What do Argentine Translators Tell Us About Their Work?
Sometimes we make assumptions about the language industry in the region where we work. Surely we understand how the linguists and language companies we interact with locally think and what they value, right?
Well, earlier this year Rosario Traducciones y Servicios S.A. decided to gather data about the translation industry in Argentina via its first annual survey. The survey was conducted anonymously among 381 translators nationwide, and gave Rosario Traducciones y Servicios data to support perceptions about the market.
The questionnaire was broken down into different blocks. The first one contained demographic details, followed by specific questions about the local industry—which has grown stronger in recent years and has become an important center of export services in the country.
The main issues explored in the survey were translators' work, tools, and their employment relations.
A key output from the survey was to provide translation companies and end customers with detailed information about how translation work is distributed in the country in terms of the languages translated, themes and experiences of local professionals, as well as compare work practices in relation to translators' expectations. The results are an important source of information for training purposes and offer access to a fairly complete picture of the translation profession in Argentina.
Consider, does your team fully understand your local market? Would a similar survey be useful to conduct both for your own purposes and to share with clients entering the region?
Age range: The highest percentage is between 31 and 40 years (43.31%) and followed by 41 to 50, 21 to 30, 51 to 60 and finally 61 to 70.
The highest percentage of respondent translators were located in Buenos Aires (30.42%), followed by Cordoba (30.42%) and Rosario (20.63%). These are the three most important cities of the country, with an association of sworn translators and study programs, and the greatest degree of development in the provision of these services. There are also professional translators located in the rest of Argentina: in the South (Neuquén, Chubut, La Pampa and Río Negro), in the North (Salta, Formosa, Catamarca, Tucumán and Santiago del Estero), the Center of the country (San Juan, San Luis and Mendoza), the Northeast (Entre Ríos and Misiones) and the Northwest (La Rioja).
60% of respondents said that they have been working in the industry for more than 10 years, and 28.68% for over five years.
92% of Argentine translators works the language pairs English - Spanish. The rest is spread between Portuguese - Spanish, Italian - Spanish, French - Spanish and German - Spanish. This response also revealed that 20% work in more than one language pair. The least frequent language pairs include Russian - Spanish, Latin - Spanish and Spanish - Chinese.
The topics most frequently worked on by Argentine professionals include technology (54.60%), medicine (52.82%) and marketing (41.54%). These top three topics are followed by engineering (21.07%), literature (10.39%), tourism (22.26%), and tools (16.02%). Other topics, such as legal, finance and economy, human resources, education, social sciences, environment and audiovisual were also cited.
In terms of the volume of words, 42.8% of translators who answered the survey reportedly translate between 2000 and 2500 words a day and followed by 1500 to 2000 (22.04%), 500 to 1000 (20.43%) and 1000 to 1500 (15.05%).
In regard to editing turnaround, the highest response was for up to 3000 words a day (47.69%); between 3000 and 5000 (34.68%) and between 5000 and 8000 (17.63%).
Finally, in this segment, 38.79% responded that their work volume increased in the last three years and 49.08% expect this trend to continue over the next three years.
Tools of the Trade
Argentine translators responded that their most commonly used tools are: Trados Studio (89.68%), Wordfast (56.16%), Xbench (50.43%) and MemoQ (48.14%). When asked about which tools they prefer for their work, the following scale was established: Trados Studio (73.99%), Xbench (36.99%) and Wordfast (32.08%).
In regard to the query pertaining to training needs, some less frequently used tools were also cited, e.g., Catalyst (36.08%) and MateCat (24.05%). Other tools that obtained a high percentage include MemoQ (34.02%) and Wordfast (32.99%).
Over half (56.84%) of translators said that they provide services to companies and/or local translation agencies; 49.74% to end-customers at the local level; 48.16% to companies and/or translation agencies based abroad; and, finally, 22.63% work for foreign-based end-customers. It is clear that the majority of translators have a mixed client portfolio, which includes both clients in the local market and abroad.
When ranking the different factors that define employment relations, translators prioritize the possibility of accessing a good rate, and in second place, timely payment terms, followed by a good relationship with the project manager, long-term flow of work and feedback, respectively.
On the modality of employment, 93.12% are freelancers and 6.88% are salaried employees.
The most common payment methods cited were bank transfers at 88.53% and cash at 30.93%. They also receive payments through PayPal (29.07%) and by check (12.53%). Another payment method also used is Payoneer.
82.23% of the surveyed translators said it is reasonable to complete a test of up to 300 words, free of charge.
Finally, 57.89% responded that they are members of an association of sworn translators, while 42.11% said that they are not licensed.
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