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Holidays and weekends
Thread poster: conejo

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:27
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
Nov 25, 2008

I am curious about how other translators who translate into or from Japanese take their holidays.

1. Do you take off all the typical national holidays in the country where you live? Or do you ignore national holidays and totally tailor-make your own schedule based on your personal needs?

2. Do clients pressure you to work on a lot of holidays? And if so do you charge extra?

3. Do you typically work weekends, and if you don't, do you charge extra to work on weekends?

4. Any other work-related holiday topics or stories are welcome.

It seems like a lot of my clients in Japan, even the ones who are Americans and Europeans, work all the time, including weekends, and work during all the holidays too. Another client (in the US) sort of scolded me because I didn't mention I was taking Thanksgiving Thursday & Friday off, which pretty much everyone in the United States takes off, so I didn't think I had to mention it...

Anyway, I would be interested in hearing about what other people do.

Thanks!


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Rod Walters  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:27
Japanese to English
Official calendar Nov 25, 2008

I work according to the calendar - any days shown in red are days off. So I rest and recuperate on weekends and holidays without fail. (Although on the very rare occasions that I've bitten off more than I can chew during the week, I will do a bit of work on a weekend.) I always turn down weekend work, and my clients rarely bother even to ask me to do it. In these cases, the deadline is often extended to Monday afternoon so that I can happily take the job.

If I'm going to take a non-calendar holiday, I send out an email to all my clients and contacts to inform them of the dates (and remind them of my existence).

All of my clients are in Japan, so it's easy to align my work schedule with them. American clients might be expecting you to follow a Japanese calendar, in which case they can benefit from you being available when translators in the US are on holiday. Christmas is often a busy day for me...

So to answer 3., I don't charge extra for holidays because I don't work on them.

My clients seem to work all the time too, and I'm concerned for their health. It can't be good for them.


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Alex Farrell  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 23:27
Japanese to English
I make my own holidays. Nov 26, 2008

1. I'm in Japan, and I basically make my own holidays when either there is no work or when I just feel like taking time off, like when I took a week off from translating when my wife gave birth to our first child ealier this month. I'm also planning to be off on Christmas and 正月, the first because that is just one day during the year when I absolutely do not want to work, and the second because I know we'll be busy doing family stuff with the in-laws here in Japan. Thanksgiving isn't such a big deal for me unless I were to visit the States; I just call my parents and pig out on KFC for dinner. (We don't have an oven big enough to cook turkey, and neither I nor my wife would know how to anyway.)

2. I get requests to work on holidays, but there's no big pressure from my clients. They're all very understanding.

3. I often work weekends, and I don't charge extra. I don't like to confine my days off to just weekends, though that attitude may change as our son grows up and starts going to school. We'll see.


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michiko tsumura  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:27
Member (2006)
English to Japanese
I decide when I work and when I don't Nov 26, 2008

That'sThat's the beauty of being a freelancer.

I sometimes get offers that I would have to work through weekends, a rush job I get on Friday with Monday due date or something like that. I'm usually busy with family matters on weekends so I don't take those projects very often. But when I can and if a project is interesting enough or paying enough to make it worthwhile, I take it and I don't charge any extra for that.

I know a lot of agencies expect you to work on weekends or a holiday (usually, they don't know it's a holiday) because we are a freelancer. I think that's understandable. But at the same time, they should know that we CAN say we're not available anytime, weekday or weekend/holiday.

I agree with you, conejo. It's like expecting a Japanese person to work on the New Year's Day. I don't think you needed to let them know in advance. If you work with them almost full time, I can understand that they thought you should have told them, but still...

Congratulation on the birth of your first child, Alex!!


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:27
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ty Nov 26, 2008

Thanks for your perspective. I worry about their health too... I find that when I work too many days in a row my productivity gets low and it ends up being like I didn't work that much more than a normal work-week. And it's reassuring to know that people are resisting working weekends... People need the weekends to rest so they can function as human beings.

Rod Walters wrote:

I work according to the calendar - any days shown in red are days off. So I rest and recuperate on weekends and holidays without fail. (Although on the very rare occasions that I've bitten off more than I can chew during the week, I will do a bit of work on a weekend.) I always turn down weekend work, and my clients rarely bother even to ask me to do it. In these cases, the deadline is often extended to Monday afternoon so that I can happily take the job.....

My clients seem to work all the time too, and I'm concerned for their health. It can't be good for them.


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 23:27
English to Japanese
+ ...
Exactly my recent concern after working as a freelance translator for nearly 10 years. Dec 14, 2008

Hi conejo,

I thank you for posting this topic into this forum to see how other freelancers are working on a daily basis. How others could have their days on and off is exactly my concern recently after working indepenently as a freelance translator for nearly 10 years since I'm fully aware it can be generally hard for us to evade working on weekends (otherwise how could we survive?). I'm mostly working from English into Japanese, however, I guess the situation is more or less similar to that where you, oppposite language pair translators, are involved. Firstly let me try out answering your questions:

conejo wrote:
1. Do you take off all the typical national holidays in the country where you live? Or do you ignore national holidays and totally tailor-make your own schedule based on your personal needs?


