Visit our company website at

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Localization Trends That Never Arrived: Translators will get smart and start working directly with end clients

Over the years there have been many exuberant predictions of change that would fundamentally alter the localization business. However, most of these dreams of the industry have never come to pass.

Trends that never arrived: Maybe not said, but suspected: Translators will get smart and start working directly with end clients and cut out the middleman

After all, programs like Trados passively provide each linguist’s contact email right in the TM. If one really believes project managers and engineers are only a cost to a project, then why not work cut them out and work directly with the linguist?

The reality is that translators do not seem to be able to deal with the incessant (and sometimes crazy) demands of end clients that often do not follow any reasonable demands one would make of a contractor. These clients tend to treat linguists as salaried workers who have sold their time to be on call for company improvement meetings and Skype calls.

Even worse are the big MLVs and their frazzled intern (“working for free”) project managers. The treatment these interns mete out to freelancers means they can use each linguist once and they will be lucky if the linguist does not disappear halfway through the project.

The idea that linguists could start working with end clients totally ignores the critical role project managers and engineers with localization-industry experience contribute to the ultimate success of projects. Project management is important in addressing the mid-project twists and turns that seem to be a part of every project of value.

It also takes a lot of work to train and nurture linguists. Over time, the working relationships and expertise developed, especially with regards to specialty subject matter, become an invaluable resource that cannot be replicated by a random freelancer trying to solve every problem of a contemptuous end client.