Rolling back the race to the bottom in commercial translation
In a very interesting blog post, Kevin Lossner correctly addresses a very central aspect of the translation business today. He laments a downward spiral in quality - he calls it “a race to the bottom” - on many translation jobs portals and the less successful attempts at providing yet another of that kind to fix what’s wrong. We recommend you read his blog post, and give it some thought, as we have.
While we are painfully aware of the structural problems Kevin points out, and we share his position, our analysis paints a slightly more optimistic picture. We think a large share of the problem lies in fact with an ever growing and hardly distinguishable supply of freelancer portals, whether it is for translation or other services, and an increasing disconnect between the true needs and requirements of translators today, and what these portals promise to do and can actually accomplish. What is even more critical, is that the disconnect between that, and what their customers want and require is even larger! If you intend to localize text, be it a book, a website, or a software application, which portal do you turn to if your budget does not allow to hire a reputable agency? How do go about posting your offer? How to handle the feedback? What payment and invoicing process will be used, flexibly? Who will be interfacing with the translators? Who will verify their work?
Here is what we think can resolve a much-needed deficit: supply of translation expertise and demand in localization capacity need to be brought closer together, especially in the context of a rapidly growing mobile and apps market, and a more agile software development culture that we see today. At the same time, translators need to professionalize - and specialize, and be given the opportunity to build reputation and niche expertise. It is LingoHub’s mission to do something to improve this aspect. LingoHub integrates translation into the software development process, allowing on-demand localization on a platform that for the vendor ensures trust in verified high-quality translation work that actually scales, and for translators a platform that makes work a breeze, and has a marketplace functionality built in, so becoming a translator specializing in mobile apps localization for example, is as easy as signing up and starting to type.