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Help needed on getting established
Thread poster: Luke Mersh

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
Nov 19, 2014

Hello everybody.

I am a graduating Interpreting DPSI student just resiting a few exams again.

My language pair is SpanishEnglish--Pathway healthcare.

Native in English.

My question is the following:
I was contacted via this forum to do some general medical claims translations for this client, but not being a professional translator I kindly declined the work.

I work from Monday to Thursday, but from Friday to Sunday I am free.....
I am looking for advice on getting established , ie-

1- how much work( words) should I take on for this time frame?
2- what rate should I charge for a beginner ?

I passed my medical translations in my exam and have general medical and healthcare knowledge.

I would like to start somewhere and get just get my foot in the door and gain some experience.

all advise welcome.

[Edited at 2014-11-19 14:58 GMT]


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ATIL KAYHAN  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 06:35
Member (2007)
Turkish to English
+ ...
Suggestions Nov 19, 2014

Dear Luke,

Good luck in your exams. If you would like to gain some experience in translating, and have some free time from Friday to Sunday, you might want to share this fact with your client(s), and only accept work that is relatively short. The definition of short here really depends. Nevertheless, I think it is still a quantitative word to describe what you are looking for. Most clients will have some idea what you mean by "short".

As far as the rates are concerned, I suggest that you use ProZ. If you look under the Tools menu at the right top of the main page, you will see a link titled "Community rates". Here you can find some statistical rates information for just about every language pair. What I would do is to pick a rate that is at the lower end of the scale/spectrum. As you gain more experience, you might slightly increase that number.

As a new translator, I would like to warn you about translation scams. Some people may contact you claiming that they have a translation job, and you do the translation. Then, you e-mail the work, and you never hear from them again. This happened to me once. Be especially wary of people who use common e-mail addresses such as hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc. A client should always have a company e-mail address.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Help needed on getting established Nov 19, 2014

Thank you very much for your reply.

I understand what you mean by the term "short"

I am not sure how many words per project I should accept to be able to successfully complete in that 3 day time frame.

maybe 500 to 1000+ words.

I will wait to see what other translators also recommend before starting to advertise properly on here and to re-do my profile on this site.


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
More suggestions Nov 19, 2014

Hi Luke,

An established translator will normally translate 2000-2500 words per day. Allowing 2000 words per day over 2 days (with one rest day) gives 4000 words so I would keep this in mind as an absolute maximum. But starting out with jobs under 1000 words just to dip a toe in the water sounds like an excellent idea. That way you have plenty of time to make sure you get things right.

I did a similar thing when I was a new graduate. I had a job Monday to Friday and did translation work over the weekend. I did pick up quite a few jobs because established translators are often unwilling to work over the weekend. Agencies would come to me for those rush jobs they get on a Friday that are needed early the next week. When I was ready to go full time I found I had enough of an established client base to make the transition fairly painlessly.

As well as scammers, you should also look out for bad payers. If you subscribe to ProZ you will have access to the BlueBoard where you can check out other translators' experience with a client. I'd definitely recommend that because you are particularly vulnerable as a newcomer.

Good luck,

Rachel


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Help needed on getting established Nov 19, 2014

Thank you very much again.
This is all very encouraging.
I want to get as much input as I can before I advertise on here.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Help needed on getting established Nov 19, 2014

Rachel Waddington wrote:

Hi Luke,

An established translator will normally translate 2000-2500 words per day. Allowing 2000 words per day over 2 days (with one rest day) gives 4000 words so I would keep this in mind as an absolute maximum. But starting out with jobs under 1000 words just to dip a toe in the water sounds like an excellent idea. That way you have plenty of time to make sure you get things right.

I did a similar thing when I was a new graduate. I had a job Monday to Friday and did translation work over the weekend. I did pick up quite a few jobs because established translators are often unwilling to work over the weekend. Agencies would come to me for those rush jobs they get on a Friday that are needed early the next week. When I was ready to go full time I found I had enough of an established client base to make the transition fairly painlessly.

As well as scammers, you should also look out for bad payers. If you subscribe to ProZ you will have access to the BlueBoard where you can check out other translators' experience with a client. I'd definitely recommend that because you are particularly vulnerable as a newcomer.

Good luck,

Rachel




Reading your first paragraph got me thinking..
I was in fact referring to a project of a 1000 words, not 1000 words per day,
but this makes me think that maybe this idea would not work.
please let me know.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Help needed on getting established Nov 19, 2014

ATIL KAYHAN wrote:

Dear Luke,

Good luck in your exams. If you would like to gain some experience in translating, and have some free time from Friday to Sunday, you might want to share this fact with your client(s), and only accept work that is relatively short. The definition of short here really depends. Nevertheless, I think it is still a quantitative word to describe what you are looking for. Most clients will have some idea what you mean by "short".

