Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4] >
Does constant availability affect your life?
Thread poster: Robgo

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:19
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Being new is in your mind - don't give the client ideas! Jan 27, 2017

Robgo wrote:

... if you're not yet established, I guess you have to make some compromises. Once you have a larger customer base it becomes easier to make them play your game.

It seems to me that seniority plays an important role- translators who have been in the industry for 20 years are established for one thing and they still remember the time before email and smartphones well. Some may even be adverse to the idea of always being able to answer quickly, even if they would depend on being so to a larger extent than they actually are.

...


Before I started translating, I did a lot of different jobs, so I was nearly always 'new'. By the time I came to translating, the Internet was up and running, though too expensive to be online more than strictly necessary.

I had learned in earlier jobs that many people I worked with assumed that I had been doing the same thing for years, especially in the home-care service, and treated me accordingly. I dropped the 'little new girl' approach at once, unless I felt very uncertain of what I was doing. I learnt when to ask colleagues for help: THEY knew I was new to the job, and often volunteered good advice!

I had the advantage of starting in-house as a translator, with colleagues to check my work the first months, but I was thrown in at the deep end, and had to deliver professional results from day one.

You have to swim or you will sink as a freelancer. Find a colleague who can proofread for you, but don't tell clients you are a beginner. If you are qualified for the job, tell them. Even after eighteen years, I frequently have to say no, sorry, I'm not qualified ... for some jobs. Maybe fewer than when I started, but still plenty!
You could add: 'Now if it was [whatever you DO specialise in] ... I could do that for you.' Try to end all contacts with clients on a positive note one way or another. (Unless they are the kind who want top quality, bottom rates and delivered yesterday, and you are actually trying to scare them off. )

Make clients see you as a competent specialist in whatever you do, but also as a person who needs to eat and sleep, get some air and see your family and friends.

I think it is going to be more important, not less, in the years to come. Machine translation is available instantly, round the clock, and whatever we think, it will be used for a lot of routine work.
Humans are different, and the work they do is different. Don't compete with the machines. Play instead on the fact that you can't, but you are in a completely different league anyway.

Good clients will come back if they are satisfied with your work. It is much easier (and quicker) for them to find a translator in their database than to trawl directories on Proz.com or wherever to find new translators, so they will wait a couple of hours for you if necessary. It is still quicker and more reliable than finding someone else! Make sure they have an idea of you, first of all as a translator who delivers what they want. Be flexible when you can, but don't be afraid to ask for a better deadline, time off, or what you need to do a good job. Clients are human too, and they DO understand!

Best of luck!


 

Jan Truper  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:19
English to German
+ ...
it's all good Jan 27, 2017

Robgo wrote:
My question is how does the (more or less required) constant availability affect your life? Do you feel the constant pressure to be able to respond immediately? Can you enjoy your weekends or do you often have to cancel plans at the last minute? Have smartphones changed your life for the better or worse? Is planning your vacation now more difficult than 10 years ago because you don't want to be gone and not reachable?
Robert


There is really no such thing as constant availability, since humans need to sleep. Many of my agency clients use an online availability calendar nowadays, so I can define how much I'm willing to take on, and when.

At this point in my career, the only times I feel pressure is when I occasionally make the mistake of taking on too much work. In the beginning that was different, but one learns to chillax after while.

I don't really value weekends that much -- as a matter of fact, I prefer to take off time during the week. In my view it's one of the major perks of a freelancer's life to be able to pursue leisure activities when most other people have to work. That said, it's not easy to find and maintain a decent work/life balance (currently, I've been working for 20 days straight, but I don't mind).

Smartphones have considerably changed my life for the better, since they give me the freedom to frolic through the world without missing e-mails. I make sure to inform all clients that I NEVER take work-related phone calls. I'm reachable via e-mail only, and the smartphone enables me to generally respond to e-mails from regular customers fairly quickly, wherever I am.

Planning vacations is easier than 10 years ago, because my income has risen and become more steady. I inform regular clients well beforehand and set up an automatic e-mail responder. Once or twice, I delayed a vacation due to big projects, but since I can just tack on the time to the end of my vacation, it's all good.


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 16:19
Member (2009)
German to Serbian
+ ...
Enjoying with whom, alone? Jan 27, 2017

Jan Truper wrote:
I don't really value weekends that much -- as a matter of fact, I prefer to take off time during the week. In my view it's one of the major perks of a freelancer's life to be able to pursue leisure activities when most other people have to work.


Are you going to be able to find the company for enjoying leisure activities in the middle of the week, or you don't mind doing it alone?

I don't value weekends as such, they don't have a value on their own. I value that all my friends and family are available to hang out and spend time together on the weekends, while none is during the week.

