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Poll: Career-wise, have you had your lucky break yet?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 02:25
Nov 18, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Career-wise, have you had your lucky break yet?".

This poll was originally submitted by Alan Corbo, CT. View the poll results »


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:25
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, but ... Nov 18, 2013

Life is full of "lucky breaks" (whatever that would be) -- not just one. In fact, upward career changes are mostly due to clever people recognizing your talent, hard work and determination, with a modicum of luck thrown in.

In my 30+ years of translation, there would be something radically wrong if I haven't had any good luck so far.

Small edit

[Edited at 2013-11-18 14:31 GMT]


Allison Wright (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:25
Yes Nov 18, 2013

Yes. I got to be a translator. Full-time, freelance, from home, with sheepskin slipper benefits.

I am not really a fan of subscribing to the idea that the good things in life are attributed to "luck". For me, there is a direct correlation between so-called "luck" and hard work, or smart work, good time management and a determined, positive attitude.

A really lucky break would be if I were receive a bona fide letter from the tax department advising me that I had been awarded a permanent tax break. One can dream.icon_wink.gif


Elina Sellgren  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:25
Member (2013)
Finnish to English
+ ...
Yes, but.. Nov 18, 2013

I got a lucky break when I had just started out with very little experience and a fairly good agency approached me and we've had a great relationship ever since. And the rate was decent too. I don't know if I would have been able to get other clients as easily if I hadn't had that chance to gain experience through this particular agency.

I'm not really sure why they approached me back then, seeing that I didn't have much experience - perhaps they find beginners suitable in one respect or another or they saw the value in my education. Maybe they make use of beginners and when those beginners get experienced enough, they move on to clients who pay more and the agency needs new beginners again..

So I can't know whether this break was out of luck or not, but in general I do not believe we should rely on luck and expect to get those breaks. Hard work and business sense are much more useful, but many beginners would certainly benefit from a lucky break to get a foothold in the business.


Heather McCrae  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
German to English
yes Nov 18, 2013

My first lucky break was really when I was turned down for environmental science studies at Uni because I only had GCSE's and got into a course doing chemistry and german, simply due to the fact that the admissions person (later my inorganics lecturer) found my background so interestingicon_smile.gif.
And the second lucky break was realising (during my practical year) that the laboratory world had too many small-minded and petty chemists so I chose an MA in translation instead of a MSc. That is how I ended up in translation and, like Alison, I love being able to relax while working without any stupid office politics and worrying about what to wear and when to catch the train, etc.

Time for my second coffee of the day and some knittingicon_wink.gif


Heather McCrae  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
German to English
PS Nov 18, 2013

oh yes, my third lucky break: My parents, who supported me when I started out as a translator, living in a mobile home in their gardenicon_smile.gif
thank you Mum and Dad!

When I really think about it, my entire life has been filled with lucky breaks, including the discovery of Proz

so I am very grateful to be so lucky!


Dr. Tilmann Kleinau  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
A good client Nov 18, 2013

My lucky break occurred in 2006 when a German publishing house asked me to do a test for them. They liked my translation (which was rather free than close to the text), and since then they have given me four or five books each year to translate, i.e. this one client makes up 70 to 80 per cent of my income.

Another lucky break was when, in 2011, they asked me if I could translate the latest book of Bill Clinton into German for them. Who would not seize such a chance? I did, of course, and it was good for my reputation although nobody would pay me a cent more because of it...

All in all, I think you must be good at what you´re doing, but there also is a lot of luck in the game - to be offered the right project by the right people at the right time...


Chun Un  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Yes Nov 18, 2013

and I think 'luck' is too important a factor (in almost everything we do) to be ignored...


Josef Šoltes  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 11:25
English to Czech
No Nov 18, 2013

I don't believe in pure "Luck". There is no such thing. There is only hard work and determination, which should be rewarded with "lucky" jobs.


Teresa Borges
Local time: 10:25
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, but... Nov 18, 2013

The harder you work, the luckier you get! Like Allison and Julian, I do not subscribe to the idea that the good things in life are attributed to "luck"... This being said, there have been a few times in my life where I was in the right place at the right time.


Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Definitely Nov 18, 2013

I landed my biggest customer when one of their people in Norway asked a friend in France who then asked a colleague in Sweden who once met my English wife at a conference in Denmark if they knew of a good translator...

Getting a job in-house at Berlitz when I first started out was also very lucky. It didn't last long but most of my customers over the years can be traced back in some way to that job as translators and PMs move around. I never had much luck cold-calling prospective customers.

However, I'm still waiting for the lucky break that enables me to retire early!


Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:25
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Nov 18, 2013

It has all been about ups and downs for me; I think the question of whether one particular event constitutes a definitive lucky break can only be determined in hindsight.


tilak raj  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
Yes Nov 18, 2013

I think so, My career is going good as per my expectation year by year.


Egmont Schröder  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:25
Member (2013)
Chinese to German
+ ...
I don't believe in lucky breaks... Nov 18, 2013

I only believe in making something that I really like and hoping that one day I will earn my money with it.
And if the thing I like is travelling through foreign countries, learn their language and culture and earn my money with my laptop, than I will at least try it:)


keelin feeney  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:25
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lucky or lucky break Nov 18, 2013

I think that I am very lucky. I am doing exactly what I want - translating fulltime, teaching a little and I am able to spend most of the day with my baby that is lucky!!! Let me throw in that I have a degree, various diplomas and I have studied several languages myself...and gone to seminars, maybe we make our own luck. On the other hand, if the opportunities had not been there, I may not have got to where I am. So let me thank my good family and friends and of course my hubby who have encouraged me along the way...but yes, I think we put in most of the effort ourselvesicon_wink.gif

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Poll: Career-wise, have you had your lucky break yet?

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