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Thread poster: Jesús Marín Mateos

Jesús Marín Mateos  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:06
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 2, 2004

Dear colleagues,
I hope this is the right place to post this since it has got to do with teaching.
I am aware there are not that many freelance teachers but I'd appreciate your input/advice.
I teach freelance for different agencies and colleges in London. Every September I have got the same problem. In May/June these colleges and agencies contact me offering the best course in the world and ask if I'd be interested in teaching it to which I always say 'Yes, of course'. Just a few actually make an agreement and most of them say they'll contact me after enrolment has finished which leaves me and my teaching timetable up in the air. For example I have a class for Wednesday evening which I didn't really fancy teaching but they made a firm offer and I accepted, just today a college I would have loved to teach for rang to offer me some teaching on Wednesday evening too to which I had to say no. Sometimes I feel I end up 'dancing with the ugliest' because I need to secure my timetable quite in advance and wonder whether I should refuse a course I have already accepted.
I don't know if this happens to you but it is a big issue for me. Something similar happens with translation but since you mainly translate from home the problem is not the same, teaching you have to be there.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:06
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Learn dancing :-) Sep 3, 2004

Hi Jesus

I had the same problem this year, I had been working for a company for two years and an International Organization wanted me to work for them but one of the two available days for them in the timetable coincided with one of those in the company. For the new client it was impossible to change. My previous client was quite helpful and accepted to change that day (timetables can be modified too). But if it hadn't been possible I would have looked at two things: which one I prefered and which one paid more (in fact in the first condition you can find both).
I didn't have to because I was lucky.

So if you find yourself in a difficult situation because of timetables, I'd advice to talk about the problem (to both institutions) before refusing, there might be a solution. And the latest ressource would be to look at your own interest (respecting the contract, of course).


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
English to Tamil
+ ...
Just be firm and demand written commitment Sep 3, 2004

Same problem with interpreting assignment, in which case too your physical presence is required. Never feel bound by oral promises. Clients do not respect theirs. Should anyone contact me in advance for an interpreting assignment, I tell them firmly that I cannot promise that much in advance without a firm retainer fee. In your case too you can ask for one. In its absence you can make it clear that you cannot be taken for granted and that you will accept work as it comes, on a first come first served basis. In this manner you need not have any heartburn and your conscience too will be clear.

Once you build up your reputation as a man who will not be trifled with, you will be respected. Never be timid in your demands. The other day my Delhi client, who is an agency, asked me whether I will be free for a big translation assignment starting ten days hence and lasting five days at a daily output of 2500 words. I told him that I will guarantee him only 1000 words per day against my daily capacity of 2500 words. He wanted me to guarantee my full capacity. I politely refused and told him that I would like to be free to accept some higher rate works too in that period. And then I made it clear that should some big assignment come my way in the meantime I would accept that but I would definitely keep in mind my guarantee to him and suitably negotiate with the other client regarding his deadline. If after the ten days initially mentioned by the Delhi client no work was forthcoming, I will be free to accept any other work.

To be fair to my Delhi client, he in turn is dependent on his client. It has come about more than once that the promised work did not materialize and he is too well aware of this. And let me hasten to add that all the exchanges with him are conducted in the most cordial manner. So no need to be harsh. Just be politely firm. Nothing more nothing less.


[Edited at 2004-09-03 11:56]

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