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Has anyone else experienced a fall in workload in the last few months?
Thread poster: Dave Greatrix

Dave Greatrix  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:08
Dutch to English
+ ...
Jul 27, 2003

Is it just me, or has anyone else experienced a fall in workload in the last few months?

Could it be that the translators that work for practically nothing (India, Eastern Block) are making inroads into the industry??

Any thoughts?


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 16:08
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
I'd like to see Jul 27, 2003

this crowd of Dutch to English translators from Eastern Europe and India marching towards Spain, David

The reason for decreased workload might be that it's holiday season and many businesses are slowing down. Wait until September

Magda


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Dave Greatrix  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:08
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
That's the whole point........ Jul 27, 2003

[quote]Magda Dziadosz wrote:

this crowd of Dutch to English translators from Eastern Europe and India marching towards Spain, David


Geographical location is no longer of importance.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
Holiday season Jul 27, 2003

Het is vakantietijd. It is holiday season. Years ago, I used to work for a courier company. During summer volume dropped drastically as their customer's decision makers were on holiday. For me it is time to reflect how to position myself on the market and to learn some extra DTP-tools which are frequently asked or evaluate the service I deliver.
Economic life has its cycles: From September-Christmas. At Christmas everything dies down. Then from January-Eastern. Same story at Eastern. From Eastern-1st of July.


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Dave Greatrix  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:08
Dutch to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"you're a better man than I am" Jul 27, 2003

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

I have experienced abnormal increase in my workload, 16 hour a day x 7 day a week. In English-Turkish pair.




I just couldn't do it. It would send me around the twist.

BTW, I am talking about the whole of this year, not just holiday periods as that is a quite common phenomena.





[Edited at 2003-07-27 11:14]

[Edited at 2003-07-27 11:15]


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 16:08
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Location Jul 27, 2003

David Greatrix wrote:
Geographical location is no longer of importance.


Well, I'm not so sure. See how frequently job posters include 'must live in:' requirement.
Also, it is rather unusual to offer (and obtain jobs) in B-C combination, usually the mother tongue is involved. And yes, there is a hudge increase in volume of work for East European languages: EU enlargement with all its concequences for the economy.

Having said that, July and August are always far more quiet, time to rest!

Magda

[Edited at 2003-07-27 11:34]


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:08
Member (2002)
English to German
Location Jul 27, 2003

I doubt that there are so many native English translators living in India that translate from Dutch. There might be a few but I don't think that there are enough to be a competition to you, do you?

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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:08
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
Low rates are all that matter Jul 27, 2003

David Greatrix wrote:

Is it just me, or has anyone else experienced a fall in workload in the last few months?

Could it be that the translators that work for practically nothing (India, Eastern Block) are making inroads into the industry??

Any thoughts?


Judging from Proz and other sources, the companies who have moved their operations to these areas in order to save money are also now having their translations done there. The WWW (including Proz), dictionaries and CAT tools make it possible. It is often quite noticeable by the questions asked that basic knowledge of the languages involved (it is not unusal for both source and target languages to be foreign languages for the person doing the translation) is often inadequate but that no longer seems to play any role. High profits, cost-saving, downsizing-this is just another offshoot of all that. I do feel that jobs will eventually start to swing back but I think for many it will be a question of tightening the belt or changing professions until that happens.


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Andy Lemminger  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:08
Member (2002)
English to German
Inexpensive quality matters Jul 27, 2003

writeaway wrote:
...is often inadequate but that no longer seems to play any role. High profits, cost-saving, downsizing-this is just another offshoot of all that.


I doubt that low rates are all that matters. Of course they matter but clients are very concerned about the quality of their translations. Bad translations damage their reputation in the target countries and no client wants to risk this.
In fact I went the other way and raised my fees two years ago. Indeed some clients left but in the meantime many of them came back after having tried some alternatives.
That's competition and price is only one component involved.


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 16:08
Partial member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
quality does matter in the end Jul 27, 2003

Andy Lemminger wrote:

writeaway wrote:
...is often inadequate but that no longer seems to play any role. High profits, cost-saving, downsizing-this is just another offshoot of all that.


I doubt that low rates are all that matters. Of course they matter but clients are very concerned about the quality of their translations. Bad translations damage their reputation in the target countries and no client wants to risk this.
In fact I went the other way and raised my fees two years ago. Indeed some clients left but in the meantime many of them came back after having tried some alternatives.
That's competition and price is only one component involved.


