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Is this a recession?
Thread poster: Helena Grahn

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jan 14, 2012

Have been successfull in this business for the past 7 years. I am obviously a qualified translator and interpreter. As a full time self-employed linguist, have seen some quiet periods but 2012 has started very badly. Since Dec last year haven't had enough work to pay my bills. I thought it was just a phase like before but this long (2 months) I have never experienced. I see agencies saying they cannot pay because their clients are in financial difficulties so they haven't received the money; have also read in some fora probs with peolple not getting enough work. Well, what scares me is the silence... No calls, very few emails...

What is your experience? Have you noticed anything different lately?

[Edited at 2012-01-14 12:07 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-01-14 12:21 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Me too Jan 14, 2012

Helena Grahn wrote:

Have you noticed anything different lately?


Yes - I had a long lull between November and early January but I diversified and contacted a few new agencies. I also worked on improving my Proz profile. This is very important, because people who are looking for a translator always pay a lot of attention to your profile.

As a result I got some enquiries from new people and am currently quite busy. The lack of work from some clients is compensated for by a (hopefully) increasing amount of work from new sources.

I imagine this is something that happens from time to time.

So hang on in there Helena, and keep going with that typing !

[Edited at 2012-01-14 12:25 GMT]


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:55
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Could be a ression Jan 14, 2012

Helena Grahn wrote:

Have been successfully in this business for the past 7 years. I am obviously a qualified translator and interpreter. As a full time self-employed linguist, have seen some quiet periods but 2012 has started very badly. Since Dec last year haven't had enough work to pay my bills. I thought it was just a phase like before but this long (2 months) I have never experienced. I see agencies saying they cannot pay because their clients are in financial difficulties so they haven't received the money; have also read in some fora probs with peolple not getting enough work. Well, what scares me is the silence... No calls, very few emails...

What is your experience? Have you noticed anything different lately?

[Edited at 2012-01-14 12:07 GMT]


Hi Helena,

I'm sorry to read about your difficulties.

Payment difficulties seem to be on the rise, as I've noticed myself in the past couple of months. Although personally I have been very busy since October, it seems that the flow of incoming work has decreased now that I've completed my projects.

On the contrary, the USD 0.02 - 0.04 per word jobs seem to be on the rise.icon_frown.gif


 

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, I am still turning down those rates Jan 14, 2012

On the contrary, the USD 0.02 - 0.04 per word jobs seem to be on the rise.icon_frown.gif [/quote]




[Edited at 2012-01-14 12:30 GMT]


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 21:55
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
One the one hand, Jan 14, 2012

I feel for you, remembering my own fears from the years 2010 and, partially, 2011. On the other hand, talking about recession after one and half moth (January hasn't ended yet; moreover, there were less working days in December due to holidays.) of weaker results seems to me greatly exaggerated. Delayed payments, pressure on rates, talks about non-paying clients are common part of business in the last three years. What you have to do in this situation is to increase your marketing efforts. Contact new clients, spread information on your business and be patient and self-confident. Your clients MAY NOT feel that you are in desperate mood. Plus, you should modify your spending so that few months of reduced earnings will not bring you top your knees. In my opinion and according to my experience , this is only way how to cope with reduced demand.

And believe in your luck - maybe you are only few days far of acquiring a big job, which will more than cover your losses from previous period.


Helena Grahn wrote:

Have been successfully in this business for the past 7 years. I am obviously a qualified translator and interpreter. As a full time self-employed linguist, have seen some quiet periods but 2012 has started very badly. Since Dec last year haven't had enough work to pay my bills. I thought it was just a phase like before but this long (2 months) I have never experienced. I see agencies saying they cannot pay because their clients are in financial difficulties so they haven't received the money; have also read in some fora probs with peolple not getting enough work. Well, what scares me is the silence... No calls, very few emails...

What is your experience? Have you noticed anything different lately?

[Edited at 2012-01-14 12:07 GMT]


 

Sandra B.
Portugal
Local time: 20:55
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
... Jan 14, 2012

Yes, low rates are the major change I notice. Just this week I got 3 ridiculous offers, one at 0.02 for EU documents, another of 0.55 and another of 0.06 for medical translations. I refused all.

