Author Archives: Paul Sulzberger

“Brilliant translations” happen when the translator gets beyond the words and grasps the inner meaning. Here’s how to do it…

Originally published at There are those who claim that there is no shortage of customers who will pay top dollar for translations of very high quality. Chris Durban, an expatriate American translator living in Paris is a well-known proponent … Continue reading

Posted in Tips 'n tricks, Translation Industry | 3 Comments

Nice or nasty? Which translators finish first?

In a previous post, I looked at a phenomenon known as the Prisoner’s Dilemma. In the translation industry this is where competitors cannot resist the temptation to win more work by undercutting each other on price. Simple mathematics shows that they … Continue reading

Posted in Getting paid, OpenBorder, Translation Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Collusion and betrayal in the translation industry—which do you choose?

Are translation industry players locked into a self-defeating paradigm where they end up taking actions which are against their own best economic interests? In this post, I look at the translation industry in terms of a prisoner’s dilemma—the canonical example … Continue reading

Posted in Getting paid, OpenBorder, The Multi-factor auction, Translation Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Will the best and most talented translators benefit from the disruptors?

One of the few things we can count on is that “things change”. When I started out as a translator we used typewriters and listened to music on cassette tapes. We got our translations typeset on photographic paper—a revolution that … Continue reading

Posted in Getting paid, Translation Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

“Liar, liar! Pants on fire!” Who can afford to tell the truth about translation quality… and who can’t?

When everyone else is shouting that they deliver “quality”, is there some trick translators can use to get paid more for doing a better job? Is there some realistic way for customers to figure out if you are telling the … Continue reading

Posted in OpenBorder, The Multi-factor auction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The price of translation – why is it like buying a second-hand car? #xl8

What comes to mind when you think about used car salesmen? The words “sleazy”, “disreputable”, “untrustworthy” or “con man” perhaps? Of course, this assessment may be totally unfair to used car salesmen… But the market for translation has many similarities … Continue reading

Posted in OpenBorder | 24 Comments

Are bad translators driving out the good?

Many of us have a sense of unease from what seem like conflicting signals from the translation marketplace. On the one hand, the demand for translation appears to be increasing worldwide, but on the other, prices appear to be dropping … Continue reading

Posted in OpenBorder | 31 Comments