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No work - why?
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Apr 15

I would like to know why I have received very little work since the onset of Covid-19. I understand that the coronavirus pandemic has had an effect on the market, but still the 'What I am working on now' section shows reports people who are working on 5000, 7000 word projects and even one who is finishing a 20k project. Why do other people seem to get much more work? I would just like to understand.

Ronnie Hodges (X)
 

Lucas Chacana
Argentina
Local time: 18:51
English to Spanish
+ ...
I have two versions Apr 15

For those of us who work for translation companies and agencies, they have had to move home to telework and adjust their work there. Apparently, this takes some time and has delayed the work flow. Then I hear that this dry spell might be due to the Easter break from last week, but that the flow should be picking back up any time soon. A piece of advice from a colleague would be to try to generate new working relationships with companies unaffected or positively affected by the COVID19 crisis.

Yaotl Altan
Esther Dodo
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:51
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There are so many variables Apr 15

Paul Dixon wrote:
I would like to know why I have received very little work since the onset of Covid-19. I understand that the coronavirus pandemic has had an effect on the market, but still the 'What I am working on now' section shows reports people who are working on 5000, 7000 word projects and even one who is finishing a 20k project. Why do other people seem to get much more work?

The variables are practically limitless and just because a person posts something on WIWO doesn't mean they're flooded with work. I mean, if they're just finishing a 20k project, they could have been awarded it before lockdown and be headed for a very quiet time soon. To list just a few variables, I'd say work depends on:
- where the agency is situated (countries locked down at varying dates; some have never locked down; China is coming out of it...)
- where the end client is situated (in lockdown?)
- whether the end client is still able to generate texts and whether they still need texts translated (essential business area?)
- whether the client -- agency or direct -- is still solvent
- what type of texts you usually work on (will you get work actually related to COVID-19; will your particular expertise be required?)

Just to give a few personal examples:
- one client dealing in international events has literally closed for the duration, so no work expected from them for some time
- an agency went silent for nearly a fortnight before their client resumed regular deliveries of texts written by their now-home-based employees
- a direct client has taken advantage of the lull to rewrite their 10k website
- an agency has a client who wants to update and refine all their marketing so they're in a strong position when things restart
- several more have gone quiet but I don't know why or for how long.

I'm working at 30-50% of normal capacity -- not good but could be worse. Maybe your next job is about to arrive. Maybe it isn't.

Edited to add: Since Spain locked down on 14/3, I've worked with clients in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Ireland. That's a pretty normal "Europe and the rest of the world" distribution for me.


[Edited at 2020-04-15 16:39 GMT]


Yaotl Altan
Paul Malone
Gethin Sugar
Tea Komšić
Valérie Ourset
Katya Kesten
Mariana Borio
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Danish to English
+ ...
No 'standard' scenario Apr 15

The COVID-19 impact entirely depends on each supply chain we're part of.

In my own case, I have seen more activity than usual from the US, mostly in the home entertainment equipment industry, and less activity from Europe (I'm based in Europe). In April until now, 95% of my turnover has been from the US and the rest from Europe. Usually it's a little over half from the US. The combined turnover in April until now has been better than a usual month.

It's easy to imagine
... See more
The COVID-19 impact entirely depends on each supply chain we're part of.

In my own case, I have seen more activity than usual from the US, mostly in the home entertainment equipment industry, and less activity from Europe (I'm based in Europe). In April until now, 95% of my turnover has been from the US and the rest from Europe. Usually it's a little over half from the US. The combined turnover in April until now has been better than a usual month.

It's easy to imagine why the home entertainment industry may be firing on all cylinders right now.

On the other hand, March was a bit slow, but I was out of action in December and January after retinal detachment surgery and starting work again after a certain time out of the market always takes some time. It's impossible to determine what made March slow – two months' sick leave, COVID-19 or just arbitrary market fluctuations.
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Katya Kesten
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:51
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Paul Apr 15

Paul Dixon wrote:
I would like to know why I have received very little work since the onset of Covid-19.


How much work do you normally get?


