Poll: What is the worst part about being a freelance translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:09
SITE STAFF
Jul 29

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is the worst part about being a freelance translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Bora Tasdemir. View the poll results »



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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:09
Member (2006)
German to English
Ups and downs Jul 29

There are ups and downs in all occupations. I am happy with what I am doing, and now that the children are in school, I have a bit more time to get rid of the kilos from the past 10 years.
I don´t think that there is a worse part.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 29

I hate chasing payments!

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jul 29

Admin tasks.

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Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 22:09
Member (2005)
English to German
Other Jul 29

The fact that the nice DHL man thinks I've been unemployed for the last twenty years, as I'm always home to take the parcels for the entire street!

I think someone owes me some nice shelves to store all that stuff ...


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:09
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I like it all Jul 29

No complaints, really, except that people assume I'm available because I'm home. I live in a very friendly neighborhood and could spend the whole day gabbing with my neighbors if I didn't draw the line.

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:09
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Feast/Famine & translator availability Jul 29

Very few clients have a constant demand for translation throughout the entire year or most of it. Some have 1-3 jobs now and then, and they'll hibernate for a couple of months between such sprints.

Most will come up every so many months with a giant and urgent request, and this is the problem.
Due to some syncing device in the Universe's clockwork machinery, they will seldom come alone. Though these clients certainly don't know each other, and are often separated by many thousand miles, they often strike at once!

All translation clients expect a freelance translator to be always available for them, all the time, any time. Those who indulge into imposing lower rates and longer payment terms seem to be more persistent in this assumption, which is obvious, as they have a smaller population of vendors willing to yield to their demands. On the other extreme, it is tough for the freelancer to manage the worthy business partners' (aka good clients) requests when they come in all at once, in order to keep everyone happy.


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yam2u  Identity Verified
United States
Member
English to Malay
+ ...
I agree Jul 29

Teresa Borges wrote:

I hate chasing payments!


This wasn't offered as one of the choices, but it would have been mine too.

As I'm sure is the case with most of my serious translator colleagues, I'm quite anal about timely delivery/invoicing. So I consider clients who drag their feet paying and need reminders, sometimes more than once, are not only inconsiderate but also discourteous.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:09
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Invoicing... Jul 29

As an employee I simply had to do my job, whatever it was, drink my coffee and tidy up after myself. Pay checks arrived all by themselves...

Now I have to work out rates and agree on them with clients, and then I have to add VAT and all that nonsense.
This month three out of four invoices came back from my husband, who checks them before I send them to clients, and I had to correct errors. I have trouble with figures, and that was a bad day, but invoicing always irritates me.

At least it is a month before I have to do it again!


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SachiM
Japan
Local time: 06:09
Japanese to English


Posted via
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Other: irregular work hours Jul 29

I have enough work, but I can't schedule them into specific days of the week. I don't know what hours I'll need to commit to work until I receive a job, and then I have to work around the other schedules I had already made to meet the deadline... which means I usually end up doing unhealthy night hours.

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R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:09
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
The financial aspect Jul 29

Echoing what a few people are saying here - I really dislike the financial aspect of being a freelance translator, and the need to chase customers for payments, not receiving responses from customers when asked about payments, and the general unsociable and sometimes rude behaviour of customers when it comes to matters regarding money.

I think this needs to be stamped out in the translation industry: the attitude of requesting urgent and ASAP work, and then paying under different conditions in comparison to the deadline demands of the translation itself.

Richard


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Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:09
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
Physical activity Jul 29

No problems at all except lack of physical activity

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Jan Truper
Germany
Local time: 22:09
Member (2016)
English to German
+ ...
other Jul 29

I love the work itself and most aspects of it.
But I think most projects are underpaid, even if they are supposedly well-paid by translators' standards. I've played an important role in some projects that were insanely successful, financially speaking, but I still just got my regular rate -- and I'm not even allowed to name such projects due to NDAs.
I realize this is a total first-world problem, but I wish there was something along the lines of "You do that one great translation, kiddo, and you'll never have to touch a keyboard again."


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Texte Style
Local time: 22:09
French to English
Admin, billing, loneliness Jul 30

I loathe anything in admin, especially billing and checking that everyone's paid and chasing up payment.

That's the one thing I would get out of, the one thing that stopped me from free-lancing for so long.


The other thing is loneliness. We have actually taken in a couple of lodgers now which means there are other people around the house, so I can at least chat with them. Before I was working in an office with another translator and a couple of software engineers, that was great. We all worked really hard in total silence, we would even send each other messages rather than break the silence. Then at lunch and after work we would natter non-stop, it was great. That all fell apart with people's circumstances changing so I'm back at home now, wishing I had tried to find replacements, but it all happened too quickly at a time when I had too much on my plate.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:09
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Several of these Jul 30

The three most voted options. But that doesn't mean I would anyhow ever return to an in-house job... ever.

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Poll: What is the worst part about being a freelance translator?

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