As far as the rates are concerned, I suggest that you use ProZ. If you look under the Tools menu at the right top of the main page, you will see a link titled "Community rates". Here you can find some statistical rates information for just about every language pair. What I would do is to pick a rate that is at the lower end of the scale/spectrum. As you gain more experience, you might slightly increase that number.

As a new translator, I would like to warn you about translation scams. Some people may contact you claiming that they have a translation job, and you do the translation. Then, you e-mail the work, and you never hear from them again. This happened to me once. Be especially wary of people who use common e-mail addresses such as hotmail, yahoo, gmail, etc. A client should always have a company e-mail address.


How do I share with clients the fact the I will only accept short projects??
many thanks


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Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 00:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tell them! Nov 19, 2014

luke mersh wrote:
How do I share with clients the fact the I will only accept short projects??
many thanks


Or put it in an e-mail.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Help needed on getting established Nov 19, 2014

Oh ok...

I guess when they first contact me with offers, I can tell them then.


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Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 00:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
You don't need to Nov 19, 2014

luke mersh wrote:

How do I share with clients the fact the I will only accept short projects??


You don't need to tell them. If a client comes asking for more than your work schedule allows, you simply reply: "Sorry, I'm fully booked until ...".

That might be true even if they want a 'very short' job - if you're spending your weekend on the beach, or are busy with someone else's 'short job'.

If you tell everyone 'up front' (eg: in your Proz profile, or in mass e-mails (shudder)) that you're only taking 'short jobs' they will categorise you, probably for ever as a 'short jobber'. When you've got properly established and are doing translation full-time, Monday to Sunday, you will find it very difficult to persuade them that you've changed your habits.

Don't shoot yourself in the foot even before you've learnt to walk - otherwise, you'll always walk with a limp!


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Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
1000 words Nov 19, 2014

luke mersh wrote:

Reading your first paragraph got me thinking..
I was in fact referring to a project of a 1000 words, not 1000 words per day,
but this makes me think that maybe this idea would not work.
please let me know.



No, I think you are right. Taking a 1000 word project over a 3-day weekend should give you plenty of time to do the job properly. And agencies do very often have projects of this size to place fairly urgently (more often than bigger jobs, actually), so they might be happy to have someone available over a long weekend. It sounds to me like a good way to get started.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Help needed on getting established Nov 19, 2014

Thank you very much for your confirmation.
This is giving me a good idea of what to ask.


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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Help needed on getting established Nov 19, 2014

I shall learn to use Wordfast anywhere, as this is free

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Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:35
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
helpneeded getting established Nov 20, 2014

Robin Levey wrote:

luke mersh wrote:

How do I share with clients the fact the I will only accept short projects??


You don't need to tell them. If a client comes asking for more than your work schedule allows, you simply reply: "Sorry, I'm fully booked until ...".

That might be true even if they want a 'very short' job - if you're spending your weekend on the beach, or are busy with someone else's 'short job'.

If you tell everyone 'up front' (eg: in your Proz profile, or in mass e-mails (shudder)) that you're only taking 'short jobs' they will categorise you, probably for ever as a 'short jobber'. When you've got properly established and are doing translation full-time, Monday to Sunday, you will find it very difficult to persuade them that you've changed your habits.

Don't shoot yourself in the foot even before you've learnt to walk - otherwise, you'll always walk with a limp!


On this website where it shows the calendar I have it showing the days I can work and the amount of words per day I accept,is this the right thing to do ?

[Edited at 2014-11-20 09:53 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Email contact during the week? Nov 20, 2014

A lot depends on whether you can accept jobs during the week, Luke. Can you check your emails regularly and maybe send off a quote during the week? If you can do that, then you'll be more likely to fill your weekend calendar. Just let them know what time you will be replying, if there's going to be a delay - if they know that they won't get a reply for a couple of hours that may be fine, whereas if they're just left wondering if you're ever going to bother to reply they may give up on you.

Personally, I would advise you to come clean abut the fact that you aren't available full-time. They need to have the idea that you're doing your best to help them, not that you just keep saying "no" because you're lazy or whatever. Emphasise the fact that you're studying exactly what you're doing (i.e. you're committed to this job) and that you'll be available for full-time work very soon - put a positive spin on things, as always. In general, try to avoid negatives, so rather than saying you can't do 3000 words, tell them you have capacity for 2000 if they're willing to split the job.

Wf Anywhere would be a good place to start, though I'm not sure whether it's entirely suitable for highly confidential work. For that, you'd be better off using Wf Classic (if the file's from Word, Excel or Powerpoint) or WF Pro. I believe both can be used for free for an unlimited period - the restriction is only in the size of TM you can build up. Once your TMs are big then you're probably earning enough to convert your licence to a full one.


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