# Poll: According to your estimation, what percentage of your total working hours are billable?

Poll: According to your estimation, what percentage of your total working hours are billable?

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:17
SITE STAFF
 Nov 24, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "According to your estimation, what percentage of your total working hours are billable?".

This poll was originally submitted by Bin Tiede. View the poll results »

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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 05:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
 Other Nov 24, 2012

I don't really understand the question. Unless it refers to household chores etc, or occasional favours done for friends or acquaintances, I charge for all my time. Real time. AFAIK, I bill for all the hours I spend on work, based on my own subjective (and as honest as possible) calculations.

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Muriel Vasconcellos
United States
Local time: 20:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
 Not sure I understand the question Nov 24, 2012

I understood this to mean: How much of your working time do you spend on tasks other than actual translation?

Based on this understanding, I said more than 90%. The only other thing I do is create invoices and keep my job log up to date.

It could also mean: How much time do you waste surfing the Internet on matters unrelated to the translation at hand? If "working hours" includes time wasted in front of the computer, then my answer would be different.

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United Kingdom
Local time: 04:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
 My feeling exactly Nov 24, 2012

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

I understood this to mean: How much of your working time do you spend on tasks other than actual translation?

Based on this understanding, I said more than 90%. The only other thing I do is create invoices and keep my job log up to date.

I voted more than 90% as more than 90% of my jobs are interpreting jobs and I love it this way

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Tim Drayton
Cyprus
Local time: 06:17
Turkish to English
+ ...
 More than 90%, but ... Nov 24, 2012

I voted "more than 90%", but on, second thoughts, I spend a lot of time studying legal text books to improve myself as a legal translator. Time spent on professional development probably counts as work. I have no idea what percentage of my time this would account for, though, as I do not keep records of time spent this way.

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Oliver Lawrence
Italy
Local time: 05:17
Italian to English
+ ...
 I suspect that the real % isn't as high as many people think... Nov 24, 2012

...after you add in the work time you spend answering emails, signing NDAs, putting together quotes, aligning files, managing TMs and glossaries, converting PDFs to Word, doing backups, updating your CV, blogging, renewing professional memberships, answering polls, browsing KudoZ, reading work-related articles, Twitter, dealing with your taxes, answering the phone, creating invoices, installing business software, computer maintenance, following translator forums, attending webinars, reading books, getting distracted while you work, etc etc etc

[Edited at 2012-11-24 13:19 GMT]

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Michael Harris
Germany
Local time: 05:17
Member (2006)
German to English
 Other Nov 24, 2012

as when I "work", I bill the 100%. I do not include any other things in my price, such as invoicing and such are not my customer problem

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 04:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
 Other Nov 24, 2012

No idea! I am much more concerned with improving quality than on the insatiable demands of productivity...

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Robert Forstag
United States
Local time: 23:17
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
 Depends on how concept of "working hours" is defined Nov 24, 2012

Oliver Lawrence wrote:

...after you add in the work time you spend answering emails, signing NDAs, putting together quotes, aligning files, managing TMs and glossaries, converting PDFs to Word, doing backups, updating your CV, blogging, renewing professional memberships, answering polls, browsing KudoZ, reading work-related articles, Twitter, dealing with your taxes, answering the phone, creating invoices, installing business software, computer maintenance, following translator forums, attending webinars, reading books, getting distracted while you work, etc etc etc

[Edited at 2012-11-24 13:19 GMT]

The confusion regarding this question has to do with how one defines "work." I personally would not include "answering polls" and "reading work-related articles," tweeting, or calculating taxes as "work."

E-mails, paperwork, and creating invoices do, however, qualify. I therefore answered "more than 90%."

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JaneD
Sweden
Local time: 05:17
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
 Seems clear to me Nov 24, 2012

I understood this to mean "What proportion of the time you spend working is time that directly earns you money?" (i.e. not invoicing or admin, however important they are).

I keep a fairly close track of the time I spend per job, because I realised some time ago that some jobs which I felt were probably not worth doing in terms of the rate offered actually took very little time and thus worked out to be a much better use of my time than others that at first glance appeared more lucrative.

For example, a particular offender in terms of the latter turned out to be translation jobs done for the EU; a very fussy client with technical projects and complicated terminology, which doesn't pay very well. The total figure for this kind of job may look reasonable but when you work out a "per minute spent" rate, it's worse than peanuts.

I now try to ensure that on an ongoing basis I accept more of the opposite kind of work, such as a task for a localisation project I'm involved with which takes *very* little time and as a result pays *extremely* well. It's also interesting totting the figures up at the end of each month and seeing which jobs paid most per minute and how long I've worked each month.

As Oliver said, when you keep track in this way you also find that you spend a surprising amount of time doing "other stuff", even if you streamline your procedures as much as possible.

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### Poll: According to your estimation, what percentage of your total working hours are billable?

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