Poll: Considering the earning potential of full-time freelance translation, my income is:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:49
SITE STAFF
Jul 10, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Considering the earning potential of fulltime freelance translation, my income is:".

This poll was originally submitted by Oleg Rudavin. View the poll results »



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 14:49
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Jul 10, 2016

Mind your own business!

This is a very intrusive question that I would never expect to be asked by a complete stranger. It's all relative to what your earnings expectations are and your lifestyle, anyway, which makes it basically hypothetical and meaningless.

Would have loved a more 'playful' poll question considering it's a weekend.

[Edited at 2016-07-10 09:07 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-07-10 14:01 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

SteveMcD  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
German to English
Agreed! Jul 10, 2016

I agree with Julian.
I also picked "other" because there was no answer for "Don't know, didn't ask, don't care". It's all about how it relates to individual situations.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 06:49
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
May I join the party? Jul 10, 2016

I haven't the faintest idea how much others earn nor do I care...

What is the earning potential of full time freelance translation? There are so many variables to consider, namely where and how you live...

[Edited at 2016-07-10 10:03 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:49
Spanish to English
+ ...
Average Jul 10, 2016

I suppose, although I have no idea what other translators earn. I make enough to pay my bills and taxes and run three motor vehicles...

Direct link Reply with quote
 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:49
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Misinterpreted question Jul 10, 2016

I wouldn't know a better way to rephrase it, considering the limited size of poll questions, but my reading of it has nothing to do with how much other translators - either local or anywhere else - make.

It seems to me that the intent is to compare a freelance translator's ACTUAL income with what it would be if...
  • The respondent were always paid the rate they'd state, if asked;
  • They were paid at the end-of-month for all the work done in that month;
  • They worked 9-thru-5 every day, Mon-Fri only, and never on holidays/weekends;
  • They had all possible family duties/chores taken care of by someone else;
  • They had a workload (= demand) carefully calculated to take up all their working hours;
  • They had all accounting, equipment/software maintenance, budgeting, bidding, billing, collection, and other administrative tasks taken care of by someone else;
  • They were paid for the hours spent in training and professional development;
  • They were only translating - doing nothing else - 40 hours per week.

A percentage scale would be more adequate, to indicate how much of a translator's potential income is "compromised" by the fact that they are freelancers, as compared to full-time employment by a firm that will have staff to take care of everything else.

Of course, this fails to take into account the 'feast and famine' cycles, the constant need for marketing, bottom-feeding clients, late-paying clients, etc. It also leaves aside the need to work on weekends and holidays now and then, as well as the perk of being allowed to take a full Wednesday off occasionally, without having to justify it to anyone.

So what's the importance of such metrics?

I see some colleagues that only work for direct clients. They have done such calculations, and realized that the time they invest in marketing and customer service pays off in terms of demanding better rates.

Other only work for translation agencies. If they managed to reach the first-choice status with a few good ones, this is tantamount to having outsourced their marketing, as well as some billing and collection tasks.

Of course, the question here is general by nature. Once a freelance translator has self-trained to consider these issues all the time, if s/he has diversified the services offered, it will help deciding which jobs should be given priority, when a choice has to be made.

[Edited at 2016-07-10 11:50 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:49
French to German
+ ...
Other Jul 10, 2016

I really don't know what other freelance translators make and I couldn't care less.
As long as I can support my daughter and myself, pay my bills, taxes, run no motor vehicles but travel occasionally I'm happy.

I'm also happy to enjoy the freedom of not having to work from 9 to 5 Mondays to Fridays but of being able to take a break to go to the pool in summer and swim a few laps, of not having household duties/chores taken care off by someone else since I love cooking and take the time to prepare a hot lunch every day and of not having my accounting/equipment maintenance taken care of by someone else since it really doesn't take a lot of time and I quite like the fact that I can actually do it myself.

The thought of having to spend 40 hours a week translating is a bit of a nightmare, really. I used to do it until I figured out that I spent far too much valuable time working for the tax office so I said goodbye to all the low and late payers which reduced my work load but also my tax burden and improved my work-life balance drastically.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:49
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Jul 10, 2016

Well afterlooking at the comments here, I can save time by not writing anything☺

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 14:49
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Happy to oblige Jul 10, 2016

Michael Harris wrote:

Well afterlooking at the comments here, I can save time by not writing anything☺


Glad to be of help, Michael


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:49
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Same here Jul 10, 2016

Michael Harris wrote:

Well afterlooking at the comments here, I can save time by not writing anything☺


I guess most of us would feel the same way about this question.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:49
English to Spanish
+ ...
If the translation marketing gurus knew this… Jul 10, 2016

Here in America, in the last few years, some American Translators Association members took to giving webinars, write books and articles and shared their views on LinkedIn and other media about how much money we translators could make if we could only find premium clients.

I remember asking a poll about so-called premium clients years ago here, and almost nobody knew what I was talking about.

According to these self-appointed gurus (and I know them personally and by name), premium customers are willing to pay 5-10 times (or more) the best rates you're charging, if you knew where to find them. These gurus talk about making six-figure incomes a year (again, I've seen polls about this before). So there's your “potential” for earnings as a full-time translator.

Who listens to these gurus? Mostly newcomers to the profession, recent university graduates with little business experience and incurable optimists, in my opinion. But some of their advice isn't that bad: attend trade shows, use professionally-designed business cards, build a portfolio of translations, sign your translated work whenever you can, etc.

But you don't need a guru or a paid webinar to do those things, right?

I'm not naming names, but one of these “premium customers” promoters is now an ATA board director.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:49
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Income, Jul 11, 2016

by what standards? I am pretty well-off in my country, but would be a social case in most of Western Europe for example. And probably obscenely rich in most of Africa. Potential, for what language pair? etc.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:49
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Sunday touchiness? Jul 11, 2016

It doesn't seem to me to be a gross intrusion of privacy to tick a box in a totally anonymous poll. On the other hand, as EvaVer says, it's very difficult to evaluate so I don't think my own answer of "average" is worth more than any other gut feeling, i.e. not much.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:49
Member (2012)
French to English
Low Jul 11, 2016

Probably extremely low. I don't make enough to live on.

[Edited at 2016-07-11 07:58 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: Considering the earning potential of full-time freelance translation, my income is:

Advanced search






LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »
PDF Translation - the Easy Way
TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation.

TransPDF converts your PDFs to XLIFF ready for professional translation. It also puts your translations back into the PDF to make new PDFs. Quicker and more accurate than hand-editing PDF. Includes free use of Infix PDF Editor with your translated PDFs.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search