Amazing as this sounds, I predicted this at a workshop mid last year, saying that the savvy companies will get rid of agencies and employ translators in-house, or go to freelancers directly. I had also warned that this will not be all rosy, as often the care of translation projects is given to the 22 year old early-school-leaver chick on the reception desk who is monolingual and often brainless.
Today, I got this interesting news in my mailbox, all the way from Canada:
"The current economic downturn has forced many companies to find cost-effective ways to translate their documents with fewer staff and smaller budgets. Firms that once paid for professional translation now rely on employees who speak foreign languages to translate documents, something that industry leaders say can end up costing firms if these in-house translations are not accurate. As a result, a leading translation company is responding with a new service designed to help firms guarantee the accuracy of these in-house translations.
"A mistake in translation can change the meaning of key documents and lead to misunderstandings, legal problems, or unexpected costs," said Marcel Vilanez, the founder and CEO of Technovate Translations, a leading translation agency. "That's why we want to create an affordable way for companies to make sure their in-house translations are accurate."
"We are unveiling a new service called 'Translation Quality Assurance Check'. This program will help companies by checking over translations done in-house to ensure accuracy and correctness," Vilanez said. "This program will allow companies to save and still get accurate translations."
Aha! So now good freelancers will be reduced to spell-checking for $25 a piece? And if you think that unlikely, you are mistaken. I already had one of my agents ring me and tell me how she had to reject a request for "100 pages of overseas translated text that the client wants looked at in maybe 2-3 hrs, and while you are doing that could we also localise it to the Australian market, and check if the translation is correct, and there are no typos or grammatical errors." Did they hear of someone, somewhere in the world, doing speed-reading and speed-checking? That's half a page per minute!!
We live in interesting times.