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Decline in work overall
Thread poster: Helene Olsen Richards

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 11:54
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Crazy Jun 24

To the extent that things have become slightly unhinged in the past couple of days. I had to put a hard stop on new requests, rather than trying to make time for them as I usually would. I have actually been unable to find the time to do invoices for May, so I must set aside a full day to do them at the end of the month.

Granted, a lot of these are small requests, but my primary client continues to inundate me with larger projects.


John Fossey
Dan Lucas
 

gauloise
United States
Italian to English
+ ...
Things picking up Jun 26

Ever since Mid-May things have picked up a lot

John Fossey
 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
This forum is for discussing the overall decline in work Jun 30

Imo, it is off-topic and a tad insensitive to use this particular forum to brag about one's own personal success in getting translation jobs.
Some translators are simply well-connected, are master networkers and/or have friends in all the right places. These people are far more likely to escape any serious downturn in work. I have such friends and all things being relative, even they are feeling the current decline.
Knowing that many see Proz as a place to advertise their wares and
... See more
Imo, it is off-topic and a tad insensitive to use this particular forum to brag about one's own personal success in getting translation jobs.
Some translators are simply well-connected, are master networkers and/or have friends in all the right places. These people are far more likely to escape any serious downturn in work. I have such friends and all things being relative, even they are feeling the current decline.
Knowing that many see Proz as a place to advertise their wares and give themselves favourable images on Google and elsewhere, I suggest that people who have nothing to contribute here other than posting their own outstanding success(es) should use these Proz fora instead (among many others):
https://www.proz.com/wiwo/
https://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion-109.html

This is just my opinion of course.

[Edited at 2019-06-30 14:52 GMT]
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Rachel Fell
Jorge Payan
Andy Watkinson
Kevin Fulton
Beatriz Ramírez de Haro
Jennifer White
Yvonne Gallagher
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 11:54
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
You bumped this thread just for this? Jul 1

If you don't want to come across experiences that are different from your own, don't put it on a public forum.

[Edited at 2019-07-01 04:00 GMT]


Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Dan Lucas
Angie Garbarino
Katalin Horváth McClure
Olavo Nogueira
 

Mair A-W (PhD)
Germany
Local time: 04:54
Member (2016)
German to English
+ ...
Has anyone else... ? Jul 1

writeaway wrote:

This forum is for discussing the overall decline in work

Imo, it is off-topic and a tad insensitive to use this particular forum to brag about one's own personal success in getting translation jobs.
Some translators are simply well-connected, are master networkers and/or have friends in all the right places. These people are far more likely to escape any serious downturn in work. I have such friends and all things being relative, even they are feeling the current decline.
Knowing that many see Proz as a place to advertise their wares and give themselves favourable images on Google and elsewhere, I suggest that people who have nothing to contribute here other than posting their own outstanding success(es) should use these Proz fora instead (among many others):
https://www.proz.com/wiwo/
https://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion-109.html

This is just my opinion of course.

[Edited at 2019-06-30 14:52 GMT]


Really? The original post in this thread reads

Helene Olsen Richards wrote:

Hi

Has anyone else noticed a general decline in the amount of posted ads and work coming in?


Surely, then, all answers to this question are on-topic for the thread, be they "yes" or "no" ?


Rachel Waddington
Rosa Plana Castillón
Angie Garbarino
Katalin Horváth McClure
Olavo Nogueira
Rita Translator
 

Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:54
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Comparisons, sharing Jul 1

I think that sharing opinions (positive, negative, uncertain, blue or green or red) is always the best way to understand, multiply and - why not - change our point of view.
As usual, much depends on one's sensitivity but nobody seems to prevaricate here.

In that case, we should just ignore the issue and, as usual, go ahead.

Un saluto a tutti!


Rachel Waddington
Angie Garbarino
 

writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Yes but Jul 1

Mair A-W (PhD) wrote:


Really? The original post in this thread reads

Helene Olsen Richards wrote:

Hi

Has anyone else noticed a general decline in the amount of posted ads and work coming in?


Surely, then, all answers to this question are on-topic for the thread, be they "yes" or "no" ?



Several people have commented matter-of-factly that things are still going fine for them. But they also expressed empathy with those currently experiencing a shortage of work and/or offered some helpful suggestions. They didn't just use this forum as a self-advertising bragging opportunity. As I said, Proz offers a number of other fora for that.


Rachel Fell
Jennifer White
 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:54
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Goes up and down.... Jul 4

... just as the Dutch weather, but there is defenitely a decline.

