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How free are we as freelancers
Thread poster: satranslations

satranslations
Local time: 09:31
English to German
May 21, 2010

The other day I read the following on the internet and it hit a nerve with me as I currently feel quite bogged down with work and not free at all. I therefore wanted to ask you what you think about the article.

Thanks in advance.

The link is:
http://tranfree.com/tf69.html

or

http://tranfree.com/tf69.pdf


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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 04:31
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks May 21, 2010

I read it and I agree 100%! That's exactly why I choose being a freelancer and keep declining offers from companies and embassies who want me to work in-house, in a 9:00 am. to 6:00 pm. schedule. It's because I want to be as free as I can; I want to choose my working shcedule, I want to choose my clients; I want to choose my rates; I want to choose the subjects I want to translate; I want to dress up in any way I want, etc. I want to be 100% free and that's what I get with freelancing. I'm as happy as can be

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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:31
Member
Italian to English
Agree in part May 21, 2010

I agree with the article in part; I think it makes some excellent points; however I dislike and challenge his attitude that we can all be happy freelancers if we just change our mindset and way of doing things. I think some people are just not cut out to be self-employed, but that does not in any way make them bad people or poor workers, just different.

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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:31
German to Spanish
+ ...
How free are we as freelancers May 21, 2010

satranslations wrote:

The other day I read the following on the internet and it hit a nerve with me as I currently feel quite bogged down with work and not free at all. I therefore wanted to ask you what you think about the article.

Thanks in advance.

The link is:
http://tranfree.com/tf69.html

or

http://tranfree.com/tf69.pdf


Maybe we have forgot to mention that the word free in freelance means working for free (understand peanuts) too, if someone of us has to make a nearly decent life in some recurrent recessional countries.

[Editado a las 2010-05-21 16:19 GMT]


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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
Absolutely correct May 22, 2010

I agree totally with the article. My main reason for switching professions and becoming a translator was that it gives me freedom to work as and when I want with no one imposing their own rules on me.

I no longer accept invitations to sign on at agencies who insist I define when I am available, for how many words per day etc. The answer is it depends: my availability depends on whether I am simultaneously being offered other more interesting work and/or a better rate and also on what other plans I might have for that day. One week I might choose to work 18+ hour days, the next week I might choose to take several days off. That is the joy of being a FREElance.

I think some agencies expect to have an employer-employee relationship with their translators. They seem to forget that they are actually dealing with independent service providers not with job seekers. For example, if these same agencies need the services of a legal professional, do they ask him/her how many hours a week s/he is available, insist s/he supply references, fill in cumbersome application forms? I think not, so why do they think they can impose these idiotic requirements when seeking professional services from a translator?

I've started standing up for myself a lot more recently, refusing to accept stupid conditions, unreasonable deadlines and rates below what I define as my personal minimum. It feels good!

I also don't agree with the comment about working for peanuts. Being freelance means being free to accept work from anywhere in the world. Therefore, I can avoid work from countries paying poor rates and also prioritise work that pays in whatever currency is stronger at any given time.


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:31
German to Spanish
+ ...
How free are we as freelancers May 22, 2010

Krys Williams wrote:

I also don't agree with the comment about working for peanuts. Being freelance means being free to accept work from anywhere in the world. Therefore, I can avoid work from countries paying poor rates and also prioritise work that pays in whatever currency is stronger at any given time.


Then explain me please why most of the LSPs outsource their translation services to China, India or other emerging countries. Of course you are free to accept or reject all that.

But, the LSP's are also free to look for their suppliers where it best suits their economic interests, which incidentally coincides with the lowest income level countries in the world...

[Editado a las 2010-05-22 20:14 GMT]


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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
Not that I've noticed May 22, 2010

Pablo Bouvier wrote:

Then explain me please why most of the LSPs outsource their translation services to China, India or other emerging countries. Of course you are free to accept or reject all that.


I'm not desperately worried about having to compete with translators in the countries you mention.

In the nine years I've been translating, I think I've been told my rates are too high perhaps ten times at most when responding to enquiries about my services. Over that period, I've increased my rates by 50+% without any problems. I don't charge bottom-level rates either and I am consistently offered far more work than I am able to accept. I haven't noticed any difference in the last year or so of recession either, which fits with what I've read about translation being a reasonably recession-proof activity.