There is a recession, indeed, but there is also many people trying to take advantage of the recession and using it as an excuse for the absolute necessity of low rates. As a qualified and skilled professional, I think rates being offered are just offensive.


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Hebrew to English
Also noticed.... Jan 14, 2012

The 3 month period August 2011-November 2011 were quite busy (with the odd "down" week), but since the end of November - nothing.

Tumbleweed.

Initially I thought the holidays/festive period might have influenced this (although I expected more work if anything, not less).

Hoping it picks up soon......

(also unwilling to sacrifice my dignity for the odd "ridiculous" offer)


 

Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
German to Polish
+ ...
Sorry, but you have a recession in fact... Jan 14, 2012

.Sandra wrote:

Yes, low rates are the major change I notice. Just this week I got 3 ridiculous offers, one at 0.02 for EU documents, another of 0.55 and another of 0.06 for medical translations. I refused all.

There is a recession, indeed, but there is also many people trying to take advantage of the recession and using it as an excuse for the absolute necessity of low rates. As a qualified and skilled professional, I think rates being offered are just offensive.


This means among others that maintaining the level of income may be very difficult or even impossible.

Refusing a 0,06 job may be a mistake under those circumstances.

I'm sorry saying this, but things have changed.

A.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Why? Jan 14, 2012

Andrzej Lejman wrote:


Refusing a 0,06 job may be a mistake under those circumstances.

I'm sorry saying this, but things have changed.

A.


I can't see why I should be working for less when the price of everything is going up. All around me I see the rich getting richer. They're not experiencing a crisis.


 

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well, Tom, the rich ones are not getting child benefit anymore hehe Jan 14, 2012

I can't see why I should be working for less when the price of everything is going up. All around me I see the rich getting richer. They're not experiencing a crisis. [/quote]

 

Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
German to Polish
+ ...
The situation in Portugal Jan 14, 2012

Tom in London wrote:

Andrzej Lejman wrote:


Refusing a 0,06 job may be a mistake under those circumstances.

I'm sorry saying this, but things have changed.

A.


I can't see why I should be working for less when the price of everything is going up. All around me I see the rich getting richer. They're not experiencing a crisis.


is a little bit different than in UK. BTW, the City has something to do with it.

A.


 

XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Dropping rates is definitely NOT the answer Jan 14, 2012

It is a very short-term solution and the start of the slippery slope for the industry. Frankly you'd be better off going out and getting bar work to supplement your income until the translation work picks up rather than accepting ludicrously low rates. I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch Helena, all I can suggest is to market, market and market, take the opportunity to trawl through your contacts list and ensure each one is 'live'.

 

Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:55
German to Polish
+ ...
Do you really believe Jan 14, 2012

Lisa Simpson wrote:

It is a very short-term solution and the start of the slippery slope for the industry. Frankly you'd be better off going out and getting bar work to supplement your income until the translation work picks up rather than accepting ludicrously low rates. I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch Helena, all I can suggest is to market, market and market, take the opportunity to trawl through your contacts list and ensure each one is 'live'.


that in a severe economic crisis clients will be still willing to pay former rates? Do you believe that the situation in Greek or Portugal, Spain will come back to normal in a foreseeable future?

Once they have already consumed future earnings, someone has to pay for it now. Will YOU pay the bill? I won't.

A.


 

Vladimír Hoffman  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 21:55
Member (2009)
English to Slovak
+ ...
The reason is Jan 14, 2012

that prices offered by other translators are going down. Although I am trying hard to keep my prices above certain level, the level is considerably lower than it used to be before the year 2009. I couldn't afford to ignore general trend. I believe that situation will eventually change, but in the last two years, price aspect was increasingly important in acquiring new jobs. That's reality.

Tom in London wrote:

I can't see why I should be working for less when the price of everything is going up. All around me I see the rich getting richer. They're not experiencing a crisis.


[Edited at 2012-01-14 14:01 GMT]


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:55
Hebrew to English
Let's all work for free Jan 14, 2012

You don't see other professions rushing to work for less, regardless of the "economic climate".

I don't know what it is about translators that makes them so self-defeating.


 
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