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Poll: Where do you think the future of translators lies?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 10:27
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Agree Nov 6

David GAY wrote:

Specialization is key to success in the translation industry.


[Edited at 2019-11-06 09:25 GMT]


 

Guofei_LIN  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 19:27
Chinese
Different experience Nov 6

Katalin Szilárd wrote:
The truth is high-end clients are able to and they DO spend more time researching for translators...
That's why most really good translators have "to jump one wall after another recently....".

That's good for you. It hasn't been my experience though. I guess each of us is exposed to different segments and thus we see different realities, we can only adjust ourselves to suit our own individual environment as we see it. That's why I have to quit and you are still happily in the industry. Wish you the best!

David GAY wrote:
Specialization is key to success in the translation industry.
You can't be competitive in terms of prices and deadlines if you don't specialize.
I know the daily output of translator is 2500 words per day on average with a CAT.
I can translate 7 500 words per day or even a bit more without CAT, the reason being that I
specialize in legal and financial translation, so I don't have to look up each word in
the dictionary or elsewhere, which would be kind of a hell. I don't have to look for clients
because I work for specialized agencies. I'm competitive even though my prices are quite high
because I can deliver quality translations very quickly.

So if you want to be competitive, you have to specialize.
Translations agencies are still willing to pay high rates if you can work under tight deadlines.

Yes, I agree specialization is the way to improve efficiency and also quality. Glad you found your niche in the market. Good luck!


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 10:27
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Interesting past ... hmmm.. Nov 6

Guofei_LIN wrote:

I guess each of us is exposed to different segments and thus we see different realities, we can only adjust ourselves to suit our own individual environment as we see it. That's why I have to quit and you are still happily in the industry. Wish you the best!


Yes, I think we see different realities.

I have seen that you were writing similar thoughts in 2014.
According to these pieces of data you deleted your past profile:

https://www.proz.com/forum/getting_established/271825-i_want_to_become_a_professional_translator_first_steps.html#2319151

I think this deleted profile was yours.

deleted. (X)
Australia
Local time: 08:43
(4 hrs behind you)
English to Chinese
Chinese to English

You wrote back in 2014:

"I don't know about your language pair, but with my language pair, it is difficult to make a living on translation alone. I have seen a number of my fellow NAATI accredited translators giving up translation and taking on some other jobs."


And the following post of yours tells me that you and your employer were more involved into evaluating translators than you being specialized and making your own marketing.
And this is a post of 2007!!

https://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/63840-assessment_for_translators_performance.html

"Hi, my employer wants me to develop an assessment sheet for translators, to build an evaluation system for translators' performance."

And here in 2013 you wrote:

https://www.proz.com/forum/chinese/257992-how_high_can_a_translator_charge.html#2218016

"In my case, the rate I set is $25 Australian dollars plus 10% GST per 100 English words for regular text."

Past and present and future.... what happened here?

[Edited at 2019-11-06 12:28 GMT]


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 10:27
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Definately different realities and motives behind... Nov 6

Guofei_LIN wrote:

.... but I will not work as a translator any more...




A "wow" post of yours from 2012:

https://www.proz.com/forum/chinese/74624-一个新人开拓市场的困惑,请前辈指点-page3.html#2039609



deleted. (X)
Australia
Local time: 09:30
(4 hrs behind you)
English to Chinese
Chinese to English
Full time translators Oct 25, 2012

"It's good to know that this industry can still support some full-time translators. Some years ago I tried to set up as a freelance translator, but I could never get enough work to fill my time. And some other accredited translators I know either have an unrelated full-time job or live in involuntary semi-retirement. So I often suspect that when a person says he/she is a full-time translator, this is just a cover up for his/her status as an unemployed person."



[Edited at 2019-11-06 12:36 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-11-06 12:36 GMT]


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 10:27
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Revealing past, present and future Nov 6

Guofei_LIN wrote:

we see different realities


https://www.proz.com/forum/off_topic/279832-new_years_resolutions.html#2381734

Oct 25, 2012

"Some years ago I tried to set up as a freelance translator, but I could never get enough work to fill my time."

https://www.proz.com/forum/off_topic/279832-new_years_resolutions.html#2381734

Jan 2, 2015

"I also plan to set up myself professionally as a translator and I hope to make some progress in carrying out this plan."


https://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/338452-poll_where_do_you_think_the_future_of_translators_lies-page3.html#2817758

Nov 5, 2019

" I worked for a very professional translation company for nearly 20 years (maybe 18 years?) and they showed appreciation for the quality of my service. The jobs they sent me accounted for 95% of my total translation business and kept me very busy until I stopped working for them early this year. "


 

Guofei_LIN  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 19:27
Chinese
Simple Nov 6

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

Past and present and future.... what happened here?


