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Off topic: Where do YOU work?
Thread poster: Helene Diu

Helene Diu  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
Member (2004)
English to French
Nov 23, 2004

I just finish reading the following column (quite funny, actually) about homeworking:

... and I feel like asking my fellow translators: where do YOU work? Do you have a proper, dedicated office? Are you working in a cellar? Or have you decided to rent an office outside your home because homeworking was proving too invading, or difficult, or brought you to the edge of divorceicon_biggrin.gif ?


Erika Pavelka (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:18
French to English
Home office Nov 23, 2004

My partner and I use a bedroom in our place for our office. It is set up just for work (does not double as a guest room). It's a great way to keep work separate from home.


Irene N
United States
Local time: 05:18
English to Russian
+ ...
Home, sweet home! Nov 23, 2004

Living (temporarily) between 2 countries 6000 miles apart, I have dedicated room corners for my home offices, light and bright, next to large windows. A small desk, fax machine and a printer in each place. Keyboards and mouses also stay and guard their respective places but the laptop travels with me. Can't imagine working at the outside office, only in solitude - otherwise I chat and smoke too much. Desks are still large enough to accomodate the red guy from the picture on the left hand side between the lamp and the laptop, and the chairs have wide seatback tops where his sister lies and purrs in my neck. In that setting I can work 12 hours a day. Of course, I don't drag them around the world with me, so they are not always there - they spend time with my mother and miss our setting too, I know that for a fact.

I was divorced well before switching to full-time freelancing, no problems on that end:-). Unfortunately, the fridge with food is too close... But I don't smoke inside.

[Edited at 2004-11-25 07:23]

[Edited at 2004-11-25 07:30]


Helene Diu  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
Member (2004)
English to French
The food calling Nov 23, 2004

IreneN wrote:

Unfortunately, the fridge with food is too close...

That's probably also my major problem! In my previous job I was fairly active and far from any readily available food supply; now I find myself dragged to the fridge too often, while sitting behind a computer does not work wonders in terms of burning fat.

My 'office' used to be a corner in the family living room, which proved not a very good solution with small kids about. So I now use a corner in the storage room filled with home spiders that manage to weave a new web between my desk light and computer screen every night! Spiders are not my best friends but I just don't have the heart to exterminate them...


Seadeta Osmani  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
English to Croatian
+ ...
Picture this... Nov 23, 2004

...small apartment, even smaller living room, a tiny corner there with all blessings of the new era: PC, printer, scaner, fax machine...

Although working from home, I never translate in my pajamas, although I've answered some urgent emails in that indecent outfiticon_smile.gif

Keeping work and private life separate-- for me and for now, impossible.

So, my work does play a major role in my private life and vice versa.

Greets to all!


sarahl (X)
Local time: 03:18
English to French
+ ...
Dining room! Nov 23, 2004

The dining room is probably the largest room in my apartment, that's where I work, sometimes in my PJs, but usually in my shorts. The fridge is close, but my bench and my dumbbells are even closer, and I can see them when I can't see the fridge -thank God!
I had to have a dedicated room, too many distractions in a living room or a bedroom.
I wish I had a guest house I could use as an office, that would be ideal.


Selçuk Budak  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:18
English to Turkish
+ ...
Home office, a dedicated room Nov 24, 2004

And contemplating to hire an office.
With a spouse and two kids, all demanding the attention they deserve, it sometimes really gets difficult to concentrate.

The major complaint of my sweetheart is that I have no fixed hours to be with them. "Unlike those with a regular job (by this, she means a full-time job outside), you work 7/24. So you do not give enough time to none of us," she says. And sometimes she insists on my renting an office, an idea that I contemplate seriously.

And my major complaint is: "I am distracted all the day and evening. Until you and kids go to bed. The only option for a concentrated work is to stay awake all the night."
And the compromise: I sleep less.icon_smile.gif


IanW (X)
Local time: 12:18
German to English
+ ...
Shared office Nov 24, 2004

I have a "Bürogemeinschaft" - a shared office - with two other translators here in Cologne. We share resources, make each other coffee and keep each other company without necessarily saying very much at all.

When starting out, I worked at home - in our bedroom - until I realised that I was not able to draw a clear enough line between work and home, so I looked for other alternatives.

All the best



Marion Schimmelpfennig  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
Member (2003)
English to German
Dedicated room in our house Nov 24, 2004

As a freelancer, I always worked from home because I found it much more convenient than renting an office - cheaper, the fridge is closericon_smile.gif, and I can easily swap writing with walking my dog or ironing some clothes if I find I can't find the right words right now.

The biggest problem was making my husband understand that when my door is closed, I don't want to be disturbed - that I was simply not THERE. He kept telling me, "but you ARE there! I can see you!" "No", I said, "I am not! Look, when you are at work, you can't be disturbed as well. It's no different with me!"

This 'education process' took a long timeicon_smile.gif


Helene Diu  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
Member (2004)
English to French
Very interesting ! Nov 24, 2004

Thanks for all your replies, it's very interesting to read about all the different options everyone are experiencing.

