Article discussing outsourcing: Comparable to translation agency trends & post-editing?
Thread poster: Kaiya J. Diannen

Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Member (2008)
German to English
Jul 16, 2012

I came across this newspaper article discussing what happens when certain functions are outsourced to contracting companies/contractors - specifically with regard to:

1) PRICE: "contractors are able to pay lower wages and benefits — in many cases, a lot lower."
2) QUALITY/REFINEMENT: "It is these systems — the rules, the procedures, in effect the operational software — that allow companies to take relatively low-skilled, low-paid workers with relatively little experience and have them do tasks that were once done by people with higher skills, higher pay and more experience. And it is the very nature of these systems that workers are discouraged, if not prohibited, from exercising their own discretion. Their only job is to follow rules, stick to the script and leverage the experience and expertise that are embedded in the system."

The article itself has nothing to do with translation, but I was wondering if anyone else felt this sounded just a little too familiar to be comfortable...

Lifeguard’s ordeal is parable about outsourcing

Toward the end, the article states:
"You can see how this process bifurcates labor markets and increases income inequality. At the low end are the low-cost expendable cogs. At the high end are those whose experience and intelligence and training allow them to demand very good salaries for designing, creating and managing these systems. There’s not much in between — or even much of a ladder for getting from one to the other."

I think this is something very important that is demanding our attention more and more in the world of translation as well - what do you think?


Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:29
English to Hungarian
+ ...
The trend does exist Jul 16, 2012

Many translators reported that the post-editing offers they received follow the pattern you describe, Janet.

Laying the emphasis on productivity, a set of easy-to-follow rules are established, restricting the room for individual judgment. Quality requirements are lowered; as those who participate in this workflow cannot stand out from the crowd by the excellence of their work, become completely interchangeable, and so this segment of the translation market becomes commoditized. Those who share TAUS's credo,
We envision translation as a standard feature, a ubiquitous service. Like the internet, electricity, and water, translation is one of the basic needs of human civilization.

may rejoice. The part that you quoted (with "At the low end are the low-cost expendable cogs.") looks quite applicable to this situation, too.

Most translators who participated in the survey declined these offers.


**Updated to add a link

[Edited at 2012-07-16 18:38 GMT]


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Article discussing outsourcing: Comparable to translation agency trends & post-editing?

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