Freelance Vs. On site
Thread poster: markge

markge  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:30
Member (2012)
Chinese to English
+ ...
Oct 24, 2013

Hey fellow translators,

Just wanted to see if anyone here has had to make the decision of whether or not to strictly work freelance, or to work on site at an office, and what the pros and cons you believe each option has. I am from a large town/small city where I do freelance work from home, and enjoy it a lot, but there isn't always a lot of work to do. I came to NYC two days ago for an on site office job, but feel like it is very hard to do. The city is very different, and the commute is horrible. The office itself is OK, but being stuck there for 8 hours a day is hard for me, as being a freelance translator, I have the option to take many breaks. Also, they want me to work full time for 10-12 weeks straight, something I can't say I have done before.

So I'm just wondering if anyone else here has had to make the decision of whether or not to continue freelancing or working on site, or any other thoughts about this matter.

Thanks in advance, and have a great day.


 

Cilian O'Tuama  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:30
German to English
+ ...
Check out the Being Independent forum Oct 24, 2013

Some relevant reading material here:

http://www.proz.com/forum/being_independent-18.html?sp=forum&forum_id=18


 

Oscar Rivera
Hungary
Local time: 05:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
These are my two cents Oct 24, 2013

markge wrote:

Hey fellow translators,

Just wanted to see if anyone here has had to make the decision of whether or not to strictly work freelance, or to work on site at an office, and what the pros and cons you believe each option has. I am from a large town/small city where I do freelance work from home, and enjoy it a lot, but there isn't always a lot of work to do. I came to NYC two days ago for an on site office job, but feel like it is very hard to do. The city is very different, and the commute is horrible. The office itself is OK, but being stuck there for 8 hours a day is hard for me, as being a freelance translator, I have the option to take many breaks. Also, they want me to work full time for 10-12 weeks straight, something I can't say I have done before.

So I'm just wondering if anyone else here has had to make the decision of whether or not to continue freelancing or working on site, or any other thoughts about this matter.

Thanks in advance, and have a great day.



If you need the money and wish to experience on-site work, then I think you should go for it. However, if you are already thinking about how cumbersome commuting and working will be, then you should carefully consider going ahead with the job.


 

markge  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:30
Member (2012)
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Little freelance work vs lots of onsite work Oct 25, 2013

Hi Oscar,

Well coming into this assignment, I was a little weary about how to find housing, and actually working full time with a non flexible break schedule. After the first day, I know that I would prefer to do freelance work, but the problem that I have been finding out is, I usually fail the translation tests from companies in Asia who give them to me, but do fine with British or agencies from the U.S. Though, even when I do pass, there seems to be no work available at all, and I am just a sitting duck, waiting for an assignment that never comes.


 

Marie-Helene Dubois  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lots of work is better than no work Oct 25, 2013

Hi Mark,

Having read about your position, I think that in your shoes I'd take the onsite work. You will have the opportunity to learn a lot, get some experience under your belt with (presumably) working only with one subject matter in-depth and potentially forge some valuable relationships for the future. You learn nothing from doing not much. I would see it as a learning experience.
Working with other translators, or even working closely with the authors of your texts is also invaluable.
You can always leave the job if it gets you down at a later date and go back to freelance work but at least you'll come away from it with contacts, experience and something interesting to put on your CV.
That being said, I do sympathise about the commute situation. I had the same thing in London and it does somewhat reduce your quality of life. Perhaps you can look to adjust that over time and/or move closer to your work.
Having experience in NYC will look very flash on your CV.
Good luck


 

James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:30
Russian to English
+ ...
Stick it out Oct 25, 2013

You don't really say that this is a job as a translator, but I assume it is because you say it's "on site" in an office.

If it is a staff job as a translator, I say take it. Do you realize how hard they are to come by? As Marie-Helene pointed out the experience you gain will be invaluable, and it will look great on your CV.

I realize that living in New York City can be intimidating for a small-town guy, but give it some time. You'll get the hang of it. Who knows? You might even come to like it.

I started my career as a translator working in an office with other, more experienced translators, and I moved a thousand miles in order to take the position. The mentoring I got from my team leader made it all worthwhile. I learned things I never could have learned on my own.


 

Simona Micutari  Identity Verified
Sweden
English to Romanian
+ ...
Great opportunity Oct 26, 2013

In my opinion, you should definitely not miss out on this opportunity and take this job. As previous posters mentioned, you'll gain a lot of experience, make contacts in the industry and you'll also have something valuable to add to your CV. I know it's a sacrifice, but I think it's worthwhile to go for it. There is a lot to learn!

[Edited at 2013-10-26 10:50 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:30
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
Give it a bit of time Oct 26, 2013

And once they know and trust you they may well let you work from home!

 

DS Trans  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:30
French to English
+ ...
I'd go for it Oct 26, 2013

I'm sure it will be hard work, but you'll learn a lot and and it will look great on your resume. I'm in New York, and would be happy to help if you have any questions about specific neighborhoods (feel free to message me). The good thing about living here is you don't need a car in most of the city. I don't mind the trains so much - you can get a lot of reading done while travelling.

 

Huasha
China
Local time: 11:30
English to Chinese
+ ...
If it's me, I'd take it Oct 27, 2013

I'd say, dare to change and challenge is a good thing. It's by change that we learn new things, widen our eyesight and pave a broader way for the future, no?
For the commute problems, emm, think about Beijing and many other cities in China, you will feel much better~


 

markge  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:30
Member (2012)
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Oct 27, 2013

Thanks all for your insight and encouragement. I appreciate everyone's feedback, stay blessed y'all!

 

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 05:30
English to Polish
+ ...
... Nov 3, 2013

Even if freelancing is what you're after in the long run, some in-house experience will help you relate to your clients better and enhance your credibility as a business partner and someone who understands business culture, isn't an incorrigible outsider that can't adapt to routine and discipline etc. etc. Plus, while the time to pay rate may be suboptimal, your workload may be suboptimal as a freelance translator too to the point of having you sit by idly or accept jobs at low rates. As an in-house translator, at least you have the dignity and comfort of an established salaried employee. There's also an increased chance of actually learning something in the translation and editing process.

 

markge  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:30
Member (2012)
Chinese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thirds Nov 7, 2013

Well, I decided not to take the New York job for several reasons, BUT I did take another job in Nashville that feels more suited for me. I plan on doing work outside of the house a third of the year, freelance for a third of the year, and spend a third of the year traveling/going on vacation.

Before I was obsessed with moving to NY, and wanting so badly to be there. But when I got there, I knew it wasn't for me. In Nashville, things are cheaper, and it's more mellow.


 


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