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Decline in work overall
Thread poster: Helene Olsen Richards

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 18:05
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Contacting translators on Proz Find should not be restricted Jul 11

As many wrote: I also had a huge decline then improvement.

I can't repeat myself: I'm sure there is an issue with Proz Find directory and not technical (bug) related.
Because jobs, visitors seem to come only in periods: when there are none and there are periods when there are a a lot/more. From statistical and logical points of view: this cannot be a coincidence.

I had some (finally!!!) visitors via Proz Find in the last 2 months and more of them at their Viewer
... See more
As many wrote: I also had a huge decline then improvement.

I can't repeat myself: I'm sure there is an issue with Proz Find directory and not technical (bug) related.
Because jobs, visitors seem to come only in periods: when there are none and there are periods when there are a a lot/more. From statistical and logical points of view: this cannot be a coincidence.

I had some (finally!!!) visitors via Proz Find in the last 2 months and more of them at their Viewer type (Freelancer, Outsourcer or Not logged in) and/or the Viewer ID (country) were missing or sometimes details are given with delays. I am really wondering about the real reason of that. It doesn't seem to be a bug. I sent a support ticket 7 months ago but no reply.

Jul 2 Not Logged In 39808dbc ProZ Find Profile 2 Jul 2 Add filter


Somebody wrote here that proz.com is a for profit business.
I think if it's a website that has a huge impact on a whole industry (or industries) ALL OVER THE WORLD, or on people's lives all over the world that is a different thing and some measures can be used to keep the balance.
Example: Facebook.

Edited for typos

[Edited at 2019-07-11 08:13 GMT]
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Thomas Brown
Japan
Local time: 01:05
Japanese to English
no more google translate Jul 11

here in Japan a number of agencies have sent me emails telling me that the use of google translate and other cloud based AI translation tools is now banned for their translators due to security/ industrial espionage concerns.

So that should hold back the AI translation revolution, at least until a little bit, in Japan.

And even then I was given some Japanese to English marketing translation to do for cosmetics from a company that didn't care about google translate etc
... See more
here in Japan a number of agencies have sent me emails telling me that the use of google translate and other cloud based AI translation tools is now banned for their translators due to security/ industrial espionage concerns.

So that should hold back the AI translation revolution, at least until a little bit, in Japan.

And even then I was given some Japanese to English marketing translation to do for cosmetics from a company that didn't care about google translate etc. just yesterday, Google translate couldn't make head nor tale of it, it was more like a localization, transcreation job.

I think about Machine translation taking over the jobs of translators a lot. I think that the last 5% will take them 99% of the effort to get it perfect, if they every do it. And they'll always need someone to check it. The man vs machine idea is very black and white. It would make much more sense for man to work with machine, utilizing what they both do best, increasing efficiency and keeping humans in gainful employment.

In the mean time the rubbish economy and greedy agencies trying to push bad quality on to businesses that don't want to pay full price may be reducing demand.

This from the US state dept of labor, regarding interpreters and translators:

"Job Outlook

Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Globalization and large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States will drive employment growth. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification."

And a friend of mine who makes loads of money translating Japanese computer games into US English told me that that sector is the fastest growing of all. With the gaming industry now making more money than the music and movie industries COMBINED!!
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Angie Garbarino
Leslie Robertson
Laura Kingdon
 

Kaspars Melkis  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
English to Latvian
+ ...
@Egmont Jul 11

Egmont Schröder wrote:
I wouldn't go that far. There are cases where TM makes sense, i.d. where the machine translation is actually very good and needs little to no editing. This is mainly the case for very repetitive texts with an easy structure (I have seen such translations, although not very often).


The question is how do you know when MT is good or bad? The client doesn't speak the language or is not a professional translator and is unable to evaluate it. If MT can be used, it has to be the translator who says so. Otherwise using MT even once creates perception that all texts can be translated with MT and consequently it causes downward pressure on prices of all translations. The evidence on this was provided in another thread by Bryan. It harms even those translators who work in fields where MT is never used.

If you want to remain in business, don't accept MT, not even once. Doesn't matter who you are – a translator, an agency or an end-client. Some end clients actually have a policy that if they find that MT has been used, it will be considered a breach of contract with severe penalties.

