Why you should give up on your translation career

It’s terribly easy giving up on a translation career – after all, it is too much trouble learning to take care of your schedule, and doing all those things. In some countries, it may even seem like a smart thing to do. I used to work in a nice translation company, where I made lots of friends. When I left, we kept in touch. Two of them gave up on translation – the first found a new love, she is now a Pharmacist; the other friend decided she deserved more than peanuts, and she is now a secretary.

They both work for large companies now. They enjoy a safe work environment, a steady pay check, benefits like health insurance and a retirement program. They earn more as they did when translating. When they leave the office, their work is done.

They also don’t have to compete with translation companies for direct clients. If the CEO of a translation company is a Pharmacist himself, and his college buddies now work for large Pharma companies, where is the fairness? How should we, ordinary human beings, compete with a CEO with influential friends? We never took Pharma classes as undergraduates, we only know people from Linguistics, Translation and Languages. The only thing to do is to leave the direct client idea for now, and look for other translation companies.

The problem with translation companies (more like agencies, to tell you the truth) is that they are the second or third outsourced provider in the translation project scale. Whenever there is outsourcing, prices are lower, since the first party wants to have some profit. So you, my translator friend, the last outsourced party in the scale, will end up with the last best price (offensive rate, if you prefer). But please don’t forget the leverage discount, my dear.

Another competition issue these friends don’t have to face is against unprofessional translators. You know, those people that spent 1 year abroad , and now they have the skills to translate. Since this is a hobby to them, not a profession, they charge the minimum rate they can think of, just for the sake of being selected. Most large translation companies in developing countries have the “best rate” policy, and they go with hobby translators, who don’t need to of this.

As you can see, it’s extremely easy giving up on a translation career. But this disease has a cure! I will discuss the cure in the next post.

See you soon!
  1. rex

    Nice post.I might say that giving up a career as a translator is a big NO.Translators nowadays plays a vital role in our community not only in our business.I can’t see machines taking over the jobs of human translators in the near future, as they have done with so many other professions (remember telephone operators?).And if you are running a business and trying to make the most out of the opportunities presnted by globalization, using professional translation services is the only way to go.

    5 years ago

  2. Michele Santiago

    I agree with you, machines won’t take our places any time soon, simply because languages are too dynamic for a machine to keep up and get all meanings and nuances. Thank you for your input, Rex!

    5 years ago

  3. Translating and Interpreting Services

    I think whatever you really want in this world; you will not get it easily. You have to work hard for it and this is a good field but if you are not satisfied with your work, it’s really hard to work in that environment.

    5 years ago

  4. Business Consultancy London

    Yes, nowadays outsourcing becomes a best deal for all kind of companies and not only for translation projects but we don’t want to give up our carriers, if we have enough strength then we can fight with all drawbacks, even we can work as outsourced employee.

    5 years ago


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