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Poll: Would it be easier for you to list 5 pros or 5 cons for being a freelance translator/interpreter?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:21
SITE STAFF
Sep 16, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would it be easier for you to list 5 pros or 5 cons for being a freelance translator/interpreter?".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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xxxsavaria
Hungary
Local time: 06:21
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I like being freelancer Sep 16, 2008

I like being freelancer.
I am not depending on anyone.
Nobody tells me what to do and when to do it.
I can get up whenever I want,I can go to bed whenever I want,I can have lunch whenever I want.And I can go and do my things even during the working hours if it is necessary.

I used to work for a company until 3,5 years ago.My boss wanted to regulate every second of mine,literally,he almost prescribed me when I am allowed to go to the toilet.
I hated that,so I quitted and now I am freelance.I wish I had a bit less translation orders and a bit more of interpretation related jobs!


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Sanmar
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:21
English to Dutch
+ ...
5 pros Sep 16, 2008

Let's see..
Pros:
1. Control
2. Job satisfaction
3. Flexibility to take days off, etc.
4. Decent earnings
5. Work from home

Cons:
1. Isolation
2. Fluctuating earnings
3. Insecurity - but I am not sure if being a freelancer is any more insecure than the position of employees who may be made redundant with very little notice and no/little idea that the company was failing. At least when you're your own boss you know the state of your financial affairs.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
The pros outweigh if you're in the right setting Sep 16, 2008

I think I may be right to say that those who make the most of the pros of freelancing are either single, or men (or both, obviously).
Family women (generally speaking) have a much harder time claiming the right to freelance. In my eight years as a freelancer, I found it very hard to separate family from work, the demands of freelancing from the demands of home, husband and kids.
Something was always suffering, and the much quoted "freedom" associated with freelancing remained a distant dream. So for me personally, going back to fulltime employment last week was the answer. It's still too early to say, but I think it was the right decision.


PS: I do know there are women colleagues out there who manage to get the balance right - so hats off to them!!

[Edited at 2008-09-16 17:47]


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Andrea Riffo  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 02:21
English to Spanish
More pros Sep 16, 2008

Pros:
1. Being my own boss
2. Flexibility to take days off, work half days, etc.
3. Work from home
4. Don't have to deal with office politics
5. Good earnings
6. My earnings directly reflect the amount of work I do

I could go on and on...

Cons:
1. Uneven workload distribution (1 week I have little to do, and the next one I become a professional juggler)
2. Fluctuating earnings
3. Some people don't take what I (we?) do seriously, and it can be a real hassle to demand that family/friends respect my (our?) working hours.


I don't think I'd be willing to go back inhouse, but I won't say "never".

Greetings


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Mila Lozano
Germany
German to Spanish
+ ...
my 5 pros Sep 16, 2008

Here they go!:

1. I can work from home
2. I can work from my native land
3. I save myself the commuting
4. I can get up late:)
5. I can choose who I work for

Right now I'm a freelance, so I try to look on the bright side of things. But even if I'm enjoy the work from home, I still miss meeting my colleagues every day and having a normal social life.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:21
Flemish to English
+ ...
Cons Sep 16, 2008

Pro:
You can chose your own fiscal regime, given that translation is not bound to a particular country.
Some are situated in Thailand, Barbados, Hong Kong and other fiscally friendly places.
Tax-deductions.
You can take a day/week/month off when you like it.

Cons:

No understanding by the public what translation entails and low status of the profession : clerical, administrative.
Translation is the"garbage can" for the unemployed,who know a foreign language, the (young)pensioners, who want to earn an extra, housewifes, who earn a second income, people who moved from one country to another and picked up the language of their spouses there, specialized professionals, who became superfluous for their company because they were too expensive and discovered translation overnight as an interim solution to their unemployment. When they are given a well-paid job they will not hesitate to go back to being an employee again and i do not mean in-house translator, but (financial) specialist (maybe some ex-Lehman Bros and other employees of defunct companies could join proz.com and become "specialised (financial) translator" overnight). From Spreadsheet to MsWord and CAT.
Chasing invoices, while social security contributions, taxes and other invoices are not waiting until your invoices are paid. Such payments usually have to be done at the end of the month.
Haggling about payment and nuances in texts.
Penny pinching.
Trados-reductions: No boss is going to pay you less or ask for a reduction if you repeat a certain activity (e.g. bricklaying) within the framework of your job.
Being continuously forced to buy Trados-updates to keep up.
Difficult/No possibility to attend courses at university level whilst being a full-time freelancer:
In some countries, employees get paid credit hours and paid time off to participate in exams..
Always an race against time. Sometimes the deadline is not the precise deadline
No face-to-face contact.
No golden parachute.
Once a freelancer, always a freelancer.
118 pages for 1500 euro or about 35400 words for 1500 euros or 0.04 eurocent p.w. in the G>E-group. Number of bidders 20. How low can you go?


