Discussion for First 2012 virtual powwow for members of the Certified PRO Network session (2012): Professionals and low rates: how to deal with dumping

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Albert Stufkens  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:04
Member (2008)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Contradictory situations Feb 14, 2012

I once read that the worldwide need for translations far exceeds the capacity of available translators worldwide. Hence the development of machine translations and other facilities like Google Translate, Babylon and the like. If that is the case, why would this situation defy the economic law of supply and demand? One would conclude that translators experience a golden age. Indeed, rates are down and so are delivery times. Even maintaining the level of rates that applied more than 10 years ago, would drive a translator off the market, so it seems. It is to be hoped that this session/discussion can define the causes and provide suggestions. One could think of a kind of global union that can deal with the 'buyer's market'. Because translators are relative 'loners' and form a fragmented body, they are at the mercy of the translation market that play the translators off against one another. Another cause I may think of, is ignorance on the demand side. A text in a foreign language may look impressive as long the client does not understand it. I am frequently asked by a major translation agency to proofread and to "QM". As proofreading is also greatly underrated and is nevertheless a responsible activity, takes far more time than is budgeted and the quality of translations sent to me was usually so appalling, I decided that this activity is definitely not worhtwhile and that my standing policy is not to proofread. This may illustrate the need to adapt as a translator if he/she wants to survive productivitywise, meaning that quantity seems to take priority over quality. Another aspect of the problem is, in my opinion, the belief that CAT tools increase productivity to such an extent that the rates should automatically and by definition drop. As almost each translation is unique, CAT tools will not really increase productivity by a marked degree. Some benefits that can de derived from the use of CAT tools may be consistency and minor advantages, such as speeding up repetitive text fragments.
Ideally, translators should have a long term view, a sense of community and responsibility towards one another and the market. They should be wary of being exploited and underpaid. To translate these ideas into concrete attitudes, actions, measures and coordination is a real challenge.
I am looking forward to other views and hope to have ignited a good discussion/debate.

[Edited at 2012-02-15 10:15 GMT]

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Discussion for First 2012 virtual powwow for members of the Certified PRO Network session (2012): Professionals and low rates: how to deal with dumping

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