It is an indicator of what we can expect in the coming weeks in the time of coronavirus. Most of this week’s featured polls were taken at an earlier time; when many language industry stakeholders had yet to come to grips with how serious the situation was about to become.
By now, we know how quickly things can escalate as a result of both the coronavirus outbreak and the ensuing government-imposed lockdowns.
As a more up-to-date point of contrast to the polls below, the Association for Language Companies (ALC) and the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL) published the summary of a survey on the economic impact Covid-19 has had on language service providers (LSPs) and freelancers.
The ALC-JNCL’s March 2020 survey showed that nearly all respondents (85%) had already experienced economic loss from coronavirus-related challenges. The ALC is a trade organization focused on US-based translation and interpreting companies.
In contrast, a little over 56% of Slator readers working as freelancers or at LSPs and language tech providers around the world were still of the opinion that it was “Business as Usual” on March 6, 2020 — which number quickly shrank to 36% exactly one week later on March 13.
We asked Slator readers if their working arrangements had changed due to coronavirus in a March 20, 2020 poll. Given the recent response by LSPs, large and small, it was no surprise that a little more than half (51.8%) said that nothing had changed in terms of work conditions as they were already working remotely prior to the outbreak.
A substantial number, though, said working arrangements had indeed changed (41.8%). The rest said working conditions had changed across the company, although not for them personally (6.4%).
Bad to Worse, But More Tech Demand
As mentioned, the next two polls indicate both how fluid the current situation is — and how stakeholders are turning to technology to manage the business while restrictions have been imposed on staff movement.
In a March 6, 2020 poll, more than 56% of respondents said it was Business as Usual for LSPs, freelancers, and language tech providers, with 16.7% even saying they experienced Additional Demand.
However, the situation was Negative (10.6%), Slightly Negative (15.2%), or Severely Negative (1.5%) for the rest of the respondents.
A week later, on March 13, 2020, those that said it was Business as Usual dropped to 36.1% (March 6: 56.1%); while LSPs, freelancers, and tech providers that experienced Additional Demand grew to 27.9% from 16.7% the week prior.
The remaining respondents, however, reported a more unfavorable turn of events, saying the impact had been Negative (8.2%), Slightly Negative (19.7%), or Severely Negative (8.2%) for their business.
As coronavirus lockdowns still loomed on the horizon in much of the world, we asked Slator readers how relevant industry vendor rankings were to them. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most useful, more than a quarter said vendor rankings were useful or interesting (26%), while a fifth said they were not at all (21%).
The results can also be summarized as follows: Those that said they found industry rankings of low relevance (1–3) were 44%, while those that found the rankings useful (8–10) were 39%. The remaining respondents (4–6) appeared to be ambivalent.