Planning holidays
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
Jan 5, 2007

I've just started freelancing recently and I'm still building up my business. I aim to have most of my main clients in France and Italy. I'm wondering if any of you with client sin these countries could tell me whether August is generally a quiet month for agencies and companies.



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-01-05 23:31]


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Daniel Gebauer  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:11
Member
Spanish to German
+ ...
be ready for the unexpected... Jan 6, 2007

Dear Eva75,
I am a freelance translator for about 30 years. According to my experience, I can only tell you that typical holiday seasons are the best times for freelancers as most of the in-house translators are on holidays. Sorry, I don't want to spoil your holiday dreams.....


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:11
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
August is quiet Jan 6, 2007

Hi,

I have quite a few clients in these countries and my personal experience (this year) was that August is too quiet.

I had no work (almost) in August. Well, at that time I didn't think of holidays in France because I still had some work from my Indian clients and after hectic months of June and July, I was really happy to have that short break.

BTW thanks a lot for helping me understand the reason...

Hope this helps.

Ritu


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:11
Member (2004)
German to English
Tough choice Jan 6, 2007

Hi Eva,
In my experience (6 years) you have 2 choices in August - enjoy your holidays or work REALLY hard. The reason is - like December - if you are working you are picking up the jobs from all the people who are on holiday. It is an excellent time to find new agencies and clients because all the regulars are having fun. I have found January to be quiet in general - though I have to say I hadn't noticed this year! The first working week was REALLY rushed and frankly hard work!
You may need to take some tough choices especially if you have children but keep things in balance. The whole point about being freelance is flexibility, right?
Gillian


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 22:11
English to Russian
+ ...
Not so simple Jan 6, 2007

Eva, if you don't mind me saying so, I wouldn't start freelancing with planning holidays:-) The word was absent in my personal vocabulary for the first ~3 years. Sure I had breaks, sometimes bigger than I would bargain for because in the beginning there hardly is a threat of working yourself to death, but I was ready and available 24/7/365. The clients ruled, and I drooled. I didn't dare to set any schedules, just did my best to use available free time, whenever it came, doing something good to my mind and body. Building up business is all there is to it in the beginning. Today I could not care less when French, Italians, Russians, Americans etc. go on vacation - I take mine whenever I want. Certainly later on it would be prudent to respond to the market trends, timing including, but I believe Daniel and Gillian are being very wise in their posts.

Good luck!
Sincerely,
Irene


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Radu Nicolaescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 06:11
Member (2006)
German to Romanian
+ ...
beginner strategy Jan 6, 2007

As a beginner you may use the holidays as an opportunity to fill the gap of established translators , especially when you are based on short/medium or casual jobs.
If you get large projects you have to agree with the PM.

Otherwise you have to agree with your family.

Whatever, do not neglect to reload your batteries, even out of the current vacation perid.

Good luck,
Radu


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 04:11
Autumn is a good time to sneak away Jan 6, 2007

I tend to take my main vacation in September-October. I clean up on clients and projects during the summer, it is my busiest time by far. Give your clients plenty of notice so everyone can schedule accordingly.
I don't mind going on holidays later than everyone else. I prefer to take my hols in the off-peak season anyway as I burn so easily!

[Edited at 2007-01-06 17:20]


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xxxEmmanuelleAn  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:11
English to French
+ ...
Work, work, work Jan 7, 2007

IreneN wrote:

Eva, if you don't mind me saying so, I wouldn't start freelancing with planning holidays:-) The word was absent in my personal vocabulary for the first ~3 years. Sure I had breaks, sometimes bigger than I would bargain for because in the beginning there hardly is a threat of working yourself to death, but I was ready and available 24/7/365. The clients ruled, and I drooled. I didn't dare to set any schedules, just did my best to use available free time, whenever it came, doing something good to my mind and body. Building up business is all there is to it in the beginning. Today I could not care less when French, Italians, Russians, Americans etc. go on vacation - I take mine whenever I want. Certainly later on it would be prudent to respond to the market trends, timing including, but I believe Daniel and Gillian are being very wise in their posts.

Good luck!
Sincerely,
Irene


That's exactly how it is! I started in November 2002 and got my first "real" holiday in December 2006. I flew to New York. It's been such a nice breather. You can't afford to take holidays when you are starting! The first 3 years should be dedicated to work. I remember working on Xmas day last year. I had just "won" a new client. Fortunately my boyfriend and family have never blamed me for not always being "here" on "family/celebration" days. They know how much it can take to work freelance.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 04:11
Jan 7, 2007

Don't expect to take two weeks off and not get contacted about work.

I went to the States & Mexico last October and I kept getting voice mails and emails from clients. This was in spite of the fact that I had notified them two weeks beforehand about my forthcoming vacation. I may as well not have bothered sending them that mail at all.

