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Setting up as a freelancer in France - Useful info
Thread poster: xxxNeil Colledg
xxxNeil Colledg
Local time: 05:06
French to English
Dec 12, 2005

Hi Everyone. For anyone looking for information about setting up as a freelance translator in France, I've put a page full of information online at the following address:

http://www.neilcolledge.net/French/devenirtraducteur.html

The page is mainly aimed at students and trainees (it was originally written as a guide for in-house trainees) and so established translators may already have much of this info. The page is in French - or rather in "Fringlish" as I wrote it in a hurry – but I hope to put an English version online too in the near future.


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Barnaby Capel-Dunn  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:06
French to English
A model of its kind Dec 12, 2005

Dear Neil
At your suggestion, I moseyed over to your site and was very impressed by what I saw. This is exactly the kind of site I would like to set up for myself - if only I weren't so lazy!

Many congratulations.


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xxxNeil Colledg
Local time: 05:06
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
I'm glad someone liked it Dec 12, 2005

Hi Barnaby

I'm glad someone liked it. I've been getting scolded for most of the morning by French translators unhappy about the price guides I gave, even though those prices were checked with umpteen translators and agencies. Apparently I should be encouraging new translators to "aim higher" (ie - to charge more than the exsiting ones).

No brownie points for me today


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 05:06
French to English
Neil, there is a lot of useful info on your page Dec 12, 2005

I particularly like the "50%" rule for savings, which is a simple answer to a question that you have to pretty much pull teeth in France to get anyone to answer in a straightforward manner. Good common sense and good business sense to put that amount aside in a separate account for future taxes and other contributions.

As far as the comments about rates made by me and one other person in the French thread, it has been said many times on this site and elsewhere that there are several markets for translation.

The only thing I have to say is that it would be a shame for young translators to draw the conclusion from the rates that you mention that this is the *only* market segment in France.

Thus my comment in the French thread that it would have been nice if you had qualified your comments on rates with some kind of disclaimer.

Your article is very thorough and I have no doubt that you worked very hard to verify the information by checking with as many colleauges and agencies *in your circles* as you could. But this is just one market segment. In my *circles*, these rates are unheard of. To give an example of the different segments that exist on the market in France, I have been accused on this site of dumping by translators who work in an even higher-end market segment than I do. It's all relative. (For info my minimum rate with agencies is 10 cents and I get regular work from a handful of them at this rate).

I am not worried about "unfair competition," undercutting, or anyone stealing my customers with lower rates and I disagree with that part of what was said in the French thread.

It is up to individual freelance professionals to set their rates and hone their negotiating skills.

I think it is useful for newbies to be aware of that.

That's all.

Hope you didn't take any of my comments personally. You've put together a comprehensive source of information, but unfortunately I stopped reading when I hit the number 6.

Sara

[Edited at 2005-12-12 13:49]

[Edited at 2005-12-12 13:52]


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 05:06
free ad on Forum Dec 12, 2005

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:
As far as the comments about rates made by me and one other person in the French thread, it has been said many times on this site and elsewhere that there are several markets for translation.

The only thing I have to say is that it would be a shame for young translators to draw the conclusion from the rates that you mention that this is the *only* market segment in France.

Sara

[Edited at 2005-12-12 13:49]

[Edited at 2005-12-12 13:52]


Agree 100% with Sara : 0,07 euro/word is certainly not an "average" in France and is in fact in the low range. This type of assertion is extremely misleading for young translators.

Furthermore, the threat to take colleagues to court for libel is particularly unpleasant.

In addition, it seems to me that Proz forums are not really supposed to be used as a personal advertising medium, however covertly.

regards - df


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:06
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Moderator message to df Dec 12, 2005

I "vetted" this new forum thread because it contains useful information - as is indicated by the others who posted before you.
I hardly think a link of this nature can be considered personal advertising otherwise nobody with a website would ever be able to link anything through this site.
Thanks
Angela
Moderator


df49f wrote:


In addition, it seems to me that Proz forums are not really supposed to be used as a personal advertising medium, however covertly.

regards - df


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 05:06
French to English
Exactly my point. The danger is to mislead newbies. Dec 12, 2005

Dominique took the words right out of my mouth. In fact, if I remember correctly, DF is one of the people who found *my* rates pushing the low end in another forum some time ago.

This just goes to show that there are a range of prices for different market segments. It is all relative, like I said.

The thing that bothers me about Neil's postings (in the French thread) is that he claims to be *right* that this is all that's out there for people just starting out in the profession. This is misleading.