[Edited at 2008-09-17 18:30]


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Nonethelss ....... Sep 16, 2008

Everything I want to say was said by other posters.
There are pros and cons I can mention, but the fact that I am working from home at my own disposal, without paying high gasoline for commuting/having to dress up and putting cosmetics on my face, etc. That outweighs all cons and odds.


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Sonja Kroll  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:21
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
In my case, the pros outweigh the cons by far. Sep 16, 2008

I've been offered another "regular" job today and declined without asking for the conditions.
The advantages of freelancing have already been detailed. I relish every single one of them.
Ok, there are cons, no doubt. Especially what Nesrin mentions is bothering me as well – kin happily popping in anytime they please... but I'd rather barricade this room or find a way to educate them at last than leave home at 6am, return at 8pm, let others tell me how my kids fare, let my boss tell me what to do and when, justify every unscheduled step, perform silly stuff and call it work, always just react – and all the rest. I love my job the way it is. Even with intruders.


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:21
German to English
+ ...
Pro Sep 16, 2008

Mila Lozano wrote:

Here they go!:

1. I can work from home
2. I can work from my native land
3. I save myself the commuting
4. I can get up late:)
5. I can choose who I work for

Right now I'm a freelance, so I try to look on the bright side of things. But even if I'm enjoy the work from home, I still miss meeting my colleagues every day and having a normal social life.


Agree entirely in my case (although I concede that Nesrin probably has a few valid points).

I cannot subscribe to any of Willamson's points. I see them all as 'cons'.


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Nigel Greenwood  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:21
Member (2008)
Spanish to English
+ ...
After 32 years of employment ------ Sep 17, 2008

After bieng employed in differente companies for the past 32 years, during which I have experienced all kinds of treatment from employers and colleagues and all types of 'benefits' (like traveling to practically all the developed countries) and 'handicaps' (for the same traveling, not having a good family life), I open my arms to Freelance working.

Yes, it has its cons:

1. Not regular earnings
2. No recognition of professionalism.
3. etc, etc.

But, what about those magnificient 'Pros':

1. Establishing your own own schedule.
2. Choosing your own clients (bosses).
3. Taking hours, days, weeks off, when YOU want to.
4. Variety of work, (not alwas the same)
5. Working from home or at least wherever you choose.

Long live Freelance Translation.



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Emmanuelle Hingant  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:21
English to French
"freelance" the key Sep 17, 2008

For me, "freelance" is the key word in this question. Being an in-house translator has a lot of cons (in my opinion) but I'm having a ball being a freelancer. I actually celebrated my 3 years of freelancing yesterday!

Em.


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Helen Matthews  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:21
Member (2008)
Italian to English
+ ...
barricades :-) Sep 17, 2008

Sonja Kroll wrote:

I've been offered another "regular" job today and declined without asking for the conditions.
The advantages of freelancing have already been detailed. I relish every single one of them.
Ok, there are cons, no doubt. Especially what Nesrin mentions is bothering me as well – kin happily popping in anytime they please... but I'd rather barricade this room or find a way to educate them at last than leave home at 6am, return at 8pm, let others tell me how my kids fare, let my boss tell me what to do and when, justify every unscheduled step, perform silly stuff and call it work, always just react – and all the rest. I love my job the way it is. Even with intruders.



- Have to agree. Having spent several years working in this profession on a more 'in-house' basis, and the last two completely freelance, for me, the biggest advantage is the freelance aspect, allowing me to (more or less successfully) juggle work and family... but yes, barricading is the answer: my study is the only room in my house with a child gate!


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Elisabeth Fournier  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:21
Spanish to French
+ ...
Freelance means Freedom to me Sep 17, 2008

All my 'cons' were already mentionned in this poll.

For me, the biggest 'pro' is freedom.
I was offered a good job 3 years ago, very very well paid, but I prefered staying at home, with my schedules, no commuting (it would have been 2 or 3 hours daily), no boss, no gossipings, no "office uniform", etc.

And most of all, and thanks to the Internet too, beeing a freelance translator means that you can work from ANY place in the world!
I usually live in Spain, but I spent 9 months last year in Iceland, just as an experience, and I'm planning to spend a while in France now.

So there's no doubt to me...


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