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A few words of encouragement for freelance translators
Thread poster: conejo

conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:42
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
May 20, 2009

I was just thinking today that this is a really hard business to be in. And those of us who have become established translators, who have made it as full-time freelance translators with this as our only job for 5 years or more, are really to be congratulated.

We have to be our own quality control people, our own IT people, our own advertising reps, and our own accountants.

We have to deal with erratic cash flow and never being sure where the next dollar (or yen or Euro or whatever it may be) is coming from or when it is coming, and not let that make us go nuts.

If we don't work we don't eat. We have no benefits except for what we pay for ourselves. There are no paid vacations and no free lunches.

There is no boss, and nobody except ourselves to make us work or to motivate us.

It can be difficult to sit in front of the computer all the time working and not go outside very often.

Although many of us are solitary by nature, it can be difficult not to have any co-workers. It can be difficult to work alone (especially if we live alone too).

Since there are no co-workers (except those here on ProZ), we don't have much moral support. Friends and family don't really understand the industry we are in, either.

There is often no feedback from customers (other than repeat business), and this can leave us feeling like nobody appreciates us.

Make no mistake, this is a tough business. And I am sure that a lot of people never make it to 5 years, whether they are freelance translators or consultants or some other type of freelance independent contractor, because they can't make enough money, because they can't handle the lack of guaranteed income, or because they can't deal with some other aspect of what this business is like.

So to all of you freelancers who have made it past 5 years:
Congratulations. You are to be commended for all your hard work. And although it may seem that way sometimes, you are not alone out there... although we are scattered throughout the world, you can connect with us on ProZ.

To all of you who haven't hit the 5-year mark:
Good luck.

To agencies:
Try to be aware of all the things that your translators face, and have respect for all the things that they are required to do on a daily basis. It is not an easy job.

*Big hug to all the freelancers out there*











[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-05-21 13:58 GMT]


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Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 23:42
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thank you! May 20, 2009

And we are the worse bosses of the world!
It does not hurt me that my friends don't really understand my job, as a matter of fact, I don't understand their business either. But it really hurts me when my family assume that my job is not a real one, and they believe that I spent all the day long chatting with friends.


[Edited at 2009-05-21 00:03 GMT]


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:42
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I agree May 20, 2009

Yes, I have had a few people who think my job is easy because I work out of my house.

Clarisa Moraña wrote:
But it really hurt me when my family assume that my job is not a real one, and they believe that I spent all the day long chatting with friends.


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patyjs  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
How right you are... May 20, 2009

about erratic income. After several fairly slow weeks during which income from previous jobs has just about come to end and I really need something with fast payment terms, I now have a project that will keep me busy for the next month or so (lucky me!) with little time for anything else. Payment terms are, (yes, you guessed) 90 days after the end of the month of the invoice date. I should get it just before my husband's birthday...in October.

Sod's law.


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conejo  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:42
Member (2003)
Japanese to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Payment terms May 20, 2009

Yes, I find that I am also paying more attention to payment terms these days. It is hard to make ends meet if the client won't pay within at least 45 days of the invoice date...

patyjs wrote:
about erratic income. After several fairly slow weeks during which income from previous jobs has just about come to end and I really need something with fast payment terms...


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Lise Leavitt  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:42
Member (2008)
Danish to English
+ ...
Thank you! May 20, 2009

conejo wrote:


To all of you who haven't hit the 5-year mark:
Good luck.


*Big hug to all the freelancers out there*





Thanks, I know I'll need it! *Hugs back*


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rtpushpa  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 08:12
Member (2008)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Thank You! May 21, 2009

Thanks for the encouraging words. As they say " Pass on the happiest thoughts. It may be just the thing to lift someone's spirits and bring hope to an otherwise dismal day."

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Elizabeth Ardans  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 23:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
other side May 21, 2009

...just to see the brighter side of some of this things...


We have to be our own quality control people, our own IT people, our own advertising reps, and our own accountants.

This is not that bad... one can learn a lot in different subjects!

. There are no paid vacations and no free lunches.

Yes, but we can go on vacation whenever we like without having to ask for permission or considering when other co-workers are taking theirs... we can have lunch at any time we want for as long as we want...


There is no boss, and nobody except ourselves to make us work or to motivate us.

What is better than that? If I need further motivation, just need to have a look at my little son


It can be difficult to sit in front of the computer all the time working and not go outside very often.

Well, it its, but it is also fantastic to be able to stay home when it's raining or freezing outside...

Thank you Conejo!


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KathyT  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 13:42
Japanese to English
Awww, thanks Conejo!! May 21, 2009

**Big virtual group hug**
So true, everything you wrote!


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Sandrinha  Identity Verified

Local time: 02:42
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, yes and yes May 21, 2009

I agree with everything have been say here. It's hard sometimes but I choose (as you do) this way and what a wonderful work if you want to stimulate a curious mind, learn everyday, make some researches and be independent in some different ways. Ok, it have some inconvenient too and surprises. I've never regret it and I don't care if nobody take me seriously and don't understand what I'm doing all day long (and several nights too) in front of my computer.

Congrats for all the translators out there!

PS: English is not my working or speaking language (I guess you guess it)


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:42
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanx May 21, 2009

conejo:

Thank you very much for your kind words. In days like these, wherein the damn global crisis slashes, I appreciate your post. And a big hug to you too, my friend.

Sincerely,
a 10-years Mexican-Italian translator


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:42
English to French
+ ...
Thank you! May 21, 2009

conejo wrote:

So to all of you freelancers who have made it past 5 years:
Congratulations. You are to be commended for all your hard work. And although it may seem that way sometimes, you are not alone out there... although we are scattered throughout the world, you can connect with us on ProZ.

Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life, and today, life is good. My aching back salutes you.

Cheers!


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Claudia Catena
Italy
Local time: 03:42
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Thank you May 21, 2009

Thank you so much! I really needed kind words and totally agree with you!

Thanks again!

Claudia


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Alessandra Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 03:42
Member (2009)
English to Italian
+ ...
Thank you! May 21, 2009

I'm a platinum member of the ones who didn't make it, so thank you
Big hug to you and all other translators out there!

And please remember that....

"Could be worse"
"How?"
"Could be raining!"

(Young Frankenstein)

Enjoy!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AFf0ysgNiM


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Mykhailo Voloshko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 04:42
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Thank you! May 21, 2009

Thank you, conejo!

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