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Poll: What's the main disadvantage of being a freelance translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 10:47
SITE STAFF
Dec 18, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What's the main disadvantage of being a freelance translator?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 18:47
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Dec 18, 2016

In my opinion, the main disadvantage is missing from the list: The lack of regular work and its inevitable consequence: a fluctuating income, which can vary drastically…

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Ahmad Hosseinzadeh  Identity Verified
Iran
Local time: 22:17
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
A combination of the above Dec 18, 2016

This is my choice, with each at the top of list for sometime during the year.

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Ana Vozone  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:47
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No disadvantage... Dec 18, 2016

I have NEVER regretted my decision to become a freelance translator 37 years ago. What I have gained with being able to choose / find new clients, manage my time, set my prices, while raising two children, clearly outweighs those "not so good" moments when the computer broke down, work slowed down more than I wanted, etc, etc...

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Working from home can have drawbacks Dec 18, 2016

Working from home does make it more difficult to draw a line between work and the rest of life. No worse for a translator than any other profession: craft worker, graphic designer etc. Putting your coat on to go home makes it far easier to switch off.

But there are many advantages to working from home too. And I believe office staff are losing many of their advantages now with emails, smartphones etc making them contactable whenever.

So it isn't something I regret. Nobody ever said this job would be perfect .


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


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Shared workspace in town once a week Dec 18, 2016

For me, Sheila said it best.

I also love my job. My teenagers and partner don't quite respect my work time, which is the only disadvantage. I did find a solution: besides my home office, in 2017 I will begin renting shared workspace in town once a week. Besides promoting accessibility, it motivates me a bit to get outside of my comfort zone. Otherwise, working from home is great. I have the feedom to do pretty much whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it. If I work late one night I can sleep in the following day. No office politics or dress code.


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Alexey Belik  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:47
Member (2016)
English to Russian
+ ...


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You have to be your own marketing and sales manager Dec 18, 2016

After 7 years of classic office job I found it hard to get myself working for myself. No angry boss, no strict rules, no noisy colleagues around... So easy to lean back leisurely! I felt that the freedom which I had been dreaming about all the past 2 years turned out something a little bit different from what I had expected. I had to become my own boss and marketing and sales manager, schedule my time and manage projects. Nobody behind my shoulder except wife and parents who supported me but never insisted on working harder. Which is the most crucial thing by the way.
Thanks goodness freedom is better than office slavery! Never regretted of being made redundant from the Russian oil giant!


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xxxIlan Rubin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 21:47
Russian to English
Fitness, or lack of... Dec 18, 2016

Too much eating, not enough movement.

But, 2 weeks ago I discovered a fantastic (so far!) app for regulating food intake and exercise.


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
one is always at the expense of something else Dec 18, 2016

If free enterprise handicaps are something some people don't like or don't want to do, then there're none, because when one is becoming better, then he could do everything more easily and efficiently.

Therefore, besides some hands-in exp, most biz problems derive from not having appropriate initial skills and relevant knowledge, which is but the educational system priorities fault--and those who blindly jump ahead unprepared.

How I wish most translators were obliged to pass some biz exams)


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Pascale van Kempen-Herlant
Local time: 19:47
Dutch to French
+ ...
I agree with Teresa. Dec 18, 2016

Teresa Borges wrote:

In my opinion, the main disadvantage is missing from the list: The lack of regular work and its inevitable consequence: a fluctuating income, which can vary drastically…


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Texte Style
Local time: 19:47
French to English
isolation Dec 18, 2016

Isolation is definitely what I hate the most. I have been sharing an office with another translator and a couple of software developers and it's been great, we get on really well. However we have now had to vacate the office and I'm rather dreading having to stay at home now. Right now the kids are back for Christmas but once they've gone back to uni I shall be feeling very lonely. I'll need to find some other way to be able to talk to other people during the day. As an introvert, this is a definite challenge.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 19:47
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Dec 18, 2016

Lack of guaranteed regular income without actually having to do something for it.

As for lack of fitness + time, everyone is responsible for themselves.
I always put the "I do not have time to..." for a lot of things, but have now managed to sort myself out without any negative affects on my income. It was just the "I have to do it for myself" thing that I had to get over but once I had, things are a lot "healthier" now.


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Daniel Erlich  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:47
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Having to find my own clients Dec 18, 2016

I agree with Alexey. I am not a sales person. I wish I were, but I have a very hard time prospecting and acquiring clients. I wish I could find someone to team up with! I would gladly split the revenue 50/50.

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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:47
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Legal labor rights Dec 18, 2016

First of all "disadvantages" as compared to what? To a regular in-house job, I suppose?

In Brazil, the main disadvantage is not having a health plan, annual leave, yearly bonus, meal voucher, severance fund, termination indemnifications, social security, profit sharing, among others. In order to be a freelancer, one must be quite responsible and provide their own emergency funds, retirement plan and health plan, to say the least. I have talked to some freelancers who do not do that, and spend most of their money. These people will be in deep trouble when they reach their 60's or 70's.

Other than that, there are only advantages, and they are very many.


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Patrice  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:47
Member
French to English
+ ...
My aching back and sore eyes Dec 18, 2016

No matter how ergonomically I work, I think people were not meant to spend so much time in front of a computer, with all the attendant aches and pains.

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