I'm certain that everyone here has noticed the dramatic decrease in the number of jobs lately. I don't know how many legitimate competitors there are to Gengo's business model, but I suspect that, among other reasons, the advent of chatGPT and other accessible AI platforms has a good deal to do with it.
I recently took on a nicely dense job (would have been a good amount of pay), and after researching, checking and re-checking my work, submitted it. Nothing happened for 4 days, but on the 5th day, the customer sent it back with a Revision request, saying that it sounded unnatural and that it was unnecessarily complicated. I would beg to differ, but they weren't challenging the accuracy of the translation. They simply didn't like it, for lack of better terms. The customer went on to say that they had run my translation through an AI, and came back with what they decided was a better translation, more to their liking, and requested that I make it more like theirs (they provided a few examples, but not for the entire job).
After working for a few years in this business, I'd like to say that I've developed a sixth sense in detecting when a job starts to go bad, when a customer begins to feel combative, and that I'm sinking into a deep hole. In that sense, these Revision requests can be a lifeline, because I have the option to decline the job, rather than go down with a sinking ship. However, the downside is obviously that I forfeit my pay. I put in the requisite amount of work, checked and double-checked it, and even ran my translation and the source text through AI to see what results would come out, compared it to mine, and made revisions if I thought the AI came up with something better or a wording that I hadn't thought of.
Despite all that, I decided it was better to decline this job, because I could see the writing on the wall. This customer didn't need to trust that I would do a better, more nuanced translation than an AI. But based on their comments, I felt that they were determined to make me "prove" that I could outdo what they could accomplish in a matter of seconds on their computer.
If this is the attitude that customers have, then maybe it's time to hit the bricks and find a new line of work, because if a guy comes on to the car lot thinking they know more than the salesman, there's no way to make that sale unless you capitulate to the customer's every demand.
I don't blame the customer necessarily for having this attitude, because if the world gives them such tools to wield and abuse, then this is the reality we live in. But I feel that we now have to understand that this is the new normal, and we'd better be prepared for drastically fewer jobs, not only here on Gengo, but in the wider world as well. Because if a good portion of the population looks at AI (as they did with Google Translate and other such tools in an earlier generation) as giving them the upper hand and ability to not have to pay for services, then the providers of that service need to, as Hillary Clinton once conceived, re-educate themselves for a new line of work (she was talking about coal miners, but you get the picture).
I'm betting that more than a few of you out there have been seeing this sort of thing taking place, and are feeling the squeeze. What do you think Gengo and businesses like it should do to adapt (because I seriously doubt that they can survive without making adjustments)? And what do we need to do ourselves?