In early 2022, Russia attacked Ukraine, setting off a chain of events the full results of which we have yet to see. In the immediate aftermath, a great number of people in Ukraine were either forced to leave their country or internally displaced. Again, it was the freelance translators and interpreters who had the skills and tools available to weather the storm with just a tiny bit more of certainty when it came to securing an income, in a moment where everything was uncertain.
Likewise with the pandemic, some with the skills for translation or interpreting who were not practicing were able to pivot and put those skills to work as freelancers. Due to the war itself, the need for the services of language professionals working into or out of Ukrainian and Russian also increased, and not just in relation to content being generated about the conflict. For example, worldwide interest in the history and cultures involved boomed. At the same time, many of the people affected by the conflict, and with spotty or no internet access, turned to reading for comfort. Since many books in Ukrainian had long been published in Russia and now many Ukrainians were refusing to buy from these publishers, new translations and editions were needed. As a result, overnight the publishing industry found itself hard-pressed to cover its translation needs into and out of Ukrainian.
Chances are that from wherever you are reading this in 2022, inflation and cost of living concerns are affecting you to some degree. Freelance language professionals are not immune to the rising cost of living, of course. But there are indications that the average freelancer does have a certain agility that gives them a slight advantage over the average employee when it comes to battling inflation:
Freelancers are more directly in control of their income. They can set and change what they charge for their services either across the board or selectively based on what they need to earn, and choose how much they want to work.
A freelancer’s work is less tied to a geographical location. For most types of language services work, one does not need to be living in a region or country where the cost of living is relatively high in order to take on work originating from these places.
Freelancers have more decision-making power. Beyond location and income, a freelancer can make other important decisions affecting themselves and their businesses which more directly benefit them, versus depending on a company to make more general decisions which may benefit employees to varying degrees depending on who they are or where they are in life.
In addition, in some parts of the world regulations and incentives are being put into place which favor freelance workers, as governments see the benefits of having a healthy freelance workforce residing within their borders.
This is an excerpt of the most recent ProZ.com industry report. To read the full report, you can go to https://www.proz.com/industry-report/
ProZ.com industry reports are periodic publications that take a look at trends, challenges, and opportunities in the language services industry, from the perspective of the freelance language professional. ProZ.com paying members enjoy immediate, full access to these reports.
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