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I'm worried: There is so little work in English - German, the collections are often tiny and out of context. Is there a pattern here or will it be temporary?

7 comments

  • 10
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    johann.huck

    I'm noticing the same thing. And at the same time, the weekly rundowns show 100,000+ words and 1,000+ available jobs in our language pair. I've been doubting these numbers for a long time ... There used to be times long, long in the past before the Lionbridge acquisition when Gengo could actually provide a constant flow of jobs over the course of a day, from morning to midnight.

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    Katrina Paterson

    Hi Heike and JJH, thanks for your comments, and I do apologise for taking such a long time to respond to them. 

    First of all, I do very much appreciate your concerns, and indeed when we read through the responses from the recent Lionbridge Bi-Annual Community Pulse Survey, 'workload' was the single most common cause for criticism, so I do not wish, by any means, to downplay anyone's concerns about work.

    From what I can see from our side, it seems that the number of units ordered in English to German has remained reasonably steady over the course of this year, but 'units ordered' is, of course, only one part of the story since there are a lot of other factors that can have an impact on the number of jobs that any one translator might see becoming available on their dashboard. Others include the time of the day and also the activity of other translators, plus the number of units that each job contains (since a larger number of small jobs may give the impression of there being greater dashboard activity than a smaller number of large jobs). In addition to this, some customers used preferred translators, which means that non-preferred translators will not be aware of jobs from that customer appearing. 

    As for whether or not patterns that translators are reporting are likely to be temporary or for longer periods of time - unfortunately, we really can't say, since both customer orders and translator activity can be difficult to predict. All we can really recommend are tips that Gengo old hands will be aware of already, like having an RSS feed reader that refreshes frequently.

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    Katrina Paterson

    Hi Heike, I’m sorry if I misunderstood what you were saying the previous time. 

    Honestly, I do very much understand your concern about the amount of work available on the platform. Unfortunately, as evasive as this may sound, we really can’t say what any future scenario will be like because so much of our work depends on the activity of customers - the number of customers, the type and number of translations that they order, and so on. And it can be difficult to say with any certainty what might happen in this sense because customer behaviour can be unpredictable and it’s not necessarily something that we have complete control over. This same logic applies to the nature of the translations that appear on the platform, in the sense that if small collections are what customers are ordering, then that’s what will become available, and so on. 

    As for the Lionbridge acquisition - by and large this isn’t something that should have an impact on the running of the Gengo platform, or the amount of work available on it. We would be more likely to attribute any dips in particular language pairs to wider external factors, not least the coronavirus crisis, which sadly continues to exert a direct and indirect influence over so many aspects of our lives. We do hope that the overall outlook for the future will be better, but we also don’t want to promise anything.

    I realise that this probably sounds like a bit of a non-answer, so I apologise for not being able to give more precise insights, but I hope that everything I said helps to explain the overall picture, even though, as I say, there are a lot of uncertainties. As a side note from me personally, I'd always say that it's worth keeping an eye out for any side other opportunities that might come your way, since freelancing is all about being adaptable, and I think that's one of the natural strengths of translators.

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    Heike S.

    Hi Katrina,

    Thank you for your response. I was actually looking at the weekly number of collections in my language pair that I get notified of via email each week, and not so much at the number of collections I'm seeing. The statistics emails also include collections for which I'm not one of the preferred translators. It's been around 1000 collections during the last weeks, sometimes almost as low as 900, this week approx. 1200, which is still not a lot for my language pair. Some of the collections I'm seeing are very small, but I can see that it is actually one large collection split up in tiny parts. So around 1000 collections, but a lot of them tiny - I'm a little worried that the work might be declining in the long run. I was wondering if this is one of the long-term implications of the acquisition of Gengo by Lionbridge.

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    Heike S.

    Thank you, Katrina!

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    gunnarbu

    If I may add to Katrinas answer, the natural unpredictability of massive crowdsourced online translation services is not only due to customer activity, but also due to translator activity. One week maybe most of the English-German translators are very alert and keen to pick up all jobs coming their way, and the next week they may not be so keen or are tied up with other commitments (or have gone on vacation ...) - also this is something Gengo has no control over.

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    Heike S.

    Hi Gunnar, definitely! It also depends on when I have time to take on collections. But you know the emails we all receive when there are collections that have not yet been picked up. They always state the number of collections in the last week in the language pair. That number has been relatively low in my pair for quite some time now, and that number does not depend on how quickly jobs are picked up or how many jobs I can see. So I was a little worried. True, freelancing is about being adaptable, as Katrina said, but I have a daytime job and picking up crowdsourcing jobs from Gengo best suits my needs. I'm not complaining, just wondering, but I guess we will see what happens in the future.

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