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Having a baby as a translator - seeking advice
Thread poster: EUyounglady

EUyounglady
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:33
Korean to English
+ ...
May 27, 2014

I've been a translator for quite some years now and I've recently discovered that I'm pregnant. I'm posting here because I'd like to know if anyone has continued working shortly after having a baby. I know it's going to be hard, I just wonder if anyone (single mums?) could share their stories on just how hard it would be. I live in a country where abortion is legal. However I don't think I'll be able to persuade myself to do that, just thinking about it makes me feel guilty & sad.

I have been wanting a baby for a few years (biological urge), but this pregnancy wasn't planned because rationally we just can't have a baby. Initially I was cautiously happy, now, a week after discovering I'm pregnant, I'm scared out of my mind.

I won't become a single mum, because I live together with my lovely husband, who is equally scared by the idea. We depend on my income, which is sufficient right now. So my problem wouldn't necessarily be money, it would be time (indirectly, that's money). I wouldn't be able to stop working, I could probably take 2 weeks off without jeopardizing client relations & running out of money.

I know a newborn baby needs its mother all the time, with feeding every three hours (right?), parents of newborns always seem thrilled but permanently exhausted.

None of this sounds very comforting and I'm looking forward to responses from complete strangers, hoping not everyone will scold me for being irresponsible.


 

Emilia Prekate-Kyminas
Greece
Local time: 12:33
English to Greek
+ ...
Planning and assistance May 27, 2014

Hi,
I am a mother of two and my younger one is 4.5 months old (older one is 6 years old) so I can totally understand your position.
My best advice for you would be to plan ahead - you need to have everything planned, from your meals (frozen meals or meals brought over from friends are the ideal solution) to your working hours (you will determine these once the baby comes). I went back to work 5 days after my second son was born, but not full-time and I still work less hours. You can alert your clients in advance that you will be working less and for a short time you can arrange for more extensive delivery deadlines.
Of course, all this depends on your baby. During the first 2 months, I used to work when he was awake because he was sitting so quietly. Not anymore. I now look after him and the house chores when he is awake and do any work when he is asleep.
Another solution would be to arrange with your husband to take care of some tasks himself: he can look after the baby once s/he is asleep so you can catch up on some e-mails or work. Or he can handle house chores (there will be a lot of washing clothes, trust me J). Don't be afraid or shy to ask for help from anyone you believe can help you: your mother, your mother-in-law, a close friend, anyone really who makes you feel comfortable and you believe will make your life easier during the first few weeks.
So to sum up, all you need is planning and assistance. And one last thing: make sure to enjoy every single minute with your baby. The first year of their lives really flies by and you end up wondering when did s/he grow up like this?! Even if this means that you will be making a bit less money during this year. You can always take more work later.
Hope the above helped a bit and that you will have a great pregnancy!
Best,
Emilia


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 17:33
Chinese to English
With the help of a good man... May 27, 2014

Not a mum here, but a dad. We also had an unplanned first child, and it was... rather wonderful. At the time I was on a very flexible schedule, and we were doing mixed feeding, so when baby wanted a feed in the middle of the night, I was the one who got up and did the bottle. (Actually, I got quite a lot of translating done at night, plus I had a wonderful time bonding with the little scrap while everyone else was asleep.) My wife was getting full nights' sleep almost from the very beginning.

It is tiring, sure, but to be honest I think the "baby industry" plays it up a bit. Everyone in the world manages, somehow or other. It's a challenge for all of us, but if your husband isn't working, there are two of you to work together. I don't think a baby need be quite so scary as the baby books make out. Particularly in Europe, where you can get a lot of support from the health services, and the products you buy for the baby will be safe. Nothing will stop you worrying, of course, but in reality, nothing is likely to go wrong.

(Story of unnecessary worry: the first time Mikey slept six hours straight, Ann and I got into a complete panic and rushed down to the doctors with him. Turned out it was because he was tired!)

And think of it this way: how many people do you know who regret having a baby? I've never met one yet, and that's got to tell you something!

Good luck, and enjoy it.


 
Congradulations May 27, 2014

Dear EUyounglady,

You will manage. You and the child's father will manage the ups and downs of child-rearing.

I agree with Phil. Look at his picture: One picture is worth 1000 words!

lindaellen


 

Arlete Moraes  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:33
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Maternity leave May 27, 2014

Hi,

If you live in the UK, you are probably entitled to Maternity Leave.

