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Trend to reduce translation rates
Автор темы: Friedrich Reinold

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Италия
Local time: 16:53
Член ProZ.com
английский => итальянский
Broader issue Jan 26

Matthias Brombach wrote:

Aliseo Japan wrote:
... not least because of the exaggerated number of language/translation universities which every year churn out an army of dreamers ...


This should be addressed to our (your) translator´s associations. Wouldn´t that be a topic they should be good for, to evaluate market demands and supply, and discuss the results with relevant education institutes? But I´m afraid the latter aren´t interested in reducing their capacities, because of the profitable career possibilities those study programms offer for lecturers and course leaders, a whole industry on its own.


On the one hand, I believe many, many people enter the translation industry every single day without formal or specific training/education in the field, ranging from "amateurs" looking to make a quick buck to people with degrees in other areas of specialization (e.g. legal, engineering, medical, etc.) looking to use their expertise in a different manner. On the other hand, "Limited Enrollment Programs" are ultimately a form of market regulation/distortion that exist in many countries (including the most free-market oriented ones), but I believe this is a matter that can't be left to individual negotiation between translators' associations and colleges/universities, as it is rather a matter of professional regulation that needs a broader (national and international) consideration...

And BTW, there ARE lots of regulated professions in the EU alone: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm ranging from "Hairdresser / Barber /Wig-maker" to "Racehorse trainer" to "Baker" to "Well-sinker" to "Gas installer/repairer", to "Painter-decorator", to "Arts therapist", to "Chartered IT professional", to "Marketing consultant", to "Chartered colourist", to "Farrier", to "Heating engineer/technician, to "Death care industry professions", to "Car, taxi and van drivers" (and I could go on forever), etc. etc., so...


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:53
Член ProZ.com c 2006
испанский => голландский
+ ...
This trend doesn't stand alone Jan 26

The trend of lowering rates goes (i.m.o) hand in hand with a decline in the number of jobs. The days I had more then I could handle, are over, at least so it seems since October/November last year (????).

Probably, all of a sudden I am too expensive.


 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 07:53
Член ProZ.com c Mar 2019
французский => английский
+ ...
low rates, surplus of translators, etc. Jan 26

I’ll weigh in with some points here. Excuse me for being a bit US-centric.

- “…according to conversations with numerous industry participants, per word rates have been on a steady down trend for years.” This is from a report produced by Slator, which follows the translation industry. The report, titled “America’s Translation Rate Holds Firm at USD 0.22,” was published last December See more
I’ll weigh in with some points here. Excuse me for being a bit US-centric.

- “…according to conversations with numerous industry participants, per word rates have been on a steady down trend for years.” This is from a report produced by Slator, which follows the translation industry. The report, titled “America’s Translation Rate Holds Firm at USD 0.22,” was published last December https://slator.com/industry-news/americas-translation-rate-holds-firm-at-usd-0-22/

-the title of the report is totally misleading. It provides data indicating that the “Big Three” (all US based translation agencies) in terms of “proposals” (i.e. bids) to the U.S. federal government for translation jobs charge rates of .22, .25 and .26 cents per word (rounded off). Of course, this doesn’t mean – at all – that these are the rates being earned by freelance translators working for these agencies.

-there is an enormous difference in the language pairs providing work to translators – even if you’re just talking about work in a “Western” country. It’s almost as if some of us are not even playing in the same ballpark as our experiences are so vastly different. Japanese to English, as I understand it, is one of if not the highest paid pairs, while Spanish to English, or vice-versa, is one of if not the lowest paid translation pairs. I was mildly shocked recently when I explored the “market” for ES>EN rates offered by agencies in South America, specifically when these agencies were based in countries that probably have relatively high per capita incomes (say, relative to Asia). I got an “offer” for well below 2 US cents a word, and they wanted a test to qualify for the possibility of work. I started a thread on this, and someone working for a long time in Latin America said this rate is very common and would have many “takers” in these countries.

In the US, there is what I’d call a “de-professionalization" of ES>EN & EN>ES translators & interpreters. In states with high Latino populations, there are ES>EN & EN>ES interpreting companies that have offices that are run like call centers: very bad wages (i.e. minimum wage or only slightly higher) + dismal working conditions.

-As for the universities everywhere churning out thousands of students armed with translation diplomas, this is not unique to the profession. I think it reflects the fact that there are simply not enough “professional” career-like jobs for the increasing numbers of college-graduates in many Western countries. This has resulted in universities/colleges now being run like vast industries, raking in profits, coming up with increasing programs/certificates/degrees to offer to people hoping to find a career or even a half-way decent paying job. Regarding the translation field, I totally agree with the views of Aliseo & Matthias.

Matthias writes: “the latter [universities] aren´t interested in reducing their capacities, because of the profitable career possibilities those study programmes offer for lecturers and course leaders, a whole industry on its own.”


