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Taking a sabbatical
Thread poster: Claire Loveridge

Claire Loveridge  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:37
French to English
+ ...
Jun 10, 2007

Hi All

I've been translating part time for about 12 months now and went full time freelance about 3 months ago.

It's going really well, I have a really nice client base who send me a variety of long and short term projects and I'm in an enviable position of having more than enough work to keep me going (often turning it away - which I hate not just because it's paid work but because I hate the idea of letting my clients down).

Anyway, so life is good - however, my husband and I have always planned to go travelling - he's not happy in his job, and ironically now that I'm freelancing we're able to really consider taking a year off together and seeing the big wide world, but obviously I'm slightly worried about putting my new found career (which I love) on hold for 12 months and starting again when I get back.

It took me about 6 months to get fully established the first time, and on the plus side I now have a pool of clients that I can contact on my return, who know and like the quality of my work and my committment, but I still have doubts. I don't really want to work while I'm travelling as I don't want to compromise the level of service I currently offer to my clients (ie being available 24/7 - those urgent little sentences that need doing toute de suite, etc.) which would undoubtedly suffer due to time differences and facilities. Also, the idea of going with my husband kinda means together

We're not going straight away, we're looking at doing it in about 18 months time, so I will have been translating for about 3 years by then.

I was just wondering if anyone had done anything like this, or was planning to and had any advice or comments.

Thanks in advance
Claire

[Edited at 2007-06-10 18:09]


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:37
Dutch to English
+ ...
Couple of points ... Jun 10, 2007

Obviously nobody is indispensible, but provided you give your clients fair notice (a couple of months in advance), there's no reason why you can't arrange to make contact when you get back.

Just make sure you have a financial buffer to carry you over the first few months after getting back because you'll be building up your practice again.

It's not going to be that easy with existing clients because somebody as good as you, or perhaps even better, will have come along in your absence and be "flavour of the day" - in other words you'll have to work again at getting your foot back in the door. But at least they'll know you and what you're capable of delivering.

However, also bear in mind that staff turnover in agencies can be high, so the same PMs may not be around.

One way might be to work a 2-day week, or 3-4 hours a day (do an early/late shift) - that way you could keep existing clients active to some extent. It will all depend where you're going, but there are many mobile Internet connections available these days worth looking into.

Translators have done it before - many returning from extended maternity/study leave, etc - so it's not impossible.

Enjoy!

[Edited at 2007-06-10 19:15]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:37
English to Spanish
+ ...
Life is too short Jun 10, 2007

Life is too short not to take that trip. Presumably you will have enough money saved up for it, and will return no doubt with finances depleted and will have to start over again. Such is the price you will have to pay for that experience, but think of all you will gain in return for it.

But if you fail to do it when you are able, then it will never be done. Once you have kids you can forget it; by the time they grow up you may not have the desire, the health or a situation that will enable you to do it.

Go for it, and don't look back!


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William [Bill] Gray  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 14:37
Member (2006)
English
+ ...
One of the joys of freelancing... Jun 10, 2007

... is that you can work wherever (and to a certain degree, whenever) you want.

My wife and I are hoping to take a long break back to NZ soon, and will simply keep working for regular clients, but not work as much, and offer to both clients and fellow-freelancers the chance to work together, without giving away the whole relationship with good clients.

I wish you well in your plans, and an enjoyable period of travelling when it comes.

Cheers,
Bill


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Claire Loveridge  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:37
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks :) Jun 10, 2007

Thank you all for your comments, it's great to hear some other views, rather than just my thoughts running round in my head.

Henry, I think you are right - which is why we feel that the time may be right to start putting things in place now to travel in the next 18 months or so. Financially we'll be ok to do it then and like you say, if not now then maybe never.


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Joanna Rączka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:37
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
I did it Jun 11, 2007

I had the same doubts. But I decided to sail around the world and I do not regret it, even though I haven't rebuilt my custormer base yet and my income has considerably dropped. My trip took about two years. I hope I will recover financially soon. I have some savings to live for a couple of months, so I am not really worried. But the trip was certainly worth it.

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Marion Rooijmans
Netherlands
Local time: 14:37
English to Dutch
+ ...
Couldn't agree more Jun 11, 2007

I couldn't agree more with Henry. You do not want to look back at your life in 20/30/40/50 years time and regret the things you didn't do. The important thing is that you are able to do this NOW!

I spent a year backpacking and working in NZ. My situation was totally different (I quit a job I wanted to quit anyway and decided to start freelancing after returning from my trip) but looking back on it, I would have done the same had I been freelancing before I left.

You'll have wonderful memories for the rest of your life...


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Estefanía González  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:37
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Take your laptop with you Jun 11, 2007

I have never taken a year off. I enjoy travelling, but I am afraid that after the first couple of months of travelling and leisure: I would certainly long for a little bit of “normality”. I would work fewer hours than I would normally do and enjoy the rest of the day.

It might be a good idea to take your laptop with you: you never know, after travelling for some time, you may settle down in a paradisiacal location for a while… Then you will have the chance to work a bit, so that your clients don’t lose you completely out of sight and also to make some money: 18 months is quite a long time and travelling is not inexpensive.

Anyway, if you really don’t have the intention to work over your time off, and if you can afford financially the 18 months off , as well as the time you will need to rebuild your portfolio, there is no reason why not to take on this adventure. In the worst scenario, you may lose your current portfolio, but you can always build a new one.

Best of luck

Estefanía


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