Tag Archives: Post-Soviet states

Market of translation services, or clients to avoid.

17 Apr

What is the market of translation services? A lot of people believe that this is a solid, easy to recognise number of people and clients. Many think that you can always count people who want to buy this service at any given time, as well as people who can provide this service.

Sometimes scientists simplify things in order to prove a theory. When they want to measure speed at which a car is moving, they usually assume that the car is a dot moving along a trajectory. This helps them calculate speed, distance travelled, etc.

If we want to speak about translation market we sometimes have to assume that this is a solid number of people on both sides. But today I don’t want to simplify this situation. Let’s have a full picture of what is going on in the industry. People who want to see a complete picture have to tackle this issue.

First of all, there are at least three clusters of translation markets. The first one includes so-called affluent countries – the US, the UK, Sweden, Australia, etc. Companies and clients here can and are generally willing to pay decent rates to translators.I will not tell you a great secret that all contractors want to work with clients from these countries.

The second cluster includes countries which are less affluent – countries of Eastern Europe, Latin America, some Arab countries. Clients from these countries usually pay normal rates. Still some problems may occur – delayed payments, bank fees not paid by a client, etc.

The third cluster of countries includes such countries as India and China, Russia, Ukraine, ex-USSR countries. Much to my regret, clients from these countries pay flow rates, ask for too much in return, plus their project managers are less professional (in case we speak about agencies) than project managers from countries of the two above clusters.

Naturally enough, it is sometimes a nightmare to collaborate with agencies and (rarely) direct client’s from this third cluster of countries. If you want to reduce your percentage of non-payments, I would strongly recommend you to stay away from agencies in these countries. Direct clients have to be examined thoroughly before accepting any project.

Please do not understand me incorrectly: I am from one of these countries (Ukraine). That’s exactly why I can speak about this issue with confidence. I know this style of doing business from inside. I would also recommend you to thoroughly select agencies from these countries. Sometimes you just have to hire someone from a country you want to penetrate with your business products or services. You just can`t find right companies in your area. Then hire a freelancer!

As years go by, translators develop this sense of selection. We just know that this client is bad/good one. We can instantly tell you who will pay and who won`t.

I’m sure that there are a lot of agencies in India and China which treat their vendors accordingly. It may be that I just haven’t met them yet.

Have a nice day!