Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Elephant in the Room: Offshoring

Yesterday I hinted at my persistent worry that someday my job will be sent offshore. I've seen it happen with layout and design--thriving departments of hundreds of people working three shifts reduced to just one guy who sends things to India. A whole room full of typesetters in Singapore who work for peanuts overnight. Even JIST has begun sending some software development work overseas.

Of course, it makes short-term business sense to do it. If you can get things done faster and cheaper (and presumably with good quality), why wouldn't you?

In her post Shipping the Work to India, Beyond the Elements of Style blogger Jeannette Cezanne offers some insights and some hope. If editors can find their niche, they can swim alongside the riptide of offshoring.

But this isn't the end of the discussion as far as I'm concerned. I want to know what all of you think about the offshoring trend. Do you see it happening? Are you doing it? Is it taking work away from you or driving down your rates? How can we as American editors justify our continued existence?


Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

I've heard lots of complaints from U.S. freelance copyeditors who do most of their work for the lower-paying U.S. pubs. Those are the houses doing lots of offshoring.

But those who have specialized (such as in medical editing) or who have many years in the business seem to be holding their own because their skills are hard to replace at cheaper prices.

Lori Cates Hand said...

Thanks for the info, Katharine. That seems to support what Jeannette said.