Lots of translators have mentioned being hit by the downturn in the economy. It makes sense -- if customers are going to cut corners somewhere, they'll often do it by skimping on quality translation (or editing or writing). As it is, many clients grumble about the supposedly high prices that a good translator charges, so this is a good excuse for them to find cheaper translators (often in far-away countries where the costs of living are much lower but where people may not be experienced with the source or target languages).
I rarely do work for agencies, but I am still listed in several agency databases from the early stages of my career, when I did take on such work. For this reason, I have received several emails in recent times from agencies. These messages subtly offer the following message: Times are bad, so lower your prices or you won't get work from us anymore. Agencies don't pay translators that well anyway, and it saddens me to think about all the ways agencies and direct clients are finding ways of not paying translators what they are worth.
Personally, I am not lowering my prices. My services are worth just as much, if not more, as they were a year ago. I hope my colleagues will consider keeping their prices the same, too, so that clients won't start taking us for granted. They get what they pay for and they should be willing to pay well for good translators, financial depression or not.
Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer
21 hours ago