It is all about the money, don't be mistaken!

Let me explain. In some dark past I used to have a couple of agencies which were good for almost half of my year-income (at 7 or 8 cents p/w at that time). They all disappeared from my radar.

As an experiment I contacted them with an offer of half of my prices I was asking in 2007/2008. To my big surprise, 3 of them started sending me jobs for 0.0
... See more
... just as the Dutch weather, but there is defenitely a decline.

It is all about the money, don't be mistaken!

Let me explain. In some dark past I used to have a couple of agencies which were good for almost half of my year-income (at 7 or 8 cents p/w at that time). They all disappeared from my radar.

As an experiment I contacted them with an offer of half of my prices I was asking in 2007/2008. To my big surprise, 3 of them started sending me jobs for 0.04 Euro per word and one was asking if I could lower my rate, so it would fit their budget.

Note that I am not talking about small agencies here, but about the big 3 till 10! One even awarded as the best translation agency of the world in 2018 (by the way, the same one who asked me to lower my price). Well, go and figure it out for yourself!

Translation business is booming, at least that is what I hear and read, so why do they reduce their prices till a level nodody can make a decent living out of it? Aren't we their greatest assets?

In this way the professional translation industry is going down the drain, amateurs are taking over. Good luck with the manual of your new washing machine, hope you can make any sense out of it.

PS) I of course rejected all of of those 'bottom feeder' jobs, but the sad part is that one or some of our so called colleagues were happy to accept them.

That is the thought.





[Edited at 2019-07-04 22:59 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-05 00:03 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-05 00:05 GMT]
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writeaway
Jorge Payan
Kevin Fulton
Colleen Roach, PhD
Yvonne Gallagher
dkfmmuc
Elizabeth Chivers
 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 04:54
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Size does matter Jul 5

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

Note that I am not talking about small agencies here, but about the big 3 till 10!



Robert, you state this is as if it were an anomaly for a "big" agency to pay "small" rates.

My experience is that this is invariably the case. The larger the agency, the measlier the rates.

True, I'm not talking from a great deal of experience of actually working with that many of them - and certainly not recently - but simply from reading the dozens of boilerplate mails I get from them on a regular basis. I actually received one today from one named "Across / As Good As Possible"* offering me rates starting at $0.04 for translating medical reports CAT-> ENG.

Now I've no idea how I came by my current clients, certainly nothing of my own doing, but they're mostly smallish agencies led by former highly experienced and savvy translators with minimum staff with all the good features such a setup entails and none of the bad. Ergo, no hellish online platform using "our fab CAT/PO system/Billing system", poor communication, feedback, etc. And the rates they'll accept aren't direct client category but generally far exceed those of the "Big 3/10/100" etc.....

(* Apologies to those whose L1 has no Latin roots.
The rest of you have 30 seconds...)


[Edited at 2019-07-05 01:21 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-07-05 04:09 GMT]


writeaway
Rachel Fell
Zibow Retailleau
Dan Lucas
 

Natalia Potashnik  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:54
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
Same volume but a definite shift toward medical translations Jul 5

My old clients who offered me technical and other translations disappeared. Almost all translation and editing jobs that I get now are in the medical field. I guess that is the trend in other languages too.

John Fossey
 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:54
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
The same here... Jul 5

I am not so long in the business, but last year at the same time I was terribly busy, and now I have several days without any bigger projects. I welcome it on the one hand, I wanted to reduce my workload to focus on the kids, but now I am starting to worry. I even have time to read the forums in ProZ.com now.

I think the reason for this is that many agencies switched to MTPE, and it is clear that this drops the price and the work volume. An agency that was a stable provider of proje
... See more
I am not so long in the business, but last year at the same time I was terribly busy, and now I have several days without any bigger projects. I welcome it on the one hand, I wanted to reduce my workload to focus on the kids, but now I am starting to worry. I even have time to read the forums in ProZ.com now.

I think the reason for this is that many agencies switched to MTPE, and it is clear that this drops the price and the work volume. An agency that was a stable provider of projects only sends MTPE now, they even don't tell the translators that it is a machine translation. The postings for MTPE jobs on ProZ.com are also getting more.

The work volume of my major client, an American manufacturer for medical devices, also decreased since beginning of 2019.

Let's face it, the translation business will be the first victim of Artificial Intelligence, and I am sure not the last one.
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Colleen Roach, PhD
writeaway
 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
Internal 'domesticated' policy Jul 5

While I don't work with agencies, I admit the political life often makes many international businesses return to their HQ's, focusing on local markets and preferring certain countries: The crisis isn't over yet.

