Questionnaire: Short report on the experiences of freelancers.
Thread poster: Tomisha
Apr 29, 2012

Greetings from Amman!

I’m currently preparing a short paper for one of my BA courses about the international/online translator market. As part of the paper, I want to share and lament on the experiences of freelance translators. I've prepared a couple of questions and I would be overjoyed if you could take a couple of minutes to answer them for me. It would be a tremendous help and a great addition to an otherwise rather boring paper.

Thank you so much for your time

Yours sincerely,


Tomisha Bino



The Questions



1. Why freelancing? As opposed to working at an agency.

2. Pricing. Some language directions cost more. Why is that? How not sell yourself short but not price out of the market?

3. How much can you trust online commissions? Bad/good experiences.

4. To what extent do socio-economic or political changes affect the translation market? Have you experienced such changes?

5. Do you feel that the translation market has changed since you started freelancing? If so, how?


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Maya Fourioti  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 20:58
Member (2010)
English
+ ...
A few words in reply Apr 29, 2012

1. Why freelancing? As opposed to working at an agency.
More challenging.Freedom to work at your pace, freedom to select projects and reject others, flexible working time and lots of other advantages.

2. Pricing. Some language directions cost more. Why is that? How not sell yourself short but not price out of the market?
It is a matter of supply and demad.Always keep to market values with some fluctuations.Up to the freelancer to decide what to charge considering volume, deadlines,who the outsourcer is, terminology.

3. How much can you trust online commissions? Bad/good experiences.
The golden rule is to check before you accept assignments.Proz is very good for that because you can report bad payers.

4. To what extent do socio-economic or political changes affect the translation market? Have you experienced such changes?
Not, really.Overall I am busier than before.

5. Do you feel that the translation market has changed since you started freelancing? If so, how? [/quote]
It has expanded greatly.The proof is that the number of new agencies is constantly growing. Globalisation has brought about more jobs I think.


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thinks: How flippant and dimissive can I be here? Apr 29, 2012

(I'll try not to slip into rant mode on this issue)
- Why freelancing?
- Independence. Agencies work for themselves and the translator works for them, but I prefer to be my own boss, for better or worse.

2. Pricing. Some language directions cost more. Why is that?
- Cost of living in the agency or source language country. For example, I live in Spain and translate from Spanish to English; my colleagues lives nearby and translates German or Scandinavian to English; his rates are about 30% higher than mine, reflecting the different purchasing power (etc ) of countries.

How not sell yourself short but not price out of the market?
- Ask around (colleagues and clients) and set your prices accordingly.

3. How much can you trust online commissions?
- Not much... but they also say that "if you don't take risks, you will never taste champagne".

4. To what extent do socio-economic or political changes affect the translation market?
- The current economic crisis has meant that many direct clients tend to resist any proposedf rate rise, and agencies pass this on to the translator.
Have you experienced such changes? - Yes.

5. Do you feel that the translation market has changed since you started freelancing? -Yes.
If so, how?
- There are more CAT tools around nowadays and their use is more widespread. The free availability of MT has led to a lot of market intrusion and, I believe, a general tendency to undervalue translation, since "anybody with a PC and a network connection can do it"...


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Mailand  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Italian to German
+ ...
Biological rhythm/supply-demand/good/changes affect market/speed Apr 29, 2012

1. Why freelancing? As opposed to working at an agency.
As a mother of two and a late-evening worker I decided that working as a freelance would give me the possibility to look after my kids and make use of my biological rhythm to my advantage – it didn´t/doesn´t always work out this way, but still, now, after a couple of years, it would be very hard to get back to fulltime employment.

2. Pricing. Some language directions cost more. Why is that? How not sell yourself short but not price out of the market?
Law of supply and demand on the one hand, I guess, and probably also a question of what neilmac has already pointed out (cost of living etc.).

3. How much can you trust online commissions? Bad/good experiences.
So far my experiences with online commissions have been very limited, but positive.

4. To what extent do socio-economic or political changes affect the translation market? Have you experienced such changes?
Yes, living in Italy I (and I think I could extend this to “we”), are going through such a change: I´d say translations are limited to the absolute necessary and, mainly done in English as the “internationally accepted language”.

5. Do you feel that the translation market has changed since you started freelancing? If so, how?
I´d say “speed” is a keyword .... like in “has to be done by yesterday”. I don´t do a lot of work where CAT would be really helpful, so I wouldn´t know about that, MT is laughable in most cases anyway (but there are still people around who use it, I guess)


[Edited at 2012-04-29 20:43 GMT]


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jlrsnyder  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 14:58
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Freedom and control of my working environment Apr 30, 2012

1. Why freelancing? As opposed to working at an agency.
No commuting. I don't have to live close to the agencies who send me work. I have greater possibility for variety in my work. I control the conditions where I work: Background music or radio station, snacks of my choosing, equipment I have chosen, no restrictions on use of telephone or which websites I visit, control of heating and cooling.
I can take care of personal business on week days without having to ask permission from a boss or use precious vacation time.

3. How much can you trust online commissions? Bad/good experiences. So far I've had only one client who did not pay, and it was not a large job. With other clients, the time between presenting a bill and getting paid is often unpredictable.

4. To what extent do socio-economic or political changes affect the translation market? Have you experienced such changes? I've been translating for only 8 years and my workload has not fluctuated with the economic situation.

5. Do you feel that the translation market has changed since you started freelancing? If so, how? I haven't been working in the field long enough to notice any trends.

[/quote]


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Eileen Cartoon  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:58
Italian to English
My two cents Apr 30, 2012

I agree with most everything the others have said but would add:

1. Why freelance...?
I find that I can acutally make more money freelancing (in terms of hourly rate) than if I were directly employed. The flip side, however, is that there is no sick time or vacation pay. when you work you earn, when you don't you don't earn. But another plus, above and beyond the flexibility of hours and not having to live near the clientele is that you can make more of your time. with no commuting (home office) there is absolutely no wasted time and this can mean either earning more or more free time whichever you prefer.

2. Trust online commissions...
Actually I have had very few. I work for a lot of agencies but have never had a problem with payments. Only in recent years have I had a few from agencies that contaced me through ProZ and so far I have not had a problem.

3.Economic-political situation...
Actually at the time of crisis I have found my workload increase dramatically as customers start seeking new markets and, to enter these markets, all their material -- manuals, corresondence, certifications, technical specifications -- need to be translated into the language of the target market. And, I guess, because my target language is English, this is even more true.

4. Changes in the market..
The market, in my opnion, has taken a turn for the worse. There are many more people entering, inventing themselves, and quality of what is deemed acceptable has dropped considerably. And this, I feel, is what we all have to really work against. Drops in prices are an inevitable consequence of added competition but this competition must be judged on the quality and not simply price and I feel this is not happening today. The same customer who would buy a Mercedes instead of a cheap little car, or a $1000 tailored suit, is totally unequipped to judge the quality of translation work so that they are all considered equivalent. They are not!!!


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