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Because We’re Worth It : Disentangling freelance translation, status, and rate-setting in the United Kingdom

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Rate-setting is a problematic area for newcomers to translation and established practitioners alike. Survey data generally support the view that translators feel underpaid and that money matters remain a chief ethical and pragmatic concern, but appropriate guidance is almost entirely absent from introductory textbooks on the translation profession and documentation prepared by industry associations remains unsatisfactory. Focusing on the translation industry in the United Kingdom, this conceptual paper explores constraints that limit price formation practices, and argues that translators feel under threat from disruptive technologies, Uberisation, and non-professional translation, now more than ever. We explore the complex interaction between status, internal and external perceptions, and regulation, and illustrate their push-pull relationship with rate-setting within a range of industry ‘educators’, uncovering the ways in which translators themselves, translation associations, and academic institutions directly and indirectly impact upon rate-setting practices. The article concludes by considering potential channels to buoy status and improve rate-setting practices in the translation industry.

Keywords: Uberisation; freelance translation; income; professionalisation; status; translation industry; translation profession; translation rates

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 10, 2022

This article was made available online on July 19, 2022 as a Fast Track article with title: "Because We’re Worth It: Disentangling freelance translation, status, and rate-setting in the United Kingdom".

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