[Edited at 2019-01-26 16:00 GMT]
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Jorge Payan
 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Чехия
Local time: 16:53
английский => русский
+ ...
High rates only get higher, low ones may be getting lower Jan 26

In my personal experience, the top segment of the translation market is quite healthy and the prices are growing, albeit slowly. On the other hand, the bottom is falling out of the cheapest market segment because of free MT performing no worse than amateurs trying to make a penny. To me it looks like an incentive to improve one's translation skills and to acquire specializations that are in high demand.

Colleen Roach, PhD
P.L.F.Persio
Tina Vonhof
Thayenga
Carolina Finley
Dan Lucas
Tom in London
 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 10:53
Член ProZ.com c 2005
английский => китайский
+ ...
It depends on which country we are talking about Jan 26

Aliseo Japan wrote:

In my opinion, the real problem is in the steadily increasing number of freelance translators who everyday put themselves on the market at lower and lower rates, not least because of the exaggerated number of language/translation universities which every year churn out an army of dreamers. It's the high number of competing translators that has driven translation rates down steadily, I think.

[Edited at 2019-01-26 05:44 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-01-26 05:45 GMT]


I think if the number of language/translation universities is exaggerated or not should be examined in a country-specific way. In a country like USA, I don't think there are enough educational programs that train people to become translators.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 10:53
Член ProZ.com c 2005
английский => китайский
+ ...
No title Jan 26

Aliseo Japan wrote:

In my opinion, the real problem is in the steadily increasing number of freelance translators who everyday put themselves on the market at lower and lower rates, not least because of the exaggerated number of language/translation universities which every year churn out an army of dreamers. It's the high number of competing translators that has driven translation rates down steadily, I think.

[Edited at 2019-01-26 05:44 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-01-26 05:45 GMT]


The graduates of language/translation universities may not necessarily become freelance translators. 1) They have a variety of job settings to choose from. Some of them may find for themselves other careers in which they can use their language ability. For example, a lot of graduates of language/translation universities in China would find in-house jobs in companies in the foreign trade business or government agencies. 2) Some of these graduates may not necessarily be quality translators. In fact, some of them would never make it to become translators that can provide translation of acceptable quality.

The point here is that "the exaggerated number of language/translation universities which every year churn out an army of dreamers" might not be a factor that has contributed significantly to the trend of lowering rates.

[Edited at 2019-01-26 17:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-01-26 17:28 GMT]


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 10:53
Член ProZ.com c 2005
английский => китайский
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More on this issue Jan 26

Aliseo Japan wrote:

In my opinion, the real problem is in the steadily increasing number of freelance translators who everyday put themselves on the market at lower and lower rates, not least because of the exaggerated number of language/translation universities which every year churn out an army of dreamers.

[Edited at 2019-01-26 05:44 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-01-26 05:45 GMT]


Some language pairs for which no educational programs exist in any college are also seeing the trend of lowering rates.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 10:53
Член ProZ.com c 2005
английский => китайский
+ ...
My observation Jan 26

In a cohort of college graduates in a major related to translation, some would choose to become freelance translators because they know they can earn a decent living by translating, and they may have incomes that are a couple of times more than their peers. These people tend to be the ones at the right end of the bell-shaped curve (or the excellent few). It is also the case that some freelance translators have chosen translation as their career simply because they cannot find any other job. ... See more
In a cohort of college graduates in a major related to translation, some would choose to become freelance translators because they know they can earn a decent living by translating, and they may have incomes that are a couple of times more than their peers. These people tend to be the ones at the right end of the bell-shaped curve (or the excellent few). It is also the case that some freelance translators have chosen translation as their career simply because they cannot find any other job.

I'm only talking about things in China. This is the impression I got from my interactions with freelance translators in China, which might be very true or blatantly false, and I have no statistical data to support the point.

[Edited at 2019-01-26 19:42 GMT]
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Liviu-Lee Roth
США
Local time: 10:53
румынский => английский
+ ...
correct Jan 27

Colleen Roach, PhD wrote:

I’ll weigh in with some points here. Excuse me for being a bit US-centric.

- “America’s Translation Rate Holds Firm at USD 0.22,” was published last December https://slator.com/industry-news/americas-translation-rate-holds-firm-at-usd-0-22/

-the title of the report is totally misleading. It provides data indicating that the “Big Three” (all US based translation agencies) in terms of “proposals” (i.e. bids) to the U.S. federal government for translation jobs charge rates of .22, .25 and .26 cents per word (rounded off). Of course, this doesn’t mean – at all – that these are the rates being earned by freelance translators working for these agencies.

-there is an enormous difference in the language pairs providing work to translators –





[Edited at 2019-01-26 16:00 GMT]



Correct assessment.
I happen to work with all three „Big” and they charge .28/word for our work (meaning translation and review) and pay us .20/wd (which I consider fair) with a constant high volume of work for the US government.

So far, I did not notice any drop in rates for my language pair, or, maybe I disregarded the low offers.


 

Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:53
Член ProZ.com c 2006
испанский => голландский
+ ...
Two out of three Jan 27

Liviu-Lee Roth wrote:

Colleen Roach, PhD wrote:

I’ll weigh in with some points here. Excuse me for being a bit US-centric.

