Less work in the past few months?
Thread poster: Michael Fleischer

Michael Fleischer
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:27
English to German
Nov 9, 2015

Dear Colleagues,

I work as a freelance translator for English, German and Russian, based in the UK, and in the past few months, I have somehow discovered that work has become more scarce. Before that, I could sometimes spend a few weeks working with barely any pause in between, but then something seems to have happened, and the stream of new jobs somehow became thinner. I know for a fact that my clients have been happy with my work, I didn't get any complaints, and even if I had somehow upset someone in some way, this would have been an exception. Also, I haven't increased my prices in a long time, so it couldn't have been that, either.
A person I know working at a translation agency also stated that they have been getting much less work in the past 4-5 months.

Also, I don't believe it's the time of year, as in the past years, I had quite a lot of work regardless of the season.

Could you please share your impression? What is your current work situation?

Thanks a lot,
Michael


 

VicYas  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:27
Russian to English
+ ...
Less work in English/Russian and Russian/English Nov 9, 2015

I had almost entirely dead summer, with the flow of orders resuming only in the end of September. In my case the main reason were:
- One regular direct customer started working with an Indian translation agency (lower rates and possibility to pay in local currency via their representation office in India);
- One intermediate for whom I usually translate texts on art, architecture and garden design complains that Russian publishing houses are not interested in this subject matter at the moment;

I also think there are two more reasons that could affect indirectly:
- sanctions that led to suspension or termination of many joint ventures,
- increased activity of translators from Ukraine with much lower rates (they were aways very active but now their rates are really low!)


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:27
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Been fairly busy here Nov 9, 2015

Michael Fleischer wrote:
Could you please share your impression? What is your current work situation?

English/German should be a pair with plenty of high value-added work flowing about, which shouldn't be the kind of work that gets outsourced to a developing country.

If you're going through a quiet period then maybe it's time to do some more marketing to get some more clients? Your ProZ.com profile isn't very memorable - why not start by improving that?

I'm in a different pair, but I was very busy in August and September, quieter in October, November is looking like another busy month. I'm still marketing though - picked up a new client this morning who I had been working on for the past week or two.

Regards
Dan


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:27
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Less work? No... Nov 9, 2015

The first eight months of the year were plentiful, then work was scarce in September and October was again packed with work. I have been translating full-time for over 30 years and as most freelancers I have experienced feast-and-famine cycles…

 

Alexander Matsyuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 18:27
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Any proof/evidence? Or just traditional rumors? Nov 9, 2015

VicYas wrote:
- increased activity of translators from Ukraine with much lower rates (they were aways very active but now their rates are really low!)


 

VicYas  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 18:27
Russian to English
+ ...
It's not a rumour Nov 9, 2015

My son used to work as key account manager in one of major translation agencies in St. Petersburg some years ago, and even then it was clear that local translators could not compete on price with translators from Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan (Ukrainian prices being the lowest). We can only work with direct customers or go down with our prices to unacceptable levels (it's the reason why I never work with translation agencies, including the one my son worked for). Now the situation is even worse.
I certainly refer to the situation on our market, as I know nothing about prices offered by Ukrainian translators outside Russia.


 

Alexander Matsyuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 18:27
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Good point Nov 9, 2015

VicYas wrote:
...I certainly refer to the situation on our market, as I know nothing about prices offered by Ukrainian translators outside Russia.


I think that item in your list is related mostly to your son's agency's problems, and "management approaches" of many local Russian agencies. This has not and does not affect international market, practically.


 

Maria Teresa Pozzi  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:27
Member (2006)
German to Italian
+ ...
Not here Nov 9, 2015

I mainly work in the pair DE>IT and I have plenty of work all year round. It's becoming hard even to have a decent holiday period.

 

Inga Petkelyte  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:27
Lithuanian to Portuguese
+ ...
Less orders, not inquiries Nov 9, 2015

I receive more inquiries lately but lose them more often, too. This is because my rates don't compete with the rates the translators in some of my language countries offer. Last inquiry resulted in the same: too expensive.

 

Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 12:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Too expensive Nov 9, 2015

Inga Petkelyte wrote:

I receive more inquiries lately but lose them more often, too. This is because my rates don't compete with the rates the translators in some of my language countries offer. Last inquiry resulted in the same: too expensive.
Same caseicon_smile.gif


 

Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:27
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Big jobs Nov 9, 2015

You want to catch big jobs and have one on the go all the times if possible.
That way when you're ahead of your schedule with the big job you can take on smaller jobs if you want to fill in. The trick is to catch another big job before you finish the one you're working on, which isn't always easy.
If you concentrate on big jobs and can't catch another before finishing the last, work drops off.

It's kind of a catch 22 situation.
If I've got a big job on the go I'll be saying No No No to people offering me small jobs at least until I'm ahead of my schedule then I might take something. This gives customers the impression you're busy, which is good.

I've heard it said on here before that you should always be available but I really don't agree with that. If I'm sitting around waiting for a small urgent job to snatch up right away, the client may be happy with the deadline (unless it's for yesterday) but I'm giving the impression of just sitting there waiting for them to call (client thinks can't be much good if he hasn't got any work).

Many times I've said no to someone and they've come back with another deadline, so that job is then slotted into your schedule.

A lot of the work with big jobs is sending out estimates and it can get a bit frustrating.


Being more or less busy at various time is normal imo.


 

anmou  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:27
English to French
+ ...
Yes and no Nov 9, 2015

I started working as a freelance translator end of August and September was a crazy month for me. Super busy. Then October, nothing at all. Everytime I got a translation request, an email was sent to me around 4 am, and when I woke up and replied to the email, someone had already taken it. November seems to be busy again for me, looking good so far.

 

NataliaShevchuk  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:27
English to Russian
+ ...
Speaking of proof... Nov 10, 2015

Alexander Matsyuk wrote:

VicYas wrote:
...I certainly refer to the situation on our market, as I know nothing about prices offered by Ukrainian translators outside Russia.


I think that item in your list is related mostly to your son's agency's problems, and "management approaches" of many local Russian agencies. This has not and does not affect international market, practically.


Exactly. Moreover, why don't just peacefully accept the latest "The world's largest ranking of countries by English skills" - http://www.ef.edu/epi/
According to it, Ukraine has moved to "moderate proficiency" sector, whereas Russia remains in yellow zone of "low proficiency".
Let alone political reasons.


 

Michael Fleischer
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:27
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everybody! Nov 10, 2015

Thank you very much for all your replies, dear colleagues!

 


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