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Shock Survey: Translators Prefer to Get Paid
January 2, 2013 - By: - In: Translation - Comments Off on Shock Survey: Translators Prefer to Get Paid

The translation industry ecosystem is bright with the silvery flash of vast shoals of independent contract linguists. They are the glittering backbone of the industry and  the bottom of the translation food chain.

Common Sense Advisory, a self-described  translation market research company, recently took a look over the side of the boat to see what these translation industry small fry were swimming up against. Since I’ve only seen the press release, the survey comes across more like a Playboy playmate interview – turn-ons, turn-offs, that kind of stuff – than anything particularly content-heavy. Just my style.  Here goes…

Translator Turn-offs:

Cheapskate translation companies penny-pinching on the translator’s dime. There’s even a website about this called No Peanuts! for Translators. Translators don’t like to work cheap, either. Imagine that.

Even worse are the translation companies that don’t pay their bills at all. Translators are not the only ones with elephant-like memories of those who do not pay. In the course of my own career, I’ve been cheated out of about $400K total, and  I can name every joker in that hall of shame lineup, starting with that son-of-a-bitch Andy Skapic conning me out of 30 bucks in Boy Scouts over that entrenching tool.

Chief research officer Nataly Kelly says, “Many translation companies go to great lengths to protect and promote their brand to their customers and prospects, but very few consider how important it is to develop good relationships with the hundreds of thousands of freelance translators actually performing the translation work. Translation agencies that wish to seek an advantage in the marketplace should pay more attention to what freelance translators are saying.”

Translators Turn-ons:

There were no turn-ons reported.

Translators and Translation Agencies :
– Freelancers receive approximately two-thirds of their income from translation agencies and about a third from direct clients.
– More than a third of translators have been victims of a translation agency failing to pay them for work completed.
– 40% of freelancers reported that they turn down jobs from a translation agency with a bad reputation. Gee, I wonder who they could be talking about?
– Over 80% of freelancers have turned down work because the compensation offered was too low. (Makes you wonder about those other 20%, doesn’t it?)

The report also dishes dirt on the reputations of my competitors, which is just the kind of business porn that really rocks my boat, but I didn’t want the CFO seeing it on the line item as it might raise certain questions about my predilections, if you know what I mean. Now.

Now at 1-800-Translate we’re not like our disreputable competitors. We are really nice to our vendors, or at least they think so, since according to the pros we were ranked pretty high. I think it’s because we overpay, or at least because we pay on time.

But you have to be careful about getting too friendly with all those freelancers. As remote workers, they’ll keep you on the phone for hours out of sheer flat-screen loneliness. Invite them over to your house and your liquor cabinet will soon be empty, as I have learned from painful experience. But they are generally amusing drunks and I guess they deserve to be paid for the work they do.

So, freelancers, today on the first work day of the year 2013, on behalf of the industry I salute you.

Thank you for your participation.

PS The check is in the mail. xoxo

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