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How to justify being a freelancer?
Thread poster: Williamson

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
Apr 17, 2003

Sometimes there are interesting jobs at international institutions which pay wages at international level. These wages are somewhat higher than the amount an average freelancer makes per annum.

To be able to apply having been an inhouse is sometimes part of the requirements, sometimes not.

The E.U.-accepts applications for participation in open competitions from freelancers, although for a job of French linguist at Eurocontrol a inhouse experience of 10 years was required.

Suppose you have been a freelancer for say ten years and want to apply for such positions (better pension). How would you go about selling (justifying) that you have been a translation \"cowboy\"?



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mckinnc  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
French to English
+ ...
Justifying having been a freelancer Apr 17, 2003

The situaton you describe is pretty much what I\'ve just done, moving from a freelance role to a permanent translating post in an international organisation. I think that as in any situation where you are applying for a job you have to emphasise the positives of the move you are trying to make and what you have to offer.



Freelancers often have the benefit of wide-ranging experience, having being obliged to translate to high standards in a number of fields. They typically are used to coping with a great deal of pressure and putting in the hours to get the job done. They have generally learned to be self-sufficient and become skilled at maintaining good professional relationships. Often they can bring knowledge of recent trends in the translating world including CAT tools and other resources. Recruiters may well take it as a sign of resourcefulness and drive to have successfully run a business for a number of years.



The positives for the freelancer are the opportunity to join a team of highly-skilled professional translators and to benefit from being part of such a team. You would often have colleagues who are native speakers of various languages and can benefit from their knowledge and expertise. The library and dictionary resources are usually excellent. You may be given an opportunity to further your language skills as the larger organisations in particular have many in-house courses and encourage you to acquire new languages. It is generally an opportunity to improve your skills since you often read through your work with other very experienced translators and this helps you iron out bad habits and approach translation problems in a different way.



You would also have to research the organisation well and be able to discuss its activities in an informed and enthusiastic way at interview. And most importantly of all, you have to perform well in the translation tests or you won\'t be invited to interview to start with!



So to sum up, I would say there are always positives to be highlighted in such situations and you have to be confident about what you have to offer and be sure to spell it out. It is equally important to provide compelling reasons for why you want the job and make sure you engineer opportunities to make all these important points during the interview.


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Domenica Grangiotti  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:08
English to Italian
+ ...
From a more practical point of view ... Apr 17, 2003

If I understand your question correctly, you are trying to find a way to justify the length of your experience as a translator.

If you had been working for a company, you would have add a contract or something like that to show.

As a freelancer you have:

- your taxpayer number (or VAT number or whatever ...): it can be demostrated when the position was opened;

- you may also have some \"special customers\" you can you use as references.



The best of luck.

Domenica



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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 11:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not long ago... Apr 17, 2003

... I was offered an inhouse position in a government department. It was quite appealing financially. Then, I consulted with my Crystal Ball and in it I saw reflections of my future life (and reminiscences of a past existence) working in-house, commuting in the rain, joining the rat race, gulping suspicious sandwiches in a park by the road, asking please can I go to the toilet, being stabbed in the back by smiling colleagues, constantly seeing people I wouldn\'t really want to see in a million years, smiling to the boss because s/he is the boss, being in constant fear of being fired, thinking constantly about perks and retirement, feeling guilty while sick in bed, and — last but most painful — being 10 hours away from home and family, too tired to even enjoy the weekend...well you get the gist, I pressume.

I chose self-reliance, freedom and fun, but that\'s my choice. What\'d be yours?

P

[ This Message was edited by: SPAINZ on 2003-04-17 09:20]


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xxxTransflux
Local time: 11:08
French to English
+ ...
I agree with Paul - stay freelance Apr 17, 2003

Entirely agree. I can think of no reason why I would give up my freedom and independence and nice lifestyle to go back to a corporation and all that entails. Yes, there is the question of regular income, but at least you only rely on yourself to make that money, not some faceless manager who might decide one day that you are indispensable.

Long term, freelance is the only way forward.



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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Stay freelance? Apr 17, 2003

International institutions are not corporations.

They are not easy to get in in the first place. Except for a few corporations, the tax-exempt (to the national state) starting-salary is higher than at a normal job, , the perks are better, you become immune for national police, ....

At international institutions your pension is about 80% of your last well-paid salary, varying from 5400 $/euro per month + perks up to 10.000$/euro per month + perks., not taken into account the \"post adjustment allowance\", a month vacation a year (if you are handy in planning vacation and legal holidays, you end up with 5-6 weeks holiday), the international school for the kids, etc... Stay freelance?

I had some experience of being stabbed in the back in a big corporation, but that is part of normal business-life: \"Kill with a smile or be killed\".

In the past, I have worked at a company where almost the entire translation division worked from 8-13 for the company and from 13-17 hours for themselves (on the premises of the company) only to continue until 22 hours at home.

They were all paid as full-time employee and I have never seen such productive translators. They were in a hurry to get their translations for the company finished only to start working for themselves :.



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xxxPaul Roige
Spain
Local time: 11:08
English to Spanish
+ ...
choices choices Apr 17, 2003

[quote]

On 2003-04-17 14:27, Williamson wrote:

\"International institutions are not corporations ....At international institutions your pension is about 80% of your last well-paid salary, varying from 5400 $/euro per month + perks up to 10.000$/euro per month + perks., ... \".

- As you put it, impressive, I mean it. Just wondering though about what you really have to give in return...