There could be some instances where MT makes sense in business. This use should be clearly defined and separated from human translation work. I believe that all PEMT output should be marked as such so that the end-user knows that it is not attained by proper quality procedures.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 09:39 GMT]


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 00:05
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Mobile Games Jul 11

And a friend of mine who makes loads of money translating Japanese computer games into US English told me that that sector is the fastest growing of all. With the gaming industry now making more money than the music and movie industries COMBINED!!

Hail F2P mobile games and microtransactions.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 10:03 GMT]


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:05
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Marketing Jul 11

Thomas Brown wrote:

This from the US state dept of labor, regarding interpreters and translators:

"Job Outlook

Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Globalization and large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States will drive employment growth. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification."


What I'm not hearing in this discussion is responding to a decline in work with an increase in marketing efforts. Isn't that the answer? Especially to end clients, many of whom know little about MT.


Rachel Waddington
Thomas Brown
Dan Lucas
 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:05
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
. Jul 11


The question is how do you know when MT is good or bad? The client doesn't speak the language or is not a professional translator and is unable to evaluate it.


That's why I even wouldn't know how to quote on a MTPE job, it is totally unpredictable. And I didn't say that I am going to do MTPE jobs, I just have to confess that in same rare cases they are really good.
I do editing jobs of human translations from trusted sources, and I know that these translation need only 0 to 5 % corrections.
But I never know how much time I have to invest into a MTPE job. In rare cases it can be maybe 0 to 1 % corrections, but most of the time it will be 40, 50 or even more.

So how do I set my rate? It will be like gambling every time.

In my point of view there are only two ways for this kind of quoting:

1: I do a spot check on the MT first, and if it seems to be okay I set a rate between translation and editing, pray that the rest of the translation is also in a good condition and start to work.

2: I compare several MTs from similar source texts (same customer, same industry,...) and the same software, calculate the error rate of these translation and subtract it from my translation rate (or put it on my editing rate).

The first method would make sense for specific source texts which are suitable for MT, but it takes time and wouldn't be profitable for a McDonalds agency with a high throughput and low rates.

The second method is not feasible at all.

Nobody can predict the future, but there might be a possibility that MT is only a trend, and agencies that are using it heavily now will go the way of the dodo soon, because no one can make a living out of MTPE.

[Bearbeitet am 2019-07-11 17:58 GMT]


 

Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:05
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
. Jul 11

[quote]Egmont Schröder wrote:


The question is how do you know when MT is good or bad? The client doesn't speak the language or is not a professional translator and is unable to evaluate it.


That's why I even wouldn't know how to quote on a MTPE job, it is totally unpredictable. And I didn't say that I am going to do MTPE jobs, I just have to confess that in same rare cases they are really good.
I do editing jobs of human translations from trusted sources, and I know that these translations have an error rate of only 0 to 5 %.
But I never know how much time I have to invest into a MTPE job. In rare cases it can be an error rate of 0 to 1 %, but most of the time it will be 40, 50 or even more.

So how do I set my rate? It will be like gambling every time.

In my point of view there are only two ways for this kind of quoting:

1: I do a spot check on the MT first, and when it seems to be okay I set a rate between translation and editing, pray that the rest of the translation is also in a good condition and start to work.

2: I compare several MTs from similar source texts (same customer, same industry,...) and the same software, calculate the error rate of these translation and subtract it from my translation rate (or put it on my editing rate).

The first method would make sense for specific source texts which are suitable for MT, but it takes time and wouldn't be profitable for a McDonalds agency with a high throughput and low rates.

The second method is not feasible at all.

Nobody can predict the future, but there might be a possibility that MT is only a trend, and agencies that are using it heavily now will go the way of the dodo soon, because no one can make a living out of MTPE.


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 18:05
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Marketing control (console) Jul 11

John Fossey wrote:

Thomas Brown wrote:

This from the US state dept of labor, regarding interpreters and translators:

"Job Outlook

Employment of interpreters and translators is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Globalization and large increases in the number of non-English-speaking people in the United States will drive employment growth. Job prospects should be best for those who have professional certification."


What I'm not hearing in this discussion is responding to a decline in work with an increase in marketing efforts. Isn't that the answer? Especially to end clients, many of whom know little about MT.


