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Advice needed...supporting myself financially while getting established
Thread poster: Sara Senft

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Nov 29, 2008

As the title suggests, I am trying to figure out how I can support myself financially while I get more established. As I type, I am getting semi-stable work. By that I mean I can count on getting at least one interpreting assignment every week.

I'm still not making enough to fully support myself with my income from translating/interpreting. I'm in the process of going back to substitute teaching so I can have more regular money coming in and still take assignments/projects.

Sometimes, I rethink going back to substitute teaching. That brings me to my question. How did you support yourselves financially until you became well-established? (By the way....I'm not married.)


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 21:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Fairly straightforward Nov 29, 2008

I built a steady clientele on the side over a period of 3 years while I had a "day job". In my case, I was required to keep the day job to maintain my residence in the country; as soon as that was no longer the case, I arranged a convenient exit. You could keep substituting if it's steady work until you have a good base of clients who wish you had more availability. If the system works the same for you as it did for my father in the districts he substituted for, you get calls in the AM for that day usually - so if there isn't a translation or interpreting job, just go to school and enjoy the day with the little monsters.

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Maaike van Vlijmen  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:57
Member (2009)
Italian to Dutch
+ ...
my solution Nov 29, 2008

I managed to get a parttime job that I can also do from home, so I won't lose jobs because I am working somewhere else when clients are trying to contact me. Also, it allows me to continue working while I'm travelling. Actually I like this job so much (it's a writing job) I think I don't want to give it up when I will have enough translation work. Right now I already have a couple of clients who give me translation work on a regular basis. My plan is to first finish my second degree (I already have an MA and I'm getting another BA) and then market myself more.
Good luck!


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 14:57
English to Russian
+ ...
Temping and/or part-time office job Nov 29, 2008

I'm sure you have some office skills (you surely can use Word!), so consider applying for temp jobs with agencies. You can create a second resume, the one that says "Bilingual office professional with superb typing, research and computer skills", or something to that effect.

Temp agencies usually call you the night before, so if you know that tomorrow you are available, you accept whichever job comes first - a temp job or an interpreting assignment.

Or you can find a part-time office job (with the same resume, see above) with a boss who'll give you flexibility. Not easy to find for sure, but possible. That's how I started - I was a part-time bookkeeper, and was moonlighting as an interpreter on the side, and gradually interpreting became the major source of my income. I also took temp jobs when the interpreting was slow, and I'll do it again I need to.

This should carry you through for a the time being.

Another bit of advice: if the state you are living in has Spanish interpreting certification, study hard to get this certification. Once you get it, you'll never have money trouble again.


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xxxPeter Manda
Local time: 17:57
German to English
+ ...
established? Nov 29, 2008

I believe the world changed in 1995 with the universal use of windows word processing software and the true spread and interconnectivity of people through the internet. This one single change has changed the way we work and the way we should think about work. Before 1995, the prevalent idea was to get a job and to become established. After 1995, the prevalent idea is to create as many opportunities as possible through all networks available (but most particularly the internet). The fact that we are communicating and discussing this in this forum even though we are countries and time zones apart is evidence in itself of this marked shift.
I therefore don't consider myself "established". In fact, I don't even think it makes sense to think of myself that way. My work can come today and it cannot. It just depends on the actual circumstances.
I therefore look for (and am open to) all possibilities that make economic sense and are viable long-term. If the relationship with an agency is a viable long-term relationship, then I take however many projects they offer me. If I can get a viable long-term job to support myself at the same time or as part of the process, then I do. My suggestion is, therefore, that you think "internet-wise" and "entrepreneurially".
This does not discount your following the typical path of education and training. Despite interconnectivity, you still need your degress, your in-class training, and your certifications and computer training.
Best of luck!


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Richard Bartholomew  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:57
Member (2007)
German to English
overwhelming force Nov 30, 2008

I applied, and am still applying, the strategy of overwhelming force. I worked hard for a long time at something paying a decent salary. I lived well below my means, saved and invested. After I had enough resources to support myself for several years, I made the break and devoted 100% of my energy to translation. So far, it's worked well.

This approach has at least two advantages:

(1) You don't have to divide your attention between two (or more) professions.
(2) You will have acquired a lot of specialized experience before beginning to translate.

Item (1) is especially important to me, because I prefer not to have to multitask. Your mileage may vary.


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Alp Berker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:57
Turkish to English
+ ...
online teaching Nov 30, 2008

Hi Sarah,
I found online teaching to be very compatible with freelance translating. If you have a Masters Degree, you can do online teaching quite easily. The online teaching of classes allows for flexiblity to do translation work also. Various Universities have online teaching programs.


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interpreter certification in CT Nov 30, 2008

I'm from Connecticut. Less than two weeks ago, I was supposed to take the written portion of exams needed to become a court interpreter for my state.

However, I panicked a week before the exam date and canceled because I didn't fell sufficiently prepared.

Come to think of it, I was probably more concerned about the simultaneous portion of the oral exams. I worried even though I knew that round of exams wouldn't come for some time. It takes three weeks just to get my results from the written exams.

I also tutor after school and on weekends. That's something.

--Sara
Alexandra Goldburt wrote:

I'm sure you have some office skills (you surely can use Word!), so consider applying for temp jobs with agencies. You can create a second resume, the one that says "Bilingual office professional with superb typing, research and computer skills", or something to that effect.

Temp agencies usually call you the night before, so if you know that tomorrow you are available, you accept whichever job comes first - a temp job or an interpreting assignment.

Or you can find a part-time office job (with the same resume, see above) with a boss who'll give you flexibility. Not easy to find for sure, but possible. That's how I started - I was a part-time bookkeeper, and was moonlighting as an interpreter on the side, and gradually interpreting became the major source of my income. I also took temp jobs when the interpreting was slow, and I'll do it again I need to.

This should carry you through for a the time being.

Another bit of advice: if the state you are living in has Spanish interpreting certification, study hard to get this certification. Once you get it, you'll never have money trouble again.


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 14:57
English to Russian
+ ...
I totally sympatize Dec 2, 2008

[quote]Srta Sara wrote:
Come to think of it, I was probably more concerned about the simultaneous portion of the oral exams. I worried even though I knew that round of exams wouldn't come for some time. It takes three weeks just to get my results from the written exams.

--Sara

Yes, simultaneous has been tough for me, too. I'm finally able to do it well, but it took me years, and I still stumble when there are lots of numbers. It takes lots and lots and lots of practice.

Even if you don't feel up to it now, I urge you not to give up. Order study materials from acebo.com and devote an hour a day to practice. If you stick to it, you'll make it.

Another idea about supporting yourself in the meantime: check http://metlang.com/pages/p3/employment.php, maybe they have jobs near you.

Good luck!


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