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Working as freelancer possible without translating?
Thread poster: q
Nov 30, 2005


I have a background in software localisation and am tinkering with the idea of quitting my job and going the freelancer route. The problem if you want to call it that way is that I am not a translator. I could probably do that but that's not my cup of tea, really.

What I'm doing at the mo' is everything but translation. In some companies people like me are called Software Localisation Engineers, others call them Technical Project Managers, Technical Specialists or whatever. In case that doesn't give you an idea, I know how to prep software for translation, how to post-process it after translation, how to fix loc bugs (over/under translation, clippings, hotkey clashes etc.), how to be the human gateway between the client and the translators, how to do screen shots (in PhotoShop if necessary), how to use Trados, Catalyst, nibtool, Interface Builder, LocStudio, Helium. You name it, I've probably used it. Additionally I'm pretty good at ad-hoc testing software for localisation or functional bugs. I'm even doing that in my spare time for companies like Microsoft, Symantec, and Apple.

Now the question is, can you live as a freelancer with these skills? Where I work we tend not to outsource technical tasks and I'm not sure if we're the exception or the rule. Also I don't know what I could charge for my services. I have absolutely no idea.

I'd be glad to hear from some "techies" who are doing well as freelancers. Everybody else is of course also welcome to share their opinion.


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#41698 (LSF)
Local time: 18:59
Japanese to English
+ ...
Costly environment Nov 30, 2005

(1) Translation:
Basically word processor/office package, and need not be the most up-to-date version.

(2) File localisation:
Basically editor.

(3) But managing localisation:
I suppose this includes the full-blown environment, latest versions, and different setup/software for different projects. This is very costly especially when you don't use the same setup even for the next following project. Well, unless you don't have to do the compiling, integration and testing.

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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
It may be possible Nov 30, 2005

I think you could live from your skills as a freelancer,
but nevertheless you would have to work inhouse at the agencies or endclients, because
1) you often need very specific software for their projects, and
2) for this kind of work you will probably have to charge an hourly rate instead of a word rate, unless you are experienced enough to offer a lump sum for a given project.
I think there are many agencies whose inhouse staff are mostly freelancers. Maybe it would be a good idea to visit your local agencies and talk with them about possible ways of cooperation.

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United States
Local time: 04:59
French to English
+ ...
website example Nov 30, 2005

not sure what the restrictions and fees are.

question: Why come here? - this is a website for translators

Good luck!

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:59
... Nov 30, 2005

it sounds to me like you'd be bored working as a freelance translator anyway. Unless there is an option in your company to work from home or maybe go into desktop publishing?

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