John, do you mean marketing efforts on this site?
I'm nr. 1 on Proz Find in all medical fields (specializations), according to Kudoz.
I had no visitors via Proz Find for many many months (6 or more months) via proz.com. Then I began to receive some visitors where details were missing. This was on and off, when I complained things became a little bit better. This is like opening a water tap and then close it. Someone figured out that on Proz Find mobile version outsourcers were restricted to find translators, then I figured out that there was a red vivid sign to post a job in the Proz Find directory to direct clients to the job board, because job board makes more "activity" than the directory.

Right now the "marketing control console" on this site is not in the hands of translators.
Whether we will receive the full control or not, is the question of future.

Edited: added the last sentence + right now

[Edited at 2019-07-11 18:26 GMT]


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:05
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Where to market Jul 11

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

John, do you mean marketing efforts on this site?


No, I mean marketing efforts overall. This site only represents a tiny fraction of the amount of translating work available globally. Probably 50% of my clients - which include my best clients - have never heard of Proz.com.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 19:18 GMT]


 

Katalin Szilárd  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 18:05
Member (2006)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Different marketing possibilities Jul 11

John Fossey wrote:

Katalin Szilárd wrote:

John, do you mean marketing efforts on this site?


No, I mean marketing efforts overall. This site only represents a tiny fraction of the amount of translating work available globally. Probably 50% of my clients - which include my best clients - have never heard of Proz.com.

[Edited at 2019-07-11 19:05 GMT]


Thank you for your answer, John. As I see you are a company with a company profile here, plus a company website. Marketing for companies is very different than for individual translators.
Plus some end clients have never heard that they could choose the services of translators directly. Maybe now there are some improvements in that as I see more translators began to educate end-clients about what translators do and our tasks.

Some years ago I talked with more potential end clients on a forum and they thought that a freelancer was only a tiny part in the translation process. They thought that everything was done by the agencies. They had no clue about that translators have their own tools, softwares, they create the memory and the glossary if the client requests it, they do some DTP, they were very surprised when I let them know that another freelance translator does the proofreading... They couldn't believe that, they thought it was always the job of an in-house proofreader/editor...

Also many times results on google have preferences for companies instead of individual translators.
So marketing options are different for companies and for translators.



[Edited at 2019-07-11 19:40 GMT]


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:05
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Stick to your guns and expand your marketing Jul 12

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

...

Translation business is booming, at least that is what I hear and read, so why do they reduce their prices till a level nobody can make a decent living out of it? Aren't we their greatest assets?


More fish in the sea - more competition. That combined with the constant flow of newbies/amateurs who are ready to work for peanuts doesn't help. But yes, I can't afford to drop my rates. So that's not an option. Still have clients paying what I need to charge, although fewer ones. It also depends which field of expertise you're talking about. And, in general, which language direction.

Robert Rietvelt wrote:

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.


In many fields it is still of the utmost importance that translations are absolutely accurate (medicine, technology, law, etc.). So it's easier to keep up adequate rates. Additional ways to reach clients are important to stay or improve business I am sure. That includes social media which I am not as good at yet myself. But maybe I will be. And even shifting away from translating, possibly towards writing might be a good idea. Depends on what you're inclined to do of course.

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


True. But you won't catch me doing it. So my hope is that the quality of bottom feeder translators is indeed poor and many clients will learn from mistakes. A couple of years ago I sort of predicted a race to the bottom because of the constant flush of new people and agencies, a big crash and a new beginning. But hopefully a new beginning is already on the periphery of the business. We'll see. But doing the best you can in your job should get you through. At least that's what I'm telling myself.


Liviu-Lee Roth
 

STEPHANE BISSENE ATANGANA
Cameroon
Local time: 17:05
Member (Jul 2019)
French to English
+ ...


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Why Third-world rates? Jul 12

Michael Newton wrote:

US-based agencies are starting to offer Third-World rates. When I mention "twelve cents a word for medical Japanese", people recoil like a vampire that has been confronted with a crucifix.
.
What do you really mean by third-world rate? The rates are merely being low? Every human effort deserves to be valued. No rate for the so-called developed world. Rates are rates, no one accepts Peanuts


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 18:05
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
By time only Jul 12

Egmont Schröder wrote:


But I never know how much time I have to invest into a MTPE job.



So how do I set my rate? It will be like gambling every time.


