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Your business and the financial crisis
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
Flemish to English
+ ...
Sep 15, 2008

Lehman Brothers , an icon of the Financial Markets went bankrupt today. For those translating for the Financial Markets : How do you think the recent financial turmoill and crisis will affect your business?

[Edited at 2008-09-16 06:44]


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:06
English to German
+ ...
Busier than ever Sep 15, 2008

Hi Williamson,

Lehman Brothers , an icon of the Financial Markets went bankrupt today.

Well, despite the fact that they looked back on a corporate history spanning more than 150 years, their iconic status was lost long ago - just look at their CDS spreads (which pretty accurately predicted what was about to happen).

For those translating for the Financial Markets : How do you think the recent financial turmoill and crisis will affect your business?

Given that the crisis has been going on for over a year now, I believe there is a reasonable basis to judge from. In fact, the first half of this year was our busiest ever - with no signs of the flow abating during Q3.

On a personal note, may I ask you to edit the title of your topic - I don't mind the tagline of my ProZ.com profile being used, but not necessarily in this context. Thank you.

Best regards,
Ralf


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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 16:36
German to English
+ ...
Probably a short term boost Sep 16, 2008

As the financial crisis ripples through the world financial markets, greater accountability and transparency norms would require companies to pay more attention to corporate governance issues. This would provide a short-term boost to the translation industry in the area of corporate governance, especially as far as company disclosures are concerned. Corporate agreements and their enforcement could also see increased activity as defaults rise.

If the financial crisis lingers or worsens, economic activity may go through a protracted period of contraction, though mainly in the US (unfortunately). This will have a dampening effect on US demand for services. However, the US may also be faced with the double whammy of over-dependence on imported services and a sharply declining dollar leading to an inability to pay for these services (stagflation). Translation services aimed at the US could certainly suffer if the financial crisis is not resolved soon.

I wonder how dependent the US is on the import of translation services. Not very, in my view.


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:06
French to English
+ ...
Probably a healthy shake-out Sep 19, 2008

This should lead to a healthy shake-out within the industry, I think.

Some of the largest translation multinationals are overextended financially and will need, like companies in other industries, to deal with credit and liquidity issues and revise their business strategies.

Smaller, fragile, agencies (those we typically hear about - requiring l o n g payment deadlines and/or many reminders!) and most particularly "post-office box" type agencies that offer no real added value may well have to put the key under the mat sooner than one would have expected.

Independent professional service providers, I think (hope?), will fare much better and probably see their business reinforced.

Patricia


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:06
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Your own pocket Sep 19, 2008

Patricia Lane wrote:

This should lead to a healthy shake-out within the industry, I think.

Some of the largest translation multinationals are overextended financially and will need, like companies in other industries, to deal with credit and liquidity issues and revise their business strategies.

Smaller, fragile, agencies (those we typically hear about - requiring l o n g payment deadlines and/or many reminders!) and most particularly "post-office box" type agencies that offer no real added value may well have to put the key under the mat sooner than one would have expected.

Independent professional service providers, I think (hope?), will fare much better and probably see their business reinforced.

Patricia


If you can not finance at least 1 (big) project out of your own pocket and I mean "own" pocket, not the pocket of your bank, you shouldn't be on the translation market as an outsourcer.





[Edited at 2008-09-19 09:25]


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Patricia Lane  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:06
French to English
+ ...
exactly Sep 19, 2008

Williamson wrote:



If you can not finance at least 1 (big) project out of your own pocket and I mean "own" pocket, not the pocket of your bank, you shouldn't be on the translation market as an outsourcer.





[Edited at 2008-09-19 09:25]


Exactly. But I think we can all list many outsourcers who do, and who all too often try to use translators as free credit providers!


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:06
Dutch to English
+ ...
Positively Sep 19, 2008

Williamson wrote:

How do you think the recent financial turmoill and crisis will affect your business


... in my niche area (legal, and in view of all the mergers and acquisitions going on at the moment, I am bracing myself for more, specifically in the area of competition law).

So, as Ralf says, busier than ever. And if it slows down at all, I'll take on more consulting and accounting work for my law firm back in SA, which specialises in bankruptices and liquidations. It's a particularly busy time for us now.

I can appreciate it will probably have a negative effect in other areas of translation - tourism, for instance, is one that may experience a slowdown. I just don't have the ability to wax lyrical about places of interest, so I don't know. Hopefully, the impact is not too severe on these colleagues.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:06
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Busier than ever Sep 19, 2008

At the moment, I'm busier than ever. I translate mainly financial stuff and, as others have said, possibly because of all the turmoil in the banking world, companies are producing more and more market reports.
Maybe in the long run it'll be bad for us finance "specialists" - who knows?
I'm also inclined to withdraw my savings and keep them under the mattress ...
Think of the hoards of gold coins buried in fields in Essex and so on, apparently at the time when the Roman Empire was collapsing ...
Jeny.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:06
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mergers, acquisitions, take-overs, etc. = paperwork Sep 19, 2008

Whenever there are company mergers and acquisitions, there are often whole file cabinets full of documents from foreign subsidiaries that the purchasing company wants translated for legal or informational purposes. For example, there is a huge million-word Port>Eng job for a bank being posted on almost every translation job site by about four-five translation companies who are obviously trying to gather enough translators in order to bid on the project.

Also, whenever there is a financial crisis, people always try to find someone to blame and that can result in more lawsuits and more legal translation work.

[Edited at 2008-09-19 19:05]


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:06
Italian to English
+ ...
expanding the field Sep 19, 2008

I'm answering even though I don't work in finance because I think it's an interesting question. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been waiting apprehensively to see whether the world recession will affect me personally, but so far there's been zero impact - in fact year-on-year I'm getting busier, not less busy, and I'm having to turn down a good part of what I get offered.

I find this particularly interesting, as most of what I do is clearly for internal use in multinational companies - an area where I'd expect that if they were feeling the squeeze, they might be prepared to get their translations done in-house by the secretary rather than using professional outsourcers (as quality, presumably, is less of an issue for this type of document). But so far at least, it seems not to be the case. Good news for me!

[Edited at 2008-09-19 14:10]


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