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Member Pulse Survey Results Q1 2008 by Laura Brandon, GALA
Laura Brandon, GALA
Our new quarterly surveys are designed to serve multiple purposes in line with GALA’s goals as an association – to build resources for members and to gather interesting data and content for our website and external communications efforts. The surveys include simple questions to gather facts and figures as well as broader questions about current events and trends impacting member business. This quarter’s survey focused on the current economic climate as well as details on language services (such as numbers of language pairs served, trends in language pairings, scale of operation and trends in industries served).
The results showed that the GALA membership represents an experienced and widespread body of companies. Over 60 percent of the companies that responded have been in business for over 10 years and operate in an average of three offices (including headquarters). The findings also supported our increase in European regional events. The majority of our member companies are headquartered in Europe and the majority identified Europe as the location for the bulk of their customers (with this part of their customer base having grown in the past six months for 70 percent of respondents).
Not surprisingly, at least half of the companies indicated that the economic downturn in the US has impacted their projects and budgets, and almost that many have had to increase prices. However, close to 40 percent indicated that their customer distribution in North America has not changed in the past six months, and overall, responses regarding customer distribution and project work indicates that business is still good.
Of the participants, 99 companies responded to questions regarding language services. More than half of them accommodate at least 10 language pairs on a regular basis. More than two-thirds indicated that they have increased the number of language pairs that they handle in the past two years. Likewise, 42 percent have accommodated a new language pair never handled by their company before in just the past three months. For fun, and to see what interesting stories we might uncover for our media efforts, we asked members to share which unusual language pairs their companies have accommodated. From the responses, it seems that GALA members (collectively) have done it all! Responses ranged from Italian>Uzbek to translating “handwritten notes in a dialect of Persian so specific that it was said it could be traced to a tent in the Iraqi desert.” OK, so these anecdotes may not give us insight into our industry’s business across the board, but surely they must resonate with many readers who started in this business due to a passion for linguistics or a curiosity about other locales.
When asked, “To whom do you assign MOST of your translation projects?” the majority (55 percent) indicated freelancers followed by translators on the company premises (20 percent). As one respondent noted, “We're determined to use only freelance translators for lower costs and greater flexibility. The barrier is training and recruitment as well as being able to do DTP/engineering on more languages in-house. Over time, market pressures on price combined with more reliable and better trained freelancers make this the way to go.” There was a split response to whether supplier size matters to our members’ clients accompanied by a series of interesting comments regarding customer decisions on this matter.
Thank you to all those who responded. Look for our next survey in the coming months!
GALA members may download the complete survey data at this link.
Laura Brandon is the Association Development Manager for GALA.