Poll: Do you feel free to pick and choose which projects you accept?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:26
SITE STAFF
Dec 15, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you feel free to pick and choose which projects you accept?".

This poll was originally submitted by Helena Grahn. View the poll results »



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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, definitely! Dec 15, 2015

That’s what FREElancing is all about, picking and choosing your projects, your clients, your hours…

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, definitely! Dec 15, 2015

... though I reject projects with lots of common sense.

The single exception would be sworn translations, since the ancient (1943 - unamended) Brazilian law clearly states that I cannot decline any such request. I can always advise the prospect to save on logistics by seeking a more conveniently located colleague, or to uphold the legal limit of about 400 words/day (from the fountain pen/typewriter era) to avoid incurring rush rates (50% surcharge on Mon-Fri; 100% on weekends & holidays).

On subject matter area, I refer prospects to specialized colleagues that I know, whenever I think it behooves.

Regarding deadlines, I always tell them what I CAN do. If they insist that I should meet the deadline they are trying to impose, I tell them that since 1973 I haven't yet delivered one single translation job late, and definitely wouldn't like theirs to be the first. I am quite assertive in warning them that, if they force a deadline I consider impossible, they are tacitly acknowledging, right at the outset, that I shall be delivering late.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mostly yes Dec 15, 2015

I tend to accept most if not all jobs from my regular direct clients, unless I think I'll be unable to handle them for some reason (usually deadlines, complexity, unconfortable conditions, unwieldy or annoyingly time-consuming formats etc).

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
If I can't do it well... Dec 15, 2015

... then I prefer to tell the client to look for someone else.

I have learnt the hard way, that while pushing your limits just a little is a healthy exercise, pushing them too far will end in hassle and tears.

Luckily there are good colleagues who know a lot more than I do about the subject areas I don't mess with, and there still seems to be plenty of work for me.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, definitely! Dec 15, 2015

Teresa Borges wrote:

That’s what FREElancing is all about, picking and choosing your projects, your clients, your hours…


I'm able to pick the work I like by picking my clients. We recently discussed the issue of turning down work. I rarely turn down projects because I know the kind of material I'm going to be receiving.


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José Sebastião Ribeiro  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not really. Dec 15, 2015

I usually accept almost anything I am proposed, yes. This happens because the works I receive are usually within my specialty areas and the schedule fits in just right. The only projects I turned down were due to unaceptable rates, one of them 190$ (yes, one-hundred-and-nineteen) for 18.000 words from German into Portuguese.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:26
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not on low prices Dec 15, 2015

DorothyX wrote:

After 30 years of translating, I can afford to refuse translations for which I will not be able to deliver according to the client's wishes (low prices ...


Too many translators in the free world seem to have forgotten that setting the price for the services they provide is part of their freedom. Any customer trying to impose otherwise will be trespassing.

If the client cannot afford what your 30 years' translating experience is worth in the marketplace, they are the party who should seek cheaper services. Beggars can't be choosers.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Born free ♫ Dec 15, 2015

Like my colleagues: of course! Why wouldn't I feel free to pick and choose projects AND clients to work on/with, respectively?

When you work as an independent professional, is there any other scenario where you wouldn't feel free to choose what you work on and whom you work with? Unless, of course, you do it at gunpoint?

Other scenarios where you wouldn't feel free to choose your projects:

You owe money to the Mafia
You owe money to your bookie
You are an indentured servant
Your tyrannical spouse tells you to
Your tyrannical teenage children tell you to (because they got to have the newest iPad)
Your cat makes you do it




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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 17:26
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
More or less... Dec 15, 2015

I am 100% free to refuse jobs I don't feel I'm prepared to do or I don't want to do for other reasons.
But many times a regular client sends me a job in an area that is not my specialty, I tell them I may not be the best choice, and they insist. In such cases, I'm not 100% "free" to refuse them. Actually, I usually accept them.


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Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 15:26
German to English
+ ...
Isn't that the nature of freelance work? And necessary? Dec 15, 2015

Btw, in the poll I assumed it would be going in order of certainty so I clicked on "yes, more or less" and noticed afterward the "certainly" was in the middle. I wonder whether I was the only one, and if this skews the results.

I'd say it is not a freedom but a necessity. As a professional I must decide whether any project lies within my area of expertise, whether I have time to do the work, when it can be done, and how much I will charge. I must balance out all my work for all my clients. I am not an employee where an employers manages my work load. I am also not an apprentice with someone else responsible for my decisions. I am expected to know what I am doing, and with that comes decision making. It is a responsibility even more than being a right.

What do others think?


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
The necessity to work Dec 15, 2015

Maxi Schwarz wrote:

Btw, in the poll I assumed it would be going in order of certainty so I clicked on "yes, more or less" and noticed afterward the "certainly" was in the middle. I wonder whether I was the only one, and if this skews the results.

I'd say it is not a freedom but a necessity. As a professional I must decide whether any project lies within my area of expertise, whether I have time to do the work, when it can be done, and how much I will charge. I must balance out all my work for all my clients. I am not an employee where an employers manages my work load. I am also not an apprentice with someone else responsible for my decisions. I am expected to know what I am doing, and with that comes decision making. It is a responsibility even more than being a right.

What do others think?


Now, that's thought provoking, and I'm not saying that lightly, despite my having slept less than 6 hours today.

You're introducing a philosophical element, it seems. Of course, any kind of freedom is relative to a host of circumstances. If, for example, I'm a convict in a penitentiary for a a serious crime (not murder), I may be given the choice of using my 60 daily minutes of exercise in another activity of my liking, like reading a book.


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Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Freedom... Dec 15, 2015

I'm free to do anything, but if I only translate texts and formats that I'm 100 thrilled about, I may have to move to a smaller house (or live under a table at Starbucks).
Most of the time I can be sure something better will turn if I turn down a project I find mind- numbingly boring, but some months are less so, and since I quite like the house I live in, I do accept projects that allow me to pay my bills (but give me no other other pleasure).


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