Poll: Do you consider yourself a good business person?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:26
SITE STAFF
Dec 10, 2009

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm not very organized about my work... Dec 10, 2009

...but I am business-LIKE in dealing with my clients and meeting my commitments.

[Edited at 2009-12-10 09:48 GMT]


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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 15:26
Italian to English
+ ...
Revenue - Expenses = Income Dec 10, 2009

By that measure I have done well, outpacing the national average in my country of residence by more than three times during the peak years.

One of the great things about this business is the combination of freedom of hours, freedom of place, and income for a given level of risk. Truly a worthwhile business proposition.

The main drawback from a business point of view is that translation is artisan-type work, each one is unique and time-consuming, the economy of scale quickly reaches a limit.


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:26
Member (2008)
English to Italian
maybe Dec 10, 2009

I can organize my own schedule, I am not very good at offering my service (I mean finding new fields), expenses and things? well they depend on clients' terms of payment, work given ans so on, but once I know what is supposed to get into my account, i manage things quite well.... at the end, anyway, I am more focused on the production part....

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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:26
English to Russian
+ ...
Curse of our time Dec 10, 2009

I think it is the curse of our time that in order to be successfull almost EVERYONE has to be a business person. It is not enough to be just a good translator. Too bad, so sad!

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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:26
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
very true Dec 10, 2009

I'm not super organized and not a great accountant. However, I'm forcing myself to be more organized.....and I am very good at dealing with clients, getting new gigs and that type of thing. But the actual monetary and organizational things, I'm less than spectacular.

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Michaël Temmerman  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 07:26
English to Dutch
+ ...
most of us aren't (enough) Dec 11, 2009

For some reason, translators tend to undervalue the profession (or what translations are worth), which leads to (sometimes ridiculously) low rates.
We have master's degrees and yet plenty of translators are delighted to get 8 or even 9 eurocents per word (I'm talking about translation into Dutch). No decent lawyer, accountant, bookkeeper, etc. would go for such low rates. At 9 eurocents a word, a translator would have to translate around 1,000 words per hour to make as much as an average bookkeeper in Belgium (which usually have a bachelor's degree and not a master's), and then we haven't even had time yet to proofread our translation.
I'm talking about Belgium/Western Europe, but I assume the same goes for all the other countries too. Of course, one has to put things into perspective, as the cost of living in many countries isn't as high as in Belgium either, but still.

Then there's the issue of terms and conditions. Translation agencies need translators to survive, but yet they usually impose their own terms and conditions, which are rarely favorable for the translator! Yet, when I tell agencies that I cannot accept their terms and conditions "as is", the usual reply is that they have never had any remark like that from other translators and that our relationship would be based on trust... Yeah right, then why do you want me to sign the paper that says I'm responsible and liable should anything happen?

In general translators are lousy business people...


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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 20:26
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
They have the right to try ;-) Dec 11, 2009

There is a Netherlands Dutch expression that says "Garantie tot de achterlichten".

If you come across an unacceptable item of the terms and conditions; just cross it out. Sign the thus adapted agreement and send it back. In most cases business will then start smoothly.

Michaël Temmerman wrote:

..snip.. the usual reply is that they have never had any remark like that from other translators and that our relationship would be based on trust... ..snip..


Lousy business people; Yes, I fully agree.

In general translators are lousy business people...


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
I have certain strengths Dec 11, 2009

I can safely say that I have certain strengths when it comes to the business-running aspects of being a freelancer. In fact, the project coordinator at an agency that has given me a considerable chunk of work this year recently said that I am very thorough and she appreciates it.

That's just one of my strengths. I can think of several other things I do well, like quickly return calls and emails.


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