Chris S
Ronnie Hodges (X)
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Paul Apr 15

I was expecting a big change during March because of the coronavirus but my work flow seemed unaffected, but then I delivered 1 long project (49,000 words) on the 2nd of April and since I had just a biggish project (5,000 words) for an occasional client and 4 smallish jobs (1,000 words in total) for my long-standing customer. The three first months of this year were quite good, but April is at 40% comparing to last year and I doubt very much this situation will change until the end of the month ... See more
I was expecting a big change during March because of the coronavirus but my work flow seemed unaffected, but then I delivered 1 long project (49,000 words) on the 2nd of April and since I had just a biggish project (5,000 words) for an occasional client and 4 smallish jobs (1,000 words in total) for my long-standing customer. The three first months of this year were quite good, but April is at 40% comparing to last year and I doubt very much this situation will change until the end of the month and May will probably be even worse. Why? As far as I know from past experiences translation is one of the first sectors to be hit hard every time a crisis happens.Collapse


Yaotl Altan
 

Nemanja Gagic
Serbia
Local time: 23:51
English to German
+ ...
Lockdown in the Balkan states Apr 15

I've talked to many fellow colleagues and translation agency owners in the Balkan states. The entire translation industry is heavily suffering at the moment, the workload of the agencies has gone down by 70-80 percent, translators suffer even more. On the other hand, all the agencies I'm in contact with expect a full recovery immediately after the return of the "normal state". Furthermore, the most conferences cancelled due to COVID-19 are expected to be held before autumn, thus simultaneous/con... See more
I've talked to many fellow colleagues and translation agency owners in the Balkan states. The entire translation industry is heavily suffering at the moment, the workload of the agencies has gone down by 70-80 percent, translators suffer even more. On the other hand, all the agencies I'm in contact with expect a full recovery immediately after the return of the "normal state". Furthermore, the most conferences cancelled due to COVID-19 are expected to be held before autumn, thus simultaneous/conference interpreters can expect a "hot summer".Collapse


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:51
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Construction Apr 15

A lot of my translation work related to the construction industry - and the construction industry has been shut down for a while. However I'm still getting work in other areas of my specialised field such as architecture and landscape design, and critical theory relating to them (academic papers and scholarly reviews).

So the volume of work you're getting probably depends on the sectors in which you specialise.



[Edited at 2020-04-15 17:12 GMT]


Myriam Moreno
Jane F
Elena Aclasto
Maria Pia Giuseppina Nuzzolese
Morano El-Kholy
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Jobs Apr 15

I did get a reasonable job before the lockdown but the client has put the work (book) on hold and is not sure when work will resume. Other than this it is mostly microjobs. There is a chance of a second job but this is also on hold because of the virus.
I wonder if the language pair has something to do with it. PortugueseEnglish has always been a saturated pair. This is because, as the profession is not yet regulated in Brazil, anyone with some knowledge of English (or another language) th
... See more
I did get a reasonable job before the lockdown but the client has put the work (book) on hold and is not sure when work will resume. Other than this it is mostly microjobs. There is a chance of a second job but this is also on hold because of the virus.
I wonder if the language pair has something to do with it. PortugueseEnglish has always been a saturated pair. This is because, as the profession is not yet regulated in Brazil, anyone with some knowledge of English (or another language) thinks they can have a shot at translation. This could get worse with the virus, as many hotel staff and airport staff (two professionals who normally speak good English) could see translation as an 'escape route'. I guess if I translated into Chinese or Russian there would be more work - but not for me, as I speak no Chinese at all and my Russian is just 'glasnost', 'sovietskiy soyuz' and 'perestroika'.
Thank you for the answers I have received so far, this was very much appreciated. It has certainly shed light on differences between markets and languages.
As a post-scriptum, I got a small job today only 1k but about medicine, hopefully there will be more Covid work, let's see how the cookie crumbles!
And: Stay safe! Bleib sicher! Rimanga sicuro! Restu sekura! Cadwch yn ddiogel! (Thank you Google for the translations into German, Italian, Esperanto and Welsh)
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ahartje
Portugal
Local time: 22:51
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Good example... Apr 16

...of a bad MT translation: in German "Bleib sicher" is the literally translation, but never used. It should say something like: Pass auf dich auf/Passen Sie auf sich auf.

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Birte Mirbach
 

Elena Aclasto  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:51
Member (2015)
English to Italian
+ ...
@Paul Apr 16

I agree with Tom, it all depends on what sector you work in. Working mainly with tourism my activity is pretty much stopped.

By the way, it's "rimani a casa" "stai al sicuro" Never trust Google translator...


