While Brazil is known for many things (yes, soccer is a good exercise; no, not all of us like samba), not much is known about the Brazilian translation market.
The latest survey, by the Common Sense Advisory, shows that the worldwide translation market mobilized about U$43 million in-between 2016-2017.
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But What About Brazil?
The Brazilian translation market had been showing signs of growth for a while. In 2007, the city of Rio de Janeiro hosted the 2007 Pan American Games, which only contributed to said growth.
Furthermore, in that same year, we received the news that a big spike would occur.
The Brazilian Translation Market Spike
From the moment it was announced that Brazil would host the 2014 World Cup, the Brazilian translation market companies’ spider sense started tingling. Even more so when the Olympics were also announced.
Of course, it would still be a while, granted the first announcement was in 2007 and the World Cup still seven years after that.
However, as the day approached, with all the havoc about the soccer stadiums not being finished yet, which national team would be the winner, among other concerns, the translation market and its companies set their individual marketing plans in motion.
There were countless ads, letters, formal requests, reports and documents to be translated; and many interviews and conferences in which interpreters were needed (besides the escort interpreting services for foreigners, as they went shopping and took taxi rides with ill-intentioned drivers who would try to overcharge them).
There was a lot to do, and surely, every translation freelancer and company in the Brazilian translation market took the biggest chunk of ore they could from that endless gold mine. It was paradise. Paradise, I say!
However, all that is good must end.
Now that is ancient history, something to remember fondly over the years to come. And believe you me, Brazilian translation companies and freelance translators ARE going to remember that time.
Especially because, different from regular breakups, in this one, Brazil received a goodbye gift: worldwide attention. During those events, and for a short span of time afterwards, the Brazilian economy was greatly boosted, especially through tourism.
The Brazilian translation market was restored to a normal level of business, but not the same “normal level” as before. It was higher! We could translate and translate, and there would always be jobs available.
The Brazilian Translation Market Plunge
Ever since 2015, the country has been dealing with a growing economic crisis. The most recent blow to the population was the gas-price raise, which had been a threat for a long time.
The job market also faces turbulence. Getting a job is certainly hard, whenever and wherever you try to apply for one, due to the competition you face, the qualifications you need, and so on.
But ask any unemployed Brazilian (not specific to translators or the Brazilian translation market) why they don’t have a job, and they will surely say: “It’s the crisis. It hasn’t been easy for anyone.”
That is true.
For local freelance translators, it’s even harder. They, as a group, provide a high-quality service. They, as a group, expect to be well paid for such service.
Most people, however, just look at them with the same dazed expression: “Do you think money grows on trees? I’m not paying that much.”
While that is not specific to today (I bet all translators have heard this at least once in their lives), the economic crisis intensifies that feeling. If people could not afford translation services before, it is nearly impossible to do so now.
It’s not like there isn’t any work, but most of it is underpaid. “How underpaid?” you ask. It ranges from “it’s free, but you should be glad to receive this opportunity” to 50 percent less than the originally proposed, after a long time bargaining.
Don’t get me wrong: there are normal-paying clients out there, but they are a rare breed. Freelance translators scarcely see them and, thus, they either have to double up their production (at both applying for jobs and actually translating) or try to find a job in a translation company. After all, they have bills to pay and the Brazilian translation market is now a difficult one to compete in.
So What Now?
For starters, Brazilian translators had better thank the World Cup and Olympics once more. Inside jobs are too few, but there are a lot of foreign companies and individual clients out there who need translations. And they actually seek you out, because Brazil is on the world’s radar.
One Brazilian translation company is even starting a project to train refugees from different countries to be translators. As each one speaks a different language, and they have all learned Portuguese, all they need is some direction and they can start a whole new life through this opportunity!
Also, with the economic crisis, Brazilians who want to travel abroad or buy anything online may find themselves dealing with an outrageous exchange rate.
Stick with me here: there is not much one can do to change the economy thoroughly, right? So why not just “embrace the pain?”
Freelance translators and translation companies in the Brazilian translation market may actually benefit from this scenario. If they are paid primarily in dollars, euros, or any other currency, they may be paid thrice as much in reais!
While they shouldn’t completely disregard Brazilian clients, especially those who come to them, the fact is Brazilian clients tend to give up rather than accept the proposal, mainly due to the price.
If you take a look at online freelancing platforms, such as Upwork, you will see that most jobs are from anywhere but Brazil.
As for translation companies in the Brazilian translation market, there are many multinational enterprises that need their content translated into Brazilian Portuguese.
Now is the time for Brazilian translators and translation companies to market themselves internationally (online, may I suggest?) and try to earn some outside jobs!
Related Post: How to be Successful as a Freelance Translator
To Sum Up
As you see, not only do foreign clients pay Brazilian translators and translation companies better, but there are also more foreign clients looking for their services. Therefore, they are now relentlessly investing in marketing, to really put their names out there and get more jobs.
On the inside, the Brazilian translation market faces a grim scenario that will not change before the economy itself does. Unfortunately, there is no “light at the end of the tunnel” for now.
Turian da Silva Bielschowsky is the founder and managing director of Magma Translation, a leading translation, website localization, and Internet marketing provider. He is also a person with social consciousness that supports NGOs, such as Rede Postinho and many others around the globe.