My son was born in the UK five years ago and I was entitled to the benefit. I don't know if the rules
have changed now.
You can check this link: https://www.gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/overview

It might help you in the first months.

Good luck!


 

Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:33
Japanese to English
+ ...
Hmm May 27, 2014

I would be wary of having a baby as a translator. I mean, how much experience could he have?

 

Victoria Britten  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:33
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
It's not irresponsible, it's life May 27, 2014

My heart goes out to you. Pregnancy is a risk it is impossible to avoid entirely in a loving physical relationship; going through with it and preparing to greet that new life in the best conditions you can muster is the opposite of irresponsible. What a scary, exciting thing to happen!

I think the advice others have given is very sound; in fact, if your husband can help you with childcare, translating may just be one of the best jobs you could have, being near your baby all the time whilst working. Proofreading and feeding are entirely compatible activities, for example, once you get your hand in. And it does look as though you'll be entitled to maternity benefit, which should allow you to lower your workload a bit for the first couple of months whilst you all settle into a rhythm.

I wish you the best of luck with your new adventure.


 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:33
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Baby as translator May 27, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

I would be wary of having a baby as a translator. I mean, how much experience could he have?

@Orrin Cummins icon_biggrin.gif I noticed that, too, and smiled inwardly, but I think the slightly ambiguous phrasing is understandable under the circumstances. The poster had rather more pressing matters on her mind, which she - thankfully - was able to get some good advice for!

@EUyounglady

Congratulations! I can't speak from my own experience, but as has been pointed out, freelance translating is probably as about as ideal as it gets for accommodating a new baby in your life. Several translators I know have small children, and it works out really well for everyone. Once you get over the initial nervousness of having a newborn to care for, it will all become quite routine in no time.


 

Berenice Font  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 04:33
Member (2010)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You can do it May 27, 2014

I was drawn to this discussion as soon as I saw it because I am a mother of a five year old and I would really like to have another baby but I am equally afraid because freelance translation is very time-consuming and the income is really good if you work a lot.

Having a baby will require time, especially the first couple of months but I agree with the others that you can organize everything and also ask your husband to be equally involved in taking care of this baby and helping you when you need to work.

If you can work harder now and save money for later, it will be very good for your peace of mind too.

I think you can do it, it might be hard and you will find yourself tired, but time flies and before you know your baby will be going to school and you will be working all morning again.

Best of luck and enjoy every moment!


 

Claudia Cherici  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:33
Member (2010)
English to Italian
+ ...
you'll make it! May 27, 2014

Dear EUyounglady

first, you're not single! get the husband to help in any possible way, since you're in this together.
secondly, I had a baby as a freelance translator and although technically I wasn't single, I was to practical effects, because I was alone 90% of the time. It's hard work, of course it is, but it's happy work! and being able to be with your baby all the time is a priceless bonus, for her and for yourself. It's one of the great advantages of freelance work.
I never really stopped working, I even did a little work from the hospital...and I made it, so you can make it, trust me.
My advice is to get any help that you can afford, even having a cleaner in just a couple of hours a week would be a lot of weight off your busy shoulders.
Best of luck!


 

TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:33
Member (2014)
English to French
Little tips.... May 27, 2014

Congratulations! Having a child and trying to maintain your career is not always easy. Here are my most humble advices based on my own experience.

First of all, I am not sure how far along you are with your pregnancy, but I would hold off announcing it to your clients until your pregnancy is "settled". If you are freelancing, most likely you are working vitually, so your clients won't see/know about your little bump unless you inform themicon_smile.gif

Secondly, do make sure (and I am sure you do) that you keep your professionalism until the end of your term. This means, keeping up with deadlines, communications, etc etc. In other words, you will need to work and make it perceive as if everything is "normal".

There will be lots of unforseen circumstances. Thus, I would suggest that you do not take on too large of a project close to your due date. I understand that you are only thinking of having 2 weeks off, but if possible, try to schedule for at least 6 weeks. 2 weeks, that is when everything runs smoothly. But, sometimes, women end up having emergency C-section, internal bleeding, post-partum depression, etc and making the recovery time much longer. Or, if the there are some concerns with your baby (ie. jaundice), then you will need to stay in the hospital with your baby for days or even weeks depending on the severity of it. I am not trying to scare you, but just stating the facts.

Then, depending on how long you will be on mat leave, I would suggest that you keep an open communication with your clients. You can send them your baby's birth announcement/pictures, just so that you "secure" your position.

