Translation speed level: Ludicrous
The translation marketplace today is filled with clients, who believe they can get everything for nothing. They expect to get a high number of words but in a short period of time. That is okay, that is the way it’s supposed to be in a free market. But there’s no end to it. I once received a 10,000 word document from a “potential” client, that the client wanted back in 2 hours! On top of that, it was in the law domain – I’m in the technical domain. Come to think of it, it might even have been with the two languages in the pair switched around! I do English to Danish, since Danish is my native language. The client wanted me to write the thing in English, which would lower the quality and add even more time spent on the job. And, on top of that, this is something I’ve seen several times, coming from different “potential” clients. Sometimes it’s even possible to follow the journey of a job around in the marketplace, as different translators keeps rejecting it as completely unrealistic.
I guess it starts out as one agency promises a high end client something, that they will never be able to fulfill, and then the game starts where they have to find someone new, who will make a new promise, and so on. But who’s going to do the job??
If you have been in this business for, let’s say 20 or 30 years, you can smell these crappy jobs from miles and miles away. You don’t even call them jobs, perhaps noise, and your noise filter is pretty well developed.
I’ve found that it’s very important to surround yourself with translators who have experience, and that’s what I’ve been able to do via ProZ.com. Even the clients here know, when the jobs are unrealistic. Or, at least they know they’ll get crap back from a job that is pressed into a crappy frame. And they can’t afford that.
I like to think of it as a high end job board. And I like to make high end translations.
Of course it okay to make a translation in a hurry if it’s good enough, but if it gets so bad, that it can’t be used, then what’s the point?
I like my translation business to be sustainable. I don’t want to work 20 hours a day every day, making crap because there’s still not enough time, and be paid to little and not be able to cover even my most basic expenses.
At ProZ.com most of the translators have a sustainable business and it’s a great place to share knowledge, via the forum, or by watching what others do, or reading their profiles.
I use the invoice system too, which is a great way to get started. The system keeps track of contacts, payment dates, what you have sent to who, and more.
Clients are approaching me with realistic jobs, because I have a profile on ProZ.com, and that takes a lot work off of my table, since it basically works as an automatic marketing machine – and that is a very cool thing to have 😉