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Is the market slow?
Thread poster: RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT

RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English


Posted via
ProZ.com Mobile


Mar 31

I am in the midst of the biggest lull I have ever experienced in 8 years of translation. I have tried everything I can think of and still have no work. My question is, is this a general lull in the market (perhaps due to Brexit or the French elections) or is it specific to me? At some stage I will have to think about doing something drastic like getting a job but I have spent a lot of money and worked hard on my business (website, qualified membership of ITI etc.) in the last year and I would hate for this to go to waste. I love being self-employed but I need to pay my mortgage.

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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Not sure if this is relevant... Mar 31

Hey Ruth,

Sorry to hear you are struggling. I can't say much about your market because you and I work in completely different circles, but when I was looking over your profile to see if anything was glaringly obvious, I clicked the link to your website and it went to a completely different site that has nothing to do with you! After looking at your linkedin profile and see "wordsted" in the link, I can see that the link to your website on your ProZ profile is simply misspellt. I'm not sure if this has affected the flow of your incoming work requests, but in any case I thought I would mention it because obviously you will want to fix that!

Anyway, on to the actual topic: you said you have tried everything you can think of. What exactly have you tried? Perhaps some colleagues here might have some ideas that you haven't tried.

By the way, I just completed the ITI course "Advancing your freelancing career" which definitely provided some food for thought. The course is in its infancy and needs some tweaking, but I still feel it was worth the investment. If they run the course again, you might want to consider signing up for it.


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Axelle H.  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (Feb 2017)
English to French
+ ...
It seems Mar 31

Hello Ruth,

I was thinking about that today ... Brexit + French elections are certainly not a good " association" for our pairs of languages.
Unfortunately, I am not the best for advice you but I just want to tell you " don't give up "!

Les efforts et le travail sont toujours payés en retour ..

Cordialement

Axelle


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RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for picking up on that! Glad I posted! Mar 31

Hi Angela,
I am so glad I posted. I had no idea about that issue and probably wouldn't have noticed for years had I not posted here! I will correct it immediately.

Part of the problem is I don't really no what to try. I went through a stage of trying to target direct clients over agencies and went to a conference organised by one of my clients but no further work came from it. I spent quite a lot of money doing that which seems extravagent in retrospect.

I also spent money on a business coach and worked hard on developing pitches but I think the problem really is knowing exactly who to pitch at. And of course I live in the UK which makes it hard to meet potential clients. And the time I spent working on pitches and developing my website and so on was time not spent actually translating. I think I lured myself into a false sense of security that all of this would pay off in the long run but frankly I am in a worse position now than before I took the ITI exam.

I'm also kicking myself because I feel like I paid too much attention to all of the posts about valuing yourself and ended up behaving like a primadonna and becoming complacent. When I first got into translation I basically accepted anything I could. I know that wasn't the right approach but I feel like in moving away from that and attempting to be more discerning I have shot myself in the foot.

So, more recently I have gone back to registering with agencies but obviously my language pair is quite saturated and it takes time to build up relationships. I have also contacted all previous clients as well as any friends and contacts I can think of who may know people who need translations. I went to Paris recently and met a couple of previous clients face-to-face. It may not sound like much but I was much much more passive before and yet I had work and made money. Now I feel like I'm being pretty proactive and getting nowhere.

In short, the whole market seems like a total mystery to me.

I feel like a combination of bad choices and bad luck may result in me having to do something completely different. It makes me sad to say this as I think I'm good at my job and I enjoy it.

Sorry, that's a bit rambly!

Ruth

Angela Rimmer wrote:

Hey Ruth,

Sorry to hear you are struggling. I can't say much about your market because you and I work in completely different circles, but when I was looking over your profile to see if anything was glaringly obvious, I clicked the link to your website and it went to a completely different site that has nothing to do with you! After looking at your linkedin profile and see "wordsted" in the link, I can see that the link to your website on your ProZ profile is simply misspellt. I'm not sure if this has affected the flow of your incoming work requests, but in any case I thought I would mention it because obviously you will want to fix that!

Anyway, on to the actual topic: you said you have tried everything you can think of. What exactly have you tried? Perhaps some colleagues here might have some ideas that you haven't tried.

By the way, I just completed the ITI course "Advancing your freelancing career" which definitely provided some food for thought. The course is in its infancy and needs some tweaking, but I still feel it was worth the investment. If they run the course again, you might want to consider signing up for it.


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RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the pick-me-up Mar 31

Thanks Axelle. I really needed to hear this today.

Axelle Hawkins wrote:

Hello Ruth,

I was thinking about that today ... Brexit + French elections are certainly not a good " association" for our pairs of languages.
Unfortunately, I am not the best for advice you but I just want to tell you " don't give up "!

Les efforts et le travail sont toujours payés en retour ..

Cordialement

Axelle



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RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Spelling error. Oh dear. Mar 31

I found typos in my post and don't know how to edit it. Honestly, this is not a reflection of my work!

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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Dutch to French
+ ...
yes the market is slowing down but don't panic Mar 31

The market is slowing down, it's quite obvious
if you have a look at the number of Kudoz questions,
the number of jobs translators post on What translators are working
on.
But it seems as though you're panicking (wrong link, huge typo "Part of the problem is I don't really no what to try."). It's the wrong thing to do

[Modifié le 2017-03-31 16:04 GMT]


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RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
I needed to hear this Mar 31

Thank you David. I needed to hear that. I am staving off panic every day. Just hearing confirmation that it isn't just me is a big help. Spending whole days alone doesn't help. Maybe I need to do some gardening.

