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I noticed a decline in demand for subtitling -- am I the only one?
Thread poster: Jocelin M

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Use the time to review your marketing Jun 12

There are probably multiple reasons, some personal and others industry- and location-related. As Kay says, it does sometimes seem like a conspiracy, but these lulls generally come to an abrupt end, with a queue of jobs.

Meanwhile, there's no shortage of things you can do. In your case, I'm wondering if the CV you've uploaded to this site is the one you use everywhere. I imagine that you aren't bothering to use this site as your main shop window and that's fine if you have better alt
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There are probably multiple reasons, some personal and others industry- and location-related. As Kay says, it does sometimes seem like a conspiracy, but these lulls generally come to an abrupt end, with a queue of jobs.

Meanwhile, there's no shortage of things you can do. In your case, I'm wondering if the CV you've uploaded to this site is the one you use everywhere. I imagine that you aren't bothering to use this site as your main shop window and that's fine if you have better alternatives. But if all your potential clients are seeing that you've done nothing but volunteer work, as communuty-spirited as pro bono work may be, they aren't going to see you as a professional translator. I advise you to spend a lot of time and effort on your marketing while you have the time.
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Matheus Chaud
 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Wouldn't be a worry if it just came down to a simple marketing solution Jun 12

Sheila Wilson wrote:

There are probably multiple reasons, some personal and others industry- and location-related. As Kay says, it does sometimes seem like a conspiracy, but these lulls generally come to an abrupt end, with a queue of jobs.

Meanwhile, there's no shortage of things you can do. In your case, I'm wondering if the CV you've uploaded to this site is the one you use everywhere. I imagine that you aren't bothering to use this site as your main shop window and that's fine if you have better alternatives. But if all your potential clients are seeing that you've done nothing but volunteer work, as communuty-spirited as pro bono work may be, they aren't going to see you as a professional translator. I advise you to spend a lot of time and effort on your marketing while you have the time.


I know a number of highly-qualified colleagues who market themselves just fine and yet are also experiencing a serious downturn in work.
Imo, qualified and competent financial, technical and medical translators are still doing ok. Other once specialist fields, like legal, have become 'anyone can do it' fields. Rates are being pushed down by agencies themselves, with the help of sites like this one, and over-reliance on MT and CAT tools with dodgy TMs are also killing the market for genuine translators. It's a profession (?) anyone can enter after all. Just call yourself a translator and bingo-you are one. And with today's emphasis on cheap, cheaper, cheapest with little concern about accuracy and quality, I don't see much hope for improvement in the near future.


Rachel Fell
Germaine
 

Jocelin M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:35
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your advice Jun 12

Silvia Schulz wrote:
Hi Jocelin,
Do you actively market your business? Do you have a website? Are you using social media platforms like LinkedIn to find clients?


I can't say that I do. I'm not a big fan of everything that is social media, to be honest, but I do have a LinkedIn account and got one client through it in 5 years.
As for the photo, I still don't understand how it is so important. I mean, knowing my face won't make me work better.

Sheila Wilson wrote:
In your case, I'm wondering if the CV you've uploaded to this site is the one you use everywhere.


Non, I barely touch it actually. Most of the time, I send the CV myself or redirect to my LinkedIn account.

@Suzanne: rush rates seem to have disappeared entirely. Five years ago at least, it was normal to be offered one for rushed projects. Now, not only it is never proposed (at least to me), but if you remind them, they suddenly find someone else to do the job...


 

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:35
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Not a question of rates Jun 12

Suzanne Smart wrote:

A couple of agencies I have previously worked with have told me I need to cut my price to around 0.04, 0.05 GBP per word, while other have almost completely stopped sending me work. I'm also getting a lot more requests for evening and weekend work without a rush rate which seems to be a separate phenomenon!


Cutting your rates isn't the answer
There are too many translators for the amount of work at the moment
When work picks up customers will call and pay the rates you ask
Agencies are killing the market with their immediate availability for a 10-day job in less than half that time stupidity, but imo will stop when they realise it doesn't work and in the long run is a recipe for disaster
There is a lot of work (big jobs) being done with PEMT but the rates are mostly ridiculously low (2-3 cents/word, should be at about 60-100% your rate for translations if you want it to be half decent)
If you drop your rates there won't be more work, just less money
If there's less work, be available and get paid a decent price while waiting for things to pick up again
Imo they already have started, this month
Spend non-translating time looking for new clients, promotion, etc.


John Fossey
Elizabeth Tamblin
Michele Fauble
 

LIZ LI
China
Local time: 13:35
Member (2008)
French to Chinese
+ ...
No need to be pessimistic though Jun 12

writeaway wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:

There are probably multiple reasons, some personal and others industry- and location-related. As Kay says, it does sometimes seem like a conspiracy, but these lulls generally come to an abrupt end, with a queue of jobs.

