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Poll: If you had to decide, which project would you choose: an interesting one, or one that pays well?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:55
SITE STAFF
Jun 21, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you had to decide, which project would you choose: an interesting one, or one that pays well?".

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:55
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Jun 21, 2014

Pays well is obvious, but if the topic is way off line, then the interesting one. Not everything is money

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:55
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Same here Jun 21, 2014

Michael Harris wrote:

Pays well is obvious, but if the topic is way off line, then the interesting one. Not everything is money


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Diana Llorente  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
Money / other Jun 21, 2014

I find most topics interesting if you have the time to research them well and learn about them.

There could be exceptions, of course, a few times I have asked fo lower rates for projects I really wanted to do.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:55
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well, well... Jun 21, 2014

Those two should, in a ideal world, go together (sometimes they do). My bank account permitting and if, by the good graces of all gods, goddesses, and muses of the universe, I was ever faced by such a dilemma, I would go for the interesting one…

[Edited at 2014-06-21 10:01 GMT]


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:55
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
It depends on many other factors, Jun 21, 2014

such as volume vs. my capacity, the respective clients (a direct client has priority over an agency, even if the subject is deadly boring and the pay average - all really low prices concern agencies, so there is no contradiction in that respect). More than topics, I prefer language pairs - I tend to refuse CZ/EN and EN/CZ (the most common pairs in my market) from agencies, as they can find plenty of other people for that. On the other hand, I accept (almost) anything involving Bulgarian or Romanian (and, to a degree, French) even at prices that are on the lower side, as this is something I want to do. Especially pairs that are rare in my market - I understand that a Czech agency which is not used to look for translators abroad will be hard pressed to find anybody else for Bulgarian to French for example. And I expect them to pay for it correspondingly, of course!

[Edited at 2014-06-21 09:30 GMT]


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Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:55
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
the client? Jun 21, 2014

The areas I translate in already cover my interests. Sure, some are more interesting than others, but there aren't really any extreme cases. Although there are slight variations in pay, there aren't really extreme variations either.
Some clients are an absolute pleasure to work for; naturally, they will take preference.

If I'm not interested in the subject, it is very likely that I don't offer translations in that area anyway. Any offers of a higher rate won't change the fact that I don't offer that service - after all, I doubt that I would be able to deliver a translation to the same standard as in "my" subjects.

If I'm interested in the subject, it is likely included in my regular work. While I won't turn down a higher rate I genuinely can't think of any subject that I would drop it for.

Again, some clients I am more inclined to negotiate with than others. Much of this depends on the other terms, but I have also traded translations for solar battery chargers, big boxes of organic olive oil... or donated them to a small charity that had hired me initially. Still, the deciding factor is the client, not the text itself.

[Edited at 2014-06-21 10:14 GMT]


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:55
Russian to English
+ ...
I find most projects interesting Jun 21, 2014

so, I would choose the one that pays better, or does not have a very tight deadline.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I'd choose the more profitable one Jun 21, 2014

Profitability is not a constant through all jobs, possibly because my services are diversified, but also because clients vary on several parameters.

However even churning thousands of words for a fixed rate may cause profitability to vary.

An interesting project may be more profitable because I can work longer hours on it without getting tired or bored, yet also because I'll do a better job much more efficiently. On the other hand, an interesting project may come from a high-maintenance client, often those extremely nice people who, after everything has been done and delivered, keep cajoling me into fixing their slips, overlooks, and extras ASAP.

A job paying well may be more profitable because there are few competitors offering the same type of services. How many freelance translators offer (in my case) DTP, video editing, DVD authoring, and other supplemental services under the same roof? On the other hand, it may be less profitable on account of longer payment terms. For instance, I had a continuous jobs offer from Argentina (where outrageously high interest rates are even higher than in Brazil, where I am) at considerably higher rates than usual, as long as I accepted getting paid 60 days after month end (which made it slightly less profitable than my usual jobs).

A higher-paying job may occupy 110% of the translator's time for a few months in a row. When it's over, it's likely that it will take a while before the next job, no matter how small, comes up, since most clients will have found alternative vendors.

So there is no hard-and-fast rule to choose jobs on a fixed set of a few criteria; one must consider all factors together. Experience, especially past mistakes, develops an intuition to make such decisions.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:55
French to English
More money => more interest Jun 21, 2014

Pay me enough, and I'll find anything interesting

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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:55
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
More factors Jun 21, 2014

I would be inclined to choose the more interesting project but it also depends on other factors: is this a direct client or outsourcer, old client or new client, what is the deadline, etc.

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Pavel Slama  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:55
Member (2014)
English to Czech
+ ...
Money Can't Buy Me Love Jun 21, 2014

I get annoyed and bored pretty quickly with texts that are badly written or have low thought density. For me, therefore, theory or good fiction (with a reasonable time-frame allowing to search for words) will always get priority over some marketing or management claptrap.

I am surprised to find myself among such a minority here on Proz.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jun 21, 2014

A hard choice, but I suppose "pays well" is the most pragmatic. The problem with interesting texts for me is that I tend to take longer to translate them, and the research for terms tends to be interesting too and I get easily sidetracked... hanc my rather mercenary criterion.

The way I look at it, if you get an interesting place to translate, that's the icing on an already tasty cake.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here Jun 21, 2014

EvaVer wrote:

...- such as volume vs. my capacity, the respective clients (a direct client has priority over an agency, even if the subject is deadly boring and the pay average - all really low prices concern agencies, so there is no contradiction in that respect).... Fr>
[Edited at 2014-06-21 09:30 GMT]


I couldn't agree more


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:55
Spanish to English
+ ...
Turd polishing Jun 21, 2014

babylondon wrote:

I get annoyed and bored pretty quickly with texts that are badly written or have low thought density. For me, therefore, theory or good fiction (with a reasonable time-frame allowing to search for words) will always get priority over some marketing or management claptrap.

I am surprised to find myself among such a minority here on Proz.


I certainly wouldn't pooh-pooh "marketing or management claptrap" so readily. A large percentage of my income comes from this kind of text. And I can usually turn out good quality claptrap... making silk purses from sows' ears is a skill too.

[Edited at 2014-06-21 19:16 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-06-21 19:17 GMT]


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