Slowdown vs. THE Crisis
Thread poster: eobregon

eobregon  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:52
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jan 30, 2011

Is the all-pervasive crisis affecting your business? And, if so, how can you tell? I mean, how do you distinguish between a clear indicator that the economy is affecting your translation business and a simple spell of low volume?

I've been freelancing for only 5 years. I wasn't quite established as a translator before this whole financial meltdown began, so whenever I have a slowdown I'm never really sure if it's just a normal part of the business cycle or if I should panic, look for another job, and seriously begin to fear that I may never work again...

This usually lasts only about 1 or 2 weeks at most, but it can be really crippling, it's hard to stay focused on marketing when you start having doubts about whether or not to continue in the business.

I would love to know how other translators handle this and I would especially appreciate hearing from more veteran translators on this subject.

Thanks!


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:52
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
work slowdown - hook up with old clients Jan 30, 2011

I guess every job has it's busy periods and slower periods, as a mostly technical translator with a side line of tourism and market research - I generally see a slow down in January and February (but I "only" started 8 years ago - so I'm not sure if I can qualify as senior already...) - - -so that is the time I hook up with old clients, check on their plans for this year, and spend more time on marketing (or a vacation)

Ed


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 15:52
Russian to English
+ ...
Crisis? What crisis? Jan 31, 2011

Generally, the translation industry is only marginally affected by financial crises. One of the reasons is that whenever a crisis strikes in a given region, many entrepreneurs want to try their luck elsewhere, which often requires at least some translation work.
Some agencies try to push translators' rates down, but in most cases the crisis is merely a pretext, not a real cause for that.
On the other hand, the demand for translations does indeed exhibit a significant seasonality, but it is very market-specific, there is no common trend for the entire industry (except possibly a peak in December).

(26 years in the translation industry)

[Edited at 2011-01-31 00:32 GMT]


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 20:52
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Seasonal change and world of probability Jan 31, 2011

My workflow concentrates only on certain days. My badly busy days come here and there while my easy days can extends far longer. I try to understand that my job density changes with season. In fact, a number of uncertainties play roles. I may not evaluate my job success in a short time but only a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Not to bad, not much crisis (if I ignore influence of technology change e.g. free online MT, cloud computing based cheap services).

Soonthon Lupkitaro


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:52
French to English
+ ...
More translation work but of what quality Jan 31, 2011

Anton Konashenok wrote:
Generally, the translation industry is only marginally affected by financial crises. One of the reasons is that whenever a crisis strikes in a given region, many entrepreneurs want to try their luck elsewhere, which often requires at least some translation work.


There's probably some truth in this, but I wonder to what extent it results specifically in translation work where the focus is on low cost rather than quality...


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 15:52
Russian to English
+ ...
to Neil Jan 31, 2011

I don't think it does. I work in the top segment of the market, and haven't noticed any shortage of work. In fact, there is very little downward migration within the market - a client accustomed to high-quality translations will hardly ever go for a low-quality one to cut costs.

[Edited at 2011-01-31 09:19 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:52
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Generalization? Jan 31, 2011

Anton Konashenok wrote:
I don't think it does. I work in the top segment of the market, and haven't noticed any shortage of work. In fact, there is very little downward migration within the market - a client accustomed to high-quality translations will hardly ever go for a low-quality one to cut costs.


Clients demanding high quality will keep requiring it as long as they can afford it.

However those used to average-to-low quality won't mind stepping down a bit further to cut costs. Nevertheless, this is a much more delicate situation than it may appear at first sight. While free online automatic translation is developing, the so-called 'crisis' is pouring countless unskilled or low-skilled amateur translators into the marketplace, simply bilingual or sesquilingual people. It requires some alert monitoring to notice when the upward automatic translation line crosses the downward human translation one, i.e. when it's costwise worth shifting from human to automatic translation. Putting it in plain and simple terms, there is a rather fickle point (I mean a $/word rate) below which free automatic translation may be actually better than the same work done by humans.


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:52
Member (2008)
French to English
Financial crises may generate translation work Jan 31, 2011

If anything, I thought I detected that the financial crisis generated more work, not less - legal documents, changing contracts, bankruptcies, etc. - all of which generated paperwork with a certain proportion requiring translation.

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chammer  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:52
English to French
+ ...
agencies and the crisis Jan 31, 2011

I'm a lot newer to the business than eobregon (I'm working since one year only), but I've certainly seen agencies requesting a discount because of the crisis. In some cases, the agency said it was a temporary measure. Now, I have no idea if that was sincere or not.

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