Business, Linguistics, Translation

You wanted a bike? Now ride!

Such a long time, since I wrote last time. So many things happened, what I wanted to blog about, which then lost on importance or got forgotten.

When I left London, I had my problems believing, that I will be able to make a living from translating. As a freelance, from my home. It is a dream-job for people, who have so many interests like I do. I love running, reading (don’t do it as often as I would love to), movies, gardening, cats, talking (yes, it can become a hobby or nearly), blogging, I just love to use my life and not to give it away for someone, who wants to make money from it.

At that time – when I left London – I regularly worked for few agencies as as side-job and had some ad-hoc jobs.

One of the agencies then changed its profile and didn’t work into Hungarian anymore. (now they only send me 9-15 words PER MONTH!!!! All the people say on this topic, that I should have a minimum rate, but this agency was giving me so much work for years, that I keep my mouth and create SDL projects, send the invoice for monthly 2 euros maybe.

The other fact is, that in Italy working for an agency often turns into a family-like relationship with them. They are your father, they are your Godfather, who gave you money and now you can’t just leave them (that you worked for that money is none of your business however strange this might seem))

But then an agency arrived like a unicorn or a saver, who promised, that if I lower my rate just by 2 cents, they will give me work continuously. (now this is another fun part of freelancing. Agencies ALWAYS promise, they don’t have to show afterwards anything. While me freelancer…I am promising at the beginning, have to show in the middle – translating really good – and can’t even complain, if the relation with them doesn’t turn out to be that continuous. It is like one-night-stands the next morning. You never really want to call that person again, do you?)

So this agency was something special. They gave me work. They gave me so much work, that I had to work on my holidays last year, I even had to work in Thailand, where we spent two weeks. I work so much for them, that now after just 4 months they give the biggest part of my income.

And here’s the thing: it scares the hell out of me.

I might be wrong, but until working means being able to talk to people and keeping a (working) relationship happily alive, it will start – bloom – end (don’t imagine, that you were their first ever translator, so what do you think happened to the previous one(s)? (maternity, left, was kicked, or one of the reasons below)). Why:

a. You might want to have a higher rate, you are working for them since ages and always get out the same amount for more difficult or time-consuming work.

b. They might change their profile, like my agency did or

c. They just don’t have enough work, crisis it is, babe.

d. They are giving you too much, so freelancing becomes office job, without an office and you (me) don’t really like it.

e. Their PM-s become too pushy or think, that they have to control you and not work with you together. Like you wouldn’t be in the same boat anymore and again, you don’t like 20 year old people riding your back, who can’t even use your CAT tool as good as you can.

I know, there is an easy way out. I just need to renounce on some jobs and go to other agencies for work, but I thought, maybe it is not so easy to think through for other people.

– If you freelance, you will have your core clients, true, but don’t stand just on one foot. It is dangerous.

– Establish a good relationship with the PM-s and let them understand, that you are working for them to keep the client happy. Never tell them, if you were right. It is enough, you understood it.

– Try to focus on not giving more than 50% of your time to only one agency – if you want to work full-time for them, then ask for a regular contract, don’t freelance!

– Enjoy your freelancer life, you are doing it, because you didn’t want to suffer in an office. (I go to repot my mint I just bought and then I cook a fab asparagus – leek risotto, come back to translate after 6. Yes, I will have my mobile with me and I will answer all the e-mails  and BTW I woke up at 5 PM to QA two projects and to translate and QA nearly 600 PLC commands!)

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