Meanwhile, there's no shortage of things you can do. In your case, I'm wondering if the CV you've uploaded to this site is the one you use everywhere. I imagine that you aren't bothering to use this site as your main shop window and that's fine if you have better alternatives. But if all your potential clients are seeing that you've done nothing but volunteer work, as communuty-spirited as pro bono work may be, they aren't going to see you as a professional translator. I advise you to spend a lot of time and effort on your marketing while you have the time.


I know a number of highly-qualified colleagues who market themselves just fine and yet are also experiencing a serious downturn in work.
Imo, qualified and competent financial, technical and medical translators are still doing ok. Other once specialist fields, like legal, have become 'anyone can do it' fields. Rates are being pushed down by agencies themselves, with the help of sites like this one, and over-reliance on MT and CAT tools with dodgy TMs are also killing the market for genuine translators. It's a profession (?) anyone can enter after all. Just call yourself a translator and bingo-you are one. And with today's emphasis on cheap, cheaper, cheapest with little concern about accuracy and quality, I don't see much hope for improvement in the near future.


It's true that agencies keep pushing for lower and lower rates. But try to be realistic, that's just what all business men are doing the same way in different sectors around the world. If we are free to find new clients, look for marketing solutions, so as to ask for higher rates and gain more profits, others are also free to do so.
However, the whole industry is in eternal need of balance between demands and supplies. Thus, when less and less qualified translators remain in the market, rates may eventually go higher and higher.
I am confident of being a translator though it's Not legally a business I am running as a freelancer in my country.
But I'll keep myself optimistic. For those who go for a pessimistic vision, I think it's time to try something new.


Gareth Callagy
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Nevertheless, I think the key is in (re-)positioning yourself -- or getting out Jun 12

writeaway wrote:
I know a number of highly-qualified colleagues who market themselves just fine and yet are also experiencing a serious downturn in work.
Imo, qualified and competent financial, technical and medical translators are still doing ok. Other once specialist fields, like legal, have become 'anyone can do it' fields. Rates are being pushed down by agencies themselves, with the help of sites like this one, and over-reliance on MT and CAT tools with dodgy TMs are also killing the market for genuine translators. It's a profession (?) anyone can enter after all. Just call yourself a translator and bingo-you are one. And with today's emphasis on cheap, cheaper, cheapest with little concern about accuracy and quality, I don't see much hope for improvement in the near future.

I suppose it depends on how you define 'near future'. I doubt things will get better in the very near future -- probably worse -- but I think it's part of a cycle. There's been an enormous explosion in the amount of text to be translated since I started translating in 2007. Of course, the supply of translators has kept pace with demand; as you say, anyone can set themselves up and start work, so 'anyone' did. MT etc then kicked off the rates plunge we're seeing today. But governments all over Europe (I can't speak for the rest of the world) are starting to use international linked computer systems to track every cent/penny of income. I can see the day approaching when a lot of the 'hobby' translators will see negative income: here in Spain our compulsory social contributions are over EUR 300 a month. The pool of suppliers will then shrink rapidly, I imagine. So will the volume of work as people make what sense they can of raw MT. IMO, only two extremes will be left: 'industry translations' churned out by MT post-editors, and high-end/specialised translations done more or less as they are now. Quite what will become of those legal translations you mentioned is a bit of a worry , but thankfully not mine .

The point is that I personally think the middle area of charging maybe 0.03-0.06 for translation is probably going to disappear altogether. I'm not sure it's even worth fighting that. Is there any job in the world that isn't radically changing at the moment? I trained as a shorthand secretary back in the '70s -- I don't think I'd find much work doing that now! I remember riots in France when Kodak closed a photographic film factory, but how could it have stayed open? We all need to adapt if we're to survive, even if it involves major career changes.


Kevin Fulton
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Peter Shortall
 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 07:35
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I think these changes cannot be compared to the old days/past Jun 13

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Is there any job in the world that isn't radically changing at the moment? I trained as a shorthand secretary back in the '70s -- I don't think I'd find much work doing that now! I remember riots in France when Kodak closed a photographic film factory, but how could it have stayed open? We all need to adapt if we're to survive, even if it involves major career changes.


It is interesting what you are writing because I read almost the same words on proz.com' LinkedIn post:
"Have you adapted to changes in the translation and interpreting industry in recent years? "
And also read this in many posts on LinkedIn (no translation related): you need to adapt written under many industries.

It sounds like a "programmed motto/hype". I meant it without any conspiracy theories.

