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My take on what is going on in our industry 2013/2014
Thread poster: Siegfried Armbruster

Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:57
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Jan 16, 2014

Has anything really changed in the last few years? I tried to put my impressions and ideas of what is going on in our industry in a blog article. You can find it at

http://gxplanguageservices.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/impressions-and-trends-20132014/

What is your impression - have things changed, are they changing - if so in what direction?


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:57
English to German
+ ...
Not too much change but certainly not worse Jan 16, 2014

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

Has anything really changed in the last few years? ...

What is your impression - have things changed, are they changing - if so in what direction?


Personally, I am experiencing a decrease in inquiries from low-rate agencies and am keeping my regular direct clients who are willing to pay adequate (=higher) rates.
However, the volume of work has not yet significantly increased compared to previous years.

Regarding machine translations, CAT tools and online dictionaries and other online resources (similar documents etc.) - they are an important tool and can be helpful in speeding up basic translation tasks. What is important is the editing/correction and general fine-tuning by the translator. Further technical developments in that area as well as the availability of more sample material online can be helpful in broadening one's field(s) of expertise and increase one's business.
But no machine will yet replace a translator's experience which remains essential for providing high-quality translations.


Bernhard
edited x 2

[Edited at 2014-01-16 16:11 GMT]


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:57
Russian to English
+ ...
In my esperience things have been changing into better Jan 16, 2014

Fewer low paying agencies have been contacting me; there are fewer low rate jobs, and unreasonable requirements in the offers. Everything seems to be turning slightly more professional and reasonable. I don't know that much what has been going on with various CAT tools. My impression is that not that much over the last ten years, since there is really a limited number of things they can be helping with, if they are useful to some particular translators. There has been more work, and things look good.

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septima
Local time: 18:57
Over the next few years Jan 17, 2014

I foresee the implosion of agencies, and their replacement by in-house secretaries. Because agencies are no more than that – glorified and overpaid secretaries – and the market won't tolerate that situation for long. MT and MT2* will wipe out the amateur translator and agency alike, and for the same reason – they know nothing and add nothing. Market efficiency is increasing exponentially, and those who make a smug living out of loopholes, inertia and client ignorance will soon find themselves on the wrong end of the information society.

In the future I foresee small or medium-sized "practices" or "partnerships" of talented, working translators, as exist today among graphic designers or architects. Certainly, the dominant surcharge culture of agencies, exploiting boxloads of translators/post-editors like screws in an overpriced machine, marked up with a bit of DTP and coordination, is nearing its end. Secretaries will handle all that at a fraction of the price, and a handful of real translators will be left to deal with the real issues on a professional-to-professional basis.

*The leap from TTT (text-to-text) to TIT (text-to-information-to-text)


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:57
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
No tsunami Jan 17, 2014

Thank you Bernhard and Lilian for sharing your impressions. I agree, there seems to be a shift away from "bad" jobs, however, this could be caused that we just belong to a different market segment and the bottom feeders are just not targeting us.

Machine translation is a interesting topic, I see an increasing volume of texts for post editing, even from the big names in pharma and medical technology. But none of these texts was yet good enough that I would even consider it worth editing. And the output from the post editors I have seen so far in these fields is crap too. Sooner or later these end clients will learn that the turnover times and the cost involved is not worth the result. It is a different case with companies such as Microsoft or other huge players that have enough material in their own domain to produce "usable" machine translated text e. g. for their help/support sites.

Lilian, I am working in the medical/pharma/technical domain, in these fields the development in CAT tools has been dramatic over the last few years. Tools like Trados 2011/14 or Memo Q increased my productivity at least by 30-50 % compared to Trados 2007. And in the domains I am working there is a lot of repetitive texts, I would just not be able to translate the same volume without using CAT tools.


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Stephen Emm  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:57
French to English
+ ...
Too negative on agencies Jan 17, 2014

septima wrote:

I foresee the implosion of agencies, and their replacement by in-house secretaries. Because agencies are no more than that – glorified and overpaid secretaries – and the market won't tolerate that situation for long.


To some extent I share your view about certain agencies that are just glorified middle-men who just send out the work to freelancers and then just send it back to their customer, but not all translation agencies are like this!
Before going freelance, I worked for a large translation agency, and we did much more than this. We had one very large industrial customer whose documents we translated into 15 different languages. The company as a whole was responsible for managing the TM, terminology and quality of a huge amount of translation.
Could one or two translators manage a contract like this? Hundreds of thousands of words a month into 15 different languages?
Also, as translators only tend to work out of two or three languages, why would a large industrial company want to deal with numerous suppliers when it can deal with one?
Sometimes translation is only one part of the document production process.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agencies have their function Jan 17, 2014

septima wrote:
I foresee the implosion of agencies, and their replacement by in-house secretaries. Because agencies are no more than that – glorified and overpaid secretaries – and the market won't tolerate that situation for long.

I completely disagree with this statement. The agencies I work for (I regularly work for some 25 agencies in the US and Europe, there's a good sample) certainly take their share of the business I generate, but in exchange make my work so much easier and save me from dealing with a ton of customers with a ton of different procedures and red tape.

As for the evolution of the market, to me things have very much stayed the same, although I see larger agencies in more of a bind because of their overhead. Medium-sized agencies certainly have a better position to capture more market share in the current recovery climate.


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:57
English to German
+ ...
Certainly no significant improvement Jan 18, 2014

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
Personally, I am experiencing a decrease in inquiries from low-rate agencies and am keeping my regular direct clients who are willing to pay adequate (=higher) rates.
However, the volume of work has not yet significantly increased compared to previous years.


Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

Thank you Bernhard and Lilian for sharing your impressions. I agree, there seems to be a shift away from "bad" jobs, however, this could be caused that we just belong to a different market segment and the bottom feeders are just not targeting us.


Maybe I should have specified - decrease in cheap inquiries from those who contact me through my Proz.com profile, but there isn't any significant increase in inquiries/projects from good clients through this portal. Nevertheless, at this point, I believe my presence here is still warranted (I do get projects) and I do contact colleagues through this portal. The low-price market is certainly still out there and I can't really tell if that market segment is in decline or not. I can only hope and continue to use additional means of advertising my services.

B


[Edited at 2014-01-18 16:18 GMT]


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Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:57
English to German
+ ...
Like partnerships Jan 20, 2014

septima wrote:

In the future I foresee small or medium-sized "practices" or "partnerships" of talented, working translators, as exist today among graphic designers or architects.

*The leap from TTT (text-to-text) to TIT (text-to-information-to-text)


This is a model I would prefer for the future. Partnership between professionals. There will be a need for coordinating the tasks, but the translators can certainly do that.


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My take on what is going on in our industry 2013/2014

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