Even if you hang out with other freelancers, their schedule is unique for themselves and their own projects so it will probably not match.

Maybe some people don't mind doing travels or short breaks alone, but for me it's pointless.

[Edited at 2017-01-27 10:37 GMT]


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:19
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Constant availability? No, thank you! Jan 27, 2017

My standard working hours are from 8:00 to 20:00 (WET), but I’m extremely flexible and if a regular client has an urgent translation project outside my normal working hours all he/she has to do is e-mail me in advance so that I can organize myself accordingly. I always check my e-mail before going to bed and it’s the first thing I do when I get up. Anyway, almost all my clients are in the Eurozone…

 

Jan Truper  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:19
English to German
+ ...
... Jan 27, 2017

Lingua 5B wrote:

Jan Truper wrote:
I don't really value weekends that much -- as a matter of fact, I prefer to take off time during the week. In my view it's one of the major perks of a freelancer's life to be able to pursue leisure activities when most other people have to work.


Are you going to be able to find the company for enjoying leisure activities in the middle of the week, or you don't mind doing it alone?

[Edited at 2017-01-27 10:37 GMT]


Wifey is a freelancer, too


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:19
Member (2018)
French to English
availability Jan 27, 2017

I usually go on holiday in the first weeks of August when practically all French firms are either shut or being run by a skeleton staff and interns.
Last year I also went away in November. I had just acquired a new client (by virtue of a person changing jobs) and didn't want to lose this or any other good clients. So I got myself a laptop to be able to work from abroad. Luckily my new client's big job had more or less been finished and just needed a few bits and bobs done, and things were
... See more
I usually go on holiday in the first weeks of August when practically all French firms are either shut or being run by a skeleton staff and interns.
Last year I also went away in November. I had just acquired a new client (by virtue of a person changing jobs) and didn't want to lose this or any other good clients. So I got myself a laptop to be able to work from abroad. Luckily my new client's big job had more or less been finished and just needed a few bits and bobs done, and things were generally quiet. There were a couple of queries that I didn't bother chasing up, and I just did a few press releases and stuff for people I don't like to turn down.
I was travelling with my partner and he always likes to sleep late, whereas I'm an early bird. I managed to get all the little bits and pieces done before he got up, so we could then go out and enjoy ourselves.

While at home, I keep my computer on and it notifies me loudly when an e-mail comes in, so I don't need to stay near it. I often go swimming at lunchtime, so I'm out for a good couple of hours, but my clients rarely need me to confirm within the hour. And I don't mind working a bit at the weekend either. This morning I was working on a press release, due in first thing Monday. I've done a good draft, there are a couple of things I need to check from my last translation, then it'll need a polish. I'm off out this afternoon so I shall finish it tomorrow morning before my partner gets up, and my client will find it in her in-box when she gets into work on Monday.
Most of my clients are French and very rarely contact me outside normal working hours. If they do, and I see their message, I don't mind replying quickly. My partner gets far more work-related messages at the weekend than me, then again he doesn't put in a full week's work at the office and earns far more than me.

I'm not sure how many hours work I put in over an average week. I know it's less than when I was working in an agency, yet I'm earning more. I only work when there's work to be done, while at the agency I was mostly twiddling my thumbs all Monday morning, work would start dribbling in come the afternoon, then I'd be turning stuff down on Tuesday. Nowadays if the same pace applies, I can simply recover from the weekend on Monday morning then put in a long day on Tuesday and Wednesday. All in all I'll spend less time at the computer but be productive the whole time and thus earn more.
Collapse


 

Preston Decker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:19
Chinese to English
Connectivity Jan 27, 2017

I've always been somewhat of a Luddite. A couple of changes in life and I'd be living in a cabin in Alaska surrounded by books and a pile of smashed smartphones. So it's a bit unfortunate that I've found myself in a profession that requires you to connect to the odd thing that is the Internet every day. My wife (and partner in translation) wakes up early, and will occasionally wake me up early as well if a promising project has come in from Asia. I check email once every hour or two if I'm out a... See more
I've always been somewhat of a Luddite. A couple of changes in life and I'd be living in a cabin in Alaska surrounded by books and a pile of smashed smartphones. So it's a bit unfortunate that I've found myself in a profession that requires you to connect to the odd thing that is the Internet every day. My wife (and partner in translation) wakes up early, and will occasionally wake me up early as well if a promising project has come in from Asia. I check email once every hour or two if I'm out and about between nine and five on a weekday (more often if at the desk), unless I'm off hiking somewhere without cell coverage, in which case either my wonderful wife or an away message helps me reply. My replies after five really depend on where I am--if at home, I'll continue to check email at least every hour or so; if out, I try to check at least once at seven or eight, and then again just before bed. On weekends I check email at least a few times a day. I do have an (as yet unsmashed) smartphone, a relatively recent concession to the fact that the Internet was already dominating my life--much more convenient to check email on a smartphone than have to stop in a cafe every two hours to check email on a laptop or Ipad. Besides, I was pestering my wife to use her phone so much that I really didn't have much of a reason to continue insisting on remaining smartphone free. I receive probably two or three work-related calls a week, and everything else is via email, especially as many of my clients are overseas. When we go on vacation (usually 2-3 weeks a year), we put away messages up.

