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Worldwide crisis = higher demand for translation services?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:05
English to French
+ ...
Feb 26, 2009

Is it just me, or the demand for translation services has been noticeably picking up since the Notorious Crisis has started?

Over the past month, I have experienced an increase in translation requests. New potential clients have been contacting me, but old clients with whom I only worked once or twice, a long time ago, have also been contacting me. One of them said that they have trouble finding enough translators to handle the workload! However, the strangest thing about it all is that most of the requests I am getting are quality requests - less haggling, well organized professional companies (no kitchen table agencies or translation brokers), willing to pay extra for urgent work, willing to let go of CAT tool rate schemes... It seems as though natural selection (Darwinism, anyone?) is taking place. Those who were only offering cheap translations bought for peanuts from monkeys are having trouble while the good agencies are getting more requests, probably because, more than ever, respectable companies need to spend efficiently (which means paying for quality translations instead of buying crap to save money).

What is going on? Does anybody else experience this at the moment? I would like to read people with different specializations and language pairs, and people from diverse geographical regions.

I somehow feel that what I have been expecting is coming true - the nervosity caused by the Notorious Crisis is positively affecting us, because companies try to do more business, which means a higher demand for translation services.

Please, no apocalyptic views in this thread - there are already a few recent doomsaying threads for this. However, if you disagree with the above and the outlook is grim for you, you are of course welcome to tell us about it. I am not soliciting speculation here - I would rather like to read your observations (upon which you are welcome to speculate if you wish).

[Edited at 2009-02-26 18:40 GMT]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 04:05
English to German
+ ...
there is surely an upward tendency currently. Feb 26, 2009

Hi! but also much testing going on. I myself have forgotten to count how many tests I had sent since last november, last evening I had even not bothered to take three tests . Too many software vendors and too much confusion leading to dissatisfaction on the part of the client and greater alternative to choose from many, while not knowing who fits which domain expertise, additionally the automated or the MTs are also profiling these days name only google, a few of my random customers had even indicated, click on translate tab and it translates, but they are one time customers may be. The scenerio is somewhat changing. Surprisingly though, as I had rejected to do a test going beyond 180 - 200 words atleast one agency type customer had tried to reconstruct his original test and bring it down to this word count. But quality enquiries trend is generally going up, and I feel happy inside about this. BR Brandis

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:05
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
It jibes Feb 26, 2009

I've hinted at this in a few places, and the trend continues. I'll give you some of my take on this privately, because I don't think it's worth airing some of the issues publicly and dealing with the usual whines. Overall volumes of work appear to be dropping, but what is left is moving upmarket, because customers can't afford less than the best for marketing and other areas when things are headed where they are.

Hang on. It'll be an interesting ride, and a profitable one for some. I'll keep the BBQ ready and fatten up the mutt just in case I don't make the post-Apocalypse cut.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A possible scenario Feb 26, 2009

Indeed the scenario you describe is something that could become reality in the middle run. In particular, my view is that there is a possibility that customers who relied on low-cost agencies are not pleased with the results and A) will go to better agencies, or B) will come to places like Proz.com and will hire their translators directly.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:05
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I'll bring in the wine! Feb 26, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
Hang on. It'll be an interesting ride, and a profitable one for some. I'll keep the BBQ ready and fatten up the mutt just in case I don't make the post-Apocalypse cut.


I'll bring the wine (a reasonably good Spanish one) if you invite me!


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 21:05
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good for you!!! Feb 26, 2009

I'm so glad things are going well for you...that gives us all hope.

Personally, my work load for this February is only 10% of what I had last year. Whether it's the "crisis" or just a temporary hiccup I wouldn't like to speculate but if you have a client who "can't handle the workload" please give them my name!!!

Best to you...

Paty


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 04:05
English to Croatian
+ ...
Cheap stuff costs more ? Feb 26, 2009

Perhaps they realized that the cheap, incoherent translation would eventually cost them much more ( nerves, ruined reputation, repaying for additional proofreading and much more ).

So, they suddenly came to their senses, by the principle of epiphanies.


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Iza Szczypka  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:05
English to Polish
+ ...
Same here Feb 26, 2009

More jobs from either end customers or top-notch agencies, that's true.
Less whining about prices, more stress on quality.
From the perspective of my specialisations, I can see two trends:
- market consolidation: the smaller, newly acquired companies need to adjust to the new (step-)parent, so they need translation of corporate identity manuals, accounting rules, product literature etc. Alternatively, they are after any venture capital available, only at the "Take me, me, I'm so attractive!" stage, and their literature is getting a heavy facelift;
- more difficult market: the marketing departments have woken up to the fact that it's no longer satisfactory to have SOMETHING in the foreign language part of the company website; it must be well written, attractive and convincing - hence lots of rewriting going on...
Make hay while the sun shines - and happy translating

P.S.: Third trend - agencies who used to specialise solely in the automotive have now mysteriously disappeared...