\"Stay freelance?I had some experience of being stabbed in the back in a big corporation, but that is part of normal business-life: \"Kill with a smile or be killed\".

- That\'s the problem with business life, that has been accepted as matter of course. As a freelance, I do not accept this, therefore I only work with agencies / clients / translators I trust (and which/who trust me). It\'s quite nice...you even make good friends.



\"In the past, I have worked at a company where almost the entire translation division worked from 8-13 for the company and from 13-17 hours for themselves (on the premises of the company) only to continue until 22 hours at home. They were all paid as full-time employee and I have never seen such productive translators. They were in a hurry to get their translations for the company finished only to start working for themselves\".

- Wow, how long can one go on working like that? Any time for anything else? Why did you leave such a \"dream\" job? Ouch, really, ouch.

Regards and good luck with it.

Paul


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otouro
Portugal
Local time: 10:08
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I agree with Paul Apr 17, 2003

Well said Paul. My thoughts exactly.



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xxxSimplyMe
English to German
It's quite easy... Apr 18, 2003

... but I do not see the need to justify our way of work.



But if you have to, just say: \"I prefer doing a good job. As a freelancer I was free to choose the jobs I applied for, making sure that I could do the job properly. With an inhouse job I am not free to choose - and quality may degrade if I am forced to do translations I don\'t feel qualified to do.\"



This will not improve the chances of getting that inhouse position. - But it\'s just the way it is.)


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Freelancing : Cons and Pros Apr 18, 2003

What you have to put in to it: A normal hard day\'s 9-5-work and no free weekends or legal holidays. (except for special occasions).

--

At some companies, the perks are worth more than your annual income you earn at that company if you use them wisely.

--

How long can someone go on working like that? Some of those people did this for 30 years, forgot to pay taxes for the work they performed from 13-22, became fluent in 8 languages and a few specializations and one even got a knighthood from that state when he retired for his services. That was in 1989. Now, this would not be possible anymore since that state-company became a plc. I had only a contract as an apprentice of a year.



What freedom? The freedom to work hard against the clock?

In some countries: the freedom to have to pay quarterly revisable social security contributions and not only pay, but advance Value Added Tax to the state, based upon your projected revenue even if your client at the other end of the line did not pay you yet?

The freedom to see tax X, Y, Z suddenly appear or increase?

The freedom to get the minimum pension when you retire (unless you have invested in a private pension-fund)?

I did attend some economic courses and learned something about activity based costing and cash-flow.

In a world where it is all about money (and growth), how much your activity (i.e.translation) costs and how much its generates to allow your (personal) growth is of the utmost importance.

As for the freedom to refuse: the man, who got a knighthood started with two languages. After 30 years, he translated to and fro into 8 languages (no they were not all 8 his mother-tongue) and was very good at it, since his clients always came back.

Had he refused and had he not taken the trouble to bite through the languages (syntax, semantics, grammar, register enhancement) and the topics, he would never have become a walking dictionary and polyglot.

By the way, I am not working for an international organization. In order to be able to refuse low rates, I do try to diversify my activities.

A translation or two per month does permit to have some free time to prepare and finance this. An advantage of freelancing





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Bensona
Local time: 11:08
French to English
You are on your own with defined objectives and professional standards Apr 23, 2003


You are a freelancer because you are constantly in search of



-new business

-developint existing ones with attention and high professional integrity

-participate in related professional issues with the purpose of developing your client base.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Freelancer: Are you so free? Apr 26, 2003

I am a freelancer because it earns more money than a normal 9-5 job.

However, should I succeed in a test of an international institution, I would not hesitate to change my status.

This world is all about \"money and growth\", not about ethics, work pleasure or being free.

Salaries at international institutions pay about the amount the avarage freelancer earns per annum.


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Larisa Migachyov
United States
Local time: 02:08
Russian to English
Freelancing - yes, one is free Jun 10, 2003

If one's world is only about money and growth and work pleasure doesn't enter into it at all, I would feel very sorry for such a person. I have never held a job that I didn't enjoy - self-employed or otherwise. I don't know how people live if they have to spend 8 hours a day (or more) doing something they dislike, regardless of how much money they're earning. Time is irreplaceable, and our life is finite.

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Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:08
Italian to English
+ ...
I disagree Jun 13, 2003

Williamson wrote:
This world is all about "money and growth", not about ethics, work pleasure or being free.

The stock market is all about money and growth. Not me. If I can live comfortably, provide for my loved ones and enjoy what I´m doing, then I´m a pretty happy camper.

R.
==


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:08
Flemish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translation and fun? Jun 14, 2003

Larisa Migachyov wrote:

If one's world is only about money and growth and work pleasure doesn't enter into it at all, I would feel very sorry for such a person. I have never held a job that I didn't enjoy - self-employed or otherwise. I don't know how people live if they have to spend 8 hours a day (or more) doing something they dislike, regardless of how much money they're earning. Time is irreplaceable, and our life is finite.


How pleasant is it to sit (alone) behind a computer screen for 8 or more hours a day transposing a text from one language into another? If I would sum up the things I find pleasant based upon past experiences then the order of importance would be:
1. Aviation 2.Interpreting 3.Giving MsOffice Training-courses 4.Translation.
To start with 1 as a career,I am too old. So I will just have to settle with 2,3,4.
as a source of income (money again). Whether you like it or not: from the craddle (baby utensil business)to the grave (undertaker) it is all about money and people go through great lengths to get it.


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