Translator Rate Squeeze
The profession of translator is thousands of years old and has been around almost as long as written language exists.
In history, translators have been highly regarded and held high-ranking positions as civil servants. During the middle ages in Europe, clerics and monks often fulfilled translation tasks amongst which Martin Luther who translated the Bible.
Given the history of being among the most important intellectuals - how are translators doing today?
Well, in the past decades there has been increasing pressure on the rates of translators. Some reasons are the increased localization maturity of customers, increased automation of processes and a lot of pressure from customers to reduce prices. Tools like CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) and machine translation are playing their role by re-using or pre-populating translation.
Consolidation and concentration of LSP (Language Service Provider = Translation Agency) has been accelerating in the past years. This is fueled by increasing requirements on process automation and IT integrations, which most small and medium sized agencies cannot handle on large scale. In the evolving LSP / translation agency market there is growing pressure on increasing margins and profitability.
Given price pressure from the customer side, the only ways to increase margin are:
· Improve / automate processes.
· Decrease supplier cost – i.e. decrease rates of translators.
· Cheat – (see our article on this topic here).
For translators it is increasingly difficult to earn decent rates and maintain good working conditions. The main challenge is to find customers and projects without agency proxy due to increased technological requirements, complex file formats and limited to non-existent sales & marketing reach. With an agency proxy however, it is difficult to differentiate from the competition and even getting a chance in the first place.
I have been very fortunate to meet so many professionals who are passionate about their work and who are generally great people.
A big reason why we founded Lyngual was to give these passionate people a platform to showcase their expertise and personality as well as provide them access to projects and customers without agency proxy.
One of the concerns we had when we started and one that has been brought up by our community is that Lyngual would contribute to the price squeeze.
We were very happy and amazed by the fact that for our customers the translator profile is much more important than price. In fact, not one project has been awarded to the cheapest offer!
We aim to provide added value to both customers and translators and reshape the translation industry into a fair and transparent future.