The low-paying translation market: who’s to blame and what’s the solution?

Thoughts On Translation

If you really want to get a translator’s blood pumping, bring up the low-rate translation market: high-volume projects at really low rates on very tight deadlines, often for large/huge agencies. Some translators feel that the low-rate market provides a legitimate entry point into the industry, while others feel that it’s exploitative and unfair. So, let’s dig in here: what’s up with the low-rate market and what’s the solution?

First, this issue is by no means specific to our industry. Browse the web and you’ll find posts on how massage therapists feel about Massage Envy, how tax preparers feel about H&R Block and how freelance writers feel about content mills. These stories have a lot in common with the low-rate translation market: a tough way to make a living, but a foot in the door of a desirable industry.

In my family, we have a tongue-in-cheek motto: “First, assess…

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