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Working part-time and agencies
Thread poster: sofia guermat
sofia guermat
France
Local time: 02:41
English to French
Dec 20, 2008

Hi everybody,
I'm going to launch my freelance business as a translator in a few weeks, I've currently have a part-time job in a school to pay my invoices and I think that until June, I'll go on working at school but I also want to launch progressively my business by working with agencies...
my question is:

do they accept part-time translator?
do I have to be frank with them about this?
because I'm afraid my business won-t succeed rapidly so I need to pay the bills....
thanks for your answers

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-12-27 13:31 GMT]


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Fiona Robson
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:41
Member (2005)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Being accessible is important Dec 26, 2008

In my experience, most agencies will accept you based on the quality of your work and your price, not on how many hours a day you are available (you may be working elsewhere during the day, but prepared to compensate by working in the evenings/weekends for example) but the main disadvantage is that you will not be available when job offers come in. Given that nowadays clients usually want a practically instant response on whether you can do the job or not, the fact that you are inaccessible for much of the day could prevent you from winning potential jobs. You could mitigate that by having a cell phone (if most of your clients are in-country) or WAP/Internet access at your other place of work, and checking your e-mails once or twice while there. That way, you will minimize missed job offers. Also, the amount of work you can juggle in a given period will also be more limited - but if find yourself having that problem, it's probably time to quit the other job anyway

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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:41
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Get a BlackBerry or something similar... Dec 26, 2008

like an iPhone or any other device that can handle e-mails and allow you to view documents remotely. That way you'll be available to answer client inquiries while not being tied to your computer. I would be lost without mine.

I don't think you have to specifically inform agencies how many hours per week you work. You just have to deliver the quality work on-time. However, if you're never available to handle their projects, you won't be contacted for work very often. As a part-time freelancer you may want to build up a smaller core of 3-4 regular agencies so you aren't spread too thin.

Laura


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 20:41
German to English
You'll be part-time whether you want to be or not Dec 26, 2008

I don't know many translators who had a lot of work when they started. You may find yourself working part time longer than you expected.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:41
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
That's how I started Dec 27, 2008

When I started freelance translating (some 20 years ago), I was employed as a teacher and translated at home in the evenings, weekends and during school holidays. (I also moonlighted as a barmaid some evenings - I was and am a workaholic). Of course that was before the Internet and email came to dominate the translation business.
As others have wisely said here, you'd need to be contactable during your working day or you'd miss a lot of offers of translation work and you can't be answering your mobile in class or you're likely to lose your teaching job, but these days there are many ways of being contactable.
Sooner or later - when you have acquired some regular clients - you'll have to jump off the diving board into the full-time freelancing pool and bite that bullet. I do so love mixing my metaphors ...
I've never regretted doing so and wouldn't go back to teaching for anything, even if they'd have me.
Best of luck and feliz año nuevo,
Jenny.


[Edited at 2008-12-27 12:56 GMT]


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sofia guermat
France
Local time: 02:41
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
THANKS! Dec 27, 2008

Thanks for your answers

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
My opinion Dec 28, 2008

sofiamezi wrote:
Do they accept part-time translator?
Do I have to be frank with them about this?


Yes and yes. It matters not to the agency whether you are a full-time or a part-time translator, as long as you deliver the work on time. It can be useful to respond to e-mails within minutes, but it is not crucial. You can have an auto-responder to your mail that states your office times, so that agencies know approximately when you'll be writing back.

Be frank -- tell them that you are a freelancer. If you don't want to say "part-time", you can sidestep the issue by saying that you are available for X number of hours per day or that you can translate X number of words on an average day.

Agencies who choose to work with freelance translators do so knowing what freelancers' situations usually are.


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sofia guermat
France
Local time: 02:41
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Dec 28, 2008

Thanks for your advice

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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 03:41
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
That is why I quit my day job Dec 29, 2008

I had one when I started freelancing and it didn't work out at all. Not only do you have to be accessible, you have to have the time to actually do the jobs, and you can't choose the deadlines... For me quitting was the only option. Hope you can do better.

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sofia guermat
France
Local time: 02:41
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks taja for your answer Dec 29, 2008

Good morning,
yes, and that's what I am cintemplating doing in the next weeks...
Was it long for you before work became regular?


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Taija Hyvönen
Finland
Local time: 03:41
Member (2008)
English to Finnish
+ ...
Hanging on to the day job... Dec 29, 2008

sofiamezi wrote:
Was it long for you before work became regular?


It took about a month to get the first job, then a few months to realize that I would never get the business running while I spent my days doing something else (not even remotely related to translation). So actually I quit without having enough work yet, but it was really a choice between wanting to invest all my time and energy into something I wanted to make a career out of, or doing some small translation assignments on the side when I had the time and when a job with a suitably long deadline came along. I accepted the fact that you don't start a profitable business overnight. You should plan for the long term and have some sort of financing for the time it takes to get your business running - and if the financing is another job, all the time you spend on it is taken away from your business. It's not an easy decision to make.


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sofia guermat
France
Local time: 02:41
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
I agree with you Dec 29, 2008

I agree with you, it ' s not a decision one can take easily but I feel like, as you've said, I'll have to concentrate my energy and attention to my business if I want it to succeed.
I just hope it won't be too long before I get a first order!
I am contemplating sending my application to a great number of agencies and becoming a member of proz.
Thanls so much for your useful answers

[Modifié le 2008-12-29 13:43 GMT]


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