Translation and Language Industry Observations

The war in Ukraine has brought worldwide economic sanctions on Russia which have led to a shortage in Russian translation services. Will  this lead to rising prices in Ukrainian and Russian translation services? If so, it should not come as a surprise. Just as the halt in Russian oil and natural gas exports have driven the prices of oil and gas up significantly, the halt of translation services in Russia and Ukraine may create a similar effect.

Since the Ukraine war, the price of oil has spiked. Will the conflict cause a similar affect in translation services?

Translators in Ukraine can’t work

Whether it be due to the refugee crisis, where over 1.5 million people were forced to leave their homes, or lack of Internet connection or just the plain stress of the sound of missiles and shelling-translators in Ukraine are finding it hard to work.

We recently posted a job offer for Ukrainian translation services and here are some of the responses that we received.

Thanks for your email!
Unfortunately now I don’t have opportunity to work. I live in Ukraine and it’s war in my country.
We would be happy to perform this task,
However, Paypal is not acceptable in Ukraine. Only bank wire, Payoneer or online invoice (paid by credit/debit card).
Hello! I’m so sorry,  but I have not opportunity to work today because of war in my country.  Russian terrorists killed our people. :((((
Since the war in Ukraine started I’m not available until further notice.

Translators in Russian can’t get paid

Even though the actual war in Ukraine may not be felt in Russia, the economic fallout is felt very well indeed. Russian translators and translation companies can’t get paid by foreign companies. Many Russian banks have been removed from the SWIFT system. MasterCard, Visa, Paypal and many other payment systems have pulled out of Russia. Since most translators in Russia can’t get paid, many prefer to turn down jobs or wait until payment options become available.

By the by, because of sanctions against Russia (and crazy Putin) PayPal blocked its service for Russian clients  and I can open my account only via VPN. I don’t know if I can transfer money from there, but I hope that some clever men will invent something.
(IB, GTS translator in Perm)

Mitigating Factors

Most of the large LSPs that have offices in Russia are international companies that are headquartered in the USA, Europe or Asia. These companies are not restricted in any way and can accept payments and make payments. How they will get the money into Russia is another issue.

What are the alternatives?

There are many Russian and Ukrainian translators in other countries like the USA, the UK and Germany. Clearly these translators may enjoy a renaissance period with increased prosperity and more orders. However, this raises a few concerns. Firstly, it is always best to work with in-country translators as languages evolve with time. A Russian translator who has been living in New York for the last 20 years may not be entirely in tune with the language being used today. Secondly, the prices of translation services in the USA and the UK will be decidedly higher than in Russia and Ukraine. The cost of living is much higher in these countries and also-the translation rates in Russia and Ukraine are at the low end of the scale.


As long as the war rages on in Ukraine, the supply of Russian and Ukrainian translation services may become shorter, leading to an increase in prices. Eventually, this will stabilize and get back to normal when the war ends. When will that be? Nobody can tell.


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