Slow season?
Thread poster: Michael Marcoux

Michael Marcoux  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:48
Russian to English
+ ...
Feb 17, 2018

I know this seems to be a perennial topic, but man have things been slow for me in January and February in RU and NO>EN. I talked to a couple of friends that do SP>EN and FR>EN and they told me that they've been experiencing the same through these past 2 months - and that while their Januaries are usually slow their Februaries aren't, so for them, this is uncharacteristic. Anyone else having this experience?


Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:48
Member (2012)
Italian to English
+ ...
Similar threads lately Feb 17, 2018

Hello Michael,
There were similar threads not so long ago on exactly the same subject. Here is one example:


Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
Thai to English
+ ...

No such thing as slow Feb 17, 2018

Slow month for translations means busy month for marketing, training, networking, business improvements etc etc etc. Keep fighting!

I barely have time to do invoices, let alone do my taxes! Not so slow here.


Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:48
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Personally, I'm tired Feb 17, 2018

DJHartmann wrote:
I barely have time to do invoices, let alone do my taxes! Not so slow here.

Same here, though February is always a busy month. Too many nights spent working into the early hours... This weekend I have almost nothing, only a couple of smallish $100 - $200 jobs to do, and it feels great not to be holed up in the office.



Teresa Borges
Local time: 21:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Slow, no. Irregular, yes. Feb 17, 2018

The workflow has been as irregular as ever and I have been working full-time for over 40 years. Work seems to come always in cycles: a period of too much work is always followed by a (hopefully brief) period of nothing to do.


Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:48
Member (2018)
French to English
just Feb 18, 2018

jogging on as usual here, some days I'm busy, some days I can get on with other projects. Right now I have some dressmaking to get on with.


laure claesen  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:48
Member (2005)
English to French
Same as you Michael Feb 21, 2018

Yes, I am finding the same thing. January was just ok but Februray is terribly "quiet", actually, almost frozen even, like it's never been before --and I've been in business since 2003.
Wise advice to try and do other things that I was not doing when I was snowed under though.
I know work does come back, often all of a sudden but this time I am close to despair. Let me know, Michael, if business has picked up for you!


Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:48
German to English
No explanation Feb 21, 2018

I have an agency client that for the past 10 years has regularly sent me work – 25 jobs of various sizes so far this year. From time-to-time, however, I'll get nothing for a week or two, with the explanation that their own volume from their largest clients is down, and that their priority is to keep their in-house staff busy. Another large client, a publishing group, likewise sends work on a regular basis (14 jobs so far this year). Last year, I didn't hear anything for a month. During that time, even inquiries from occasional clients were few in number.

One solution may be to have a large customer base, but my own preference is to have a relatively limited number of regular clients with ongoing projects supplemented by others who provide work on a monthly or even occasional basis. Since retirement is on the horizon, I'm in a position to be picky.

I've learned that apart from seasonal fluctuations (end of the year, summer holidays), it's difficult to predict any cyclical ebb and flow of work. I don't worry anymore, but that doesn't stop me from obsessively checking my e-mail during slow periods.


Haneder  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:48
Member (2016)
German to French
+ ...
Slower but not slow Feb 22, 2018


I would say the workload had been slower but now slow. January is slower every year and I know i have either to take a holiday or save money. Last year was worse, I mostly lived through January thanks to direct clients and the courts.
This year this had been irregular but with an autumn close to burnout symptoms i had to learn that there is a life beyond translating 7/7. This year was not as heavy as the autumn but i covered my expenses (at least when i will be paid).

Usually the work picks up after the spring holidays, in march at the latest and i do not worry much, knowing that i will be missing there times for reading books soon enough.



José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:48
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Clients in cahoots? Feb 22, 2018

This must be some universal mechanism of fate in action, I guess.

My clientele spans a rectangle East of Sydney all the way to Istanbul, and South of Reykjavik all the way to Buenos Aires.

Sometimes, like last week, nobody needed me for a few days in a row.

Then, all of a sudden, four orders came in within a three-hour span. Two local, two from the USA. A couple of hours later, I had to turn down two requests from the UK, as I wouldn't be able to meet their tight deadlines on account of the four other jobs.

Though I'm 100% sure that none of these clients knows each other, from where I stand it looks as if they were all in cahoots, planning a joint attack on me.icon_smile.gif

Now, as I've just delivered the third one, and the fourth is 3/4 done (it was the first to come in, but had the longest deadline), it's time to check on a domestic client who said he'd send me a bunch of documents to translate yesterday, but didn't.

My analogy is to a roller coaster ride. An engine slowly takes you to the top, and then you go down at neck-breaking speed, sometimes slower. At times, you'll get to a standstill, from where you'll either go down again at high speed, or another engine will take you up.

The translator's second most valuable tool is Time Management. (The first is - and will always be - common sense.)


Alex Denver
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Slow season? - Yes Feb 22, 2018

For us, Its been very quiet for more than 6 months. The clients who gives us a job in a regular basis says that they doesn't have any job at present as their industry is also not too good at the moment! Hopefully it will pick from March. God Bless!

Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member because it was not in line with site rule

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:48
Member (2008)
French to English
Statistical variance and dependent events Feb 22, 2018

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

This must be some universal mechanism of fate in action, I guess.

If you have ever read The Goal, by Eliyahu Goldratt, I think you will find the answer in the theory of constraints. It's statistics. If you get an average of 1 order a day, you might go 10 days with no orders and the tenth have 10 orders - it's a question of the statistical variance. Then the dependent events side kicks in, because you can only work on one job at a time, so you can't accept all 10 orders - starting a new job is dependent on finishing the last.

It's a good read on an otherwise somewhat complex subject.


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