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How bad has Covid-19 affected your translation business?
Thread poster: Helena Grahn

Helena Grahn  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:26
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Aug 26, 2020

I hardly get anything since March 2020. Just wondering if you guys experienced the same. I usually receive very small projects if any at all. Thanks!

Anna Cook
Yvonne Buettgenbach
Stephanie Kantorski
Serena Todesco (X)
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:26
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Badly but Aug 26, 2020

Helena Grahn wrote:

I hardly get anything since March 2020. Just wondering if you guys experienced the same. I usually receive very small projects if any at all. Thanks!


Badly for the first couple of months but by rekindling old acquaintances during the lockdown and thanks to "the luck of the Irish" things have begun to pick up again. Not a lot, but a little.



[Edited at 2020-08-26 10:49 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Helena Aug 26, 2020

Sorry to hear that. My business since the pandemic started in Portugal in March has been as follows:

March: regular
April: regular
May: terrible
June: excellent
July: excellent
August: good (regarding the first 3 weeks, I haven’t had work this week, but this is nothing out of the ordinary)

I hope things will get better soon for you.

[Edited at 2020-08-26 11:04 GMT]


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
Not affected … yet Aug 26, 2020

April, May and July: excellent
June: a bit below normal
August: slow (everybody's on holiday)

It's impossible for me to determine if I was affected in February and March, as I was just getting ready to return to work at the end of January after two months' sick leave after my second (fully invasive) operation for retinal detachment last year. February was very slow and March slow.

My good months were positively affected by three concurrent launches of home-
... See more
April, May and July: excellent
June: a bit below normal
August: slow (everybody's on holiday)

It's impossible for me to determine if I was affected in February and March, as I was just getting ready to return to work at the end of January after two months' sick leave after my second (fully invasive) operation for retinal detachment last year. February was very slow and March slow.

My good months were positively affected by three concurrent launches of home-entertainment products by a regular end client. The activity on that front has now cooled down and who knows when they'll be able to launch the next product or service? Home entertainment may even get a boost from more people working from home.

It seems to be a lottery who is affected.
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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Not at all Aug 26, 2020

It hasn’t made any difference to me (money and drugs)

Edit: Money and drugs as in the areas I translate, not my remuneration...

[Edited at 2020-08-26 11:48 GMT]


P.L.F.Persio
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:26
German to English
Direct clients going strong Aug 26, 2020

July was slow, but usually is for me. Agency work is down substantially since May/June.

Vadim Kadyrov
 

Loreta Saddi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Member
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not at all Aug 26, 2020

Not at all, working as usual

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:26
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Jun/July were bad months Aug 26, 2020

I quickly checked how many lines I have in my TMs with my user ID. Jan: 6k, Feb: 10k, Mar: 10k, Apr: 5k, May: 8k, Jun: 5k, Jul: 4k, Aug: 9k. So in June and July I generated half as many TUs as I did in August or in May. In addition, by this measure, in Q2 I had only 2/3 as much work as in Q1. Let's hope September is a 10k month and not a 5k month.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
It hasn't really affected it much Aug 26, 2020

March -- a bit down on Feb, but not disastrous
April -- week one I did just 30 minutes' paid work but ended the month higher than Feb
May -- a better than average month
June -- hectic!
July -- identical to Feb, so pretty normal
August -- very little at first but manic now.

I picked up three new clients during lockdown, two of them from China. In fact, quite a lot of my invoices go to that part of the world nowadays. I really do think that's where the fu
... See more
March -- a bit down on Feb, but not disastrous
April -- week one I did just 30 minutes' paid work but ended the month higher than Feb
May -- a better than average month
June -- hectic!
July -- identical to Feb, so pretty normal
August -- very little at first but manic now.

I picked up three new clients during lockdown, two of them from China. In fact, quite a lot of my invoices go to that part of the world nowadays. I really do think that's where the future lies.
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François Désilets
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 23:26
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
Asian agencies Aug 27, 2020

Sheila Wilson wrote:

I picked up three new clients during lockdown, two of them from China. In fact, quite a lot of my invoices go to that part of the world nowadays. I really do think that's where the future lies.


Since you're working for them (and I assume some of those clients are agencies) I presume they won't be paying 3-5 cents per word?
I really can't wrap my head around the Asian agencies. They're notorious for their cheap ('best') rates, yet their BB records are full of glowing reviews from European/North American translators.
I wonder if they're applying certain rates for certain language pairs and for people residing in certain countries or there are indeed good paying ones among them.


Helena Grahn
Baholanda Lokutu
Josephine Cassar
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
China?! Aug 27, 2020

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I picked up three new clients during lockdown, two of them from China. In fact, quite a lot of my invoices go to that part of the world nowadays. I really do think that's where the future lies.


Other than translating to and from Chinese and correcting their attempts at other languages, it’s very hard to see how the future lies in China...


Helena Grahn
philgoddard
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:26
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There seems to be money in Asia Aug 27, 2020

Baran Keki wrote:
Since you're working for them (and I assume some of those clients are agencies) I presume they won't be paying 3-5 cents per word?

As you say, the translation agencies do seem to expect to pay very low rates, but I suspect that's simply because of how they position themselves in the international market. One of those recent clients was actually a translation agency acting as a direct client, i.e. it was their own marketing materials they wanted help with. They were willing to pay my rates, so their business model clearly works well for them. I think all my Asian clients have been direct clients or intermediaries who aren't translation agencies, e.g. marketing/communication agencies, publishers, etc.

@ Chris: I was speaking more broadly than the future of individual translators. I think they're going to be leading the world in many different ways soon. And they're using English as the lingua franca.


Anna Cook
Alejandro Garcia-Quismondo Cartes
François Désilets
 

Yvonne Buettgenbach
Germany
Local time: 22:26
English to German
+ ...
The same for me Aug 28, 2020

My business went down exactly on March 20th when the lockdown started in Germany.
Since then:
Almost nothing in April
May was very good
June almost nothing
July almost nothing
August better, but not good.
I just hope that September will be better.

Usually, June to September are the best months for me when I earn enough to get me through November and January, the slow months.


philgoddard
 

Peng Liu
Australia
Local time: 07:26
Chinese to English
+ ...
negative impact but not too bad Sep 21, 2020

due to travel restrictions in and out of Australia, my assignments dropped roughly a quarter.

 

Serena Todesco (X)
Croatia
Local time: 22:26
Croatian to English
+ ...
Now the real tragedy started Sep 21, 2020

I am sorry to hear that! For me, it was a relatively good situation up until a few weeks ago. I am afraid my usual pay will drastically decrease by mid-October. I do believe, however, that Covid is also being used as an excuse to downscale production on a big company level (I work in tourism... Though it has been badly hit as a global sector, I cannot believe that nobody needs a professional translator in any step of their localization workflow!)

I don't know, honestly, what will ha
... See more
I am sorry to hear that! For me, it was a relatively good situation up until a few weeks ago. I am afraid my usual pay will drastically decrease by mid-October. I do believe, however, that Covid is also being used as an excuse to downscale production on a big company level (I work in tourism... Though it has been badly hit as a global sector, I cannot believe that nobody needs a professional translator in any step of their localization workflow!)

I don't know, honestly, what will happen to my translation business, although this pushed me to try harder and find new opportunities. I am currently working three jobs to make sure my rent can be paid....Awful, this feeling you are left without a future, all of a sudden.
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