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Poll: Would like to be an in-house translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Local time: 05:53
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Apr 1, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would like to be an in-house translator?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Apr 1, 2013

I worked as in-house translator for 20 years and though sometimes I miss the camaraderie I definitely prefer working on my own and being left to my own devices. Would I go back? I wonder...

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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:53
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No Apr 1, 2013

I've been independent for 30 years now. Too set in my ways for a 9-5 job and 9-5 wages.
If I took up an in-house spot, I think I'd blow a gasket on my first day.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Perhaps Apr 1, 2013

After 20 years as an in-house translator I enjoy the freedom freelancing brings, though I sometimes miss the exchange with colleagues onsite.

Still, I might consider working part-time as an in-house translator, that is 15 - 20 hours/week with flexible working hours for certain reasons. But... this is idle because there are no part-time jobs, at least not here in my country. And being spoiled by this freedom, who knows, I might not enjoy working in-house.


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DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:53
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No .... Apr 1, 2013

I have been freelance for 10 years now. I am very used to flexible hours, being my own boss, working to my own ethics, taking on the jobs I choose, for when etc. For example, today after I dropped my kids of at school, I went surfing 'cos it was such a perfect day for it. I wouldn't want to work in-house, though like Teresa says sometimes I miss having colleagues, but I have my friends and professional networks. Still I wouldn't trade the other fringe benefits of freelancing for a salaried job even if it the salary had another 0 on the end of what I make now.

[Edited at 2013-04-01 09:25 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
No way, José Apr 1, 2013

Glad to see I'm in the top bracket again. "Hell is other people". 'Nuff said.

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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:53
French to English
+ ...
Been there, done that Apr 1, 2013

I started off my career as an in-house translator for a big UK company, then left when I had my first child and have been freelance ever since. I love being my own boss, being able to choose what I accept and decline, when I work, when I go on holiday and even where I work. It has worked brilliantly as I've brought my boys up - they're 24 and 21 now, but it meant I could accept the odd flexible job when they were tiny, gradually (very gradually!) building up to full-time when my youngest was 15/16. Even then, there were 20-mile round trips to the orthodontist, university visits, sports matches to drive them to - how do people who work fixed hours in an office find time to do all that? My eldest still lives at home while he's saving up for a deposit on a house and only last week he phoned me to pick him up from work as he was feeling sick - ended up off work for a few days with a nasty stomach bug... I know they'd have to sort themselves out if I wasn't able to dash out at the drop of a hat, but equally well, I'm glad that I'm in a position to help.

I love the fact that I can down tools and walk the dogs purely when it suits me - and clear my head in the process. It's so convenient not to have to worry about being in for things to be delivered and, whilst stressful, it's good to be here when you have things done on the house as you're on the spot to answer any queries. I'm having my bathroom done at the moment and although it's been dusty and noisy trying to work amidst the hammering, sawing and drilling, at least I know that every little problem can be resolved to my liking rather than the builders taking an executive decision in my absence!

Give up on all that? No way!


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:53
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Done both Apr 1, 2013

I worked as an in-house "translator" ("monitor" would be a better job description) for eight years in the RAF and 27 years for BBC Monitoring. I started freelancing in my spare time a couple of years after joining the BBC. The monitoring job also allowed me to do a bit of freelancing at work, because you could never tell whether a bulletin you had to monitor would take all the time available to the next one or not, it depended what was in it. If I was left with free time, nobody expected me to make work to fill it, so I could get on with a bit of freelance work. I continued freelancing after I retired from the BBC.
This has worked out well, as I get a BBC pension, which I could get by on if I had to, and freelancing brings in useful extra income without the pressure of being totally dependent on it.


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Hanne Depuydt
Local time: 14:53
French to Dutch
+ ...
Thanks, but no thanks Apr 1, 2013

I worked in a translation agency for 5 years and I genuinely loved it. However, as a fulltime freelance translator, I now feel a lot more relaxed, appreciated and rewarded for all my efforts. As most of you, I wouldn't want to give up 'freedom' anymore, not at any price, I just feel too happy the way of things go right now.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:53
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ambivalent Apr 1, 2013

I have worked in house as a translator, translation director (whatever that meant) and project manager (of translation projects). Did I love the comraderie? Yes. Did I enjoy making friends at work? Yes.

But I'll take the uncertainties of an independent career, heading and cultivating my own small company (www.wordsmeet.com) in exchange for the minuses that an in-house position potentially entails:

a) Office politics: sometimes your boss and the powers that be like you (or dislike you) no matter your performance or how good is the work you keep turning in.
b) The hive mentality or groupthink that is so prevalent in the corporate world, at least here in America. You might think that software companies and so-called "startups" are flexible cradles of innovation and imaginative debate, but you'd be wrong. They don't like you rocking the boat, even if your ideas or projects save them money and effort in the long run.

Finding the right in-house position, even with the best benefits and the best people around, is like dating: it is very difficult to find the same level of intelligence that jibes with your level, regardless of appearances.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 08:53
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
perhaps Apr 1, 2013

I've never worked in house, but I suppose of course, the money would be great, benefits etc.
BUt I've become so used to my way of life, work etc that like most others here, I couldn't give it up! I love the freedom and being able to decide what jobs I want to take. But I do get kind of lonely, although i've become friendly via facebook with a translation colleague and we chat frequently.


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svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:53
French to German
+ ...
Agree with neilmac Apr 1, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Glad to see I'm in the top bracket again. "Hell is other people". 'Nuff said.


I wholeheartedly agree.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 14:53
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Me too Apr 1, 2013

neilmac wrote:

Glad to see I'm in the top bracket again. "Hell is other people". 'Nuff said.


I was enormously grateful when I was taken on as an in-house translator, and at the time it was just what I needed.

Fantastic colleagues showed me the ropes and proofread my work, and the company sponsored a highly relevant diploma. They even forced me to try Déjà Vu and learn to use Trados ...

I was really upset when they had to let practically all the in-house translators go nearly five years later. The big boss was even more upset... We stayed friends, and the agency was my biggest client for several years, until it finally disintegrated. But not a month goes by without work from at least one of its offshoots!

However, after ten years of freelancing, there is no going back to the commuting and fixed hours.


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:53
German to English
+ ...
No, thank you! Apr 1, 2013

The perks of my current position far outweigh the lure of the rat race:

1. A decidedly higgledy-piggledy desk- sometimes.
At the moment, I am going through an uncharacteristic "untidy" phase which may only resolve itself when I am convinced that spring has actually arrived.

2. Sheepskin slippers, and a blanket around my legs.

3. Easy and unscheduled access to the kettle, coffee, tea, toast, fruit.

4. Easy and whimsical access to the washing machine, kitchen sink, with clothes-hanging and dishwashing privileges.

5. A front door with quite a nice view, I suppose.

6. My own free parking space which no one ever takes, and a set of car keys which I am free to use whenever the fancy takes me, workload permitting.

7. A wall full of pictures which belong to me.

8. The kind of chair only executive managers get in the corporate world.

9. No one looking over my shoulder, either figuratively or literally.

10. A wonderful boss (me!)


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Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:53
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
I've just answered "not really" Apr 1, 2013

but the only reason is I could consider an offer you can't deny... but not actually, I've 2 children too little to give up the freedom I have working at home according to my (their) needs.

And, as Allison said, I think it is not easy to find a boss as wonderful as me.


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