Thursday, December 3, 2015

Are New Budget Players Changing the Translation Industry?

I was doing some online research for my next blog piece the other day, when I noticed an interesting trend. I kept typing various 'keyword phrases' associated with the translation industry and the same Google ads kept appearing for a certain budget-end provider. This prompted me to scrap my old idea and write this. Is the translation services industry due for a shake-up and are budget-end providers going to do just that?

How the Market Looks Right Now 

Right now the marketplace is full of mid to high-end providers, and these companies largely cater to other companies (many of which I've reviewed on this website already). This is where the market's at. Individuals can pay these prices, but for personal projects $0.05 - $0.10 per word can be prohibitive, so most will turn to Google Translate and live with the inaccuracies. 

Emergence of Low Cost Options 

The low-end of the market is in need of some more reputable options. The company whose ads kept popping up the other day was Fiverr, and there are more out there too. 


Fiverr is a website where you can go to buy hundreds of different services for only $5. Sellers list every possible service under the sun, their services are reviewed by buyers to keep them honest, and the amount of people listing translation services are growing. Fiverr knows this and they are promoting it too. It's common to find sellers offering translation of 500 words for $5, this equates to $0.01 per word. 

Upwork (formerly ODesk) 

Upwork and Elance are more professional and better established versions of Fiverr. Contractors with portfolios, projects and reviews list their services for hire. Typically they list an hourly rate, however you can post a job and receive literally dozens of applicants and some will offer reduced rates to win the job and to build up their own profile. This is more expensive than Fiverr, but you can still find someone willing to translate 1000 words for $20 -$30 or $0.02 - $0.03 per word. 

Is This an Industry Shake up or a Ripple in the Pond? 

Nothing is going to change at the top. Companies will still use professional translation service providers and not Fiverr or Upwork. But this is definitely a victory for the little guy. Will it shake up the industry? Probably not, but if the popularity continues to grow it will no doubt get the attention of the big players and this could lead to a rethink on pricing industry-wide. 

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