Poll: Are you optimistic about the future of the translation industry?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:36
SITE STAFF
Aug 16, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you optimistic about the future of the translation industry?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alan Corbo, CT. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:36
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Aug 16, 2014

First of all, I'm one of those people who always sees the glass as half full! Then, I can't obviously speak for the translation industry as a whole, but I'd say that globalization will continue to make professional translators more necessary. I don't buy the argument that machine translation will replace human translation and that we'll end up doing nothing but editing, as I don’t believe clients will want to pay twice to have a job done.

On a personal note, after some not-so-good-years, the crisis seems to be over and things have been on the right track for the last 4 years…


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:36
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes, somewhat. Aug 16, 2014

More professional people will come to the market, the people who do not have the right qualifications will move to different fields, or get the proper training and education, CAT tool use will be more field-specific, and their use limited--they will be used wisely, so to say. I do not see too much future for MT--in professional translation--perhaps just in entertainment, games, puzzles, term glossaries, etc.

Translation will be more of a small business thing, as opposed to big corporate business--just like law, or accounting.

[Edited at 2014-08-16 10:03 GMT]


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Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
No Aug 16, 2014

After seeing the other day a website where they crowdsource translations and sell the translations for 0.02 USD per word (this website originates in the U.S., not in some remote 4th world country) I am not that optimistic anymore. Unfortunately I cannot post the name here otherwise my post will be banned.

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Laurens Sipahelut  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 20:36
Dutch to Indonesian
+ ...
Yes, definitely Aug 16, 2014

If the industry is considered to be worthy of having its own international standard -- ISO 17100, the new international standard for translation services, is in the final stages of being released (http://info.moravia.com/blog/bid/353203/iso-17100-10-questions-about-the-new-translation-services-standard-answered?source=Blog_Email_[ISO+17100%3A+10+Questi) -- I believe things are heading in the right direction.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:36
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Somewhat Aug 16, 2014

I'm not at all concerned about machine translation--I know the field intimately. Though I occasionally post-edit machine-translated output, 80% of my work is straight translation, and there's no shortage of clients that pay well and appreciate serious work.

What I do worry about is the growing tendency among those who outsource translations to push for lower rates and speed up deadlines--and the fact that people who aren't qualified are accepting work under these conditions. I hope this situation will sort itself out as end consumers start to discover that the product they're receiving is meaningless or worse.

I'm also noticing that agencies often spend more time on minutiae than on whether the translator has good mastery of the linguistic process itself.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:36
French to German
+ ...
That's exactly what made me vote "no" Aug 16, 2014

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

What I do worry about is the growing tendency among those who outsource translations to push for lower rates and speed up deadlines--and the fact that people who aren't qualified are accepting work under these conditions.


I would hope that this will sort itself out, but somehow I can't see that happening in the near future.


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Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 15:36
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
Definitely not Aug 16, 2014

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons) wrote:

After seeing the other day a website where they crowdsource translations and sell the translations for 0.02 USD per word (this website originates in the U.S., not in some remote 4th world country) I am not that optimistic anymore. Unfortunately I cannot post the name here otherwise my post will be banned.


This week a rich Russian lady wanted to traslate the whole Tripartitum of Werbőczy
(The Tripartitum or "The Customary Law of the Renowned Kingdom of Hungary in Three Parts" (Latin: Tripartitum opus iuris consuetudinarii inclyti regni Hungariae) is a law book completed in 1514 by István Werbőczy on the corpus of the customary law of the medieval Kingdom of Hungary) into Russian from 15 August to 1 September for a low price.
My translation offer EUR 0.09 per source word (normal deadline EUR 0.07 per source word) was evaluated by her as extremely expensive. A very professonal office from St. Petersburg offered 0.06 so they won.
I see no professional future at all.
The majority of young traslators look at our job nt as a profession but an esy source of income. When they face it is not so easy and being a translator is not equals having a state-accredited language exam, they quit.
Others think being a master of CAT-tools is a key to the success: some of them even not able to split a sentence of complex syntax - the lack of knowledge of grammar, sometimes even of an elementary informations about the country - too much of so-called translators on the market.


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:36
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Yes, definitely Aug 16, 2014

I see a future where the translation market continues to grow.