Tom in London
 

Tea Komšić  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 23:51
Member (Feb 2020)
English to Croatian
+ ...
Language pair an other Apr 16

I think this depends on the language pair, which you also mentioned. I translate from English to Croatian, and there has been a tremendous fall in terms of the job amount I get. I have signed contracts with multiple agencies just before the COVID-19 outbreak, and after that all the agencies have also reported lack of jobs in my language pair. My regular clients do not send me any new work. But, we must be aware that we are not the only industry which is suffering at this moment. However, we work... See more
I think this depends on the language pair, which you also mentioned. I translate from English to Croatian, and there has been a tremendous fall in terms of the job amount I get. I have signed contracts with multiple agencies just before the COVID-19 outbreak, and after that all the agencies have also reported lack of jobs in my language pair. My regular clients do not send me any new work. But, we must be aware that we are not the only industry which is suffering at this moment. However, we work in this industry, and of course we care about the lack of jobs we all have. I do not know what life after COVID-19 will look like (this sounds like a sentence form an SF movie hahaha), I just hope that there will be a lot more texts that we will need to translate, since everything is so silent right now.Collapse


Sabrina Bruna
Emily Scott
Mariana Borio
 

Nathan Russell  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:51
Member (2017)
Spanish to English
Delayed translations Apr 16

To add to the excellent points made in this thread, my thinking is that there may have been a lot of proposed translations that will have been put on hold due to the crisis, or put off for budgetary reasons.

A lot of businesses will be worrying about their bottom lines at the moment and so translations might take a back seat in terms of their priorities.

If there are indeed translations that have been delayed or postponed then maybe some of us will be lucky enough to
... See more
To add to the excellent points made in this thread, my thinking is that there may have been a lot of proposed translations that will have been put on hold due to the crisis, or put off for budgetary reasons.

A lot of businesses will be worrying about their bottom lines at the moment and so translations might take a back seat in terms of their priorities.

If there are indeed translations that have been delayed or postponed then maybe some of us will be lucky enough to experience a surge of work later in the year. Maybe I'm wide of the mark in my thinking, but as always any time with little or no work is a great time to be working on your CV and CPD etc.
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Sabrina Bruna
Valérie Ourset
Emily Scott
Josephine Cassar
Mariana Borio
Tea Komšić
Angie Garbarino
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
What I'm doing in the period of ajobia Apr 16

In this period of ajobia, I have updated my CV and also plan to study a bit of Italian, a language that I studied for two years, as this would be an additional pair to work in (Grazie Elena, per aver fatto i commentari (?) sulle parole che ho ottenito (?) dal Google). Esperanto is also on my wish list, but not sure if it would bring many possibilities in terms of jobs.
I also plan to continue writing my book and start another.
(Ajobia = I word I invented for 'lack of jobs', from Gree
... See more
In this period of ajobia, I have updated my CV and also plan to study a bit of Italian, a language that I studied for two years, as this would be an additional pair to work in (Grazie Elena, per aver fatto i commentari (?) sulle parole che ho ottenito (?) dal Google). Esperanto is also on my wish list, but not sure if it would bring many possibilities in terms of jobs.
I also plan to continue writing my book and start another.
(Ajobia = I word I invented for 'lack of jobs', from Greek a- (not), job, and -ia suffix for conditions)
The job situation here in Brazil is very bad indeed as many states have declared a complete lockdown.
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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
so 1st lesson of Italian :) Apr 17

Paul Dixon wrote:

In this period of ajobia, I have updated my CV and also plan to study a bit of Italian, a language that I studied for two years, as this would be an additional pair to work in (Grazie Elena, per aver fatto i commentari (?) sulle parole che ho ottenito (?) dal Google). Esperanto is also on my wish list, but not sure if it would bring many possibilities in terms of jobs.
I also plan to continue writing my book and start another.
(Ajobia = I word I invented for 'lack of jobs', from Greek a- (not), job, and -ia suffix for conditions)
The job situation here in Brazil is very bad indeed as many states have declared a complete lockdown.


(Grazie Elena, per aver fatto i commentari (?) sulle parole che ho ottenito (?) dal Google) should be " Grazie Elena per aver commentato le parole che ho ottenuto da Google Never trust Google translate


Tom in London
Liviu-Lee Roth
Elena Aclasto
Ronnie Hodges (X)
 
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