Poll: Have you ever felt your business may fail for good?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 07:13
SITE STAFF
Jan 30

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever felt your business may fail for good?".

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



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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:13
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jan 30

I've always trusted that there will be work coming in. My trust has not let me down in 25 years.

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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:13
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Yes Jan 30

there was a period when I was looking for a job. ProZ got me out of it!

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Joohee Kim  Identity Verified
South Korea
Local time: 23:13
Member (2017)
English to Korean
+ ...
Yes Jan 30

I agree with EvaVer.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:13
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Jan 30

When I started out translating full-time some 30 years ago, I had just one main client: a Belgian translation agency who gave me regular work (circa 150 pages every month) very well paid and on time until suddenly 3 years later their contract with the European Commission was cancelled (a year-long investigation found evidence that the contract violated competition rules) and I found myself with no work at all! The fact is that I am still here…

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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:13
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Timing Jan 30

Now I have no doubts.
When I started 15 years ago? Yes.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
How could it? Jan 30

Translation requires zero outlay, so it can't really fail even if you get no work.

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María San Raimundo Vega  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:13
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
With machine translation... Don't know Jan 30

I am not sure what will happen with us human translators in the mid term. Will we be just reviewing machine translations? we'll see...

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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:13
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Very bad Jan 30

Yes, I have felt it and still feel it.
The crisis in Brazil is the worst in history, with over 13 million unemployed.
To make matters much worse, machine translation is slowly taking away our jobs, our livelihoods. Machine translation should be banned! (In fact technology is destroying the labour markets all over the world, and not only in translation. How many people in telemarketing lost their jobs with the advent of electronic answer phones? How many bus conductors lost their jobs with the advent of automated ticketing?)
Things look bad.


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:13
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Translation outlay Jan 30

Further to Chris' answer: Translation does have outlay, and a very heavy volume of outgo.
Think taxes, fees of associations, ProZ membership, CAT Tools, dictionaries, travel to events, computer data packages, fees for creating websites, softwares (OCR, management softwares, PDF converters and the like)...
I know several people who have gone bust and left the business, one is selling Mary Kay now...


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Disagree Jan 30

Paul Dixon wrote:

Further to Chris' answer: Translation does have outlay, and a very heavy volume of outgo.
Think taxes, fees of associations, ProZ membership, CAT Tools, dictionaries, travel to events, computer data packages, fees for creating websites, softwares (OCR, management softwares, PDF converters and the like)...
I know several people who have gone bust and left the business, one is selling Mary Kay now...


The only thing you need is a computer. Which you will already have. There doesn’t have to be any outlay at all.


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Justin Peterson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:13
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
Business has been good Jan 30

Business has been good. For 12 years. Knock on wood.

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Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:13
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
That simple? Jan 31

Chris S wrote:

Translation requires zero outlay, so it can't really fail even if you get no work.


Sure, there's lots of things that can make work or marketing easier or better, but few are essential.
However, I understood that question more along the lines of the business no longer being viable, not generating sufficient income to survive, being unable to pay.

For a company that is strictly in relation to company funds, and I think most of us have come across the odd agency unable to pay the translators they hire.

For a sole trader, which most of us are, this extends into private funds and the ability to keep on top of private bills. So even with some work, that situation may arise.

I remember in year 2, a £3k payment didn't arrive mid-December. I did get paid in February, but had to cancel my visit home for Christmas. Due to working on that larger project, not much else was scheduled to come in until after the holidays. In year 2, there was nothing to fall back on. I had relied on that payment. Feeling the pinch, I took on a bigger workload to catch up - and ended up with a minor stroke a few months later. That forced me to change a fair few things.
I came out the other end, but both events were out of my control, and I don't think anyone is immune from these situations. If I had not already owned my house at that point, I don't know if I would have.

Payment delays and periods of low demand are easier to ride out once a person is established or has funds to fall back on. But that is rarely the starting point for a freelancer. Some may have another income earner in the household to take over bills, but that doesn't improve the viability of that person's business as such, either.

I guess the biggest "outlay" is the opportunity cost. We need to be available for clients to contact us. Unless a translator is very specialised or has clients that "reserve" projects for them, it's difficult to switch to an alternative income source to bridge a difficult time, because being unavailable means missing projects. It's very much all or nothing.


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Eden Cope
United States
Local time: 22:13
Member (2017)
Swedish to English
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Only in the beginning Feb 1

In the beginning, it was really tough and I had no clue what I was doing. I was fresh out of college and did not know how to run my own business. I was very discouraged by how difficult it was to find good clients, and I gave up for a few months. I came back to it after I met someone who is a freelance translator and makes good money doing it. He helped me get in touch with the right people.

Since then, it's been fine. Sure, I have a month here and there where there's not a lot of work, but it keeps getting better and most of the time, things are great. Yay!


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:13
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No Feb 2

Many people are affraid MTs will replace translators in the future. It will indeed, but only the mediocre translators who already use MT. For the rest of us, there are at least two more generations of translators to work as humans before these MT algorithms are decent enough to replace a human.

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