Starting Out
Thread poster: xxxkarenee
Local time: 03:20
French to English
+ ...
Feb 5, 2007

Hi, I am looking to start out with freelance work. I spent about a year working for a reputable translation company in NYC. I am translating French to English. Granted the cost of living is astronomical in New Jersey, within the first few months of freelancing, can I hope to make about $3,000 a month? in bare minimum to afford the obsorbient cost of living here.


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:20
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Specialty and Connections Feb 5, 2007

Dear K:

In general, the French to English market is brutal. It is very hard to get started in it.

However, if you have the ability and knowledge to specialize in some area, i.e. legal, you may be able, providing you have connections.

Stephen Rifkind

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Rustam Nasyrov  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
English to Russian
+ ...
Are you happy with what you earn? Feb 5, 2007

I would suggest you to enter the thread "Are you happy with what you earn?" (Money matters), in which somebody claims to have earned 125 000 dollars last year.

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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:20
French to English
+ ...
careful... Feb 5, 2007

Rustam, if you read that thread carefully, you'll see that the poster said he/she had earned 'less than $125,000' last year.

I could make the same claim.

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Els Spin  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
So could I... Feb 5, 2007

And I think most of us could.

Unless I am mistaken about the USD-EUR rate?

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Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
English to French
+ ...
I'd stay in-house Feb 5, 2007

...if possible (only you know if you can), and then start getting free-lance jobs in your spare time, so that when you estimate you have enough work in order to "survive" in your conditions (in know what you mean because the DC area is "not bad" either in that sense...), you can drop the salaried position and be on your own.

Good luck!

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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:20
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I'm just starting out as well... Feb 6, 2007

as a US-based translator in French>English, and have made all my contacts through I'm moving into translating from teaching (French), so I'm only translating part time until June. I've only been doing this since late November, and already I have about four agencies that are regularly sending me work and a few others with whom I'm developing a relationship. I won't hit $3,000 a month within the first three months, but I think that figure is doable in about 6 months, with ample time spent marketing. If you're working on building your business full-time and you have a marketable specialty, I don't think its impossible to achieve - tough, but possible.

It's been helpful that I have have a law degree and about seven years of practice under my belt. I think it gives my quotes and application some extra weight. That said, I'm doing a lot of translation outside the legal sector. I've taken the following approach:

1) I'm being very reasonable about my rates. Not bargain basement, mind you, but I want to gain more experience and I'm willing to take a bit less to get it.

2) I honor deadlines and try to submit my projects early. Almost all of my work is coming from France, so I can use the time difference to my advantage.

3) I am very responsive to e-mails, and I think the agencies consider me someone who's reliable. If you're reliable, they'll think of you next time a project rolls in that fits your expertise.

4) I've been happy to do test translations for agencies. I've found that in many cases where I had the chance to test, I got great feedback and made the cut. Even without a translation credential, if you're good at what you do you can be successful.

That's my two cents. Good luck to you!


[Edited at 2007-02-06 04:35]

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:20
German to English
+ ...
Will your former agency be sending you work? Feb 6, 2007

I think you could if you start with a base of work from your former employer. To them, you're a known quantity, so if you have a positive relationship with them, I would hit them up for some assignments.

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