An interesting highlight from a panel leading translation companies. While this website is written primarily for translation customers, not industry insiders, there’s an interesting discussion underway among the CEOs of leading translation service providers.
Several agree that finding qualified translators is one of their biggest challenges. The basic problem can be summarized as follows:
Expert translators have skills that take years to develop. They are not interested in working for bad pay (low per word rates), unpredictable pay (as jobs come in), or working on boring content. Much of the work that flows through translation agencies falls into these categories.
This is an issue I have seen as well, especially with discount translation services. They simply can’t pay translators more than a few pennies per word (minimum wage in most places). If you’re a skilled translator, why work for a middleman who’s taking 50-75% of the income, when new tools enable translators to work directly for clients? I think this is the real issue translation providers need to confront, when the Internet and new project and translation management tools enable customers to build their own translation teams, while selectively hiring outsourced firms.