I hope that these little tips help. Best of luck and if you would like to discuss more about pregnancy, parenting, or motherhood, please feel free to drop me a private messge.


 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:33
Spanish to English
+ ...
Hehe May 27, 2014

Orrin Cummins wrote:

I would be wary of having a baby as a translator. I mean, how much experience could he have?


I'm already planning on spawning a small army of translators. Don't tell my wife (Gaby).

We don't have any kids yet, so we really can't help much, but we did want to congratulate you.

All I can add from being the oldest of six children is that the noisy end is the top, and the stinky side is in the middle, but closer to the bottom than the top. Babies also tend to be very sticky in my experience. Usually you have to feed and water them every so often... Let me know if I can help with anything elseicon_wink.gif

[Edited at 2014-05-27 18:57 GMT]


 

EUyounglady
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:33
Korean to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all so much May 27, 2014

Thank you all so much for your responses, feel a lot better.


I would be wary of having a baby as a translator. I mean, how much experience could he have?


haha, I originally had the title 'translator having a baby' but apparently it wasn't clear enough, and got changed. Just so you know my brain is still working, even though I have forgotten some stupid things recently, thankfully all daily life things, none work-related.


First of all, I am not sure how far along you are with your pregnancy,


Just a few weeks, my husband knows but nobody else knows yet... I'm glad I'm on an anonymous account right now


but I would hold off announcing it to your clients until your pregnancy is "settled". If you are freelancing, most likely you are working vitually, so your clients won't see/know about your little bump unless you inform them


OK, I was planning on not telling clients that I'm pregnant or have had a baby at all. I would ask for longer deadlines without specifying why. I regularly ask for more time than they initially want it done in and PM's often find it OK (i.e. they want something done by 15.00 and I tell them I can guarantee it'll be done by 17.00, ask them if that's OK). So I was figuring just like my CV doesn't state my marital status because it might lead to discrimination, I will not inform people of the baby... But I'd tell them I'm not available or ask my husband to reply to their emails. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing to do. I don't want to deceive clients, but business can be harsh. I'm not the cheapest translator so people really come to me for reliability and quality, and you know an unavailable + expensive translator is the first to lose a job...


I never really stopped working, I even did a little work from the hospital...and I made it, so you can make it, trust me.



I understand that you are only thinking of having 2 weeks off, but if possible, try to schedule for at least 6 weeks.



translating may just be one of the best jobs you could have, being near your baby all the time whilst working. Proofreading and feeding are entirely compatible activities, for example, once you get your hand in.



It is tiring, sure, but to be honest I think the "baby industry" plays it up a bit.


Ok, just looking at the various responses (thank you so much, so encouraging), it seems I will be able to work a bit during the weeks (6 or more) around giving birth, probably mainly replying emails... But I should try to limit the size of translations because my time will be fragmented. Getting the husband to help is part of the solution but he does work, even though his work just doesn't bring in the stable income we need. But he's not idle.


 

Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:33
Dutch to English
+ ...
Experience from an old "dog" May 27, 2014

I am at the other end. My kids are grown up and for half their childhood I was on my own. I managed to keep my career going and flourishing. You have to be strict on yourself. I found out early on that starting work at 5 was the best option. Gave me 2 to 3 clear hours in the morning but I am a morning person. Network with other young mums and come to some arrangement about looking after each other's babies. This becomes easier when the kids start school and will ensure that you have a break and time to do that extra job. Plan to work 7 days a week for shorter periods of time for a while but also ensure that you take a day or 2 off so now and again to recharge your batteries.

Congratulations! And, as has been said before, I have no regrets!


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Freelancer? May 27, 2014

I assume that you're a freelancer, and in my opinion, even though I obviously have never been pregnant, is that you need not miss a step. I have observed female employees under my supervision and my own wife work normally right through to childbirth, sometimes going directly from the workplace to the delivery room. They even seem to have more energy; well, they have to because they need enough for two. Pregnancy can have its complications of course, but many people stress the fact that it is a normal life process, not an illness. And certainly babies are very dependent, but they don't have to slow you down much, especially if you have the privilege of setting your own schedule and a man who can help. Yes, we men can help, and I was always pleased to do all I could. Plus I was the translator and at home, freeing my wife to do other tasks. If I had to go out to see a client, there was never any problem taking the child along with me!

So with any luck at all, your life should remain quite normal. "A lo hecho, pecho", we say in Spanish.


 
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