The scary thing is that more and more newbies seem to be accepting the low end as "normal". Then they fall into the trap of working long hours for low rates and have no time to prospect, brush up on their skills, specialize, or do any of the other things that lead to higher income.

It is important that they know these rates are not the norm.


df49f wrote:


Furthermore, the threat to take colleagues to court for libel is particularly unpleasant.



Did I miss something? What's this about libel?

Sara


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xxxNeil Colledg
Local time: 05:06
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Has anyone actually read the article you're all moaning about? Dec 12, 2005

I can't believe that people are carrying on like this. To take just a few of the points mentioned....

1.
If you take a look at the page I posted on my site it states very clearly that the advice I provide is for translators who aim to work with agencies and that the prices are much higher for those who work with end clients: almost 70% higher - thats the figure I quote. If anyone had bothered reading down the page before complaining they would have seen this. In view of that, I fail to see how I'm claiming to be "right". For those too lazy to read the who page before rubbishing it, go and look in "Qui sont les clients des traducteurs" on the page you've supposedly read.

2.
I must have missed sth too - what's all this stuff about suing people over libel? Seriously people - just calm down. None of this is good for your blood pressure.

3.
I spent a lot of time getting all this info together and to be accused of covert advertising really sucks. No, but really. I can't believe I'm getting such spite and bile off an individual when I've simply tried to help out newcomers. If I was going to advertise I certainly wouldn't be advertising on a forum made up almost exclusively of my competitors would I? I won't even have paid ads on my site as I don't want it to spoil the "olde-worlde" look of my website. The only reason the page is even on the site at all is because I orginally put it on MSN but people didn't like it (it was a selection of seperate articles) and it was suggested that I put it all together on my main site instead.

4.
It's easy to criticize other people's efforts. If you're all so unhappy about my info page then why not start one of your own? You can have a mini website with Geocities from Yahoo, or an MSN group, or a site on Blogger all free of charge so there's no excuse. But no - that takes a load of work doesn't it. Much easier to sit back and complain about someone else's efforts.


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 05:06
too long to read the fine print! Dec 12, 2005

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:
...if I remember correctly, DF is one of the people who found *my* rates pushing the low end in another forum some time ago.
Sara

Hi Sara
I don't remember that conversation..., but you made a perfect point! and you're absolutely right that the obvious goal is to push for the high end and encourage young translators to get recognition for professional quality rather than tell them misleadingly that all they can expect is to work for minimum wages.

df49f wrote:
Furthermore, the threat to take colleagues to court for libel is particularly unpleasant.

Did I miss something? What's this about libel?
Sara[/quote]

voir citation:
["Dans mon cas, j’ai toujours eu tendance à frapper fort (note added by df: ????) au niveau des prix mais ceci est quelque chose que je peux me permettre à [sic] faire car avec 9 ans d’expérience ma réputation est déjà établie. Si un « confrère » cherche à insinuer que la qualité de mon travail doit être inférieur [sic] à la sienne car mes prix sont plus bas que les siens, je suis en mesure de me défendre sans problème : premièrement en citant mes références (je travail [sic] avec presque tout [sic] les leaders du marché de la traduction en France, ainsi qu’avec les chaînes de télévision) et deuxièmement en envoyant un mél à la personne pour l’expliquer [sic] que s’il ne retire pas immédiatement son insinuation je l’assignerai devant le tribunal où il sera obligé de la prouver."] (Citation tirée du site référencé plus haut - fautes d'orthographe et de syntaxe d'origine)

bonne soirée!
df


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 05:06
web site, ad and money requests... Dec 12, 2005

Angela Arnone wrote:
I "vetted" this new forum thread because it contains useful information - as is indicated by the others who posted before you.
I hardly think a link of this nature can be considered personal advertising otherwise nobody with a website would ever be able to link anything through this site.
Thanks
Angela
Moderator
df49f wrote:
In addition, it seems to me that Proz forums are not really supposed to be used as a personal advertising medium, however covertly.
regards - df


Paragraph below is an excerpt from the site (last parag.):
["EPILOGUE
J’espère que ce site vous a été utile. Si c’est le cas n’hésitez pas à faire un don par PayPal à colledge.neil@....fr (ce qui vous donnera également l'occasion de créer votre compte PayPal)..."](see rest of paragraph on the site)

Is asking for donations on a site posted here OK also?

best regards - df

[Edited at 2005-12-13 01:46]


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:06
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Depends what the scope is ... Dec 12, 2005

Perhaps, Dominique, you could have pasted the entire EPILOGUE, not just the bit you thought would make your point?
Quoting out of context is disloyal.
Neil was being tongue-in-cheek. Either you missed his humour or you're determined to belittle his efforts. Which is rather sad.
I'll quote the whole lot to balance things out and raise my glass to Neil's common sense and sense of humour. Both excellent attributes in today's harsh business world.
Angela


