Poll: What size jobs / projects do you prefer?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:27
SITE STAFF
Jan 7, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What size jobs / projects do you prefer?".

This poll was originally submitted by ryancolm

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Marion Rooijmans
Netherlands
Local time: 11:27
English to Dutch
+ ...
Medium Jan 7, 2008

When I still worked at a translation agency, I loved these small, quick-turnaround jobs. They came from one client in particular and targeted young, dynamic readers. We didn't have to stick to the source text too much and translating these texts felt more like writing a new text based on the source text, rather than translating it. At the end of the day, I always felt I had been very productive, even if I had had three of these one-hour jobs and done nothing during the rest of the day.

Now that I'm a freelancer working from home, I prefer medium-sized jobs. Large jobs make me nervous, I always fear there will be consistency problems in my translations. My former employer still sends me these small jobs every now and then, and I really like translating those, but it also means I can't simply switch off my computer and go shopping, and finish the translation in the evening.

With medium-sized translations, I can accept a new job, leave it for a couple of hours and finish it when I want to (as long as the deadline is reasonable). I also like the fact that medium-sized jobs often involve some research, so I learn about all kinds of topics while translating.


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Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:27
Member
French to English
+ ...
A mix of the above Jan 7, 2008

I don't have a defined preference, although I definitely would be uncomfortable working only on short translations.

I generally have a couple of ongoing projects (over several months) in both translation and editing. These keep my mind at ease as I know that I can expect a steady income in the coming months, plus the subject matter becomes familiar and evermore interesting. I like medium sized translations (say 10K to 50K words) too, depending on the subject, of course. I occasionally enjoy short translations from specific customers which add a bit of pizzazz and can usually be slipped into my schedule whilst working on a larger project.

It's hard to make a generalisation as each project is unique, but overall I guess I'm amongst the medium- to long-term project people.

Best,
Jocelyne


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
I like a mix of short, medium, and long projects Jan 7, 2008

Long projects can be fascinating, but it's nice to break them up by working concurrently on shorter projects - preferably ones about different subject matter than the long job.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
XXL Jan 7, 2008

I need and like the elbow room larger projects give. They allow me to manage my time and keep more clients (especially my main ones) happy.

I've reached the point where, as far as I'm concerned, someone else can do anything what has to be done in less than 3 to 5 days.

I like XXL (weeks and months) size projects.

[Editado a las 2008-01-08 12:42]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:27
Flemish to English
+ ...
All Translations Great and Small Jan 7, 2008

First : A tiny project as a get to know each other and to evaluate my skills and after that big projects paid at a decent rate and on time or a week of interpreting...

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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:27
English to Dutch
+ ...
Hear hear! Jan 7, 2008

Steven Capsuto wrote:

Long projects can be fascinating, but it's nice to break them up by working concurrently on shorter projects - preferably ones about different subject matter than the long job.


My thoughts exactly.


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Hilde Granlund  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 11:27
English to Norwegian
+ ...
not too small, not too big Jan 7, 2008

A big project on an interesting subject with a not too tight deadline is perfect. A guarantee of interesting work, and still possible to fit in smaller things to keep other good clients happy.
I have made the mistake of saying yes to a huge not-so-interesting project, and boy, did I get bored towards the end.
But other huge projects have been great.
What I don't like are small projects where tiny little amendments have been made to a huge text and the object is to spot them and make adjustments. The translation itself is very small - but the effort is out of proportion.
Otherwise, I don't mind short projects either, especially if they are interesting or really easy to do.


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Anne Patteet  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:27
English to French
+ ...
A mix Jan 7, 2008

I also like a mix of everything, for the same reasons as above mentionned.

But if I really had to accept one OR another, I'd prefer large (or maybe medium-large) projects, as I wouldn't enjoy to be "hung" to my computer in order to know if a new job arrived.
I like long jobs because I can organize myself as I see fit. I am currently translating a book, for which I'm supposed to translate a chapter/month: I can take four weeks -or one- to translate each chapter, that's up to me. I love it because I can accept medium-sized jobs and small ones almost all the time.
I really wouldn't enjoy getting only small jobs: I need to know, to an extent anyway, what I'll do (or not) next week.

Have a nice week everyone!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:27
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The larger, the better Jan 7, 2008

John Cutler wrote:

I need and like the elbow room larger projects give. They allow me to manage my time and keep more clients (especially my main ones) happy.


Yes, also my preference. Big projects also tend to teach you more about one particular matter and let you gather and confirm plenty of terminology about the subject, and I like that. We do all sorts of projects, from minutes to weeks, though.


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Ricardo Pereira  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 10:27
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Weeks to months Jan 7, 2008

This pool is interesting because this subject is something that has been on my mind recently. I find more difficult to being motivated to do small jobs than to do large projects. Although you can get tired (or exhausted) with large projects, they are good if you want to specialize in an area and it is more motivating to know you'll receive a €1000 payment than a €30 cheque. Another thing is that you can focus all your energy is just one subject.

However, this can be very dangerous because one can become "dependent" of a client...

It is a dubious matter.

Cheers, Ricardo.

[Edited at 2008-01-08 09:17]


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Sandro C  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:27
English to Georgian
+ ...
It's good to have a variety Jan 7, 2008

It is funny, but when I answered this question to vote I gave preference to medium size projects - it is good for both my pocket and my head

But having looked through the posted comments, I do agree that a mix of small and larger projects would really be preferable - one might get tired of working on one subject for a long time , however interesting and educating it might be, and changing pace from time to time is really my cup of tea. When you go back to the ongoing project it is kind of a fresh start.

The poll did not refer to interpreting jobs, but thinking about variety, it is also a good change for me, especially when the subject is the area I feel comfortable with.

Guess that's it


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Patricia Prevost  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
A big one for me Jan 7, 2008

I feel at ease with large projects. I'm always a bit slow at the beginning (searching for the right terms can be so time-consuming for me) so I need a day or two to "warm up". But then the terminology, the style, everything starts to flow. And then I can enjoy my work for two months!

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Claudine Pierre-Antoine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:27
English to French
Voted large. Jan 7, 2008

It's amazing how many things we, translators, have in common.
I agree with everything that was said before...

Though short projects may be paid at a higher rate per word (which is a definite plus), and have the advantage of affording a quick income, a short spurt of an effort is all that's needed, I still prefer large jobs for very practical reasons (all mentioned before):

- build terminology
- increase expertise
- warm up and increase job speed
- a big cheque!

But an additional and important reason is that all the work expended to build this terminology is not wasted on a job that pays little. In essence, short jobs often cost me more per word, in terms of my time, than do large jobs.

Of course, if the job is within a specific, but relatively broad field, then all research is useful. Yet, I have had a handful of jobs where I did a lot of research in fields that were so specific, so small, that I never got to use my knowledge on the subjects again... and the subjects were not that interesting.

Thanks for all the tips, and I will particularly take into consideration the psychological need to take on small projects as well, as well as the dangers of becoming dependent on the big clients.

Claudine


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Hester Eymers  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:27
Member (2005)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Large Jan 8, 2008

I like the larger jobs (several weeks to several months), with some smaller ones (a few hours to a few days) in between. It gives you freedom to organize your time as you see fit, as Anne Patteet said. Another important advantage: you can concentrate on translating and don't have to be glued to your computer (or phone) for new jobs, negotiate rates and deadlines, send invoices, etc.

Hester


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