Present standard of translation industry
Thread poster: amit039

amit039
Local time: 03:51
English to Hindi
+ ...
Oct 9, 2013

Hi all,

I have been in translation business for close to 3 years. In recent times I've noticed that the rates for translation offered in many of the Indian languages are diving pathetically low. Add to that the inflationary troubles & you have a industry which though growing lacks charm for new resources. Hence in recent years the industry has become a part time hobby or at max a grazing ground for part time employees who make the cost & quality standards further lower till they are in this industry.
Even with this situation the agencies & translation houses mostly of native origins are offering abysmally low rates & are killing the industry further. So much so a translation agency recently approached me with a rate of about USD 0.005 which is pathetically low. I had to block the agency from my mailing list & am planning to report the agency in appropriate forums. I wonder how these guys manage to maintain quality with these rates.
Anyway I would request you guys to share your thoughts about the reasons for the translation market diving to such lows & what should be a translators strategy to get decent clients in this situation?


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devendrakr  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:51
Member (2011)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Indian Localization Industry Oct 9, 2013

Hi All,

As Amit rightly pointed out about what is going on in the industry, most of us have similar experiences. I am in this industry for more than 14 years and in this forum since 2008. I was doing translation in English-Hindi pair for an Indian localization company and getting @ 1.25 INR per word in 2007. At that time, I have done more than 3,00,000 lac words. This is the highest rate the very same company is paying today and on average the payment is below 1.00 INR per word even with Trados or other tools. If adjusting inflation @ 10% on annual basis over the period of 6 years, actual rates have dipped by 60%.

This is just one front. The others are- prevalence of sub-contracting and sub-standard professionals (if said so). Yesterday, I met to the head of a mid size localization company in Noida. What he told was astonishing. According to him, there are 28,000 English-Hindi translators in Delhi-NCR only. So, you can guess how the supply of translators (mostly so called) become manifold. And the second aspect of sub-contracting, where a long chain is apparent where agencies are just subcontracting the job. Sometimes, there are 5 to 10 subcontractors in a series. Due to this phenomenon, what the actual client pays especially in the case of an overseas project for translation and what the end translator receives, there is a huge gap. Sometimes, actual translator just get paid 10% or below the cost actually paid by the end client. Due to both of these factors the quality and the real translator suffers.

[Edited at 2013-10-09 08:10 GMT]


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Sumit1970  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 03:51
English to Bengali
+ ...
Indian Translation Industry Oct 9, 2013

Dear Amit,

I somewhat agree with your concern. But I do seriously suggest you not to take it as a full time profession. There was a time when I worked full time but was forced to opt for other. If you really are interested in engaging yourself full time, try to form one agency. Because it involves organizing differently skilled persons and persons skilled in many languages. Not all can opt for that due to lack of ability of organizing virtual or direct (hu)man power and capital. If you don't have that ability, you can not expect to get any large assignments because clients will not have confidence on you. Now if you think that you can survive on small assignments, its up to you. In other words, what i mean is that this trade has become more organized and specialized with stricter and formal quality control measures. Thus individual translators are bound to fail in such an uneven competition. That is the reason why jobs are getting sub-tendered and this actually is the reason why real translators get smaller jobs and less rate.
In this situation my strategy is not to lower my rates no matter how less or more jobs I get. Developing myself as a agency is an option that I don't like to take because I don't like to take too much tension that necessarily involves becoming an agency. I only wish my means of earning to be enjoyable and rewording. Truly I am not that ambitious so far as freelancing is concerned. But ambitious people, if experienced enough, can still make lot of bucks in spite of all the competitions. Yes, also in India! Only that you have to adapt to a different kind of role than what you are playing now. Best wishes to all my Indian colleagues and friends of Proz.com

[Edited at 2013-10-09 11:26 GMT]


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amit039
Local time: 03:51
English to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Clarification regarding the query Oct 9, 2013

Hi all,

Many thanks to Devendra & Sumit for their suggestion & comments.
@Sumit: Thanks for your advice. I do agree with your comment about translation not being an ideal career option which I've also pointed out in my first post. Though I differ with your next suggestion. Please note that I do take on occasional sourcing work if my client requires & do know that many of the language pairs barring Indian & few Asian language pairs, translators usually charge more than twice the rates offered by translation agencies in India.
@Devendra: Yes, I do agree that the sub contracting of jobs by agencies & Individuals is one of the primary reasons for this state of the Indian market. As for the quality of translations offered by the cheap resources, I think the judging by some of the translations I've proofread in the recent past, the saying," You only reap what you sow", is very much appropriate.

Regards,

Amit


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