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How has the economic crisis influenced the translation market?
Thread poster: Pablo Bouvier

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:55
German to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 14, 2009

Although I have personnel criteria about on how the ecomic crisis has modified the translation market in my country, this post is rather addressed to get comparative criteria at European and international level. Thank you very much for your opinions.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-09-14 18:03 GMT]


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
More work and more money Sep 14, 2009

There seems to be more work and I am earning more money because the pound is weak when compared to the euro and most of my customers are outside the UK in Europe.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:55
English to German
+ ...
More work and more money II Sep 14, 2009

I raised my rates and I had more work then ever. When my taxes were due, I fell flat on my behind.

The reason is simple: When the economy is down, corporations are forced to advertise more aggressively, which means more work for marketing translators.

BR,

Nicole


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Penelope Ausejo  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:55
English to Spanish
+ ...
Same here Sep 14, 2009

I also raised my rates and doing better than before...

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:55
English to French
+ ...
Work stable - more annoying "best rate" mail Sep 14, 2009

I find that work has been more or less stable here, but I work mostly on technical text.

However, I have been getting an increasing amount of mail asking for my best rate, trying to impose ridiculous payment terms and requiring to reap the return on my software investments. And this, despite my ProZ profile and my marketing material clearly stating that I am not the "have Trados, willing to prostitute myself" type of translator. The print on my Delete key is wearing off...


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
A lot depends on... Sep 14, 2009

...your language combination and the economic status in your country of destination. It is hard to compare in this case.

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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Less agency work Sep 14, 2009

Over the past year I have noticed less work from agencies, but more work from direct clients. Two of my new direct clients used to use agencies and approached me directly in order to cut costs.

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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 02:55
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Same trend here Sep 14, 2009

John Rawlins wrote:
Over the past year I have noticed less work from agencies, but more work from direct clients. Two of my new direct clients used to use agencies and approached me directly in order to cut costs.


A number of good agencies - really good agencies - that I work with are hit hard, in part by clients who reduce the scope of multilingual projects, in part by end clients insourcing translation project management, in part by clients withdrawing from the European market or having their materials translated in China or India. That will probably continue until the first major liability case is lost by a major company because some guy in Taiwan messed up on a French to English translation.

The good translators I know in my language pair are busier than ever and can raise prices in many cases. The reason for this is pretty much what Nicole stated, and some direct clients have told me as much. What is happening in other pairs I can't say, because I am only interested in available capacity among competent DE>EN translators that I know personally so I can refer clients to them when I can't stomach the thought of more work.

But I have had the impression over the past year that what you are experiencing, John, is a general trend. NOW is the time for ambitious freelancers to start scooping up those direct clients.


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TAKAKO CN6YR
Japan
Local time: 10:55
Russian to Japanese
+ ...
It should positively effect on freelancers in some ways Sep 15, 2009

As I am a new participant, I have nothing to compare how my income changed after the crysis, but in my opinion, it should increase freelancers' work since many world companies try to reduce their expenses. It is less expensive to order freelancers for translation when needed than to hire full-time translators.

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VoiceTex
Germany
Local time: 03:55
English to German
+ ...
Steady up Sep 15, 2009

Takako Shibuya wrote:

It is less expensive to order freelancers for translation when needed than to hire full-time translators.

And even cheaper to type the text into Google/Babylon or similar and save the money instead of hiring a proofreader.

But we all know what's coming of that...


Anyway, I can't complain, though I can't read DELETE anymore on my keyboard - just like Viktoria.

Yet, I just started about 1 1/2 years ago so I don't have much data for comparison and I don't know whether it's finally the marketing paying off or the economic situation.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:55
English to German
+ ...
Use the "crisis" for weeding Sep 15, 2009

The "crisis" made me kill quite a few of our longtime customers. All of the sudden it was easy to tell which ones were well-financed and which ones were not, even if we never ever had to deal with non-payers. This way, I can secure the future success of my business, all co-owners, freelancers, accountants and secretaries included.

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Eleftherios Kritikakis  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:55
Member (2003)
Greek to English
+ ...
Different markets Sep 15, 2009

Personally I like watching the dynamic thrusts of Nicole and others. It's nice to see people standing up against negative trends.

However, things are not the same in all language combinations.

Here are some factors:

a) Market size - for example, German market is much larger than the Greek market

b) Willingness to work for much less - Greeks are willing to work for much less, most live with parents - Germans have more pride in their work and professionalism

c) Habits and perceptions. Germans and Americans consider themselves professionals and compare their incomes to other professionals. Greeks compare themselves to newly hired public employees (!)

Overall, the Greek market has experienced a slight reduction in volume, but a steep reduction in prices. I'm talking of course about the market "agency-translator", because the market "client-agency" continues with the same prices as last year.

Before everyone jumps and starts giving advice to an old international insurance/financial professional about marketing etc., I'm saying that these are general observations of mine and personally I do not need any help. That's information I got from other colleagues in Greece and some agency managers.

So, yes, the crisis has worked for many as negative leverage.

It has affected almost all markets, and you' re not going to hear opinions from others who have experienced serious decline, because they' re afraid to post such views (the minute they do, the others are going to jump down their throats with advice, while boasting how well they do themselves).


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Carol Chen  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 09:55
English to Chinese
Have no idea about it Sep 15, 2009

Things seem the same as before, that is not very stable.I'm not sure when the project would come.Sometimes I have to wait for long until another project. Sometimes,projects would come one after another in several days. It seemingly has no relation with the economic crisis.It is luck. Maybe.

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Marion Rooijmans
Netherlands
Local time: 03:55
English to Dutch
+ ...
Very quiet since a week Sep 15, 2009

Last week was very quiet, although I'm not sure it's all due to the crisis. I've had quiet days or weeks before and normally, I don't worry much. Now however, clients have told me they can't send me work unless I lower my rates, or they have just stopped sending me work without telling me anything.

I just hope it will pick up again soon.


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Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:55
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Continuous workload at very high level Sep 15, 2009

Like some of the previous posters, I have been experiencing a continuous stream of work for several years, and virtually nothing has changed as a result of the crisis. Despite the downward trend seen in some segments of our industry (i.e. a certain portion of the agency business that doesn't affect me at all), I gained some more direct clients over the past few months and was able to keep others who first contacted me several years ago, so my ratio of direct clients has increased in comparison to the agency share. This year's turnover will in all probability be stable compared to last year. Also worthy of note is the fact that I haven't had a single day without work except planned holidays ever since I went freelance back in 2003.

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