Some of it will be supplied with low-grade machine or crowd-sourced translation. In some spheres this is fit for purpose. But I don't see this as a threat. It's just the bottom segment of a huge market. There are also big segments requiring decent translations, some needing brilliant translations.

There's no reason why the demand for high-quality translation, which can only be provided by competent professionals, shouldn't continue to grow. In fact there are many reasons why it will: increasing globalisation, the emergence of developing countries, the proliferation of digital platforms for the written word... For as long as it makes good business sense to pay professionals to do a proper job, translation as a career is viable. And in so many areas where quality written content is central to an activity, only good translations will do. We might have to adapt to survive, but we certainly won't go extinct, far from it.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:36
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Industry or profession? Aug 16, 2014

I like to differentiate between the two as I think there will be an increasing divide between them.

The Industry:
volume-centred with crazily-low prices and ridiculous deadlines; working as a production line; post-editing of machine translations or, perhaps worse, revising translations performed by non-translators in the cloud. I'm afraid this will take over much of the more mundane volume.

The Profession:
quality-centred, much as the higher end of the industry has been up until now; rates not dropping; specialisation essential. This will obviously be a much smaller market than the entire market at present - but I believe it has mushroomed in recent years, since Internet use became widespread, so that isn't extraordinary. I doubt that it will disappear in our children's lifetimes.

Up to us to decide where we want to position ourselves.


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Aug 16, 2014

I'm hopelessly optimistic. I see more and more need for professional translators every day, and many of the clients that I've spoken with have learned all on their own that MT, especially when not used by a professional, can be dangerous.

On a side note, I've been building a smartphone app/system that I hope will make translations easier to access and less expensive for end customers (by cutting other costs related to translation). I am talking with a few potential clients right now, and as soon as I get a good sized organization using it, I'd be happy to tell everyone all about it!


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:36
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I'm still optimistic (somewhat) Aug 16, 2014

... because the globalization process is still ramping up, and many countries have a lot to develop, yet, which is a vast field for translation.

However, machine translations jointly with the CATs are a threat that scares me. Most translators consider machine translations will never be good enough to replace a translator, which I agree. And most also think CATs are wonderful tools that caused a revolution in the world of translations. Also agree.

Now, the agencies are collecting TM's and requiring CATs for their jobs, and I've been warning people abaout that all over. Many companies are building giant TMs and sophisticating machine translation more and more. Our TMs are our intellectual property, and they shall not be given away to agencies.

If it goes on like this, in the near future, machine translation jointly with these huge TMs will be a disaster to us translators. We will all become machine translator proofreaders for these agencies. There will be no more translation jobs, only editing/proofreading.

So, I'm in a campaign to prevent translators from sharing or giving away their TMs, working in cloud TMs, accepting discounts for repetitions and fuzzies, and accepting proofreading jobs of machine translations at 50% of the price.

Either we pay attention to these market trends and say "NO" to them, then profit from globalization, or let ourselves be carried by these trends, and become waiters in the future.


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564354352  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:36
Danish to English
+ ...
TMs are not the enemy Aug 17, 2014

Mario Freitas wrote:

So, I'm in a campaign to prevent translators from sharing or giving away their TMs, working in cloud TMs, accepting discounts for repetitions and fuzzies...


With all due respect, not submitting TMs to (agency) clients is not going to prevent them from adding your translations to their existing TMs if that is what they want. A simple alignment of source and target texts and, Bob's your uncle, your 'intellectual property' is now in somebody else's TM, and there's no way you can prevent that...

Why not work with your clients and provide them with the TMs or e.g. sdlxliff files to make it easier for them?

However, I understand that we each have the right to choose our battles... I'd rather battle for my clients to keep returning because I can meet their requirements, hence, if they ask for it, I give them the TM based on work done for them. If I am their preferred supplier, what difference does it make? Next time they submit a job to me, they may have pretranslated the file(s) based on my own work, so it saves me time. It's all just part of the Industry, as Sheila puts it...

Now, working with 'real' clients, i.e. end clients is a different matter, but then again, most often I believe that they won't be interested in knowing HOW we produce their translations, let alone ask for TMs or files other than ready-to-use translated texts...


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