David GAY wrote:

The market is slowing down, it's quite obvious
if you have a look at the number of Kudoz questions,
the number of jobs translators post on What translators are working
on.
But it seems as though you're panicking (wrong link, huge typo "Part of the problem is I don't really no what to try."). It's the wrong thing to do

[Modifié le 2017-03-31 16:04 GMT]


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well... Mar 31

I’ve been translating for over 40 years and some months are better than others (that’s the name of the game when freelancing). One has to learn to be philosophical and to take each day as it comes. My experience is that a period of “famine” is always followed by a very busy time...

Calm


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RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Teresa Mar 31

Thanks Teresa. I've had famine periods before and I always worry but this is the longest I've ever had. I will keep believing though.
No doubt the work will come flowing in as soon as we get a heat wave and everyone else is down the pub


Teresa Borges wrote:

I’ve been translating for over 40 years and some months are better than others (that’s the name of the game when freelancing). One has to learn to be philosophical and to take each day as it comes. My experience is that a period of “famine” is always followed by a very busy time...

Calm


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:17
Member
Italian to English
I don't think so Mar 31

I experienced the very same thing towards the end of last year, and it was extremely unnerving. As I said in a previous post, it really was as if I had ended up in some crazed parallel dimension where some monstrous invisible entity was gobbling up all the work before it got to me. Like you, I was extremely perplexed, however things then turned around, and work is now picking up more than ever before.

The biggest boost to my own career has come from doing my nursing degree. I know that sounds pretty radical, but I have always been passionate about medical translation, and clients are finally beginning to see that I have solid knowledge in my specialist area. I'm not suggesting you go that far (!), however perhaps you need to concentrate more on developing your niche?

I'm sorry if I don't have much helpful advice to offer - the market can be a mysterious beast, but I'm sure things will pick up when you least expect it.


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RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Good ideas Mar 31

Thanks Fiona. That's exactly how I feel. I've also had quite a few job offers that ended up being cancelled. It feels like the translation gods are out to get me!

In terms of developing my niche, I would love to do that but it's hard to know where to start. I worry about investing a lot of time and energy in something only to discover it isn't the right thing and there is no work.

I have started taking an interest in smart cities so perhaps that's something I could find out more about. I guess I need to pick one thing and stick to it. I have a lot of experience in government but this isn't necessarily that helpful because most of these translations are put out to tender or handled by agencies I think.

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

I experienced the very same thing towards the end of last year, and it was extremely unnerving. As I said in a previous post, it really was as if I had ended up in some crazed parallel dimension where some monstrous invisible entity was gobbling up all the work before it got to me. Like you, I was extremely perplexed, however things then turned around, and work is now picking up more than ever before.

The biggest boost to my own career has come from doing my nursing degree. I know that sounds pretty radical, but I have always been passionate about medical translation, and clients are finally beginning to see that I have solid knowledge in my specialist area. I'm not suggesting you go that far (!), however perhaps you need to concentrate more on developing your niche?

I'm sorry if I don't have much helpful advice to offer - the market can be a mysterious beast, but I'm sure things will pick up when you least expect it.



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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:17
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Do SOMETHING, anything; not nothing Mar 31

RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT wrote:
Thank you David. I needed to hear that. I am staving off panic every day. Just hearing confirmation that it isn't just me is a big help. Spending whole days alone doesn't help. Maybe I need to do some gardening.

Gardening is a very good idea, particularly at this time of the year. Invest some effort in sowing seeds, taking cuttings and potting things on. They'll need lots of TLC for a while after you've done that. I can almost guarantee that once you've spent all that effort on them, the work fill come flooding in. You won't even notice the poor little things dying of thirst and neglect. It's amazing how often it's worked for me, and how little of my anticipated fruit and vegetable harvest we actually get to eat each year .

Alternatively, take a holiday in France. Inform all your regular/recent clients that you'll be unavailable during that time, and then inform them that you're back and ready to handle their texts.


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David GAY  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Dutch to French
+ ...
yes Mar 31

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

I experienced the very same thing towards the end of last year, and it was extremely unnerving. As I said in a previous post, it really was as if I had ended up in some crazed parallel dimension where some monstrous invisible entity was gobbling up all the work before it got to me. Like you, I was extremely perplexed, however things then turned around, and work is now picking up more than ever before.

The biggest boost to my own career has come from doing my nursing degree. I know that sounds pretty radical, but I have always been passionate about medical translation, and clients are finally beginning to see that I have solid knowledge in my specialist area. I'm not suggesting you go that far (!), however perhaps you need to concentrate more on developing your niche?

I'm sorry if I don't have much helpful advice to offer - the market can be a mysterious beast, but I'm sure things will pick up when you least expect it.


yes but medical translation is not cyclical

[Modifié le 2017-03-31 16:30 GMT]


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RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
I think you're right! Mar 31

Every year I do just this: have a day off from translating to sow seeds and sort the garden out...then every year I got submerged by work and everything dies. I really should make the most of this time. I just need to keep the faith.

I can't really afford to go to France again unfortunately but I can certainly give my garden some love.

Thanks Sheila.

Sheila Wilson wrote:

RUTH ELIZABETH BARTLETT wrote:
Thank you David. I needed to hear that. I am staving off panic every day. Just hearing confirmation that it isn't just me is a big help. Spending whole days alone doesn't help. Maybe I need to do some gardening.

Gardening is a very good idea, particularly at this time of the year. Invest some effort in sowing seeds, taking cuttings and potting things on. They'll need lots of TLC for a while after you've done that. I can almost guarantee that once you've spent all that effort on them, the work fill come flooding in. You won't even notice the poor little things dying of thirst and neglect. It's amazing how often it's worked for me, and how little of my anticipated fruit and vegetable harvest we actually get to eat each year .

Alternatively, take a holiday in France. Inform all your regular/recent clients that you'll be unavailable during that time, and then inform them that you're back and ready to handle their texts.


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