Ideas for future employment – 29/07/2010

Recently at the ITRG Symposium in Sydney there was a debate on technology and translation that sort of devolved into a discussion around how translators are going to make a living in the future as prices from translation clearing houses plummet, clients demand quicker and cheaper translations, and basically everyone except translators is wanting post editing of Google translated documents. (I am happy to take the blame for the devolving)

I noted that I don’t actually have a solution, but that I would recommend people investigate unionisation, smaller, boutique and bespoke translation outfits, and lateral thinking. It occurred to me after I got home to Melbourne that people like Andrew Bell, Jost Zetzsche, The Floss Manual’s Open Translation Tools and Corrine McKay are the current unsung heroes of forward thinking, experimental, what-the-hell-let’s-jump-in-and-see-what-happens translation trailblazers – their ideas might not work, but they are testing the waters anyway.

Those that live in Australia will have an opportunity later this year to see Cory Doctorow speak at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival. No one in the world thinks or does more to explore what’s next for writers in the post analogue world. Among other experiments, he gives his books away for free, tossing out quality soundbites like “it’s very hard to monetise fame, but impossible to monetise obscurity” with repetitive frequency.

If you are around in September and are interested in “what to do next”, his seminar, “The Amplified Author – Exploring New Business Models For Writers” would be a great start, his other talk, “Copyright versus Creativity” is probably broader, but along the same lines.

Highly recommended.


It’s been and gone, the video footage is here. No doubting that he’s a compelling speaker.