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Poll: Can you make a good living from translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 03:30
SITE STAFF
Aug 25, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Can you make a good living from translation?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mary Worby. View the poll results »



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Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:30
Hebrew to English
As a theoretical question.... Aug 25, 2012

...Of course you can.

On a practical level,...
I guess it depends on a lot of things. I'm not exactly giving David Beckham's bank account a run for its money yet, but I am only in my first year of 'trading' and starting your own business and getting if off the ground takes a bit longer than that I reckon.


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:30
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
'Good' depends on your perspective Aug 25, 2012

My wage is very average here in the UK but I appreciate it as a 'good living' because my material needs and wants are low. I think my main aim is to avoid the stress caused by being skint and to be able to enjoy the little free time I have as I please. I achieve this in two ways: earn as much possible doing translations and spend as little as possible on crap I don't need.

For some people a 'good living' might mean being able to buy big houses, posh cars and designer clothes. But I have no need for such things and I feel privileged to have what I have, which is an absence of poverty and the freedom to make choices. Most people in the world don't even have that.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
Reasonable Aug 25, 2012

It pays the bills and leaves me some disposable income, which is nice. I second what Simon says about the main aim of not being skint, although I did buy myself a cheap Fender guitar (250 €) the other day without having to agonise about affording it. Some might consider that a luxury.

PS: Since I live in Spain, my earnings are considered "good", as a minimum acceptable wage is set at around 1000 euros a month (mileuristas) and I make at least twice that, although many people earn considerably less. However, in UK terms my income would be seen as pretty low.

[Edited at 2012-08-25 09:22 GMT]


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Chun Un  Identity Verified
Macau
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I think I make a good living. Aug 25, 2012

Simon Bruni wrote:

My wage is very average here in the UK but I appreciate it as a 'good living' because my material needs and wants are low. I think my main aim is to avoid the stress caused by being skint and to be able to enjoy the little free time I have as I please. I achieve this in two ways: earn as much possible doing translations and spend as little as possible on crap I don't need.

For some people a 'good living' might mean being able to buy big houses, posh cars and designer clothes. But I have no need for such things and I feel privileged to have what I have, which is an absence of poverty and the freedom to make choices. Most people in the world don't even have that.


Well said Simon. I am totally with you.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:30
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I could if I had to Aug 25, 2012

I could manage on my freelance income, but I'd have to give up owning a home and move to a city where the cost of living is lower. Home maintenance never ends. Also, as my dogs age, they are costing me more money than I had planned on. Teeth cleaning for both of them costs US$700.00!

I get by because I have another source of income, which happens to be a pension from my job as a full-time translator--so you might consider it translation income.


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:30
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
As the saying goes... Aug 25, 2012

Money can't buy you happiness, but at least it enables you to be miserable in comfort.

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Gennady Lapardin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:30
Italian to Russian
+ ...
yes, reasonable enough Aug 25, 2012

hoping that the next poll would be "What hampers (or appropriate phrasal verb) to do it"

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
And I thought... Aug 25, 2012

Neilmac was going to say this is a show-off poll (snicker).

I remember making what I thought was a very good living in Manhattan, NY in the early 90s. I had my own apartment and enough disposable income, but I had no need for a car.

Now I make much more than that, I'm a homeowner (well, I own a condo), I lease a car, but medical bills in the last two years ate up a significant portion of my disposable income. Not that I'm disablingly sick, but silly things like physical therapy for a bad back, an occasional thing, set me back a few hundred dollars even with health insurance. With 21 years in the U.S., I still fail to understand the logic of deductibles, coinsurance and copay, on top of monthly premiums. It is as if lawyers run health insurance companies.

But, didn't we see this poll a few months ago?


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Pascal Grandpierre  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:30
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
It's way enough Aug 25, 2012

I have to admit, that I am sometimes working 12-14 hours a day, depending on the frequency of assignments - of course without corrupting the quality of my work (otherwise my clients would not contact me on daily base).
But after 5 years of working as a freelancer, I managed to assure a net income, which is almost 1,5 times the average gross income per month in GERMANY. So I suppose it is quite a good living, yes.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:30
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
sufficient Aug 25, 2012

i have no kids....if i did, my income would not be enough. The GROSS income is ok, but after taxes? but i'm managing, and I don't have to eat canned ravioli for dinner every night.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 11:30
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Enough... Aug 25, 2012

... to have raised my 3 kids by myself…

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Andris Dinaburgskis  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 13:30
English to Latvian
+ ...
other Aug 25, 2012

Freelance translation makes almost 100% of my income. I already have a pretty good living.

A good living, as I understand it, depends on my state of mind rather than on my financial success. Therefore, my earnings can create only a small part of comfortable life.


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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:30
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
With you all the way on that! Aug 25, 2012

Simon Bruni wrote:

My wage is very average here in the UK but I appreciate it as a 'good living' because my material needs and wants are low. I think my main aim is to avoid the stress caused by being skint and to be able to enjoy the little free time I have as I please. I achieve this in two ways: earn as much possible doing translations and spend as little as possible on crap I don't need.

For some people a 'good living' might mean being able to buy big houses, posh cars and designer clothes. But I have no need for such things and I feel privileged to have what I have, which is an absence of poverty and the freedom to make choices. Most people in the world don't even have that.


I am increasingly getting into the concept of living simply, cutting the crap etc, but as an environmentalist rather than to save money. I use bicarb and vinegar instead of expensive household products, I never buy clothes, jewellery, make-up, my hobbies don't require any expensive accessories, my tech purchases are solely work-related and thus pay for themselves, I have no car, I do my grocery shopping on foot with a wheelie bag... I grow tomatoes rhubarb aubergine and aromatic herbs in the garden.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Canned ravioli...Boyardee! Aug 25, 2012

Marlene Blanshay wrote:

i have no kids....if i did, my income would not be enough. The GROSS income is ok, but after taxes? but i'm managing, and I don't have to eat canned ravioli for dinner every night.


That made me chuckle. I once was poor and had to eat canned ravioli, reheated.


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