"EPILOGUE
J’espère que ce site vous a été utile. Si c’est le cas n’hésitez pas à faire un don par PayPal à colledge.neil@wanadoo.fr (ce qui vous donnera également l'occasion de créer votre compte PayPal). J’aimerais bien pouvoir vous mentir en disant que les dons sont nécessaires pour garantir l’avenir de ce site mais c’est faux. En fait, votre don de 15 euros servira plutôt pour faire les
achats suivants…

- 2 martinis
- 1 cigare
- 1 Kit Kat
- 1 Millionnaire
- 1 kebab
…bref, une soirée de célibataire

...Bon courage !"



df49f wrote:
Paragraph below is an excerpt from the site (last parag.):
["EPILOGUE
J’espère que ce site vous a été utile. Si c’est le cas n’hésitez pas à faire un don par PayPal à colledge.neil@wanadoo.fr (ce qui vous donnera également l'occasion de créer votre compte PayPal)..."]

Is asking for donations on a site posted here OK also?

best regards - df


[Edited at 2005-12-12 21:58]


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xxxNeil Colledg
Local time: 05:06
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Dec 12, 2005

Thanks Angela

I'm pleased that there's someone honest on this forum today as I was beginning to lose heart. For everyone's information I have never received one single penny from a translator for my page, and that's not at all why it was written. Clearly some people are very keen that this page doesn't stay up. I simply repeat what I said earlier - if anyone isn't happy about my little help page then they are free to start one of their own. You're even welcome to use as much of the information on my page as you feel comforatble with. My only aim is to get the info to the people who need it. If just one person manages find a new career they enjoy thanks to this info, then it's been worth taking all the stick I've taken today.

Best rgds

Neil


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 05:06
apologies for lacking sense of humour.... Dec 12, 2005

Angela Arnone wrote:
Perhaps, Dominique, you could have pasted the entire EPILOGUE, not just the bit you thought would make your point?
Quoting out of context is disloyal.


Hi Angela
No disloyalty intended and no quoting out of context "just to make my point": the entire paragraph and the full context are accessible for all to read on the publicized site.
And I must admit that I failed to find even a hint of any humour anywhere...
(end of subject for me)
best regards - dominique


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xxxNeil Colledg
Local time: 05:06
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Any ideas for having this guide hosted somewhere "neutral"? Dec 13, 2005

Hi Folks

The ideal solution for my much-maligned guide would be to have it moved off my site and hosted by one of the public translation sites like this one, or by one of the two other main public sites. This would solve several problems in one go...

1) The site would be much easier to find for anyone looking for information.
2) All the spurious claims of covert advertising etc., would no longer apply if the site was public.
3) With peer review, it would be easier to keep the guide up to date and add new chapters when needed.
4) The guide would get a much needed proofread. For all of the people in the French forum sneering at the spelling and grammar mistakes, please bear in mind that this is a 12k doc written in a language which is not my native tongue, as I pointed out at the beginning of the guide. I've simply done my best within the limits of my ability.

The ideal would be to eventually have guides written for other languages and countries too: then we really would have a "one-stop shop" for anyone seeking start-up information.

If the managers of ProZ would be interested in such a project feel free to contact me.

Best rgds

Neil


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 05:06
French to English
Neil, this "carrying on" might actually help you, believe it or not Dec 13, 2005

Neil Colledge wrote:

If anyone had bothered reading down the page before complaining they would have seen this. In view of that, I fail to see how I'm claiming to be "right".




For starters, the part about being "right," well, that came from *you* in the French thread and that is the *only* thing I have issue with. You are presenting "market" rates as being the "norm" when in fact they are at the low end. (I can vouch for this as I currently am at 10 to 12 cents per source word with my agency clients).

Neil Colledge wrote:

Tous ce que je dirais à tout débutant lisant ce forum est d'aller vérifier pour vous même les prix d'achat des agences en France, et puis décidez pour vous-même qui a raison.

Bon courage

NC


Neil, I am sure that the thought must have crossed your mind when you posted your link that the part about rates would cause some controversy...didn't it? It is a *very* sensitive topic, after all.

The smart thing to do would be to take some of the criticism on board (some of it is a bit over the top, of course), brush up the content of your page and carry on with what you are trying to do, which serveral people (even those critical of the content) have said is a good idea. Now that you have some feedback you can make your content more credible and limit the risk of turning readers off as as clearly happened here.

Sara


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