Poll: Do you think working as a freelancer is enough to earn a good living?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:58
SITE STAFF
Sep 6, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think working as a freelancer is enough to earn a good living?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:58
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Sep 6, 2014

As I said before (another very similar poll): enough to have raised my 3 kids by myself…

PS. Good living can mean many different things to different people.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:58
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends on your lifestyle Sep 6, 2014

I answered "no," because my freelance income alone could not support my particular lifestyle here in San Diego, California, but I know tons of people who could live on what I make from my freelance work. I am at the end of my career and I have accumulated a house with more contents than I need, and it costs extra money to support all that.

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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:58
Turkish to English
+ ...
Yes, to a point Sep 6, 2014

Yes ... in some language pairs and specializations, but not in all.

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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
English to Italian
to a point Sep 6, 2014

Yes, you can live, raise kids, but some questions need to be answered before saying GOOD:
1) are you single? Do you have kids?
2) do you have enough free time to enjoy your hobbies, your family, spend time playing with your kids, ....
3) do you feel stressed because of the uncertainty related to both being a freelancer and to the lower rates being offered (and accepted) in the market?

Well generally speaking if I see myself in 10/15 years I am worried, because I do not think I will be able to work as affectively as I can now...

I guess that before saying GOOD, we have to consider the level of stress, fear, worries we experience, and maybe this is not that good.

Also, a lot depends on where you live and the taxes you pay, cost of houses/rents, and the general cost of living.


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:58
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
To a point, but... Sep 6, 2014

"Good" is a relative term, so is "income" (by itself).

Someone who only needs USD 800/month to make life comfortable, even good (yes, there are still countries where such an income suffices), can accept lower rates and still lead a decent to good life, including the family. On the contrary, someone who needs to earn at least USD 3.000/month to "halway make it", has only 3 options: work like a slave, turn down lower rates, or get a different job.

Aside from one's own wishes or needs, there are always things like SS & taxes. Back then when I worked as an in-house translator, especially in December, I often wished I could take home the money "consumed" by taxes and SS, because the Christmas bonus - and perhaps a vacation bonus - regularily pushed me into the next higher tax group/class.

There is always one eye focussing on old age, retirement and what if-situations, a concern many young translators don't have.

All in all, I'd say that it is possible to earn a decent income as a translator. What a good income is lies in the eye of the beholder (translator).


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Mark Hamlen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:58
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Probably depends on your specialisation Sep 6, 2014

As has been said many times, just knowing the languages is not enough.

I think medical and legal translators are more likely to make a good living than generalists.


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:58
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Yes Sep 6, 2014

but I will never become rich.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, to a point Sep 6, 2014

Working as a freelancer, I make enough to get by. In fact, I earn quite a decent living compared to many of my friends or acquaintances. However, I don't have the burden of children or a mortgage, etc. As it is, I can afford to run 2 cars and a motorbike and rent a 2-bedroom house with garden and swimming pool in rural surroundings (it costs about the same as a small flat in the city) ... so I can't complain.

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Thomas Pfann  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Of course Sep 6, 2014

Millions of freelancers make a good living and most freelancers (in any profession) probably earn more than if they were to do the same work (and the same amount of hours) as an employee.

To be honest, I find this a somewhat stupid (and in a forum mostly frequented by freelancers maybe even insulting) question. A bit like "Do you think honest work is enough to earn a good living or is crime the only way to get rich?".


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
So far Sep 6, 2014

I did pretty well working in-house. Freelancing is a bit more... hectic, but it works. My wife and I live comfortably, but we are really careful with our money and try to live as inexpensively as possible.

I am working on becoming a millionaire right now.


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Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:58
Member (2012)
French to English
Other Sep 6, 2014

I haven't earned any kind of a living from it, but I only started a few years ago. I know from reading other people's posts on here that it is possible to earn a good living from it, though.

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William Zhang
China
Local time: 17:58
English to Chinese
+ ...
No Sep 7, 2014

Working as a freelancer is not enough to support myself.

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Rudolf Frans Maulany  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:58
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Yes, to a point Sep 7, 2014

Yes, to a point. As a freelance medical translator about 20 years ago I could say yes(bought a house).

[Edited at 2014-09-07 05:19 GMT]


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