Basically no, unfortunately. I'm located in Japan and our national holidays are naturally not when people at the agencies I'm working with take off. Consequently, I have almost never regarded "our" national holidays as literally holidays. My principle is, "work when they ask". It seems I cannot change it.


2. Do clients pressure you to work on a lot of holidays? And if so do you charge extra?


I'm asked to work on weekends, that is only once in a while, though, on the other hand, I often have to work on weekends and national holidays when I accept a long-term project with a tight timeframe (unfortunately again, this is often a case with freelance translating). And as you may expect, I'm given no room for negotiating on charging extra for working on weekends, still less, national holidays, which looks like even more taken for granted with recent ecomony recessions.


3. Do you typically work weekends, and if you don't, do you charge extra to work on weekends?


Yes, I should say it's typical that I work on weekends, I mean, I always note I should be ready to accept works on weekends. In all cases, I agree with project managers on project conditions beforehand, including rate, and do not charge extra on weekend.


4. Any other work-related holiday topics or stories are welcome.

It seems like a lot of my clients in Japan, even the ones who are Americans and Europeans, work all the time, including weekends, and work during all the holidays too. Another client (in the US) sort of scolded me because I didn't mention I was taking Thanksgiving Thursday & Friday off, which pretty much everyone in the United States takes off, so I didn't think I had to mention it...

Anyway, I would be interested in hearing about what other people do.


Saying all above, I still feel it's definitely necessary for me to take, at least, one holiday per week, that is, only if a project condition allows me to have such time. To say the least, I'm finding this is most important for a healthier lifestyle because naturally I have other interests and needs besides translating in my life, which is worth more time applied. It's also necessary to be apart from "translation jobs" in order to be more keen and updated on language itself and get sometimes involved in free reading and writing, or simply wacting movies, which in turn is reflected in my translation quality for sure.

So in short, we are humans with various personal needs and need to take a day off per week, at least. But contradictorily, it's difficult to keep especially in confrontation with well-paid potential projects. Sigh.

Minoru Kuwahara


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:27
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I feel your pain Dec 15, 2008

My question sounded somewhat simplistic I suppose, and not that many people replied, but it is not that simple a subject even for seasoned translators, due to all the factors we have to balance in our lives to make this work.

I agree that if we don't at least take 1 day off per week, it is not good for our health, mental, physical, or otherwise.

I realized I should probably post the answers to my own questions, just for other people's reference as well.

1. National and/or religious holidays:
I work on the ones that don't have much relevance to me, or that I don't normally celebrate or have any personal activities on that day (like Labor Day, MLK Day, Memorial Day, etc.). Usually it's more convenient to take some other day off instead of those days because if it's a 3-day weekend, traffic is bad, etc. and it's better to travel another time anyway. I take the ones off (like Thanksgiving Thursday & Friday) that matter to me and/or I have some family or personal activities to do on those days. Then there are other times that I take time off that is not listed on the national calendar, such as other days that are important to me (like my birthday) or a few days to a week at the end of every year (depending on how much work I am being asked to do at that time), which I got used to having when I worked in the automotive industry and kept doing, as it is a pretty good tradition, helps you recharge at the end of the year.

2. Pressure to work holidays/charging extra:
Basically I think clients would want me to work 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year if I would agree to it. I am often asked to work projects at all hours of the day and night, and through US and Japanese holidays too. I have not attempted to charge for holidays, and I don't think I would do so unless I was missing an activity that was important to me in order to work for that client, in which case normally I would just turn the work down, so this has not happened. As you mentioned, it can be difficult to try to charge more for strange hours/holidays, etc., although I have been offered extra a few times by clients, which I took.

3. Do you typically work weekends/charging extra:
I try not to accept work that I know will require me to work on a weekend (aka "This project starts on Saturday morning and ends Sunday morning, will you take it?"), but I have had to work weekends to either make up time due to unexpected events eating up work time, or if a project took longer than I was anticipating. I have not charged extra for weekends and probably wouldn't.


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 23:27
English to Japanese
+ ...
It may be inferred that it all depends on our choices... Dec 19, 2008

So, conejo, thank you. I infer the pressures we're facing may be more or less similar in nature with freelancing... I think we all seem to make choices in our lives after all...otherwise, it could be easily "too much" situation....

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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:27
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Too much Dec 19, 2008

Yes definitely, this job can easily get to be 'too much' at times.

M.Kuwahara wrote:

So, conejo, thank you. I infer the pressures we're facing may be more or less similar in nature with freelancing... I think we all seem to make choices in our lives after all...otherwise, it could be easily "too much" situation....


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Minoru Kuwahara
Japan
Local time: 23:27
English to Japanese
+ ...
one day off a week - or better two? Dec 20, 2008

conejo wrote:

Yes definitely, this job can easily get to be 'too much' at times.



Well, I said we'd need one day off a week, but it' better - or probably normally (?) - two....


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:27
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Two is always better Dec 23, 2008


[/quote]
Well, I said we'd need one day off a week, but it' better - or probably normally (?) - two....
[/quote]


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