A normal schedule for your modern-day freelancer I think. Still, part of me just died a bit re-reading that paragraph.

I'm in my early thirties, so a bit younger than many who post here, and I'm enormously thankful that I wasn't born a few years later. I'm convinced that my generation is the last to know what true BOREDOM feels like, which I think is very underrated as a conduit for creativity and the growth of the soul. Remember those days in middle school and high school sitting on a bus? Boring as can be, but I used to think and dream about life--the girls I had crushes on, basketball dreams, or just what was going on outside. None of that would have happened if I had a smartphone, except maybe once in a blue moon when out of battery.

Susan and others have brought up reasonable arguments for cell phones and smart technology helping our world. I'm still not entirely convinced, however, particularly when it comes to work. It seems to me that the main thing that post-2005 technology has served to do is start a race to the bottom in terms of time spent connected to the Internet. And what is really a bit scary is that we don't know where all this is going. The smartphone generation (kids who have had smartphones since kindergarten) isn't really even into high school yet. Are they going to look for or want the same balance that we all seem to agree is good for our lives? When I'm sixty and they're forty, will they be as understanding of a one or two hour gap in response as those in our generations? I'm guessing not, and it will be fascinating to see how business norms change in terms of expectations for response and availability as their generation comes into its own.
Collapse


 

Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:19
English to German
Availability Jan 27, 2017

I wish clients and agencies could respect weekends, I find it a bit annoying to be offered jobs on Friday afternoon for Monday - 3 in the last couple of hours!!

 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:19
German to English
Weekends Jan 27, 2017

Gabriele Demuth wrote:

I wish clients and agencies could respect weekends, I find it a bit annoying to be offered jobs on Friday afternoon for Monday - 3 in the last couple of hours!!


I freely admit to working weekends on occasion, but I also frequently take time off during the week. When I was afraid to turn a PM down for fear of losing future opportunities, I often had to cancel weekend plans to take a job. One time a PM called at 5 in the afternoon (he had obviously tried other translators) and tried to bully me into taking the job by saying that if I didn't take it, I'd never work for the agency again. That did it for me – I don't react well to threats. Even though the agency was one of my largest customers, I told him that I wasn't going to take the job and that I could live with the consequences. A few weeks later a different PM called early in the week offering me work. I never heard from the first PM again. 20 years later he's still with the agency, but not doing project management.

My suggestion is to turn on the answering machine/voice mail after noon on Friday with a message that you'll respond to all calls on the following Monday. Of course, you're free to respond sooner if you're not averse to working that weekend.


 

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:19
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
Interesting question Jan 29, 2017

In a way, I'm always working. I can't even watch 30 minutes of Netflix without taking 2 pages of notes.

But I'm sure I work less hours than someone with a 9 to 5 job. I don't have a smartphone. I don't want to be THAT available. That will probably have to change, at some point, but for the time being, when I'm away from my computer, I like to be really away. Whether it's grocery shopping or hitting the ski slopes for an hour or whatever. Most of my clients are direct clients, and th
... See more
In a way, I'm always working. I can't even watch 30 minutes of Netflix without taking 2 pages of notes.

But I'm sure I work less hours than someone with a 9 to 5 job. I don't have a smartphone. I don't want to be THAT available. That will probably have to change, at some point, but for the time being, when I'm away from my computer, I like to be really away. Whether it's grocery shopping or hitting the ski slopes for an hour or whatever. Most of my clients are direct clients, and they're not going to go anywhere if they don't receive an answer from me in the next five minutes. But I get up early in the morning to make sure I can communicate with clients in Europe, and I check my emails before going to bed for clients in Asia.

I did an experiment a year and a half ago, I took off for Europe for a month and combined work with business, staying with friends and also doing translations... Not the easiest thing in the world. Anybody have THAT experience?

I'm very, very attracted to the immense potential of the "digital nomad" lifestyle. Still gotta work out the kinks though.

I think the secret is: get up at 5 or 6 AM, get your work done by noon / early afternoon, and then go enjoy life.

