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How have you adapted to changes in the translation industry in recent years?
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer
Quality expectations are higher Feb 4

You bring up an interesting point here which might not be what it seems: Quality expectations are higher. I have been working for 20 years in an environment where quality expectations were almost insane. I was the one that had to sign off on final approval of a product. To get there we did "proofreading to clean" (meaning, a team of proofreaders, 2 people, were proofreading and if they found one error, the whole project had to be proofread again). I have been widely acknowledged for the quality of my language and I know a few things about quality.

I have also spoken to a lot of people that have been reading "my work." Most like it but there are always people who want things different or don't like word choice. What we see here is the concept of "viewpoint." People are used to different words which are used in the area where they grew up. And that has nothing to do with quality, but with "viewpoint."

I guess what you bring up is a trend that actually has nothing to do with quality, but with finding fault. As a business you can do a few things to raise your income and one of them is pointing out to a translator that there are "mistakes" in his work and then not pay him the full price.

We all make mistakes sometimes and I am no exception to that rule. But somehow when I read your line, I immediately thought about this trend to prove the translator wrong to get a reduced price. It has nothing to do with quality expectations. It seems that some companies/agencies have made it their business model. I avoid them like the plague.

Anyway, my two cents. Enjoy the conference in Munich!


 
No CATs but still surviving Feb 4

I tried learning CATs, unsuccessfully. I have a mental blockon all of them and I gave up. My response to the market and technology changes is specialisation in 2-3 areas where quality and accuracy are so critical for the clients that they suffer my human inadequacies for the sake of my competence and the ability to see the hidden implications of seemingly innocent words. This means also specialised clients rather than those churning out a mass product. I provide both on-site and remote interpreting but I am also aware, and tell the clients, that the latter is inappropriate in certain (mostly industrial) situations where the specific context, invisible over the phone, bears on the required wording. As far as technicalities are concerned, because of vagaries of propagation, I never do it over a a mobile phone, only over a landline. On the other hand, just for the fun of it, I recently toyed a little with Google Translator and I was astounded to see the progress it has undergone over the last few years. I would still not rely on it for life-critical instructions or for the indemnification clausesicon_smile.gif) but I have to admit that I see the space for productive human thinking is being squeezed out by AI and I am becoming a dinosaur.

Tom in London
Colleen Roach, PhD
 
To the bitter end ... Feb 4

... no matter, what new fashion trends come up ("Facebook", TM Town, Google Translate, Deepl, Studio 2032*, recruiting via WhatsApp, translating for food, etc.)

*with the same old bugs


 
specialize Feb 4

I specialized to be able to adapt to the works

 
working smarter, getting better clients Feb 4

As mentioned by several others, I keep up with tools when they're helpful, and have been targeting better paying clients. I find out what they want and get it; last year that meant learning Publisher and getting tools to work with it, and it brought me a few new clients to make it worth it. About 85% of my income comes from direct clients. If I have extra time I work with agencies, but only then.
Things are good, but I'm always looking for ways to be proactive, and always learning. Which is fine with me.


Gloria Teixeira
 
Specialize and say no Feb 4

I'm already at my max productivity level with the time I have in a day and my work ethic and professionalism doesn't allow me to provide cheap work and lower quality. So I can't accept a lower rate. Only solution for me is specialization and leaning to say "no". "No" to projects paid too cheap and "no" to too short deadlines. I also target organisations that respect translators and their work, and are welling to pay the reasonnable price for quality work to reach their objectives.

Mariusz Kuklinski
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 
No you're not Feb 4

Mariusz Kuklinski wrote:

.... I am becoming a dinosaur.


No, you're not, Mariusz. A recent BBC radio discussion on how IT and robotisation are changing our culture came to the conclusion that mechanical, repetitive tasks requiring no human intelligence will be taken over by machines but that special, intellectually demanding tasks will become the sphere of an elite. You are part of tomorrow's elite.


BTW why are the locations and language pairs of the posters not appearing in this forum?

[Edited at 2019-02-04 17:55 GMT]


Mariusz Kuklinski
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
 
So far so good Feb 5

Since I am mostly translating film subtitles, dubbing scripts, or comics, all of them branches where CAT tools are not used, I do not think I am going extinct in the near future. Of course, I am using new technologies, have to learn to work with new subtitling applications, etc., but most of it just makes my work easier and faster, not cheaper or redundant.

 
GALA conference in Munich, more info? Feb 5

Henry Dotterer wrote:

(...) Jared and I are going to be speaking at the upcoming GALA conference in Munich. Our topic is "Human Response to a Changing Industry".


