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Poll: Being a freelance translator has been ...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Aug 31, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Being a freelance translator has been ...".

This poll was originally submitted by Gianluca Marras. View the poll results »



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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:16
Member (2006)
German to English
To be honest, Aug 31, 2016

the best job that I could have really.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:16
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Aug 31, 2016

Since I retired from my in-house position in 2006 being a freelance translator has been the best job I could ever had…

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Anastasia Kingsley Kinkusic  Identity Verified
Croatia
Member (2011)
English
+ ...


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A dream true - Translator Aug 31, 2016

When I was around 10 years I heard my parents talk about one of my Croatian cousins who worked for the court "and makes pretty good money doing so"! I thought - that's the job for ME! Sure enough, years later when I ended up emigrating to Croatia, my dream became a reality. It enables me to support my family and be home as much as possible during the teenage years. I continually learn new things. Highly reccommended!

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:16
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
My dream ... Aug 31, 2016

... was always to be a translator. I've spent half my career in-house. I liked that, and I like what I'm doing now. Working with a team really built my skills and enabled me to network. It was a great foundation for starting my freelance career.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 22:16
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It's just a job Aug 31, 2016

My professional career can be divided into three clearly defined phases, of about the same duration in years now: 1st - full-time employee; 2nd - freelancer split between translator and HRD consultant; 3rd - freelance translator.

There are two parts to be considered separately here.

Being a freelancer is just a job. The higher pay is justified by running alone the entire "company", and having no full-time staff to delegate any unworthy chores. The best I can do is to outsource them, if the cost/benefit of doing them myself is inadequate.

Being a translator is just a deregulated job. In other words, anyone can do it, however I am a "pro" at doing it. A similar job would be photography. Part of my assignment in some of my full-time jobs involved industrial photography, so I am doubly familiar with this situation.

Full-time translators, photographers, firefighters, life guards, etc. can only be justified when they are part of the organization's core business. Even so, their demand may be seasonal, so they should ideally have other assignments too.


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Bora Tasdemir  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 01:16
Member (2012)
English to Turkish
+ ...
It's just... Aug 31, 2016

...been one of the best jobs I am able to do.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 31, 2016

... enough to keep me too busy to think of a decent response to this poll.

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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:16
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
The best job I've ever had Aug 31, 2016

and I have been a teacher, and have held several in-house, incl. administrative, positions in various countries

....but nothing beats to be a freelance translator working from home!

[Edited at 2016-08-31 12:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-08-31 12:19 GMT]


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
A means to an end Aug 31, 2016

What else do you do with a washed-up stuntwoman after she finally leaves the catwalk behind?

Translation's good in parts. And it's handy for the unemployable.

I only ever dreamed of being a rock star, but that wasn't all it's cracked up to be either.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 18:16
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The best job. Aug 31, 2016

We can learn a lot of things and then share them to help others. Furthermore, it's unavoidable to make friends in other countries and... why not? perhaps find love too.

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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Brazilian thoughts for food...or food for thought Aug 31, 2016

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

My professional career can be divided into three clearly defined phases, of about the same duration in years now: 1st - full-time employee; 2nd - freelancer split between translator and HRD consultant; 3rd - freelance translator.

There are two parts to be considered separately here.

Being a freelancer is just a job. The higher pay is justified by running alone the entire "company", and having no full-time staff to delegate any unworthy chores. The best I can do is to outsource them, if the cost/benefit of doing them myself is inadequate.

Being a translator is just a deregulated job. In other words, anyone can do it, however I am a "pro" at doing it. A similar job would be photography. Part of my assignment in some of my full-time jobs involved industrial photography, so I am doubly familiar with this situation.

Full-time translators, photographers, firefighters, life guards, etc. can only be justified when they are part of the organization's core business. Even so, their demand may be seasonal, so they should ideally have other assignments too.


Despite my clunky title here, what José wrote is making me reflect on freelancing and the deregulation of the translation profession. The last paragraph, however (about translators or firefighters being full time), makes me disagree to a point. I'll tell you why:

a) Some organizations need full-time translators given the scope of their communications needs: the EU and the FBI are two known examples.
b) I can't put translators together with lifeguards or firefighters. Lifeguards may be seasonal workers, as summers are just a 2-4 month season in most parts. However, firefighters work on a voluntary (unpaid) basis in some communities in the world but they are full-time salaried workers in others.

In short, I wouldn't be making this generalization.

Now, the deregulation of a translator's job is an interesting topic worth of discussion. Thanks, José.


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Ana Vozone  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:16
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
... all I ever wanted, and more! Aug 31, 2016

As a student, I dreamt of becoming a freelance translator and being my own boss, and the dream came true in 1979. I never regretted my decision and am very happy!

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 01:16
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
A satisfying way to end up Aug 31, 2016

At school languages were one of the few things I was not mediocre to hopeless at.
I have no head for figures, am not musical, and no good at sports either.
I could draw, but not well enough to make a living out of it, and wasn't that interested anyway.

I have tried a lot of different forms of employment, but not fitted in well anywhere. Useful experience, however - it is amazing what turns up in translations! But I was never really good at any of my jobs.
Working in a translation agency really set me up, and I discovered I did actually have a hidden talent - for speaking and writing my native language!

However, freelancing is the best solution - I am anti-social and get migraines from other people's perfumes, after-shave and fabric softeners in their clothes... I talk too much and cannot be bothered to listen to other people's trivial chatter. Behind my computer I can pretend to be a nice person, work more or less undisturbed, and not annoy others too much. I find it quite satisfying when clients pay me compliments and come back with new jobs.

It is definitely the best way to keep me happily occupied and out of trouble.


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Gallagy
Ireland
Local time: 00:16
Member (2010)
French to English
+ ...
Other Aug 31, 2016

I was tempted to say "it's just a job". But I suppose it's a bit more than that although it's just the final one in a long line of jobs, some part-time, some full time, some blue collar, some professional and most of which I thoroughly enjoyed at the time I was doing them and I was pretty good at most of them too. (never a stuntwoman although sometimes it felt like I was!)

However, I can make good use of my various experiences, skill sets and education working at translation but it was certainly never "a dream" (how twee!)

I like being freelance, although it sometimes brings its own worries about earning enough and getting ill (I earned more at other jobs for less effort and with more security), and working from home means I can have dogs (and cats) but I miss the camaraderie of colleagues


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