I find that word (time) two times in your post, therefore everybody interested (or forced, because there seems no alternative at hand so far) in PEMT shouldn´t set a rate by word, but invoice by time when the job is done. Even rating by word for standard CAT based translation jobs is a relative measure and never covers the real timely effort. You may propose a quote for your costs per hour, but to predict how long you need, will be impossible. That´s their (the agencies) part of the risk. Most service providers anywhere invoice their services by the time spent for a job, so why shouldn´t we do it the same way, especially for such tricky tasks like PEMT?

[Bearbeitet am 2019-07-12 07:11 GMT]


Mr.Q
Kaspars Melkis
Robert Rietvelt
 

Leslie Robertson
Chile
Member (Jun 2019)
Spanish to English
+ ...
a similar experience here Jul 12

Elizabeth Chivers wrote:

Helene Olsen Richards wrote:

Hi

Has anyone else noticed a general decline in the amount of posted ads and work coming in? I have heard the same from many colleagues/clients.



I have been working in the field for about 7-8 years, so a lot less than many of you. However, I have seen a very large decline in work this year, and especially over the last few months. I started working in the field without having obtained a degree in the field of translation. So, I decided to get a Master's Degree to really solidify my profession and try to become as educated as possible to perform my job. Well, since receiving my degree, I have actually had less work! Many of my old clients started asking me to reduce my rates, and if I didn't, they found someone else. The average rates have gone down where I live, while the cost of life continues to go up. I am now trying to pay back student loans for a degree that I suddenly realize may not have the worth or weight I had hoped it would. The trend scares me greatly. I too am trying to diversify, specialize, etc., but I would really appreciate other opinions about how to move forward with a Master's Degree in this field if there is not going to be enough work in the future. What other jobs will be open to us? I also thought about trying to get ATA-certified, but they also charge a ton of money to take the test, and I wonder if it even makes a difference. I am so sick of paying money to get educated, certified, become a member of ProZ, and there just seems to be so little in return.

Thanks for listening.



Elizabeth, I too have gone through the same experience this year. I notice your profile says you are in Chile -- I moved countries from Argentina to Chile about 18 months ago (after 13 years in BsAs) due to a transfer for my husband, and yet almost all of my translation work continues to come from Argentina, Spain and the US. Up until about May, everything was going fine, with the occasional downturn: ie the typical summer dry spell, followed by the "back to school" uptick. I am pursuing a Master's in Technical Translation online, and for my technical translations I have been able to get a decent rate. However, for non-technical texts there really has been more downward pressure. I have found the local Chilean rates to be depressing, with the expectation to accept rates that are not reflective whatsoever of the cost of living. If you want to hear more about the Master's, feel free to drop me a line.


 

Louise Etheridge
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:05
French to English
+ ...
Build reputation (takes time) Jul 17

Like some of the other posters on here, June was a good month for me. In fact my best month ever (freelancing for almost 10 years now). I'm not saying this to gloat but to encourage you that there is work out there and you just need to find it or ensure that you get picked for it.

There are two things I've been doing in previous months to build up to this point. I've been saying "yes" to almost everything, whereas I used to be quite choosy before. Specialising it great but it doesn'
... See more
Like some of the other posters on here, June was a good month for me. In fact my best month ever (freelancing for almost 10 years now). I'm not saying this to gloat but to encourage you that there is work out there and you just need to find it or ensure that you get picked for it.

There are two things I've been doing in previous months to build up to this point. I've been saying "yes" to almost everything, whereas I used to be quite choosy before. Specialising it great but it doesn't always pay the bills. You must have your "bread and butter" work too, in the form of regular work, whatever it is, and you can focus on your pet projects when they come up. Sometimes this means juggling and long working hours. The other thing is going the extra mile. I try to offer that little extra that maybe other translators might not be offering. I am also really working on building relationships with the PMs (also see "going the extra mile). Essentially, trying to make yourself a great, reliable resource for their agency. Trust is so essential in our line of work and will win you repeat orders of work. Finally, I've been working all hours to achieve this. It is getting harder to make a decent living in our industry, I agree.

Obviously, I understand that you need to have signed on with good agencies in the first place, that have a lot of work coming through. They are out there! Maybe you've done all of the above and it's still not working. In this case, try signing on with some new agencies, although it could take some months to see any changes.

Please note, I'm not really working directly with Proz job postings, mainly with translation agencies and the occasional direct contacts.

I really hope there tips can help you to build up some more contacts/work over the coming months.

Wishing you all the best!

Louise
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John Fossey
Dan Lucas
 
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