I think that as one advances thru their carrier and family life, some options get more practicals than others, and translation being flexible it's easy to switch from one option to the other. You just have to shove your hardware, dictionnaries, multi-socket extension cable and cat into a wheel-barrow and change 'offices'icon_biggrin.gif

I like the idea of a shared office that allows to cut costs and 'socialize' to some extent. Partner and kids don't replace the mundane coffee machine chit chat, and these days I find myself wanting to have lengthy conversations with the postman !


The biggest problem was making my husband understand that when my door is closed, I don't want to be disturbed - that I was simply not THERE. He kept telling me, "but you ARE there! I can see you!" "No", I said, "I am not!

Marion that's so true and so funnyicon_lol.gif

[Edited at 2004-11-24 08:18]


Kit Cree  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
Member (2003)
French to English
+ ...
under the stairs Nov 24, 2004

i'm under the staircase with a friendly spider - not as gloomy as it sounds and still part of a big living room.
whilst i'd love to have a space of my own in the house with that all important DOOR, part of the reason i freelance from home is to be able to keep tabs on 2 small boys. i'm considering a screen arrangement as a psychological barrier for all of us.
my family are more or less coming to terms with my way of working as they can all see the advantages (good to be directly on hand for a quick cuddle when you've banged your knee or your brother called you a 'moco') - now i need suggestions on how to get the idea over to house-guests that i am working and not just messing about at my computer whilst my husband is out doing a proper job in an office.
what does anyone else do when the in-laws come to stay for 2 weeks??? or is that the subject of a whole different thread?

it's true that the fridge is dangerously close but i used to work above a sweet shop! so at least i get to make myself reasonably healthy lunches and not chow down on quite so much pick and mix.

still, i'm tempted by a luxury office shed.....


[Edited at 2004-11-24 09:05]


Maria Antonietta Ricagno  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:18
English to Italian
+ ...
in-house office Nov 24, 2004

Hi everybody

I started working as a freelance translator when still studying at the university, so I used the same desk and the same room; then, when I had a house of my own, I worked
1. in a space obtained in the doorway (!)
2. in the living-room
3. at last, now I have a dedicate room which is our office (my husband's and mine). Both work at home, so we live there during most of the day (together with my cat Byron, who sleeps on my desk or the printer!)
So, our working conditions are the best I could imagine: no time-tables to comply with, nobody telling me what to do, sufficient space. The only disadvantage is that we 'talk' to the PCs every now and then!




Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:18
dream office Nov 24, 2004

At the moment, I share a house with 4 other flatmates, who luckily, are OK with me working from home (once we established a couple of ground rules about the phone lines, visiting clients etc, me not leaving my folders and papers lying around)

I work in my bedroom, which is not ideal, sometimes I definitely get a bad dose of "cabin fever". As I don't have a laptop, I'm rooted to the same place all day. However I have always seen this as a temporary measure and I am on the lookout for cheap office space in North Dublin in the next year, or else get a laptop with a wireless modem.

I long for the day I buy my own place (renting a place on your own in Dublin is WAY too expensive for most people) and convert a room into my own little office, with a luxurious padded chair, a big momma of a coffee machine, lavender scented oil burners, spotlessly tidy, with shelves for my folders and books, cds and a gorgeous in-house masseur!!icon_wink.gif



Kathinka van de Griendt  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:18
German to English
+ ...
Home yet again! Nov 24, 2004

Although I also work from home, I have a pretty perfect situation: I live in the country-side, have a house with paddocks, fields and trees all around, as well as a garden cottage which serves as my office. I see my horses grazing when I look out the window, I have a Senseo coffee machine sitting right next to me, the phones are just for business and my sons call me over the intercom when it's time for lunch! I travel quite a bit and then I just grab my laptop. As another colleague said to me not so long ago: "As a translator, my dear, the world's your oyster!"icon_smile.gif


Sara Freitas
Local time: 12:18
French to English
Home sweet home Nov 24, 2004

After a year of working on the dining room table, I finally have a separate home office that opens on to the kitchen. Unfortunately, the door that separates the two rooms is old (100 years) and did not have a doorknob when we bought the apartment. After months of searching, a special doorknob that works with the old fittings has finally been located and ordered, and I will soon be able to close the door (should limit those trips to the fridge...).

For me, having a separate office with a separate phone and fax line away from our main living area is essential. I generally avoid the office after working hours! I think it is a matter of personality; some people don't mind mixing business and pleasure, but I need to make a clean break at the end of the day.

In terms of furnishings, I found a great--and cheap--corner desk and shelves at Ikea. I also recently ordered an ergonomic chair (Herman Miller Aeron) and I will be sure to let you know how it is once I receive it, as there were a few postings on the topic a couple of months ago!

I have to say that I am pretty content in my nine square meters just off the kitchen.

My dream splurge would be a Nespresso machine, but that one is still on the wish list...maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas this year. The Senseo is much more is it, Kathinka?


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