Translation services are experiencing a drop in demand due to the slowing of the economy and rampant unemployment in most of the world economies. Entire industries have been nearly shut down, causing translation companies that serve in these sectors to run for cover. This is especially true in the following industries which are international in nature and therefore drive demand in the translation business.
Travel and Hotels. Nobody is traveling today and many hotels are shut down. It is estimated by the World Tourism Organization that international tourism could fall as much as 80%.
Airlines and Aerospace. This industry is responsible for the employment of thousands of translators, directly and indirectly. Airlines are mostly shut down and losing billions. Aerospace companies like Boeing and Airbus are hemorrhaging.
Retail. Large US retailer J Crew last week declared bankruptcy. This is one of possibly many more retail giants in the US and worldwide that are anticipated to go bankrupt or even go under.
Automotive. It is estimated that new car sales can drop as much as 50% and even more. There are many translation companies that specialize in translation for the automotive industry and these translation agencies are hurting.
Movie and entertainment industry. Disney, one of the leading companies in the entertainment industry, lost a whopping $1.4 Billion in Q1 of 2020. Production of movies has halted, leaving translators that create subtitles, voice-overs and dubbing out of work.
Conventions and trade fairs have been cancelled or at least postponed. These events typically drive demand for translation services due to their international nature.
With most courts of law shut down, many court interpreters are out of work now.
Many freelance translators are being threatened with their very existence. The good news is that many countries are providing loans to freelances to soften the impact of COVID-19.
So what is all of this doing to professional translation services rates? It is obviously driving prices down. Lower demand in many industry segments leaves more translators and translation companies competing for a piece of the shrinking pie.
Some companies are offering translation at very low prices in order to retain both their workforce and customers alike. Day Translations, which is a large LSP, is offering a rate of $1 per minute for Spanish interpretation services. This is considerably lower than the standard rate of $80-$120 per hour.
Another company, Translation Services USA, has dropped prices by 50% due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are a buyer, great deals available
If you are in the market now for translation services, you can probably get a better deal by negotiating with multiple vendors. Some companies are desperate for business which means you may get a very good deal professional translation services.