Poll: How long did it take you to make a living from translation?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:19
SITE STAFF
Aug 27, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long did it take you to make a living from translation?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:19
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Aug 27, 2015

Straight away (I started in-house)...

 

Vadim Kadyrov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 01:19
Member (2011)
English to Russian
+ ...
Usually Aug 27, 2015

you are not going to go freelance without having any permanent (in-house) position first.

When I saw that my freelance-related workload had been growing steadily, I left the company - just because I could earn much more as a freelance translator.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:19
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other - no time at all Aug 27, 2015

Like Teresa, when I early-retired from my in-house translation job on a Friday, I had work waiting for me the following Monday. It was a large contract. That was 23 years ago, and I've hardly had a break since.

[Edited at 2015-08-27 08:45 GMT]


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 27, 2015

I don't really know. I was working as a TEFL trainer before getting into translation full time, which happened gradually.

 

Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:19
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Previous career Aug 27, 2015

I worked in international insurance with Lloyd's brokers for 20 years before deciding, at the end of the 1990s, on a change in career. I had no clients to take with me, so, to supplement my income whilst trying to secure a decent level of income from my translating business, I took on various other part-time jobs for 2 or 3 years, which I ditched when I reached the required level of income from my freelance work.

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Judging from all the doom-mongers on ProZ... Aug 27, 2015

... a more pertinent question might be how long you think it will be before you are no longer able to make a living from translation...

Not long, in my case, what with all the hoards of one-cent-a-word Swe-Eng finance specialists waiting in the wings in the Third World.

Back on topic, translation paid the rent from day 1, thanks mainly to work from my previous employers.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good times Aug 27, 2015

It took me more than a year to land my first few clients as an independent translator in New York City. Why so long?

1) I had arrived at the Big Apple in December 1990 with no job prospects; but I had a place to stay and my father agreed to support me until I found a job (not a translation job per se, mind you).

2) After spending a whole year sending about a hundred and one typewritten resumés and attending monthly meetings of the New York Circle of Translators, I started making some reliable contacts.

3) Around December 1991, one of those contacts, a Spanish interpreter, gave me the contact information of a small agency in Queens that was looking for a bilingual employee for a bank. Not a translation job, but, hey, I was going to take it!

4) I landed a 4-hour-per-week part-time proofreader job with the agency (it took some convincing) in January 1992. I stayed with the agency until November 1992, when I got a 9,000-word technical translation job, my first project.

Then I started getting phone calls by word of mouth. With the additional increase in income, I was able to leave Brooklyn for the Upper East Side (Manhattan). I made it in New York, all the facts supported it. That gave me the big boost of confidence to keep working as a translator for the next 24 years.


 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:19
Member (2012)
French to English
Other Aug 27, 2015

I don't make a living from translation.

 

Erzsébet Czopyk  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 00:19
Member (2006)
Russian to Hungarian
+ ...
within the first month Aug 27, 2015

I was forced by circumstances and had no other choice. I was alone with my first baby and he had a congenital disorder. There was no choice and no time to think.

 

Billh
Local time: 23:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Had to learn Spanish first from scratch - Aug 27, 2015

and that took two years - then plunged in and started working with agencies. I couldn't cope with being in-house - that would mean having a boss, going to an office, etc. Not my style.....

 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:19
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I don't Aug 27, 2015

I don't make a living from translation, I just pay bills.

 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:19
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other, Aug 27, 2015

I lived with my brother for the first two years after graduation, and translation was a secondary source of income. Then I opened a beverage distribution company, and spent 11 years without touching a translation. Then, I left the company and started doing translations again, but again as a secondary source of income.
Only less than three years ago, I decided to give up in-house jobs and dedicate myself full time to translation, and I'm living exclusivley on that ever since.
So, I really cannot answer this question with anything but "Other".


 


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