Off topic: Changing time zone - Losing clients?
Thread poster: Serena Basili

Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:41
English to Italian
+ ...
Nov 18, 2015

Hello fellow translators,
I've always felt that my future is in another country and not in Italy, and now I am seriously thinking about moving, precisely to my dream countries: Australia and New Zealand. I have many friends from there and I truly admire and love their attitude toward life. Obviously it would be a HUGE change in my life, but I was wondering if it could affect my business, too. (Here come my question- finallyicon_biggrin.gif )

Has any of you experienced a loss in usual client when changed time zone?

Thanks for your timeicon_smile.gif


Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
... Nov 18, 2015

You will be in Tuesday, while they are still in Monday.
Living with kiwis you'll have a whole +1 day ahead of your European clients.
So, the deadlines will be not so dead....


Chie. I  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:41
Member (2013)
English to Japanese
+ ...
Mostly okay and looking forward to new opportunity Nov 18, 2015

It is not about moving but I work with clients in different timezones all over the world.
When client sends the wrong file and needs immediate replacement or end client asked something (small favor to translate, say, 30 words?),
I admit it would be a bit difficult but I believe agencies are rather flexible and understanding.

Unless they state "prefer to work within the same country", they often understand importance of working with people in different countries. I recommend to simply ask your business partners if moving to pacific area timezone may affect collaborative relationship.

Besides losing client or not, you can also focus on acquiring client by moving in. You may be closer to new client who are in need of translators or freelancer of your language pair. If you are willing enough you can also seek the opportunity to meet new collaborators.

Best of luck for your futureicon_smile.gif


Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:41
English to Italian
+ ...
Thank you very much! Nov 18, 2015

@Chie. I: If I get to make my dream come to, I could possibly come to meet you during the 2019 RWCicon_biggrin.gif

@Sergei: mhmm.. never thought about it! ;D


Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:41
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
TZ problems much exaggerated Nov 18, 2015

Serena Basili wrote:
Has any of you experienced a loss in usual client when changed time zone?

Strictly speaking I can't answer your questions, as I haven't changed time zone. However, despite being based in the UK I have clients across the globe, in the Americas, Europe and in Japan. I seem to be able to handle them all without time-related problems. So I wouldn't let that hold you back.



Ben Senior  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:41
German to English
It can have its advantages too Nov 18, 2015

I've been working with an agency in New Zealand for almost nine years now and have never encountered a problem with the time difference. They are 12 hours ahead of CET and they can send me a job in the afternoon which I would pick up a couple of hours later, morning in Germany, work on the file during the day and send it back in the afternoon German time. When they open their office next day New Zealand time the job is there waiting for them. It doesn't go quicker than that with European clients.

My clients in the US are approximately six hours in time behind me so there are a couple of hours in the day when we are all in the office if we need to "talk" to each other, but otherwise the advantages are same as for New Zealand.

The down side is direct communication with the client, I have to do that either very early in the morning or very late in the evening, but freelancers work irregular hours anyway. Using Skype, WhatsApp/Viber or the like I can talk to them on the sofa if I'm not still in the office. But how often do you make direct communication with your clients? I do it very seldom, mostly email is sufficient.

One potential disadvantage, that has often been discussed here, is that when jobs in Europe are posted many of them are advertised and given in the same working day here, but all that happens when New Zealand is sleeping. So the jobs are gone before you can quote for them. But if you don't do so much quoting and have plenty of ongoing clients this should not be a problem.

I think it would strengthen you relationship with your clients. I would definitely not shy away from making the move. Best of luck.



Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:41
English to Italian
+ ...
Thanks Dan! Nov 18, 2015

and also many thanks to you, Benicon_smile.gif


Lennart Luhtaru  Identity Verified
United States
English to Estonian
+ ...
My experience Nov 19, 2015

I work a lot with European clients and often during odd hours. I moved to CA in 2010 (-8 UTC). So Central Europe wakes at 12 am, UK at 1 am. You do lose some projects when you can't answer right away, but the clients who want you will wait a couple of hours til your side of the world wakes up. I'm in DC now (-5 UTC) and it makes life a bit easier as our daytime overlaps a bit more.

- you will lose some projects that need to be assigned really quickly
- you will sometimes get random calls at 4 am

- you will most probably get the projects that are needed next SOB
- you can reply to a bunch of emails at once instead of getting a flow of them during the day

Anyway most agencies are used to having translators all over the world in different time zones. Also, you'll get a new market where you can say you're local (i.e. NZ in addition to Italy) and will have an advantage compared to other translators in your home country.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:41
Member (2007)
+ ...
You may lose one or two existing clients Nov 19, 2015

I only moved one hour - from France to the one part of Spain that's in a different time zone, the Canaries. I didn't lose any clients because of the time difference, and only one client in the move - the only one who lived close enough for me to meet in person. I guess the "physical" side of our business relationship was important to himicon_wink.gif.

I would think that moving so far in terms of time would have some effect though. There are various things you can do to minimise the difference, particularly if you don't have a partner and/or family, but there are going to be limits. However, I wouldn't see it as an enormous hurdle. After all, many of us have clients on the other side of the world. I myself now have the (almost) unthinkable: a Chinese client who happily pays my European rates.

The questions I would be asking myself, in your shoes, are:
- How many clients am I likely to lose? Can I replace them with clients from my new time zone?
- How much extra effort and hardship am I prepared to accept? Do I want this move enough to make it work?


Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:41
English to Italian
+ ...
. Nov 23, 2015

Thanks a lot Lennart for your feedback!

Sheila, those are good questions! It is a move that I want to make in next 2-3 years, as I want to build a stronger customer database before (so no clue about question 1, yet!); about question 2: yes, I am more than willing to face any issue and to give my 200% to make my new life work. However, I am surviving the Italian fiscal system, so I can't really imagine anything harder or requiring more effort haha!

Thank you all!

[Edited at 2015-11-23 08:01 GMT]


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