Of course quality matters but if they think they can get it at a lower rate, they'll give it a try. I am sure that when contracts, articles of association, specifications etc. all show up with dangerous errors, legally and technically speaking, companies will start to have second thoughts. It can prove very expensive to have inaccurate translations. Heavy reliance on dictionaries is the worst possible way to go. And this is how these jobs are being done. Add to that the fact that when both languages are foreign, the 'gut instinct' we all rely on is also missing. I do think this type of outsourcing will end at some point when companies start to assess the actual costs.


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sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:08
English to French
Who's fault is it? Jul 27, 2003

Just a quick advice. Find the closest mirror and that's the best answer you will get.

When you lack work, it's never "'em underpaid middle east translators" or "cheap white collar that turn into translators overnight". Even if it was, what's the point? That ain't gonna help.

When business goes slow, it just means it's time to dust off your promotion initiatives and crank your emails out, contact old clients, work on your web site, write articles for translation journals, ... whatever used to get you business.

The cheer volume of potential translations is unfreaking believeable. And it's all got to be done by people, most of them with 2 hands only. If you ain't got enough, promote. What else can you do anyway? There is really no use looking for "whose fault" - that won't give you a single more line to translate, will it?


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Oleg Rudavin  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 17:08
Member (2003)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Eastern Block translators are quick in picking international prices! Jul 27, 2003

Me, for one - and those colleagues of mine I cooperate or communicate with - we quickly come to the conclusion: underpricing is the worst possible way to attract clients.

Well, newbies are apt to make the same mistake, quoting somewhere at about double or triple of what they could posible earn locally (which is some 15%-20% of the internationally standard rates). In a month - or maybe a year - they find out that making one project at a reasonable rate is MUCH better than being snowed down under workloads for peanuts.

As for the oscillations of the workloads, these are ordinary patterns, a bit varied between languages. On my part, there's a steady uptrend of translations into Ukrainian (hadly any jobs at all a couple of years back) and more than sufficient inflow of into Russian jobs from regular and new customers.

On the practical side, it would probably help if you don't stop; as a freelancer you should never feel satisfied with the number of clients you work for. Check the BB to find agencies you would like to work for, send your CV; you might forget about it but one day you'll be contacted with an assignment. Plan your self-marketing strategy for a few months. Pauses in workload are a good time to reconsider and review your marketing strategies. And have paitience to wait till mid-August whenm most clients come back to their businesses.

All the best!
Oleg

[Edited at 2003-07-27 13:12]


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Robert Zawadzki  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:08
English to Polish
+ ...
Yes, but... Jul 27, 2003

Have you heard these words at the beginnig od 'Desperado'?

Yes, using international prices would be fine, but do you really think it is possible? I am not a full-time translator, I have a very good job in a software industry with flexible hour that enable me to switch to translating at will (and therefore I can do some picking: I take some cheap jobs if they are interesting only). If translating was my main source of income I am afraid I'd have to give in, and my rates would fall. And I hardly believe it is the other way in Ukraine.

I think in the long run, cheap translators and machines will eat a good part of our market. The only hope is that the economy swithes from 'cut costs at quality cost' to some more reasonable mode.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
Bidders must live in and.... Jul 27, 2003

http://europa.eu.int/comm/competition/citizen/index_en.html

To what extend is "Bidders must live in" legal within the E.U. context?


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Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:08
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
Any thoughts? Jul 27, 2003

Yes, David, your initial post is both racist and arrogant; I don't believe you'd feel too pleased if someone posted something similar about translators resident in Spain/Spanish translators.

I agree with many of the other posters that there is more at hand here than the classic (and tired) old blame game, however, I would like to know what your proof is that "translators that work for practically nothing (India, Eastern Block)" are poaching your work? I took the liberty of seeing which members of Proz.com in India (too many countries to sift through in the "Eastern Bloc") offer Dutch-English as a language combination...needless to say they were few, but their prices (at least the ones I saw) were not peanuts, and furthermore, what proof do you have that they are not qualified for the job? How do you know how good their English is? I've worked as a teacher in the UK and I can tell you that some of my refugee (Britain's underdogs) students wrote/communicated in better English in England than the native speaker students...what test of excellent command of the English language is really required?

I'm sorry that you're losing work and I can't offer any solutions (although I think some of the others have offered excellent advice) but I do believe that your finger-pointing exercise is misguided.

Aisha


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