Ideas/Perceptions on translation demand seasonality?
Thread poster: Miguel Ríos

Miguel Ríos
Mexico
Local time: 20:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Oct 8, 2015

Hello everyone,

I recently noticed an abrupt decrease in my website's visits, so I tried to find some clues on seasonality. Couldn't find any studies, but I tried a google tool for keyword search volume.

Depending on the keywords there are some trends, for instance low search volume in December (less people searching for translation services). March seemed to peak quite often.

Since I am rather new as a freelance translator, I can't tell if those trends are accurate. I suppose experience is more reliable to estimate seasonal demand for our services.

What do you think?


 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:22
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
I don't know about your country, Oct 8, 2015

but in Europe, July and August are usually weaker months, as everybody is on vacation, while on their return, in September, they tend to catch up. The same around Christmas and New Year, and then another peak in March-May. It also depends on your field - different industries have different seasonality.

 

Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:22
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Yes, there is a seasonal trend for me Oct 8, 2015

I tend to have very busy autumn months, a fairly busy December and first week or two of January, and then the second half of January and all of February tend to be slow. July and August can be slow, too, since people are on holiday.

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:22
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Feast or famine Oct 8, 2015

Well,I've been translating full time since about 1990. Over that long time I can't really say that there's a reliable trend for me. January tends to be slow (clients taking time off over Christmas and New Year, perhaps?) while August tends to be busy (other translators taking their holidays, perhaps?).
This year, work was so slow between January and March that I began to fear that my career as a translator was coming to an end. Then work suddenly picked up and for the last three months I've been so busy I'm having difficulty fitting everything in.
I think the replies to this topic so far show that the "trend" is different for each of us, perhaps depending on where we are, where our clients are and what our language pairs and special fields are.
One thing most translators will tell you is that it's either feast or famine.
Best wishes.


 

Christina Baier  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 03:22
Member (2014)
French to German
+ ...
It depends on your special fields Oct 8, 2015

I think it depends on the fields you specialise in.

I get many tourism-related translations for local direct clients under february-april, when everyone is preparing the summer season. (I live in the south of Sweden, in an area very popular among German tourists.)

For French-to-German fashion-translations the busiest time can be summer/ end of summer, before the new autumn collections come out.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:22
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Clear seasonality in finance, less so in automotive Oct 8, 2015

Radioajo wrote:
Since I am rather new as a freelance translator, I can't tell if those trends are accurate. I suppose experience is more reliable to estimate seasonal demand for our services.

It depends on the country and the industry.

Finance is one of my areas of specialisation. Most Japanese companies have typically had financial years that end in 31 March and they report their earnings in late April to May.

Naturally I see a noticeable increase in requests for financial Japanese-English translation - more like a flood, actually - around this time.

Also in late October and November I see similar surges in demand for the half-year financial results, with smaller peaks around the quarterly results in August and February.

For technical and automotive, the time of year seems to have less effect. There is a tendency for new product announcements to be made at major auto shows, but there are a number of such shows scattered through the year, so there isn't really a pronounced seasonal trend.

In addition, I do a fair bit of translation of research papers for some very large Japanese auto manufacturers and they submit these at regular SAE events throughout the year. Again, limited seasonality there.

Regards
Dan


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 08:22
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Seasonality in medical translation Oct 8, 2015

Dan Lucas wrote:

For technical and automotive, the time of year seems to have less effect. There is a tendency for new product announcements to be made at major auto shows, but there are a number of such shows scattered through the year, so there isn't really a pronounced seasonal trend.

In addition, I do a fair bit of translation of research papers for some very large Japanese auto manufacturers and they submit these at regular SAE events throughout the year. Again, limited seasonality there.



My medical (drug trial) translation has seasonality: Highest demand in September and lowest demand in January. I cannot explain about the reason. It is probably dependent on US-European needs for localization.
Technical (IT, automotive, construction) translation of me shows no seasonality. This can be explained as regular demand out of many continents.

Soonthon L.


 

Miguel Ríos
Mexico
Local time: 20:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Vacas gordas, vacas flacas Oct 8, 2015

That means "fat cows" and "skinny cows" literally.

Its the same idea behind "feast or famine", and its a reference to some biblical text. Despite my short time in business, I know what that is.

I suppose I'll have to see for myself, probably seasonality depends mostly on the translator and their work practices.

Thanks for your responses, I hope we all get lots of contracts!


Cheers,

Miguel


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:22
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Useful Oct 9, 2015

I find it useful to keep a daily (or almost daily) diary recording the jobs that come in.

This diary has been building up for a few years now, and is a good way of predicting when I'm likely to have not much work (so plan for a holiday) or for explaining why I suddenly hit a dry patch.


 


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