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Do you pray for more or less work?
Thread poster: Burrell

Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Jun 6, 2005

I remember the times when I had quite a few jobless weeks. I wished I could get more work then. I had to re-establish myself after moving from one country to another and then another.
Now I wake up every morning hoping there will be no new projects. There is so much work, I never get out of the house. For a mother of three who also takes care of the house and is an apt gardener, it is quite difficult. Outsourcing is not an option for me. I cannot even get rid of the clients who pay less - they all pay well.
Of course, you could say - refuse the work, take only a few offers. But I have worked so hard to get where I am and feel that if I refuse a client, he will not come back next time, when I might have a dry spell. And it is not like I am forced to work nights and weekends (if I do then only due to my poor time management).
How do you cope with the growing business? Do you know of any tricks how to decline a job offer and not to loose a client? Or maybe some of you cannot get enough work?

Cheers,
Burrell


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Aida González del Álamo
Spain
Local time: 17:38
Member (2004)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
I understand you Jun 6, 2005

I do pray at the beginning for more work everytime I have a couple of consecutive jobless days, then I pray for some free time in months like June, when I barely step outside the house due to the amount of projects that keep coming.
I have never refused a project, even sometimes I should have, as I was so tired, but work is such an elusive friend, that I cannot refuse anything fearing that I may lose the client.

I love my job, and honestly, I love to have a lot of work, it makes me feel that all the efforts and hard work has been done for a reason....I understand you, and if I can help you, just let me know.


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smarinella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:38
Member (2004)
German to Italian
+ ...
a small advice Jun 6, 2005

Hi Burrell,

most translators don't dare to refuse a job, in order not to loose the client. But every person needs to have holidays or simply to stop when a child is born or a person in the family dies, when moving or beeing ill and so on.

I advise you to keep in touch with 2-3 colleagues you really estimate,you can really rely on and then -when you need help - pass them the projects you are not able to do yourself. You only proofread them and present them under your name. Most of the people I know do this way. It's reciprocal. They're going to give you some projects when they need help themselves. Of course, they must work not only in your language pairs but in your specialities. And the name of the clients are top secrets. Everybody keeps his!

Try to work in order to live and not the contrary...

Bye

smarinella


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Anabel Martínez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
a different point of view Jun 6, 2005

As a translator who still works inhouse as she builds a freelance career, I would like to agree with those of you who never say no to a project

I also love when I have a lot of work, even though it stresses me because I have to work very very long hours. But it feels like a reward for hard work, as you say.

I also agree with having several reliable colleagues to outsource some projects when you cannot deal with everything on your own, since it gives a kind od security (knowing that, if things get tough, you can always call that friend who will help you).

Just another perspective of this issue.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:38
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No pretenses here Jun 6, 2005

I simply refer the client to colleagues I trust will deliver excellent quality. They've never dropped me, consult me when they need specialists, and our network simply continues to grow.

My colleagues do not undercut, sometimes charge more depending on the job, refer their clients to me when they're busy, and all in all, over the long term, relationships and rates have simply improved.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Dutch to English
+ ...
Build up a network Jun 6, 2005

I have resolved the situation in a similar way to Parrot. I also have a network of trusted fellow translators. I hate saying no, but sanity must come first at a given point.

Instead of saying no, I usually suggest a couple of alternative translators who may do the job for the customer. All in all they are very happy with this. I still came through for them and the job gets done. I don't think I've lost a customer yet because I said no.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:38
German to English
+ ...
Do you pray for more or less work? Jun 6, 2005

Aidagda raises an interesting point though: in recent years, I have found seasonal fluctuations to be greater than they used to be.

