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Poll: Is it possible for a freelance translator to work efficiently without a dedicated work space?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:46
SITE STAFF
Jan 16

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Is it possible for a freelance translator to work efficiently without a dedicated work space?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:46
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Jan 16

Not me, as I prefer a dedicated space, with a table/desk and chair. However, my colleague is happy to work just about anywhere with a laptop and some cushions...

 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 21:46
Member (2005)
English to German
Yes Jan 16

... and it took me one Google search to find this text by the few words I remembered from it, Google is really scary sometimes:

"Virginia Woolf, in her book, A Room of One's Own, wrote that in order for a woman to write fiction she must have two things, certainly: a room of her own (with key and lock) and enough money to support herself.

What then are we to make of Phillis Wheatley, a slave, who owned not even herself?"

https://archive.vcu.edu/english/engweb/webtexts/Wheatley/phil2.htm


 

Ehsan Kiani
Iran
Local time: 00:16
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Generally No Jan 16

I don't think it's possible to work "professionally" without a dedicated work space. It's where you keep all your files, resources, etc. Where you can be concentrated on the work ahead of you. My own experience tells me that without such a space, the work is easily disrupted by various environmental / non-environmental factors. To work efficiently, you need a routine - the creativity comes when you're assured of the minimums required for the work to do. But of course, as with many other things in the world, exceptions are allowed and even have to be endured sometimes!

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:46
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I don't think so Jan 16

It's hard for me to imagine not having a proper workspace. It would mean, for one thing, that the person's work was 100 percent paperless. It would mean not having a place to keep a reference book of any kind, tax records, or even a business license, which is supposed to be "displayed." It would also mean never needing a magnifying glass, a stamp, a paper clip, a Post-It note, etc., etc., etc. IMO, the disadvantages are endless.

 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:46
Member (2008)
English to Italian
no Jan 16

For me, a proper (work) space means:
- silence if you need
- no people walking around you and talking
- whatever makes your working hours comfortable (in my case my music)
- a proper space for whatever is necessary for you (place to attach notes, pens, rubbers, mail)

In my case this is necessary, I would see myself translating everywhere in case I had to translate something different, which might require a more creative approach.


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:46
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
We are all different, aren’t we? Jan 16

I need my own space to work. I have a very calm and quiet office with everything necessary.

 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 21:46
French to English
+ ...
It's possible... Jan 16

Almost all things are. But I wouldn't want to work like that and I'm pretty sure it would impact my productivity quite seriously.

 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:46
Member
Italian to English
I'm sure it is! Jan 16

Just as I couldn't do without my own workspace, I'm sure there are just as many others who can work anywhere... coworking space, Internet cafe, beach in Thailand...

 

Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:46
Portuguese to English
Flexibility Jan 16

I prefer working in my home "office", but sometimes needs must.

I broke my ankle during a recent trip to India, and was staying at a friend's apartment, which had no furniture in the living space, just beds in the bedrooms.

As I was immobilised, I accepted some work and sat for 4 days on the living-room floor with my laptop, my plastered left foot supported on my suitcase. It was a big, complex job which extended over the time I spent travelling back to Brazil, so I found myself working on planes and in airport spaces - noisy, uncomfortable and far from ideal, but was able to zone out and concentrate - at least we have this flexibility to work - many others don't.

I'm writing this from my home office, with all mod cons around me, and a bit of classical music on low volume in the background - I'm lucky to live on a small fishing beach with no real traffic, pedestrian or commercial activity to speak of - just the gentle noise of the sea lapping on the shore, and the occasional shouts of incoming/outgoing fishermen.

[Edited at 2018-01-16 14:17 GMT]


 

R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:46
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My perspective Jan 16

I need a place where I can close the door, when I need to close the door, so I have a dedicated bedroom (office) where I can exclusively do that, but the concept of grabbing a backpack and working in public is completely alien to me, and I don't really desire that. The thing I do require is to work at my own pace without a 9-5 clock ticking in the background. Just give me a reasonable deadline and consider it done; evenings, weekends, whatever.

 

Cinthya Chamarelli
Brazil
Local time: 16:46
Japanese to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes Jan 16

Yes, of course it's possible, though it's not ideal or even easy.

I used to have a home office just for myself, but I recently changed address and I haven't yet gotten my own workspace. I have a desk, a comfortable chair, and a ceiling fan to help me get through the sweltering Brazilian summer, but people around me talk, shout, watch TV, and interrupt me all the time. I can still do my job.

Even if I had to work in worse conditions, like in a crowded place or outdoors, with nothing but my laptop and Internet connection, I'm sure I could still pull it off, though it'd take some getting used to, and I'd have to try extra hard to concentrate, and my back would kill me afterwards...

That said, I look forward to having my own workspace again.


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Silence: I need it sometimes Jan 16

Gianluca Marras wrote:

For me, a proper (work) space means:
- silence if you need
- no people walking around you and talking
- whatever makes your working hours comfortable (in my case my music)
- a proper space for whatever is necessary for you (place to attach notes, pens, rubbers, mail)

In my case this is necessary, I would see myself translating everywhere in case I had to translate something different, which might require a more creative approach.


I couldn't agree more!

icon_smile.gif


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
The sad condition of modern architecture Jan 16

R-i-c-h-a-r-d wrote:

I need a place where I can close the door, when I need to close the door, so I have a dedicated bedroom (office) where I can exclusively do that, but the concept of grabbing a backpack and working in public is completely alien to me, and I don't really desire that. The thing I do require is to work at my own pace without a 9-5 clock ticking in the background. Just give me a reasonable deadline and consider it done; evenings, weekends, whatever.


Having recently perused and read excerpts from the latest Metropolis issue (it's a bimonthly magazine about architecture and design), I'm concerned about the sad condition of modern architecture, or where architectural and interior design for offices and buildings are going.

Companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Citibank are building open office spaces. Microsoft even has a hybrid open space/outdoor work area in its Seattle campus. As if the future of workplaces were literally a walk in the park.

Richard mentioned an interesting construct: the door. Civilizations have built spaces with four walls, a roof and doors for centuries. Now it seems so-called futuristic companies are opting for returning to a time where we weren't using walls or doors. How sad, how shortsighted.

icon_frown.gif


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:46
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Sure Jan 18

Gianluca Marras wrote:

For me, a proper (work) space means:
- silence if you need
- no people walking around you and talking
- whatever makes your working hours comfortable (in my case my music)
- a proper space for whatever is necessary for you (place to attach notes, pens, rubbers, mail)


I wholeheartedly agree. Yet, that's not the same as a "dedicated space".
Most hotel rooms offer all that. So do airport lounges, business class seats on most flights, some train station lounges, rooms on sleeper trains and ferries, quiet coffee shops ...
If I stopped working everytime I need to travel somewhere, I'd be bankrupt.


 
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