I moved to Australia from China in early 2000s after obtaining the NAATI accreditation at professional level, hoping to make a living as a translator, but failed. I was living on my savings for the first few years and making between AUD5,000 to AUD7,000 a year from translation, not enough to support anybody.

And then I found a job as a translator with a multinational company, a big name which I'm sure you would have heard about. But the pay was woeful and I was the only one holding the NAATI accreditation on the translation team. It was while there that I wrote the post about developing an assessment sheet for translators. That sheet was never developed because new priorities soon replaced this whim in boss's head.

I quit that job within 8 month and took up another job with a manufacturing company selling machinery to China. I was based in China one fourth of the time and while on this job, I often found myself in the position of hiring translators/interpreters. So I also have experience as buyer of translation service.

When the company became a victim to a world-wide recession, I again took up translation because by this time I felt I was too old for new things and because I always believed that I was among a handful of the best translators around (I'll spare you the details about how I came to that belief) and since I wanted to get back into translation, I decided to prove this by takinig the toughest challenge that translators in Australia can take - the NAATI translator's exam at ADVANCED level. I succeeded and became one of the five people in Australia certified at advanced level in my language pair and direction.

Fast forward to today, I have quit from translation business. My certification is still good for another year or two, but after that, I will not be renewing it.

******

Also, in early 2000s, I applied for work as freelance translator with a translation company and took and passed their test. At first I didn't receive much work from them, just a few odd jobs every few weeks. They have their own in-house translators in my language pair and I received positive feedback from these translators for the jobs I did for them. Gradually I won more and more of their trust and the jobs they sent me became larger and larger and more and more important. By the time I was working full-time selling machinery in China for the manufacturing company, I had won their trust to such a degree that on one occasion, when both of their in-house translators went on holiday together, on their recommendation, the manager approached me and asked me to hold the fort for them remotely over the internet during their absence. By the time I took the advanced translator test, I was already flooded with huge amount of jobs they sent my way and I scarcely had any time left for other clients (not that I had any). They are a very professional company and the jobs are very fulfilling (I mean, you feel you are working on something important), and their people are also very professional. I've enjoyed working for and with them. It has taken many years (18 years, I think) to develop this relationship and trust to such a degree, and that's why I'm always very sceptical about the facile suggestion that translators should do more marketing to develop their business. Because a business model based on marketing means you will always be dealing with new clients, there is no time to develop relationship and trust which is essential if you want to attract important jobs at premium rates.


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:27
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
In children´s books ... Nov 7

ProZ.com Staff wrote:

"Where do you think the future of translators lies?"


... because most of my competitors (as far as they can be spotted out via the signatures in the TMs I occasionally get together with the jobs) had a strong motivation to translate children´s books, before they spent years in translation studies, and then had to turn over to translate engineering documentation (for what reason and how? Guess ...). Perhaps I should now in return translate children´s books (because these persons must have left a gap meanwhile in that area)?

[Bearbeitet am 2019-11-07 08:51 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:27
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Very true Nov 7

David GAY wrote:
Specialization is key to success in the translation industry.

I agree wholeheartedly.

specialize in legal and financial translation, so I don't have to look up each word in the dictionary or elsewhere

I am in a similar position, but with a kind of cultural overlay, which is that Japanese companies constitute the majority of my end clients. In almost all cases they require that translators copy previous style exactly. Technical terms are not an issue, as I used to write the kind of text I now translate, but house style certainly is.

For example, if a figure increases 14.1% compared to the same period of the previous year, and in previous documents it was expressed as "+14.1% y-o-y", then that is how it is translated - not "year on year", not "YoY", but "y-o-y". If the text refers to the United States, it could be "USA", "U.S.A", "U.S." or "US" - and you need to use the one they prefer. If I disapprove of something, I will make a comment to that effect, but I cannot just change something without good reason.

It's not easy to adhere to the client's style while creating natural, readable English, and while turning projects around quickly. This is why I not only use CAT tools, but also maintain different TMs and termbases for each end client, because this is what allows me to quickly check their preferences (via the concordance or TB lookup).

So while I agree with you on the need to specialize, unlike you I do find that CAT tools help me deliver consistent text that needs minimal input from the proofreader. We all have a different approach.