As far as most amateurs are enjoying summer holidays too, among other things I asked a dozen of EN-RU seasoned freelance colleagues working with agencies about their availability to assist me in case of emergency, probing and assessing their current workload: only
... See more
While I don't work with agencies, I admit the political life often makes many international businesses return to their HQ's, focusing on local markets and preferring certain countries: The crisis isn't over yet.

As far as most amateurs are enjoying summer holidays too, among other things I asked a dozen of EN-RU seasoned freelance colleagues working with agencies about their availability to assist me in case of emergency, probing and assessing their current workload: only three (3) of eleven (11) translators said it would be nice while eight (8) replied they were in the midsummer frantic rush.

Heavily depending on many factors, it's no indication (for example, they may be working under the same big project), but mostly they charge $0.10+/word for specialized translation and offer no groundless discounts.


@Egmont, if it's no big secret, did you try other services like rewriting, copywriting, transcreating, drafting, mentoring, consulting, or interpreting? I mean it could make your value (and price) go up significantly, expanding the market.
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Liviu-Lee Roth
 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 22:54
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Tiny jobs Jul 5

Egmont Schröder wrote:

... and now I have several days without any bigger projects.


This is what I am noticing as well, the jobs seem to be getting smaller. I am getting as many jobs as ever, but they are tiny, and although I have been quoting on big jobs they don't materialize.


writeaway
Jane F
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:54
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
This is not self-promotion or trumpet-blowing but... Jul 6

DZiW wrote:
I asked a dozen of EN-RU seasoned freelance colleagues working with agencies about their availability to assist me in case of emergency, probing and assessing their current workload: only three (3) of eleven (11) translators said it would be nice while eight (8) replied they were in the midsummer frantic rush.

Heavily depending on many factors, it's no indication (for example, they may be working under the same big project), but mostly they charge $0.10+/word for specialized translation and offer no groundless discounts.

So DZiW has current experience of those charging rates of $0.10+ being busy. While I was approached by a good client at 5 pm last night with a full day's worth of translation for Monday evening. Problem is, Monday's already booked solid by another client, and the rest of the month I'm busy with a third (on a regular annual project). I thought a 50% hike for Saturday work would put him off but no, €0.18 per word it is. Personally, I'd rather have relaxed today, and I wouldn't have agreed to it for a new client.

We know that there's a vast volume of work for those prepared to churn out words for $0.01-0.04 each. So maybe it's jobs at rates in-between those and $0.10+ that are hard to find? I really don't know, but it does make sense. I remember being told by a respected Dutch agency owner a few years back that that's the way it would be. There would be the industry and the profession, and no room for the fence-sitters. And there are an awful lot of translators charging around $0.06 per word. It's worth thinking about.


DZiW
Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:54
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
. Jul 7

@Egmont, if it's no big secret, did you try other services like rewriting, copywriting, transcreating, drafting, mentoring, consulting, or interpreting? I mean it could make your value (and price) go up significantly, expanding the market.


I did this, and I am working on it. I just wanted to see what July brings, it is usually the busiest month and I don't want to turn down customers during this month.
But now it is official, others are also facing a decline.

If you ask me it is definitely because of the raise of AI... Another reason is maybe the ongoing trade war between China and America which affects the world economy, but I am just taking a guess.

We know that there's a vast volume of work for those prepared to churn out words for $0.01-0.04 each. So maybe it's jobs at rates in-between those and $0.10+ that are hard to find? I really don't know, but it does make sense. I remember being told by a respected Dutch agency owner a few years back that that's the way it would be. There would be the industry and the profession, and no room for the fence-sitters. And there are an awful lot of translators charging around $0.06 per word. It's worth thinking about.


I don't know, it seems a bit odd. The conclusion would be that the medium range jobs are going down to MTPE, but this is apparently not the case. For the before mentioned main customer I am charging $0.09 per word, and he used to keep me busy with around 2k words per month. I still get the same jobs, just with a smaller workload. No MTPE, no lower rate ... I always prepared mentally that this source will dry out one day, I am just wondering about the timing.

@all: Don't be discouraged, it is not your fault. Nobody can stop progress. We are on the verge of a new industrial revolution. Or am I the only one who is blown away by the development of AI during the last two years?

Maybe it is time to step out and meet those "real people" again:)

[Bearbeitet am 2019-07-08 11:44 GMT]


writeaway
Jennifer Forbes
Elizabeth Chivers
 
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