They already knew I was on the other side of the world on a two week holiday and was not in a position to help in any way. As if I even want to know about translation while I'm on a trip of a lifetime!

Now, that's not to say you can never take a holiday, but for the next year or so while you're starting out, a long weekend here and there is really the only chance you have for time off.


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Claire Titchmarsh  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:11
Italian to English
+ ...
It's too hot in August. Go on holiday! Jan 7, 2007

I agree with the other posts, the only "quiet periods" are the ones you invent for yourself by telling clients you're unavailable. Even then people will still send you things to translate as you're sitting in the departure lounge.

But in Italy, I can tell you that translation-wise July is a month from hell - so I take my two-week holidays in August, just to recover.

But you'll always manage to find work during August if you want it, to cover for other people's holidays.


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Cetacea  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 05:11
English to German
+ ...
Build a client base first Jan 8, 2007

IreneN wrote:
Eva, if you don't mind me saying so, I wouldn't start freelancing with planning holidays:-) The word was absent in my personal vocabulary for the first ~3 years.


I abolutely agree with Irene. I didn't go on vacation for several years when I started out in the business, either, but I did keep an eye on which period(s) of those vacationless years where the quietest. Of course, when I finally did go on vacation during such a period, I came home to find it would have been very busy. You just can't win...

Now that I have built myself a stable client base, the steady regulars get notified way in advance about any planned vacation periods. But when I'm gone, I'm gone. No e-mail, no cell phone, no nothing.


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eva75
English
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TOPIC STARTER
great! Jan 8, 2007

Daniel Gebauer wrote:

Dear Eva75,
I am a freelance translator for about 30 years. According to my experience, I can only tell you that typical holiday seasons are the best times for freelancers as most of the in-house translators are on holidays. Sorry, I don't want to spoil your holiday dreams.....


Brilliant, that's just what I wanted to hear! August it is then!


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eva75
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Easy life Jan 8, 2007

IreneN wrote:

Eva, if you don't mind me saying so, I wouldn't start freelancing with planning holidays:-) The word was absent in my personal vocabulary for the first ~3 years. Sure I had breaks, sometimes bigger than I would bargain for because in the beginning there hardly is a threat of working yourself to death, but I was ready and available 24/7/365. The clients ruled, and I drooled. I didn't dare to set any schedules, just did my best to use available free time, whenever it came, doing something good to my mind and body. Building up business is all there is to it in the beginning. Today I could not care less when French, Italians, Russians, Americans etc. go on vacation - I take mine whenever I want. Certainly later on it would be prudent to respond to the market trends, timing including, but I believe Daniel and Gillian are being very wise in their posts.

Good luck!
Sincerely,
Irene


Fortunately, I get very regular work from three main clients and most of these go on holidays in August, so seems I have it easy.

I also have no clients based in the US or other countries where there is a very tough work mentality... the French, for example, have a less workaholic mentality, from my experience.

[Edited at 2007-01-08 23:42]


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eva75
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes, agree Jan 8, 2007

Claire Titchmarsh wrote:

I agree with the other posts, the only "quiet periods" are the ones you invent for yourself by telling clients you're unavailable. Even then people will still send you things to translate as you're sitting in the departure lounge.

But in Italy, I can tell you that translation-wise July is a month from hell - so I take my two-week holidays in August, just to recover.

But you'll always manage to find work during August if you want it, to cover for other people's holidays.






yes, last summer i was available for a couple of weeks in August and one agency sent me work, that was good. But this was just pocket money, paid for my holidays!


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
Holidays must be Jan 10, 2007

I agree with those who say that being self-employed and having to hunt jobs, it is hard to plan holidays.
Some say it is hard to say if and when quite times exist in translation field. It probably depends on the language pairs, location of the clients.
July and August are usually holiday month for most people in the world, due to the high temperatures, in the nordic hemisphere at least.
There are regions when people have holidays (do to the same temperatures matters) exactly when others have winter time.
I know that also institutions plan some general holiday periods.
On the other hand one must also consider the family. Children have holidays and at least in summer they need and love to travel. Partners who work in-house can also not plan holidays as they wish, because of the interests of the company, of colleagues who need to replace or to be replaced aso.
You simply can not say to your family: I will do holiday on that period of time, when nobody else is free, or I can never have holidays.
So freelance and self-employed people have to carefully think before chosing such a status, about all riks, including holidays.
There could be a solution though: you take your laptop with you and work while the rest of the family is on the beach or in the forrest.
And yes: the medical problem. The brain (at least him) needs regular holidays, the same the eyes, the muscles and the whole body and soul. Try to keep a device working without break: it will soon burn out. No holidays, no quality work.


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