Munich being a 'key venue', this might become very interesting... Where can we learn more and/or stay informed about this event? Thanks!

In terms of the topic, 'adapting to industry changes', here's my case in point:

Mid last year I was hired by a new client who asked for a CAT tool capable of their file format, and so I decided to buy Wordfast Pro (via Proz Group Buy) for over 300 Euros... Yet a few weeks and assignments later, the same client announced they had set up their own online editor, thus making my recent expense useless -- and I haven't used WFP since, as most agencies I know deploy some TMS of sorts...

So yes, I guess adapting to clients is part of any service, and will hit you either way, sooner or latericon_wink.gif

[Bearbeitet am 2019-02-05 17:45 GMT]


 
Leaving the industry Feb 6

Hannele Marttila wrote:
But I am looking for other employment.


I had a quick look at the comments and it seems to me that most of the 'adaption' are along the line of promising to do "better" or by doing things that somebody had already tried as part of their efforts to survive competition even before the technology is on the scene. That is not adaptation at all, IMHO.

Yours is one of the few posts that seem to me to really deserve the description of 'adaption'.

I, too, will be leaving the translation business. In my case, it is not due to lack of business, I have had plenty of business that had kept me busy for many years. The reason I'm leaving is because rates have been stagnant for too many years and there is no prospect on the horizon that it will get better. It is getting less and less worth my efforts to stay in the industry.


 
Seeming interdisciplinar untranslatability Feb 6

Guofei, besides traditional metaphrasing, paraphrasing, and imitation, the modern translation involves different areas, types, and such activities as rewriting, copywriting, transcreation, and even ghostwriting to show one's talent.

Also it was simple to include several types of interpreting for me.
The more various things one can do, the better.

It must have much to do with the return on investment, finding a few reliable and lavish clients.
I just can't complain)


Tom, the "elite" is but a very few chosen ones, so depending on who chooses...

Mariusz, if it's about technical papers, then either you didn't grasp the simple idea behind CAT, or you tried too short and not hard enough. Perhaps, you just had no real motivation. However, if it's about literary translation, you're absolutely right for even by-paragraph segmentation cannot mitigate the languages different tempo, flow, word- and sentence-length, and so on.

[Edited at 2019-02-06 08:13 GMT]


 
Changes in the industries Feb 8

I think the changes in the sector where our clients work affect us more that changes within our industry. While MT and CAT tools continue to be developed, they don´t seem to provide much value to some clients.

In the last year I have seen many companies, big and small, moving away from big translation agencies to hire a PM in-house and work with freelancers.

Probably the one-size-fits-all approach of large agencies will become less useful for many clients which prefer to develop their own communication strategy and keep it consistent. Then, MT and other tools would be customized to the companies and translators will have to be more flexible.


 
Henry Dotterer
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Susana! Feb 8

In the last year I have seen many companies, big and small, moving away from big translation agencies to hire a PM in-house and work with freelancers.

Probably the one-size-fits-all approach of large agencies will become less useful for many clients which prefer to develop their own communication strategy and keep it consistent.

Thanks, I am getting input of this sort from other channels as well. I would be keen to hear stories suggestive of the state of this trend, if anyone can share.


 
Title of my reply Feb 8

Henry Dotterer wrote:
Samuel: "... by increasing my productivity..."
Are you, like Samuel, taking steps to increase your productivity?


I wouldn't say that I'm taking steps to increase my productivity, but rather that I take steps to reduce (i.e. neutralize) the reduction in productivity that is forced upon me by agencies' insistence on the use of productivity-killing processes.


Ricki Farn
 
Anecdotal evidence Feb 8

Henry Dotterer wrote:

In the last year I have seen many companies, big and small, moving away from big translation agencies to hire a PM in-house and work with freelancers.

Probably the one-size-fits-all approach of large agencies will become less useful for many clients which prefer to develop their own communication strategy and keep it consistent.

Thanks, I am getting input of this sort from other channels as well. I would be keen to hear stories suggestive of the state of this trend, if anyone can share.


The state of this trend I don't know, but my very personal perception of a tiny corner of it: https://erinatranslations.de/en/2018/11/20/adventures-in-agile-localization/

I focus on Agile in that story, but I have a rather similar (in terms of interaction) experience with a "country marketing manager" (is that a word?) who one day decided to trawl the internet for her very own freelance translator and "own the experience" rather than leave it to an agency. She's not exactly a PM, but doing some PM-ish things such as moving the texts through the pipeline from translation to SEO, DTP, the guy who sticks them in the CMS and/or whatever else is required. We're mutually in awe of how well this is working out.


Kaspars Melkis
 
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