Does Perfect Timing exist ?
Thread poster: Evelyne Morel

Evelyne Morel  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to French
Jun 1, 2006

Hi dears,

I am back....after starting my small business one month ago, I finally got my first real (nice) project (YOUPI !!!!, as we say in French). I start having some interesting contacts (sometimes with offers) with agencies and freelance translators. But I must admit that being new to this business, I was not prepared for one thing.....TIMING.

3 times I got an offer, quite nice one indeed, but was turned off because I replied too late (compared to quicker translators). Too late means: 1 to 3 hours....for projects to be delivered within 5 days (????). Well, this is fair enough (first come, first served) I can understand that, but in that case, I am wondering: living in Martinique at GMT- 4hours I am working (contacting) agencies worldwide but mainly in France (GMT+2) and EUROPE (all GMT+...) as a start. If I want to obtain the jobs does that implies changing schedules....working at night....I it common for translators (beginners) to put their alarm-clock at 2:00 am every night and check their mails...
Just wishing you to share your experience and your way of working with me. Start feeling like my best friend is my computer (and its www conection) and anytime I have to leave home just feel so nervous about being back already.
Maybe just beginners' syndrome.
Thanks for your replies....
See you

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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 01:01
+ ...
Time zones Jun 1, 2006

Hi Evelyne,

Being in another time zone than your clients is often a disadvantage - you'll either lose jobs because you were asleep or away or whatever OR you have to be up at the weirdest hours to make sure you don't miss anything.

On the other hand, it can be an advantage, e.g. when a European client urgently needs a translation to be done by tomorrow and it's the afternoon already where they are, so all the translators in their vicinity are unlikely to be able to do the job and deliver it on time. But you are still wide awake and fresh and have an entire working day ahead of you...

I guess if you're a good translator, you will probably be able to secure returning clients and a (more or less) steady stream of work so the jobs you'll lose due to time zone differences will probably bother you less and less over time.

With you being in the Caribbean, you might want to consider offering your services to US translation agencies (or direct clients, whatever floats your boat). The time zone difference is not that significant there, and they are actually the ones more likely to be in need of your services, seeing as you translate from English into French.

Best regards,
Benjamin (translation agency co-owner)

edit: By the way, France has GMT +1, unless you somehow factored daylight saving time into it.

[Edited at 2006-06-01 11:38]

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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
Swedish to English
+ ...
Clients who work the same hours... Jun 1, 2006

...even if they are not "regular" office hours are good to find. I tend to work early mornings, take the afternoon off and then work after my son has gone to bed (fits with single-parenting!). This has an advantage when working with clients in the US, as Benjamin points out - but I also have a number of European-based clients (usually smaller agencies) who are also up and send jobs late at night. People also know to send a text to my mobile telling me to check my mail if the job is urgent!

I would recommend working on building good relationships with the customers you have - if they know your habits and the best way to communicate with you, eventually you will find that they can wait for you to wake up the morning and accept the job.

If you are a good and reliable supplier, in the end you will find that the timing thing starts to work the other way - that projects will fall into your lap when you need them (perhaps not all the time, but often enough). Some people might call that synchronicity, rather than timing...

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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:01
... Jun 1, 2006

No, you certainly should not have to get up in the middle of the night to check your mail, you'll go crazy after a while.
I reckon if it is really important, the client will phone.

As a previous poster said, it would make more sense to find more clients in the same time zone (give or take an hour or two).

Do the European clients actually realise that you're living in Martinique? For example, your Proz profile says you live in France.I know it is a DOM-TOM, but sometimes people don't realise or else they have a very shaky grasp of geography).

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
What I do Jun 1, 2006

I turn the computer on in the morning at 8 am and switch it off at midnight. I have a few clients in the USA and Canada and I have noticed they tend to contact you in the afternoon (their time), so I need to check my email until midnight.


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Evelyne Morel  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:01
English to French
Many Thanks Jun 7, 2006

Many thanks to all of you. Always a pleasure to have feedbacks from experienced translators.

Yes Benjamin, I will now target more american agencies (time different is indeed not that significant). Actually, I have much more replies and feedbacks from English agencies than French ones, so I might try USA.
For the moment, I have my computer on all day long from 6:00am till 11:00pm, as you are doing Laura, and I try to adapt my personal timing to be able to check my mails regularly without feeling trapped.
But no, I am not crazy enough (not yet at least) to get up in the middle of the night, not desperate enough.
I guess as you said Clare that by the time, I will have more regular clients and everything will be fine.

By the way I checked your website, Benjamin, nice one indeed !

Well......thanks to all of you. Should not be that long till I have some other queries for you.



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