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The Transformation
of a Hidden Industry:
Freelance Translators
and the Social Web
Marie-Luise Groß
Center for Translation ...
Translator Studies?
•

New interdisciplinary sub-field of Translation Studies

•

Focussing on translators, not translatio...
Are Translators
Entrepreneurs?
•

80% work freelance

•

Members of the “Freie Berufe” (liberal professions):
highly-quali...
Starting up
as a Translator
3. Running Business
•
•
•

Tasks: Become trusted advisor of clients, build professional networ...
Promoting Factors
•

Social capital from private and professional relations

•

Mutual support among professional translat...
Hindering Factors
•

Lack of knowledge about starting a business

•

“Freelancing is not a real job...“

•

Lack of inform...
What about...

Internet-enabled
Entrepreneurship?
Participants of my study reported negative effects:
•

Agencies dominate...
Future Research
Research Questions:
•

Why do “nascent professional translators“ turn to either
professional associations ...
Thank you for your attention :-).
Questions?
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The transformation of a hidden industry: freelance translators and the social web

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Veröffentlicht in: Business, Technologie
  • These are very interesting times we are living in. I am sending this to myself - on my wall. Of course you can read it, if you like.
    It is unlikely to mean much to anyone is is not a translator.
    Yes, sometimes I do divide my world between those who translate for a living and those who do not. :)
       Antworten 
    Sind Sie sicher, dass Sie …  Ja  Nein
    Ihre Nachricht erscheint hier

The transformation of a hidden industry: freelance translators and the social web

  1. 1. The Transformation of a Hidden Industry: Freelance Translators and the Social Web Marie-Luise Groß Center for Translation Studies, University of Vienna
  2. 2. Translator Studies? • New interdisciplinary sub-field of Translation Studies • Focussing on translators, not translations • Name coined by Andrew Chesterman (2009) • Still few researchers, but growing steadily Translator Studies Cultural ideologies, ethics, history Cognitive mental processes, emotions, attitudes Sociological networks, institutions, status, workplace processes My previous research: The impact of the Social Web on freelance translators‘ social networks (Methods: Qualitative SNA, workplace observation, interviews)
  3. 3. Are Translators Entrepreneurs? • 80% work freelance • Members of the “Freie Berufe” (liberal professions): highly-qualified, creative individuals with strong professional ethics and social norms • Flexible and hard-working, risk-taking, accountable (Howorth/Tempest/Coupland 2005) • Alert to opportunities (Kirzner 1979) • Found a business (Gartner 1989) „rather than search ing for one generalis able definition of the entr epreneur [researche rs] should focus on a re levant aspect of wh at entrepreneurs do.“ (Howorth/Tempest/ Coupland 2005, p .38)
  4. 4. Starting up as a Translator 3. Running Business • • • Tasks: Become trusted advisor of clients, build professional network Resources: Emotional and practical support, production networks Key stakeholders: Other translators, translation agencies, clients, professional associations 2. Firm Birth • Tasks: Create legal identity, find clients and suppliers • Resources: Emotional and practical support, experience • Key stakeholders: Experienced translators, translation agencies, clients, professional associations 1. Nascent Entrepreneur • Tasks: Write business plan, decide on portfolio • Resources: Emotional support, information • Key stakeholders: Family, friends, former co-students and experienced translators. 0. Graduation
  5. 5. Promoting Factors • Social capital from private and professional relations • Mutual support among professional translators, both emotional and practical • Experienced translators, supporting newcomers with advice and work • Professional associations, providing networking opportunities, education and support • (Regular) clients, appreciating translators‘ work – which allows sense-making and increases job satisfaction
  6. 6. Hindering Factors • Lack of knowledge about starting a business • “Freelancing is not a real job...“ • Lack of information about the market and the profession • Low self-esteem, stereotypes and urban legends of bad income situation and robot-replacement in the near future • Insecurity about prerequisites and qualifications needed • Newcomers cannot assess the value of their work • Language Services Providers foster price competition among translators, leading to increased price deterioration
  7. 7. What about... Internet-enabled Entrepreneurship? Participants of my study reported negative effects: • Agencies dominate online marketplaces • Artificially enforced price competition • Unexperienced translators and laymen work at very low rates, which leads to Akerlofs “market for lemons“ • Nascent translators turn to online-marketplaces, because of a perceived lower market threshold • Traditional apprenticeship is inhibited. • The translation practice, which is based on strong honor codices and unwritten rules, might fall apart. • No internet-based business models
  8. 8. Future Research Research Questions: • Why do “nascent professional translators“ turn to either professional associations and personal relationships or to online-communities and marketplaces? • How does this choice affect their start into the industry? • How does this choice effect social norms and business ethics of the translation practice? Mixed-method Research Design: • Story-telling • Social Network Analysis methods “E-lancer“? “Entrepreneur 2.0“?
  9. 9. Thank you for your attention :-). Questions?

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