Publication details [#7243]

Chan, Andy Lung Jan. 2005. Why are most translators underpaid? A descriptive explanation using asymmetric information and a suggested solution from signaling theory. Translation Journal 9 (2).
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Person as a subject
Edition info
No page numbers available.


It is a common observation that most professional translators are not paid well. Most attribute this to the low perceived status of translators and their work. Because of the low pay, many good translators have left the profession for other jobs. This line of thought sounds reasonable but it is also highly evaluative which makes empirical testing impossible. This paper offers an alternative explanation which is descriptive in nature and draws heavily from the theories of information economics. This discussion is in line with the paradigm of descriptive Translation Studies which emphasizes explanation and prediction. However, in addition to this, Chesterman points out that Translation Studies should also cater to evaluation, and the author believes that his analysis might offer some insights for improving the situation of professional translators. [Based on author]