Nordic Editors Survey 2017 indicates strong professional qualifications within the field of language services. However, pay rates remain below the recommended average.
NEaT and Käännösalan asiantuntijat KAJ ry (Translation Industry Professionals KAJ) conducted a professional status survey for editors, proofreaders and other language specialists working in English in the Nordic countries during October and November 2017. The purpose of the survey was to gather information to further develop editing as a profession within the field of language services.
Gender and age
Seventy-two (72) people completed the questionnaire. Over ¾ of the respondents identified as female. Most people saw themselves as being either an *editor* or a *language specialist*, with nineteen respondents calling themselves translators. (Click images below to make them bigger.)
The largest group with 59.7% of answers were aged between 40 and 65. The next largest group were those aged between 25 and 39 with 29.2% of the answers. There was a small group of over 65s at 8.3% of the total and only 2.8% of the results showing a person under 25 years old.
According to the survey, editors form a well-educated group. The vast majority of respondents (32) had one or more MA qualifications. These were often in English or Translation Studies. Three (3) persons had an MsC, and six (6) respondents had a PhD. Otherwise, the remaining respondents tended to have Bachelor’s-level qualifications.
Nineteen (19) of the respondents used only English in their work and the same amount (19) used both English and Finnish. Ten (10) people work with English, Finnish and Swedish. The remaining respondents used a variety of languages with common ones being Spanish, German and Russian.
The majority of the respondents are self-employed.
Interestingly, there was a totally even split between people new to the job (5 years and under) people working between 6 and 10 years, 11 to 15 years, 16 to 20 years, and those who have been working in this field for more than 20 years.
Earnings (per month after tax and other deductions)
According to survey, most of the respondents (ca. 55%) earn less compared to KAJ’s salary recommendations for translators, which start at €2,908 for expert-level roles outside the capital region,
Level of organization
Most of the respondents (38) do not belong to a trade union; some say they haven’t joined because they profile themselves as entrepreneurs. However, most respondents (44) do belong to a professional association that is not a trade union and attend their events. According to the comments to the question, many respondents are members of several associations, each of which offers something different. The fact that most association events take place in Helsinki was considered a challenge because traveling takes time and is expensive.
“Identifying different professions and their position in working life is important to both KAJ and NEaT,” says KAJ’s acting executive director Taina Ukkola. “Editors working in Finland are still a relatively unknown group, one that works both as entrepreneurs and employees. A surprising amount of the respondents do not belong to any trade union, mostly because there is a lack of information on who can belong to a trade union. Of KAJ members, 13% are self-employed or entrepreneurs.”
“Many thanks to KAJ for helping with the first professional status survey targeted at editors and language revisors in the Nordic countries. We aim to repeat the survey in the years to come to gain more information about this sector of language services and to be able to better support their expertise and livelihood,” says NEaT’s Chairperson Virve Juhola.
For more information about the survey, please contact:
Virve Juhola, Chair of NEaT
Taina Ukkola, Managing Director of KAJ