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Where is our business going to?
Thread poster: Robert Rietvelt

Vaclav Hruza
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:24
French to Czech
+ ...
Did you change career? Feb 20, 2020

Eleftherios Kritikakis wrote:

I had noted these problems back from 2004 (in these very forums). At any rate, translators are doing a Job, not a Career (a career has promotions, benefits etc and you are building a resume... while a job is just that - labor only). The rate decrease reflects not only the negotiating power of the middlemen (agencies), but also that a huge part of your labor has become obsolete. Because of automation. The pace of jobs and the rate combined, indicate an international sweatshop for those relying on the income (not for those using it as a side income). So, plan accordingly. Personally, I stayed too long, didn't follow my own advice, due to continuous personal obligations. Good luck to all.

What do you mean exactly by "I stayed too long". Did you eventually change careers or diversify your services?


Annie Sapucaia  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:24
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Absolutely not Mar 4, 2020

Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei wrote:

Peter Leeflang wrote:

Today's poor client may be tomorrow's client that can afford you. Nothing is static in any business line.

Purely out of curiosity, have you ever seen this happen in translation? An agency that used to pay low rates starts paying better?

I have never seen an agency spontaneously offer to pay more (why would they?), though I guess it's possible they may accept an increase in fee from a valued translator (but in my experience, also probably not).

I think part of the difficulty is that everyone is coming from a different position/background/country, so it's hard to compare experiences. Some people make USD 30,000 a year from translation, and that works fine for them considering their lifestyle/cost of living/other sources of income - so maybe working for 4 cents a word for an agency isn't all that bad. For others, making 80,000 a year isn't nearly enough, due to rent/illness/you name it. So though I think all of us are frustrated when agencies offer absurd rates, our levels of frustration are very different depending on the position we were in to begin with. So we have people who get these emails and go "haha, nope" and then delete them, and then others who go "oh crap, how am I going to make the rent - I can't lose this client".

Ideally we would all say "no way" to low offers, but that's not going to happen, because we are so diverse and so unregulated. Working anywhere in the world with anyone in the world is both a strength and a weakness.

[Edited at 2020-03-04 23:20 GMT]

Dan Lucas
Mina Chen
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