Yes, I've had fixed job offers sent to me via Proz offering less than my rates. I used to reply stating what my rates are, but now simply delete those messages.

Of course, mileage may vary with different subject areas. I stick strictly to my area of expertise and do not take on work in unrelated subjects, so cannot comment further on that issue.


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ldiary
Japan
Local time: 18:31
Japanese to English
+ ...
The basics. May 23, 2010

In the end, I believe our FREE-dom is still bounded by the law of supply and demand.

[Edited at 2010-05-23 00:14 GMT]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Swedish to English
+ ...
Are you allowed to? May 23, 2010

Krys Williams wrote:


Yes, I've had fixed job offers sent to me via Proz offering less than my rates. I used to reply stating what my rates are, but now simply delete those messages.


Considering you've signed up to the "P" which requires you to:

"answer, courteously, inquiries related to services, fees and available equipment"


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:31
French to German
+ ...
My experience so far... May 23, 2010

Krys Williams wrote:

Of course, mileage may vary with different subject areas. I stick strictly to my area of expertise and do not take on work in unrelated subjects, so cannot comment further on that issue.


After nearly 4 years of freelancing, my experience is that nobody will pay no-one more for jobs that anybody could possibly do...

And: how many agencies are there in cities like New York, Montreal and the like? How come that some of these can pay their subcontractors twice the price "offered" by some others?


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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
it's a question of efficiency May 27, 2010

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Krys Williams wrote:


Yes, I've had fixed job offers sent to me via Proz offering less than my rates. I used to reply stating what my rates are, but now simply delete those messages.


Considering you've signed up to the "P" which requires you to:

"answer, courteously, inquiries related to services, fees and available equipment"


If someone does not have the courtesy to offer a reasonable rate, then I do not see why I should waste time replying to tens of enquiries every day. I can better spend that time doing work for clients who realise that expertise has a price.


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Krys Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Member (2003)
Polish to English
+ ...
That is the crux May 27, 2010

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

Krys Williams wrote:

Of course, mileage may vary with different subject areas. I stick strictly to my area of expertise and do not take on work in unrelated subjects, so cannot comment further on that issue.


After nearly 4 years of freelancing, my experience is that nobody will pay no-one more for jobs that anybody could possibly do...

And: how many agencies are there in cities like New York, Montreal and the like? How come that some of these can pay their subcontractors twice the price "offered" by some others?


Ahh, that is the point. I work in a subject area where "anybody" is not able to do the work. Just as an example, I spent 12 hours yesterday editing a translation done by someone who had no knowledge of the field. The speed of my editing (words/hour) was not much greater than my translation speed would have been for that type of document. So the client is probably going to end up paying well more for translation and editing than would have been due had a competent translator been selected in the first place.

As for agencies paying twice the rate offered by others, well obviously you make them your priority

[Edited at 2010-05-27 21:15 GMT]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:31
Swedish to English
+ ...
Agree May 28, 2010

Krys Williams wrote:

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Krys Williams wrote:


Yes, I've had fixed job offers sent to me via Proz offering less than my rates. I used to reply stating what my rates are, but now simply delete those messages.


Considering you've signed up to the "P" which requires you to:

"answer, courteously, inquiries related to services, fees and available equipment"


If someone does not have the courtesy to offer a reasonable rate, then I do not see why I should waste time replying to tens of enquiries every day. I can better spend that time doing work for clients who realise that expertise has a price.

Which is one of the reasons I've chosen not to sign up to the "P".


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Nathalie Schon  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:31
German to French
+ ...
No peanuts for translators! Join! May 29, 2010

Here's how to protest: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=189983816127#!/NoPeanutsMovement?ref=ts

http://nopeanuts.wordpress.com/

Put this badge on your website: http://nopeanuts.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/no-peanuts-badge/


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wordsmithin  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:01
Member (2010)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
Commitment to deliver quality May 30, 2010

I believe that it was as an impact of global recession that decreased the workflow for some translators in subject of their specialism. Thus they unwillingly started accepting projects in the subject they have no experience in, thinking that they will get their hands on this new subject too. But this doesn't seem to be working. Reviewers spend more time on proofreading and clients pay extra.
Someone rightly said that "Charity begins at home", its us who would have to take an initiative and start saying no to the subjects that we don't specialize in. And make life better for ourself and others.

[Edited at 2010-05-30 13:55 GMT]


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