Poll: In the last three years, my translation-related income has
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:11
SITE STAFF
Jul 26

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "In the last three years, my translation-related income has".

This poll was originally submitted by Vinicius Guerreiro. View the poll results »



 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:11
Spanish to English
+ ...
Remained... Jul 26

I'm a remainer. Strong and stable (arf, arf). Or so I suppose, I can't be bothered looking.

Sheila Wilson
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Remained nearly the same Jul 26

My translation income has remained nearly the same over the last 5 years, with the exception of two outstanding years – 2016 and 2017 – when I more than doubled my income…

Angie Garbarino
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
about +20% Jul 26

While my direct clients pay me lavishly $0.25-$0.50/word, last years I did more drafts and contracts translation with higher rates, not to mention overtime pay for interpreting.

 

Guofei_LIN  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 08:11
Chinese
Caution about interpreting the poll results. Jul 26

I think we should be careful about how to interpret the poll results.

Suppose a similar poll was conducted among the workers in the textile industry during and after the transition of these industries from developed countries such as England and America to developing countries such as China and India, your poll results would probably tell you that the income of the workers in the textile industry has greatly increased, because the textile workers in China and India would outnumber t
... See more
I think we should be careful about how to interpret the poll results.

Suppose a similar poll was conducted among the workers in the textile industry during and after the transition of these industries from developed countries such as England and America to developing countries such as China and India, your poll results would probably tell you that the income of the workers in the textile industry has greatly increased, because the textile workers in China and India would outnumber their dwindling counterparts in England and America, and their income would be much higher compared to whatever they were earning before.

The same is happening in translation industry. I know this because I have just quit working for a major agency because their rates have remained the same for the last 20 years or more. So for me, the translation-related income has come down a lot, but for whoever succeeded me, they would find a sudden big influx of work and I'm sure their income is suddenly increased. But if you look at the general income level of translators, the pay is the same as 20 years ago, which means it has come down.
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Alan Corbo, CT
Anna Valieva
Elaine Ruby
Philippe Etienne
JPAlex
Julio Madrid
 

ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:11
Member
German to English
+ ...
Up then down Jul 26

My income was on the increase until January this year. It's picked up again in the last month or so but it's a little worrying. One client put me under price pressure but I only ceded a little and have only had one project from them since. I think two of my clients are having financial difficulty and I'm also wondering if Brexit, the tariff wars and other political matters are having an effect on business confidence.

Sheila Wilson
 

Anne Maclennan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:11
Member (2010)
German to English
+ ...
Market flooded (?) with translators without qualifications? Jul 26

Is the overall payment for translation sinking or stagnating because there is a number of 'translators' who, according to their profiles, offer no qualifications, no experience in professional or industrial fields in lieu of or as well as qualifications? It is interesting to note, when, out of curiosity, you check the profiles at random of those asking questions on Kudoz, where there seems to have been lack of prior research, that often the profile puts N/A against items, s... See more
Is the overall payment for translation sinking or stagnating because there is a number of 'translators' who, according to their profiles, offer no qualifications, no experience in professional or industrial fields in lieu of or as well as qualifications? It is interesting to note, when, out of curiosity, you check the profiles at random of those asking questions on Kudoz, where there seems to have been lack of prior research, that often the profile puts N/A against items, such as CV, qualifications, experience, memberships. Also frequently there is no trace of the person's real name.

Presumably such 'translators' are accepting rates, which those in the field with the appropriate qualifications and experience would not or could not accept, although how the 'translators without quailfications' find work is an enigma.
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Elaine Ruby
 

Alan Corbo, CT  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 19:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
There's an inherent limit to income increase Jul 26

You can only raise your income so much. There's a natural limit to how much a translator can translate in, let's say, an hour, irrespective of experience, CAT tools, speech recognition software and MT. Once you've reached that limit, you either start subcontracting work, or you move up market to try to get more money for the same number of words, which, by the way, is not so easy, since moving up market means working for more demanding clients, paying a greater attention to detail, devoting more... See more
You can only raise your income so much. There's a natural limit to how much a translator can translate in, let's say, an hour, irrespective of experience, CAT tools, speech recognition software and MT. Once you've reached that limit, you either start subcontracting work, or you move up market to try to get more money for the same number of words, which, by the way, is not so easy, since moving up market means working for more demanding clients, paying a greater attention to detail, devoting more time to terminology research, and a long etcetera. Being paid 20 cents per word will result in the same hourly income as being paid 10 cents per word if you work at half the speed. So, the way I see it, increasing rates is not the only aspect to consider when it comes increasing your income.

Exchange rate fluctuations must also be taken into account when analyzing income increase. The fact is translation rates have stayed approximately the same for the last 10 years (that's as far back as I can go). If you're paid in a strong currency (US dollars or euros) but don't live in the US or Europe, exchange rate fluctuations can create havoc in your income, especially in the context of ever-rising inflation that characterizes today's world economy. Any increase in rates can be wiped out overnight if the currency you're paid in becomes weaker in relation to your home currency.

To all the above, we should add the constant downward pressure on rates and the effect machine translation is having on the industry, not so much in relation to what NMT engines can do, but more with regards to public perceptions as to what the capabilities of this new technology are, which, in my opinion, is much, much more dangerous that GT, DeepL and all the rest. If the notion that machine translation can actually produce human-like translations gains traction with the public at large, we're in for rough times ahead, income-wise that is.
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Philippe Etienne
Elaine Ruby
Julio Madrid
 

Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:11
Member
English to French
slightly decreased I reckon Jul 26

In the last 3 fiscal years, my yearly income was either 15% above or below my average over 8 years.
2019 is below that average so far.


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 06:11
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Increased considerably Jul 26

My income has doubled each of the past two years. I don't expect it to do so again because I am coming up against my physical limit, but it's a wave that I'm happy to ride while it lasts.

Dan Lucas
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:11
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I'm happy to see it decrease as I segue into retirement Jul 26

I fully expected a decrease this year, but the drop-off in the first half year was truly terrifying, not helped by taking a good six weeks of holiday early on. Mind you, the tax man took a measly €6.00 from me, so earning less certainly has its advantages . However, June was busy and July has been one of my most lucrative months ever -- already. Time to take a couple of weeks off to spend some of the income and recharge the bat... See more
I fully expected a decrease this year, but the drop-off in the first half year was truly terrifying, not helped by taking a good six weeks of holiday early on. Mind you, the tax man took a measly €6.00 from me, so earning less certainly has its advantages . However, June was busy and July has been one of my most lucrative months ever -- already. Time to take a couple of weeks off to spend some of the income and recharge the batteries, I reckon.Collapse


 

Gloria Teixeira
Brazil
Local time: 19:11
English to Portuguese
+ ...
grown up Jul 26

In early 2019 it was weak, as early as April I noticed a 10% increase in work.

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
About the same Jul 28

I accept almost all the work that I feel I can do responsibly. Since I have the same reliable clients, the total annual income has remained about the same for many years. I am not interested in accepting more than I can handle at a cost to my health, peace of mind, and enjoyment of other activities.

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:11
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
About the same, but a good one Jul 28

In my statistics, there are four variables that should increase or at least never descrease:
1. Volume of work
2. Number of clients
3. Income in USD
4. Percentage of clients abroad vs. local
I've managed to have small increases in each of them regularly in the past five years. No significant increase, really, but no decreases either. And my income, compared to other professionals of the same level of education i my country, is a very good one.


 


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