I do think and do hope that the MT/PEMT bubble with burst in the very near future. Because everything will sound the same, there will be no difference between products, services that are translated, because MT is working from the Big Data, so companies will lose a lot of money. Also those translators who are doing it will lose their creative and logical thinking since they are working after a machine. -> See my post from April:

https://www.proz.com/forum/post_editing_machine_translation/334219-mt_"neural"_stuff_and_the_future.html#2789530


Also recently I took part in a conversation where a person who has nothing to do with translation also said what I thought from the beginning: many of the recent technological hyper-dooper improvements (MT also involved and many AI products) are due to reducing human "labor costs" and making a lot of money within a very short period of time till the bubble bursts. By the time the end-users realize how bad quality they received or how harmful/useless these products are or they don't work or they work only theoretically, the "inventors and technocrats and investors" have all their pockets full of money. Many of these people have only $$$$ sign in front of their eyes or they can be influenced easily to be mesmerized by making a lot of money within a short period of time (so we can say they are "victims"), and they don't want to /can't look into the future, meanwhile they are making a lot of harmful steps to ruin many parts of science, technology, businesses etc. They don't see it in advance if they ruin everything, they cannot enjoy their money because most of companies/services will be closed and products will be not marketed due to their greed.

So I don't agree with you that MT/PEMT and other recently hyped technological advances like AI can be compared to the case of "shorthand secretaries back to the 70's" or "when Kodak closed a photographic film factory," because today with MT/AI etc. this is something totally different:
1) things are changed artificially 2) things are changed way too quickly 3) it involves all industries not just a few (so by the time you adapt to something else you have to go from there too) 4) also many of these advances are existing only theoretically (or they don't know about the long-term use).

And 5) Even if technocrats see that their potential (!!) AI technologies will ruin whole industries or more industries like a domino, they are still doing it till the bubble burst.


So this cannot be compared with technocrats from the old days or from the beginning of the 20th century, because this hype (MT/AI etc.) seem to reach every single industries. Millions will lose their jobs... and will have either mental illnesses, also intelligence of humans will decline very fast. IF! all people think they will lose everything if they don't adapt.

And since things are happening so fast, who knows when this will happen.
It is not a coincidence that they were having a poll about universal basic income in Switzerland and also they made an experiment with that in Finland. The (?)problem(?) is that money doesn't make the woman/man. It is a great thing of course to have, but if somebody does not need to work, does not need to create, does not need to think logically, humanity will really end up to the level of intelligence of the Neanderthals -> https://www.proz.com/forum/machine_translation_mt/318856-rates_per_hour_for_mtpe.html#2704064

So adapting is a good thing till what you will do is really what you like and you are also really good at in your adapted area, and also if it is made due to your own decisions (not influenced) so it is not forced.


edited for typo

[Edited at 2019-06-13 17:04 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-06-13 17:08 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-06-14 08:06 GMT]


Sabine Braun
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I've quoted what I see as the salient points of your post, Katalin Jun 13

Katalin Szilárd wrote:
I do think and do hope that the MT/PEMT bubble with burst in the very near future. Because everything will sound the same, there will be no difference between products, services that are translated, because MT is working from the Big Data, so companies will lose a lot of money. Also those translators who are doing it will lose their creative and logical thinking since they are working after a machine.


By the time the end-users realize how bad quality they received or how harmful/useless these products are or they don't work or they work only theoretically, the "inventors and technocrats and investors" have all their pockets full of money. Many of these people have only $$$$ sign in front of their eyes or they can be influenced easily to be mesmerized by making a lot of money within a short period of time (so we can say they are "victims"), and they don't want to /can't look into the future, meanwhile they are making a lot of harmful steps to ruin many parts of science, technology, businesses etc. They don't see it in advance if they ruin everything, they cannot enjoy their money because most of companies/services will be closed and products will be not marketed due to their greed.


1) things are changed artificially 2) things are changed way too quickly 3) it involves all industries not just a few (so by the time you adapt to something else you have to go from there too) 4) also many of these advances are existing only theoretically (or they don't know about the long-term use).


And 5) Even if technocrats see that their potential (!!) AI technologies will ruin whole industries or more industries like a domino, they are still doing it till the bubble burst.


So this cannot be compared with technocrats from the old days or from the beginning of the 20th century, because this hype (MT/AI etc.) seem to reach every single industries. Millions will lose their jobs... and will have either mental illnesses, also intelligence of humans will decline very fast. IF! all people think they will lose everything if they don't adapt.


And since things are happening so fast, who knows when this will happen.


if somebody does not need to work, does not need to create, does not need to think logically, humanity will really end up to the level of intelligence of the Neanderthals


I agree to some extent with everything you say above and I do worry about the effect that these new technologies are having on our jobs and on the world. But the human race has survived massive changes before and thrived. We know a lot about the (First) Industrial Revolution, but the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel etc. must have been pretty revolutionary too. So none of this makes me too worried for the human race. Humans are nothing if not adaptable.