[Edited at 2009-02-26 19:45 GMT]


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Cecilia Bonello
Argentina
Local time: 23:05
English to Spanish
+ ...
The wine will have to wait for now!! Feb 26, 2009

Hi everyone!
My situation here in Argentina is the same as Patty's. In the last 2/3 months, I've been included in the databases of higher-paying translation agencies (after unavoidable translation tests...), but the work is still not coming as I wished...
I hope the good winds From Canada & EU will blow this way!
In the meantime, you enjoy you BBQ & wine. Cheers from here!


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 04:05
English to German
+ ...
some observation here.. Feb 26, 2009

Hi! watching the tendency how agencies usually try to empty my pocket while adjusting with the argument that the proof-reader did not approve it. I had asked to give me a direkt contact of the proof-reader, which the agency promptly and silentenly rejected. I did not know the trade going this way before I came to proz.com. I sit here all day and night and all of a sudden some jerk remarks and the agency cuts on the pay or sometimes does not even pay. Surely the trend is going upwards there. Now I have read that Mr. Obama is not granting any tax benefits to US companies for the outsourcing. I only hope what is he confronted with in our branch. BR Brandis

[Edited at 2009-02-26 19:29 GMT]


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Jennifer Hejtmankova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 04:05
Member (2007)
Czech to English
+ ...
Workload way down Feb 26, 2009

My workload is way off last year's as well...however, I do a lot of work for a real estate agency, so that may have something to do with it!!!))

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Maartje Giebels  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:05
English to Dutch
+ ...
Also down here Feb 26, 2009

My workload is going down as wll, but it is because I worked mostly for one agency which is now not sending me so much. I know you should try to get more clients, but if the few you have keep you busy day and night, there realy wasn't much use for mo to try and find others. I am doing that now and I must say that I already have some new contacts now, so I think the workload must surely go up again.
I'm not getting depressed or anything, as I can still pay the bills and feed the family, so that's already a big something.

Love,
Maartje


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:05
Italian to English
Since we're talking about wine... Feb 26, 2009

the wine business seems to be quite buoyant at the moment, as it usually is at this time of year, when wineries and distributors are gearing up for the Verona and Bordeaux fairs.

I have had a few enquiries from new wine-sector customers in Italy and the UK in the past month or so and they do actually fall into Kevin's two categories: bottom feeders whose first - and only - question is "how much?" and serious clients who have either been recommended or want to know if I can do for them what they have seen elsewhere.

But the work is there.

FWIW

Giles
PS When Kevin does get round to broiling the pooch, I could do a nice Refosco if Tomás brings some Rioja and Cecilia chips in a bottle or two of Malbec.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:05
French to German
+ ...
Mixed feelings, but globally positive Feb 26, 2009

Some agencies I worked with don't send me jobs anymore and others try to get the maximum out of my services, which I now decline as my time also is money.

To compensate this, I now have top-notch direct clients who are willing to pay a little bit more (+ 250%) and have clear projects and objectives.

This in the long run means that I will be less available for agencies and their requests.

So far, so good.

Laurent K.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 03:05
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Change of plans Feb 26, 2009

Giles Watson wrote:
When Kevin does get round to broiling the pooch....


I have just been informed that the dog is off limits, but we can roast the cat. It's me old farm cat from Oregon, so the meat may not be so fresh and tender, but there'll be plenty of it (she's quite overweight), and since we'll be washing it down with lots of wine, I doubt anyone will notice.

You know... I was thinking about my experiences in recent months and the trends I'm observing with direct clients and agencies. In many ways this may be an ideal time for those looking for more direct client business to go for it. You win, and the end customer wins, because even with a fat mark-up for the extra time and effort of dealing with direct client issues, those direct clients will be saving serious money unless they were dealing with the lower end agencies anyway. And if the cost is the same, there's always the quality to consider. I don't know how many of you know about the proliferation of farmer's markets on the US west coast (and maybe elsewhere - I don't get around much). Food producers got tired of getting squeezed by the middle men, and consumers wanted fresher food and better quality. A movement was born which continues and thrives to this day. Sure, the supermarkets are still there, but the competition is tough, and the margins suck. Look for more consolidation of the business.

I like working with agencies, because they are a great buffer and allow me to enjoy more quiet. So if good direct clients come to me, I won't sick the dog on them (he'd just cuddle them anyway), but I probably won't be chasing them much. But for those with more youthful energy than this creaky old hermit, now's the time to get out there and build the cash reserves for whatever comes.

*********

Editing required due to disobedient, arthritic fingers

[Edited at 2009-02-26 20:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-02-26 20:52 GMT]


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