Marc


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teju  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feast or famine Jun 6, 2005

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we had the exact amount of work that we desired and nothing else? That would probably mean that you work for an agency, accepting assignments only when you feel like it, but sharing a big chunk of your salary with the agency. If you want to work independently, as most of us do, there are periods of non-stop work, and slow periods, it comes with the territory.
I agree that having a network of colleagues who can do the work when you can't is a good system. Usually, when you develop a relationship with your clients, even if you have to say no once in a while, and pass them the phone number of another translator, they will come back to you. If you are uncomfortable doing this, the alternative is asking a trusted colleague to do the translation for you, and you do the editing.
I have a full time interpreting job, and do translations after hours. My regular clients know that I do translations like everyone else, on a first come, first served basis. So the easiest "excuse" when you are overloaded is "I'm working on a project right now that will keep me busy until next week, is that alright with you?" If the translation is not urgent, they will wait for me. If not, I'll work it in if it's something short. If it's a long project, it's usually not urgent.
When Forrest Gump said that "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your're going to get", it's a good analogy with translators, we are like a box of chocolate, all of us are different. I suppose it's only natural, when we give a document to someone else to translate, to wonder if the client will like their style better, or their rates. But when you've got no choice, it's either that, or you don't sleep! I'm a working mom too, and I end up resenting my job if it takes away from the time I spend with my family. On the other hand, I know what it's like to dive into a text and lose yourself for hours. Finding the balance is the key. If you can afford to outsource, or to share the work, I highly recommend it.


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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
French to English
+ ...
Depends Jun 6, 2005

Although I'm pretty much always busy, I hate having no work on, even though that gives me time to do my admin stuff, market myself, etc. It's the age old problem when you work for yourself - when you'r not working, you're not earning. But you do need to take advantage of the "low seasons" every now and again. Everyone needs a holiday. And why isn't outsourcing an option for you? There are plenty of trustworthy colleagues here on Proz who'll help you out...

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Kathinka van de Griendt  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:38
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
I don't pray ... Jun 6, 2005

I don't pray for more work ... I go out and get it!!! My motto is: "Create your own reality" and it works like a charm!
Regards to all, Kathinka


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Member (2004)
Russian to English
+ ...
Yep, sharing work with colleagues works for me Jun 6, 2005

Hi Ines,

I have often either suggested other people who could do the work instead of me or given it to a friend and then proofread it. I always pray for more work because getting work is a lot harder than not getting work

As people have said, when you develop a network you may find that when you're having a slow period you'll be getting work from your friends.

Kostya


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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:38
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Praying for more work Jun 7, 2005

At the moment I am praying for more work. I sent my last translation to a client on the 23rd May and I wish I had some work right now.

Summertime is coming soon and I usually don't have any work in July, August and September. I'm starting to get worried.

I used to work as a teacher as well in order to have money every month but I had to stop in April because my pregancy turned out to be a risky one.

So, when I have no work like now I just stay at home and stitch-cross and watch TV at the same time. Sometimes it can be really boring.

Please God, give me some work to do!

Regards,
Ivana


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Derek Gill Franßen  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:38
German to English
+ ...
Be careful what you wish for - it just may come true... Jun 7, 2005

My esteemed colleagues have already proposed the natural solution to the problem of having too much to do. Nowadays, if you have work (at all) you belong to a quickly shrinking minority - be happy and thankful (as I'm sure you already are)!

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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everybody Jun 7, 2005

Yes, indeed, I am quite happy that I have work. That is why I asked for advice on how to stay that way. Of course, I do not really wish for less work, it is just that sometimes there is not enough of me, I could do with a few more.
I never thought pasing a project or two to one of your trusted fellow translators is an option - never crossed my mind really. Great idea. Will definitely do that next time I feel like ripping hear out of my head.

Thanks everybody,
Burrell


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:38
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Oh God yes.. Jun 7, 2005

To be able to sit down and actually watch tv, go on a holiday, or just go into town for a day. But no, can't do that if you're trying to earn a living as a translator.
I got up at seven this morning (got to bed around 2 am and around 4:30 this morning a client phoned me because they couldn't open one of the .rar archives), did two jobs, had a 10 minute lunch break around noon, finished everything off for the evening, then got a call from a client asking me if I could please do this rushed job for them. "It's only 6000 words, and we would so appreciate it".
Sure, who needs to eat, sleep, stress down, see other people anyway?

Not that I don't appreciate my clients, but I do miss the normal 9 - 5 rutine


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