However, the world has deteriorated in the last 3-5 years or so to the point that I actually think MT etc is pretty much irrelevant. I think we have vastly more reason to fear powerful and twisted individuals leading the masses in hateful directions than we have to fear big business.

All I can say is: Hope is free!!!

And I hope I'm wrong about the human race being about to wipe itself off the face of the Earth. At the moment, all I can hope is that we don't take every last living thing with us. In the meantime, either you can be an optimist and try to make the best of every situation that presents itself to you, while avoiding fretting about things you can't change; or you can be a pessimist and just shoot yourself. I'm teetering between the two, personally, but let's not get morbid .

And this is probably the moment to get back on topic . Anyone else experiencing fewer subtitling jobs?


Jorge Payan
 

Jocelin M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 07:35
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
. Jun 13

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I think we have vastly more reason to fear powerful and twisted individuals leading the masses in hateful directions than we have to fear big business.


Just a last thought on that, I actually fear big businesses far more than twisted individuals. Big businesses led to the crisis (environmental as well as economical) that we see today.

But speaking of the topic, I actually have a client agency that responded to a reminder. Apparently, they've seen a massive drop in project since the start of 2019 and a few translators seem to have mentioned a drop in projects received in general as well.
At first I was talking about translation in general but I don't mind the change in subject title, as it seems that subtitling looks particularly hit.
Just like technical translations get flooded with MT, I wonder if it's because of the rise of those agencies proposing subtitling in one day. It has a devastating impact on the quality of translation and translators are submitted to even more stress (without a raise in rates, of course...) but end clients seem to think they'll fight illegal download thanks to that. I hope this will just be a bubble as well...


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 07:35
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Both Jun 13

Jocelin M wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I think we have vastly more reason to fear powerful and twisted individuals leading the masses in hateful directions than we have to fear big business.




Or the combination of both: big businesses with powerful and twisted individuals as leaders ...

Anyway the only thing we can do is spreading the word. Because I still think this is not like any former industrial revolutions because it involves all industries and all people. Not just workers by the machines in factories, but everybody scientists, physicians, lawyers, creatives, painters, managers, ... even politicians.
So this is not anything like other industrial revolutions before.
In the old times there was a group of people who was able to make use of the industrial revolution and was able to make big money from this, now nobody is safe from these technological hypes. By the time those who could spend their money, the "industrial revolution" will kick back to them and soon they won't be able to spend their money.

Asimov's Law of Robotics should be used on all AI related inventions, tools (even on MT and all algorithms, algorithms of websites etc).

So I think everything depends on us, people: whether we are weak enough and we put our heads into the sand and allow to be led by some hyper-dooper trends and bow to the motto " adapt even though you don't want to".

Going back to the original topic:

I don't do subtitling jobs, but I and other colleagues do experience decline in medical translation requests and even visitors from directories.

______________________________________________

edited due to adding: " (even on MT and all algorithms, algorithms of websites etc)."


[Edited at 2019-06-13 19:45 GMT]


 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
It's not just subtitling that's hit, far from it Jun 14

Jocelin M wrote:
At first I was talking about translation in general but I don't mind the change in subject title, as it seems that subtitling looks particularly hit.


Imo the title is now a bit misleading because translation in general is concerned and not just subtitling.
Cheap, cheaper, cheapest rates and faster than ever turnarounds are currently the rule. Big businesses/agencies are buying up once good, reliable agencies and turning them into speedy money-making machines. Quality and accuracy are seemingly no longer part of the equation. TM's, CAT tools and MT -no actual knowledge needed.
I binned a wonderful job offer today for 3000+ words of Dutch-English at the generous rate of $0.03/word.



IT>EN Legal
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Yvonne Gallagher
 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:35
Dutch to English
+ ...
worst offer I ever had Jun 14

writeaway wrote:


I binned a wonderful job offer today for 3000+ words of Dutch-English at the generous rate of $0.03/word.



Yes I got that enviable proposal too: not just 0.03 USD a word, but the subject was finance, the source an uneditable PDF, payment 30 days, and delivery is 10:00 am tomorrow morning! Then it was posted on here, for paying members only, and even got some offers.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Hopefully they weren't quotes Jun 15

Richard Purdom wrote:
Then it was posted on here, for paying members only, and even got some offers.

Maybe they weren't offers. I know that I've sometimes "quoted" to tell outsourcers just what I think of their job.

[Edited at 2019-06-15 11:06 GMT]


Robert Rietvelt
 
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