Down-turn in freelance work for the EC?
Thread poster: Jana Teteris

Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:02
Latvian to English
+ ...
Dec 14, 2008

My question, or rather, concern, is addressed to those of you who undertake freelance translations for the EC via translation agencies.

Over the last two months I have experienced a noticeable reduction in the number and volume of translations I have received from translation agencies that have been awarded contracts from the EC. I am not necessarily complaining, but rather, would like to try and understand if other translators have experienced this, and/or whether the EC is putting some sort of limit on the volume of documents that are being outsourced to agencies/freelancers.

I would like to add that I work in a minority language pair (LV-EN) and I have had a continuous flow of EC work for more than four years.


p.s. Just to clarify - Latvian is one of the EU's official languages, so my reference to a 'minority language pair' should be taken to mean that there aren't that many of us around!

[Edited at 2008-12-14 21:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2008-12-14 22:56 GMT]


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 08:02
end-of-year trickle... Dec 15, 2008

Hi Jana

It could be that the agencies' various contracts for Latvian are finishing up or that contracts have been awarded to a different agency than the ones you usually work with?
Can't give specific details here but I can tell you it will be manic again after Christmas

Orla


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 14:02
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Increasing work volume for environment issues Dec 15, 2008

Due to EC's concerns on environmental and pollution issues, my MSDS and similar document translation volume rises rapidly in recent years. I understand that EC gives much pressure to alien trade partners and more documents need to be translated.
I cannot imagine what to come with translation business volume after this on-going global ecomomic crisis.

Soonthon L.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not here Dec 15, 2008

Hi Jana,

I haven't noticed any downturn - however, that said, I do limit what I accept from the EC to around 20,000 words a month anyhow and, as that volume keeps coming in, I haven't really been paying attention.

Because the agencies themselves only have fixed-term contracts, it's important not to allow the EC work to become a disproportionate part of your income. It can be rather tempting to take everything that comes in, I know, but if I did - for instance - I'd only be doing EC work most months. Profitable now, but not in the long run as I'd be losing other clients.

As it is, if the EC work were to dry up for whatever reason, it would be easy enough for me to source another 20,000 words (especially of Dutch to English legal work) to make up for it. It would be a pity though if that happened as I enjoy most of it.

Hopefully, as Orla mentions, it is just an end-of-year thing. I hope it picks up for you. If I were you, I'd just ask the agency/agencies involved. That way, if they are getting to the end of their contracts you'll know and if they're not, they can at least tell you when the next large batch of work is expected - it helps both sides if you know when to be available. In the meantime, you can focus on other commercial clients.

Take care
Debs

[Edited at 2008-12-15 09:16 GMT]


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Jana Teteris  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:02
Latvian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Dec 15, 2008

Thank you Orla & Debs for your words of encouragement.

A number of translators working in other 'less common' language pairs have written to me privately in response to my first post saying that they've experienced a similar downward trend over the last several weeks. I'll admit that I may well have become too reliant on EC work over the last few years, but this work has been provided by several agencies, which makes it all the more mystifying.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 08:02
Dutch to English
+ ...
Possible reason Dec 15, 2008

Jana Teteris wrote:

... this work has been provided by several agencies, which makes it all the more mystifying.


Hi again,

I'd imagine one of the reasons for this is that the agencies' contracts all started at around the same time - i.e. when the decision was taken to let Latvia join the EU and the need for translation first arose. These may all be coming to an end now, as Orla says, which is why you've experienced the same tendency across several agencies (the same applies for the other smaller States that signed Accession Treaties/joined at the same time and their 'less common' language pairs).

I've read there is a drastic shortage of in-house Latvian translators, so if I had to hazard a guess I think the situation is because of a transition between contracts happening rather than an overall decision to cut back freelance work. Even if your existing agencies are not re-awarded the contracts, those that are will soon find you.

Bye for now
Debs



[Edited at 2008-12-15 10:45 GMT]


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