And I really thing that if you figure out how to do it right, this is the best way to live. But it takes discipline to live a free-spirited lifestyle ! I'm still working on that.
Collapse


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:19
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Well... Jan 29, 2017

MK2010 wrote:

I did an experiment a year and a half ago, I took off for Europe for a month and combined work with business, staying with friends and also doing translations... Not the easiest thing in the world. Anybody have THAT experience?


I had a similar experience. For family reasons, from 2006 till 2016 I travelled a lot between Brussels and Lisbon splitting the month in two, the first 15 days of the month I was in Brussels and the second half in Lisbon (I had two apartments, one in each city). It was tiring for me, but it worked fine and my clients never noticed it. In 2016, I decided “un peu à regret” to move back to Lisbon.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:19
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Nomads and discipline Jan 29, 2017

MK2010 wrote:
But it takes discipline to live a free-spirited lifestyle ! I'm still working on that.

An awful lot of people come to my adopted island of Fuerteventura to split their time between work and leisure for a while. Planes from all over Europe bring graphic designers, programmers, website developers, writers... and some translators too. Man
... See more
MK2010 wrote:
But it takes discipline to live a free-spirited lifestyle ! I'm still working on that.

An awful lot of people come to my adopted island of Fuerteventura to split their time between work and leisure for a while. Planes from all over Europe bring graphic designers, programmers, website developers, writers... and some translators too. Many are surfing dudes. Some manage to split their time the way they intended but if we have extended periods of great surf most find it difficult to turn their backs on it and hang up their wetsuits.

The nomadic lifestyle can clearly be great. But it appeals most to young people without family responsibilities, not surprisingly, and they're often the ones with the least self-discipline. After all, as long as they have a surfboard, food and a bed to sleep in, what more do they need out of life? Life is great; business just gets in the way of the surfing.
Collapse


 

MK2010  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:19
Member (2017)
French to English
+ ...
That sounds like a fun place... Jan 29, 2017

... to hang out at for a while, with such a mix of freelancers from different parts of the continent doing all kinds of different things for work. How do the locals feel about that, I wonder. Is there a good balance?

I live in a small mountain town that attracts a lot of millennial snowboarding pot-smoking dudes. Probably a lot of the same mentality, except these guys mostly work in coffee shops and such. They're not career driven.

Anyway, the laptop lifestyle definitel
... See more
... to hang out at for a while, with such a mix of freelancers from different parts of the continent doing all kinds of different things for work. How do the locals feel about that, I wonder. Is there a good balance?

I live in a small mountain town that attracts a lot of millennial snowboarding pot-smoking dudes. Probably a lot of the same mentality, except these guys mostly work in coffee shops and such. They're not career driven.

Anyway, the laptop lifestyle definitely has its advantages, regardless of how different people choose to organize that lifestyle. I consider myself very fortunate.

Sheila Wilson wrote:

MK2010 wrote:
But it takes discipline to live a free-spirited lifestyle ! I'm still working on that.

An awful lot of people come to my adopted island of Fuerteventura to split their time between work and leisure for a while. Planes from all over Europe bring graphic designers, programmers, website developers, writers... and some translators too. Many are surfing dudes. Some manage to split their time the way they intended but if we have extended periods of great surf most find it difficult to turn their backs on it and hang up their wetsuits.

The nomadic lifestyle can clearly be great. But it appeals most to young people without family responsibilities, not surprisingly, and they're often the ones with the least self-discipline. After all, as long as they have a surfboard, food and a bed to sleep in, what more do they need out of life? Life is great; business just gets in the way of the surfing.


[Edited at 2017-01-29 16:15 GMT]
Collapse


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:19
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Depends on your definition of a local Jan 29, 2017

MK2010 wrote:
... to hang out at for a while, with such a mix of freelancers from different parts of the continent doing all kinds of different things for work. How do the locals feel about that, I wonder. Is there a good balance?

When I arrived here I took all Spanish speakers to be locals. Then I realised that very few of them were Canarians, and fewer still were native Fuerteventurans. In fact an awful lot come from South America. It turns out we have most of the world's nationalities registered as residents. A real melting pot.

I live in a small mountain town that attracts a lot of millennial snowboarding pot-smoking dudes. Probably a lot of the same mentality, except these guys mostly work in coffee shops and such. They're not career driven

Yep, that description sounds very familiar, although we get plenty of ageing hippies too. Just add 20-30°C .


 

Paweł Hamerski
Poland
Local time: 16:19
English to Polish
+ ...
Dear Anon, the answer is no. Jan 29, 2017

Everything can be solved - somehow. Just a bit of ....

 
Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Does constant availability affect your life?

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search