Poll: Has demand for translation in your field increased during your career?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:51
SITE STAFF
Feb 17, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Has demand for translation in your field increased during your career?".

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Catherine Winzer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:51
German to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

I have no idea. The "demand" coming my way has certainly increased, but I don't know what the situation in my field is. I probably haven't been at it long enough to really jugde, anyway.

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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:51
English to Russian
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www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

With the crisis, the demand for translation serices has fallen dramatically while the supply has increased.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:51
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

Are there any stats on supply and demand in the translation industry? I fear not.

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Wil Hardman  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

Its so difficult to know, one way to get a rough idea would be to ask the large translation agencies for their statistics, but then this would still not include work done by small agencies or freelancers with direct clients. Personally, my work volume has increased year on year since I started 3 years ago and I've also managed to narrow down the fields I work in. But its impossible to make a judgement on personal experience.


As a guess though, what with globalisation and the increase in population, I reckon overall demand must be increasing (although probably not over the last two years of the economic crisis).


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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:51
French to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

This is a nonsensical question. Demand for my services has certainly increased, but I as an individual freelancer have no way of knowing whether demand as a whole in my sector has gone up. There certainly seems to be no shortage of work for those who are able to do it.


I don't see how Alexander's assertion can be verified.


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:51
Member (2005)
German to English
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www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

I have more work.
Statistical sample size = 1.

Not enough data for an assertion.


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:51
German to English
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

When I started, translations were performed on typewriters. The texts were generally well-written, and the subject matter important. It was hard to earn a good living translating full-time, so I only translated part time for several years. With the advent of computers, the Internet and the proliferation of e-mail and PowerPoint presentations etc., the volume of work has increased by several magnitudes, the deadlines have grown shorter, and the quality of the source documents has declined substantially. For years I had a client who regularly sent me sales projections that were continually revised, along with e-mail messages, many of which stated "Ignore the previous e-mail." The ease with which presentations / messages can be created and discarded has increased the banality of the subject matter. This, among other things, has helped keep prices down. Clients are reluctant to pay good money for something that will become irrelevant, sometimes even before the first reading.

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Ken Fagan  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:51
French to English
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

Pre- or post-Lehman Brothers?

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:51
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

It has, but how do you make that information meaningful? Factors are different over different fields, and a translator's criteria for accepting work (by specialization, for example) can change several times over a career (i.e., the translator as a yardstick for volume measurement is not by itself a valid constant). Even the premises for translator training change -- when I went to school, it was presumed all source texts would be worth translating (i.e., of literary quality), but I've seen many things since then no translator deserved. Kevin's right in one respect, the industry has had more bulk lately.

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www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 17, 2010

What you mean by "your field"? My language combination as opposed to others, or the area I specialize? As for the former I have no way of comparing; as for the latter it's hard to say for a Jack of all trade translator such as myself.

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New user
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 18, 2010

The European Patent Office deciding that patents may be submitted in any of several languages put a serious dent in my workflow, and I haven't really quite recovered since, sadly.
Patents (especially medical device patents) were, at one point, nearly half the work I did, and work in that field has significantly declined.


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 07:51
English to Russian
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 18, 2010

Lucky are those whose workload has increased lately because all objective circumstances are pushing translation workflow and pay down. Companies which used to give us employ and freelance are closing by the hundreds. including finance, law and industry. Even oil companies are having difficulaties. I'm enormously surprised to see the majority here boasting increases or they are just making good face?

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 05:51
English to French
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 18, 2010

I know at least one colleague who lost about 70% of her business because of that decision... And, in "post-Lehman Brothers" times, it is not easy to come back on other markets

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 05:51
English to French
+ ...
www.proz.com/polls/1043 comments Feb 18, 2010

You are probably right as far as private companies (and technical translations, perhaps?) are concerned. But there is another world out there, made of governments and their bodies, international organisations, etc. Because of globalisation, I would say they have even more documents to translate than before. For instance (and that is not even globalisation), all EU legislation had to be translated into the new Member States languages, asap after the enlargment. While that was being done, we, of the "old" languages of "old Member States" had little or no work for quite a while.

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