Dan


 

Alexandra Hirsch  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 10:27
English to German
+ ...
You already are Nov 7

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

Alexandra Hirsch wrote:

Languages change. Continuously. Perpetually. Somebody has to 'tell the machines', program the syntax, and fill the databases when new stuff comes along.

I can see computers helping each other with that. (What fun. Will they start chatting with each other in a forum like this one?) Yeah. But why haven't they learnt to code yet?

[Edited at 2019-11-04 17:00 GMT]


Are there any humans with sound mind and soul who want to live in a world like that???
Humans are capable of so many great things.
And we should not end up filling databases...

Going back to the previous thoughts of Tom in London and Kay-Viktor Stegemann..
I don't think it is orchestrated centrally as Tom's says, but I think Kay-Viktor has right in that:
"millions of micro-decisions."
That's why it matters how we decide and how we react in certain situations.




Katalin, you already are living in a world of databases. Or did you think your CAT tool runs without a database? Or any other machine program / OS, for that matter?

I welcome technological progress, and I think there will always be a lot of work for us to do because language changes continuously and computers (even those capable of 'deep learning') aren't able to comprehend those changes. Thus, there will be work for HUMANS. I hope you understood correctly this time.


 

Guofei_LIN  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 19:27
Chinese
Language changes Nov 7

Alexandra Hirsch wrote:
language changes continuously and computers (even those capable of 'deep learning') aren't able to comprehend those changes.


It seems humans are not always leading the way in this change, sometimes computers lead the way and humans follow. I think we are going to see a more active role of computers in influencing human languages.


 

Alexandra Hirsch  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 10:27
English to German
+ ...
Well, if you want to follow Nov 7

Why not. Follow if you like. Or pull the plug. I for my part LOVE computers and all the help they provide. You know, I used a typewriter at university, and only in the last year at that. Smartphones came out after I graduated. Now, as a sole entrepreneur, I am using a computer, clever software, a termbase, encryption, editing and coding software, and loads of other stuff. My workload hasn't increased but it hasn't significantly decreased either. But to come back to the actual topic of this threa... See more
Why not. Follow if you like. Or pull the plug. I for my part LOVE computers and all the help they provide. You know, I used a typewriter at university, and only in the last year at that. Smartphones came out after I graduated. Now, as a sole entrepreneur, I am using a computer, clever software, a termbase, encryption, editing and coding software, and loads of other stuff. My workload hasn't increased but it hasn't significantly decreased either. But to come back to the actual topic of this thread, the future prospects and work fields for translators, I think that big changes are ahead (the advent of quantum computing, for one) but they will not make translators entirely superfluous. Cars replaced horses and computers replaced typewriters -- did they replace humans?Collapse


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 10:27
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Past experience Nov 7

Alexandra Hirsch wrote:

[Katalin, you already are living in a world of databases. Or did you think your CAT tool runs without a database? Or any other machine program / OS, for that matter?

I welcome technological progress, and I think there will always be a lot of work for us to do because language changes continuously and computers (even those capable of 'deep learning') aren't able to comprehend those changes. Thus, there will be work for HUMANS. I hope you understood correctly this time.


Alexandra, from the very beginning I understood very correctly the content of your post and also the "scenario".

I have just seen that you registered here in October, 2019 and you have 6 years experience in translation. It seems you really know what you want and what you think about our profession....


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 10:27
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Very obvious motives Nov 7

Alexandra Hirsch wrote:

Why not. Follow if you like. Or pull the plug. I for my part LOVE computers and all the help they provide. You know, I used a typewriter at university, and only in the last year at that. Smartphones came out after I graduated. Now, as a sole entrepreneur, I am using a computer, clever software, a termbase, encryption, editing and coding software, and loads of other stuff. My workload hasn't increased but it hasn't significantly decreased either. But to come back to the actual topic of this thread, the future prospects and work fields for translators, I think that big changes are ahead (the advent of quantum computing, for one) but they will not make translators entirely superfluous. Cars replaced horses and computers replaced typewriters -- did they replace humans? .


According to your profile:

Native speaker of German with bilingual language experience in English since 1980.
Years of translation experience: 6. Registered at ProZ.com: Oct 2019.

I think many professionals who think back the early times when we began to use the site were not that direct, we wanted to listen at first.. then ask about certain professional related things, and to get to know the other users.
We were (still are) here because we wanted to be part of the community, learn and not because of "LOVE" of computers... and this is not because it was 20 years ago, but because we loved and still love translation.

[Edited at 2019-11-07 15:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-11-07 15:34 GMT]


 
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