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Do your summer months slow down and what is your strategy?
Thread poster: Rebecca Lyne

Rebecca Lyne
France
French to English
+ ...
Jul 9, 2008

Just wondering if any one can add their 2 cents about the European market for freelance work in August. I am wondering if most of your clients close shop for a few weeks and what you all do to secure business for the end of July until early September assuming you are still building your businesses and do not work regularly with the same agencies as a contractor.

Thanks!
Rebecca


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:39
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Contact new agencies Jul 9, 2008

Hi Rebecca,
sometimes it's more quiet in the summer months. A lot of Dutch companies are closed.
But I have one suggestion for you:
contact new agencies and stress out that you are nonstop available during the summer period.
Maybe they contact you in case a regular translator is absent.
Maybe this is your chance...

Good luck!
Regards
Steffi

[Edited at 2008-07-09 11:47]


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Nikki Graham  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:39
Partial member (2003)
Spanish to English
August is slow Jul 9, 2008

For me, working with Spanish to English, August is usually very slow, however, only one agency I work for actually closes for the entire month, and even then, they still sometimes give me work to do.

As I have a child on school holiday then, I have decided not to worry about the low volume of work and enjoy some time (and hopefully some sun) with her and work harder in the winter months, when the outdoor world does not seem as inviting or beckon quite so much, to catch up and balance the books for the financial year as a whole (from April to April).

However, obviously there is some work out there, and if you are desperate for it, I suggest you send your CV to as many agencies as possible emphasising that you will be available in the summer. Many translators take the whole month off too, so this could be a good time to prove your worth and get your foot in the door.


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:39
English to Dutch
+ ...
Holidays Jul 9, 2008

I make sure to tell all my regular clients well in advance when I will be going on holiday myself. Some of them plan their jobs accordingly.

I too have found August is slow, so I usually take a three-week break in Augst to go camping with the family.

Of course, colleagues go on holiday too, so the summer is also a period for opportunities. New clients may contact you because their regular translators are not available. This may not always evolve into a long-term collaboration, but it will be a chance to see what other customers there are out there.


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Deschant
Local time: 14:39
Reply Jul 9, 2008

Last year was my first full year as a freelance. For the first months, I had had a regular yet lowish amount of work and was concerned that in July this flow would be interrupted. Indeed, it doubled and I have been able to maintain it at this level until now (fingers crossed!). Some agencies with which I had collaborated occassionally gave me a lot more projects (I suppose their regular translators were on holidays) and others contacted me for the first time and I have been able to keep them as clients.

Best,
Eva


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:39
Member (2004)
German to English
Work August and December Jul 9, 2008

It has been my experience that August and December are the busiest months of the year and I recommend that you work and arrange your holidays at other times (although I am ignoring my own advice this August!) Why? Lots of people are on holiday so the agencies look for people to replace their regulars. The net result is that they are often the busiest months and I could work 24 7.
Gillian


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Seamus Moran  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:39
German to English
+ ...
End of June/July slowest month for me Jul 9, 2008

I'm finding the end of June/July to be my slowest period since i started going freelance. January was also quietish. This time last year i was very busy but, then again, i was working for lower rates.

[Edited at 2008-07-09 14:50]


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 08:39
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
No difference Jul 9, 2008

Summer represents no difference to me. Translation inflow slows a bit 2 or 3 weeks, mainly between December and January.

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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:39
French to English
Bastille Day - La Rentree Jul 10, 2008

For Fr-Eng, I find (on the basis of 5 years experience only) there is a definite lull that starts on Bastille Day and continues until "la rentree".
Most (but not all) French (office?) workers will take their main holiday of the year in that period. I say "most" because there is a small trend towards taking holidays in more exotic places and July-Aug is not necessarily the best time to visit, and there have been initiatives in place to get Fr people to stagger their holidays a bit.
And of course, in France they have a LOT of annual leave to use up

Anyway, I have worked through the summer for the past couple of years and I had thought this unbroken availability would have the work flooding in (as it is usually, to be honest). This turned out not to be the case.
So this year I'm taking three weeks off.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em!


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:39
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Haven't noticed any difference Jul 10, 2008

I haven't seen enough seasonal fluctuation that I can say it affects the overall workload, though the volume of inquiries probably does vary at different times of the year. I haven't had time to document the refused volume in ages (which I used to do for parts of a business plan).

Gillian S. is right, though: the times in which many translators take vacation seem to be excellent times to pick up new clients, and many nice new clients we have acquired over the years have come to us through contacts when the "regulars" were off on a beach somewhere (without a laptop - smart people!). If you need to expand your client base, you might want to consider staying at your desk in August and December and working hard; otherwise enjoy a good break somewhere.


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Mari Noller
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:39
English to Norwegian
+ ...
No difference here Jul 14, 2008

I haven't noticed any difference in the amount of work coming in over the summer, but I do notice a lot of PM's are off on holiday. An annoying thing about holiday periods are agency accountants who go on holiday without making sure invoices are still paid. Thankfully only a few agencies do this.

The only "quiet" period I can think of is September/October for some odd reason.


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redred  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 21:39
English to Chinese
+ ...
A sports gala for us Jul 16, 2008

Take a break in the hot summer, let's watch Beijing Olympic Games in the upcoming month.

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