- “America’s Translation Rate Holds Firm at USD 0.22,” was published last December https://slator.com/industry-news/americas-translation-rate-holds-firm-at-usd-0-22/

-the title of the report is totally misleading. It provides data indicating that the “Big Three” (all US based translation agencies) in terms of “proposals” (i.e. bids) to the U.S. federal government for translation jobs charge rates of .22, .25 and .26 cents per word (rounded off). Of course, this doesn’t mean – at all – that these are the rates being earned by freelance translators working for these agencies.

-there is an enormous difference in the language pairs providing work to translators –





[Edited at 2019-01-26 16:00 GMT]



Correct assessment.
I happen to work with all three „Big” and they charge .28/word for our work (meaning translation and review) and pay us .20/wd (which I consider fair) with a constant high volume of work for the US government.

So far, I did not notice any drop in rates for my language pair, or, maybe I disregarded the low offers.


I work/worked for 2 of them (Europe based), and they are lousy payers.


 

Colleen Roach, PhD  Identity Verified
США
Local time: 07:53
Член ProZ.com c Mar 2019
французский => английский
+ ...
Big 3 experiences: the language pair? Jan 27

Robert wrote:

I work/worked for 2 of them (Europe based), and they are lousy payers.

Two out of three 07:41

Liviu-Lee Roth wrote:

Colleen Roach, PhD wrote:

I’ll weigh in with some points here. Excuse me for being a bit US-centric.

- “America’s Translation Rate Holds Firm at USD 0.22,” was published last December See more
Robert wrote:

I work/worked for 2 of them (Europe based), and they are lousy payers.

Two out of three 07:41

Liviu-Lee Roth wrote:

Colleen Roach, PhD wrote:

I’ll weigh in with some points here. Excuse me for being a bit US-centric.

- “America’s Translation Rate Holds Firm at USD 0.22,” was published last December https://slator.com/industry-news/americas-translation-rate-holds-firm-at-usd-0-22/

-the title of the report is totally misleading. It provides data indicating that the “Big Three” (all US based translation agencies) in terms of “proposals” (i.e. bids) to the U.S. federal government for translation jobs charge rates of .22, .25 and .26 cents per word (rounded off). Of course, this doesn’t mean – at all – that these are the rates being earned by freelance translators working for these agencies.

-there is an enormous difference in the language pairs providing work to translators



Correct assessment.
I happen to work with all three „Big” and they charge .28/word for our work (meaning translation and review) and pay us .20/wd (which I consider fair) with a constant high volume of work for the US government.

So far, I did not notice any drop in rates for my language pair, or, maybe I disregarded the low offers.


I work/worked for 2 of them (Europe based), and they are lousy payers.

Agree

Me: Robert, maybe it's the language pair? Fewer translators with Romanian to English?
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Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Великобритания
шведский => английский
+ ...
Big 3 Jan 27

Colleen Roach wrote:
maybe it's the language pair? Fewer translators with Romanian to English?

Logically, the smaller the language, the fewer the translators but also the fewer the translations, so it should balance out.

One of the big 3 pays me 17 cents a word for translation only. Language pairs do differ, but this is 50 per cent more than what they normally pay. My take on it is that when they really need quality, they are willing to pay for it.

Isn’t that how free markets are supposed to work?


Josephine Cassar
Colleen Roach, PhD
Liviu-Lee Roth
Gareth Callagy
Michele Fauble
 

Sorana_M.
Румыния
Local time: 17:53
английский => румынский
Rate for proofreading Jan 27

I was offered 0.01 USD/word for a proofreading job, English to Romanian.

I declined the job.


Morano El-Kholy
Julie Barber
 

Sorana_M.
Румыния
Local time: 17:53
английский => румынский
And one from V... Jan 27

And this is what I received from an agency which used to be - and possibly still is - active here, on proz.

Please let me know if you are available to review 1800 general Turkish word. You will only review the Turkish text.
Rate is .01 USD/word.


I told them to delete my profile from their database.


Matthias Brombach
Axel Dittmer
Morano El-Kholy
 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:53
немецкий => английский
+ ...
Who sets the rates? Jan 28

Friedrich Reinold wrote:

Despite the fact that everything around you gets more expensive, translation agencies have started a trend to REDUCE translation rates and to even force their existing pool of linguists to accept reduction percentages from a certain PO amount or annual overall total.

  • What is your experience with this?
  • What are your views about this?
  • How do you respond to this?

  • It would be interesting to see whether this is typical in certain regions/countries and/or language combinations or a general trend. I, for my part, have noticed this trend particularly in English to German for European agencies.

    Since translation agencies are customer, and customers don't determine how much they will be paying for a product, they cannot set rates, therefore this is an impossibility. Of course they can always try to get us to reduce our rates (they cannot reduce our rates), and some translators may fall for it. But they cannot actually reduce the rates that after all, we charge them.


    Katalin Szilárd
    Jennifer Forbes
    Gareth Callagy
    Ricki Farn
    Chris S
     
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