Industry-Related Issues Affecting Freelance Translators

freelance

As of last year, the language services market was worth approximately US$33.5 billion and is currently growing at a rate of 12% a year. It is a hugely diverse market that is able to continue growing in the face of economic recession.

Freelance translators play a vital role in this industry and form the largest single group of stakeholders. But because they are at the end of the supply chain and tend to work disconnected from each other, their concerns are rarely heard.

Common Sense Advisory, an independent market research company, aims to change this by publishing “Voices from the Freelance Translator

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Community,” a report detailing the issues freelance translators face.

The report, which surveyed 3,165 freelance translators worldwide found:

  • Freelancers receive approximately two-thirds of their income from translation agencies, and about a third from direct clients.
  • Freelancers struggle with payment issues; over 34.7% said they had not been paid by translation agencies for work completed.
  • 40.3% of freelancers had turned down jobs from a translation agency because other translators had warned them about the agency’s reputation.
  • 81% of surveyed freelancers said they had turned down work because the agency’s rates were too low.
  • 33.5% of freelancers do not regularly use computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools.
  • 64% of all those surveyed believe CAT tools are too expensive and should cost less than US$300.In order to be heard and help the language services market progress, Common Sense Advisory recommends freelance translators to: