Beware: an inexpensive agency isn’t an incredible agency! #PlannedObsolescence

4 Dec 2017 | Economy

Many translation agencies offer “cheap” and “fast” services, without the “headache”. But is that good enough? We certainly don’t think so! Buy it nice or buy it twice!

If you’ve ever found a hole in a “cheap” sweater after its first pass through the laundry, you’ll understand what we’re talking about. Buying a new sweater every month because of the inferior quality of the materials will end up costing more in the long term than just buying a quality sweater right off the bat! It’s what is known as planned obsolescence.

Planned obsolescence

cartel phoebus traduction

The concept of planned obsolescence is nothing new. There are plenty of examples; notably in electronics there was the Phoebus cartel. The Phoebus cartel was created in the 1920s and included a number of industrial partners. They intentionally limited the useful life of bulbs as a means to sell more.

The goal is simple: the more limited the life of a product, the more likely a consumer will have to repurchase that product – a boon to the coffers of the company which sells it.

But, this usually only lasts a limited time before consumers begin to realize they’re being taken advantage of.

And what happens to the environment? That’s the problem; because of the planned obsolescence in many of our electronics, we’re creating more and more waste. And waste pollutes the planet a little more.

There are alternatives to planned obsolescence which are beginning to emerge. An American site for a reparation community, iFixit, has the motto “Repair is better than recycling”. They state “Repair saves you money. It saves the environment… Products that can be repaired should be repaired.”

Planned obsolescence and translation

But what is the connection between planned obsolescence and translation, you ask?

Because of planned obsolescence and the reduction in the cost of products sold in stores, raw materials are suffering. And translation is as much a raw material as is the cotton in your sweater or the steel in your pans.

The problem with constantly lowering prices is that quality suffers along the way, and this includes professional translators. How can you blame them? If they’re paid less, they will spend less time on a project! No time for a methodical research into terminology, or minutely proofreading their work, no time to ask question or gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

However, opinions are shifting towards a less wasteful ecosystem, in the service industry like in consumer electronics. While project Ara, a modular phone initiative led by Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects team, had seen its core goal shift before being suspended in Q4 2016, other initiatives, hoping to reduce electronic waste persist.

sommes-nous trop nombreux sur terre ?

Get committed: In only 12 years, the global population increased by 1 billion human beings. Our western societies must change their consumption and purchasing habits!

Especially considering that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), a group of five major emerging national economies, represent 42% of the world’s population! We can only hope that they bypass the phase of over-consuming near disposable electronic goods in their continued economic development.

To wrap up, here is an infographic from the ADEME (Environmental and Energy Control Agency) on why it is necessary to change our consumption habits.

TradOnline has always believed in quality and we believe that this commitment to quality still has its best days yet to come.

It’s, in fact, a belief we share with a number of our clients.

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