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Translation: a full-time job?
Thread poster: Joanna Coryn (X)

Rolf Kern  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 11:53
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
My advice for your language combination Jan 19, 2013

Stay a well-paid English teacher and do tranlation in your spare time, getting more and more estabilshed there to be somehow covered after retirement. That's what I did.

Your present translation customer might disappear from one day to the other.

Correction: I was not a teacher, but had a lot of reasonably paid jobs.

Rolf

[Bearbeitet am 2013-01-19 18:09 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2013-01-19 20:51 GMT]

[Bearbeitet am 2013-01-19 20:53 GMT]


 

Kelly Venz  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:53
Member (2010)
French to English
My 2 cents Jan 19, 2013

Hi Joanna,

Being in a situation which is the same as yours, I can recommend that until you get a decent client base try and do at least a few hours of teaching until you get on your feet. I have taught English for the past 7 years, and when the company that I worked for closed down it was amazing how quickly I was able to pick up a class or two as an AE (auto entrepreneur) to keep the finances ticking over whilst having enough time for translation projects. It actually works to my
... See more
Hi Joanna,

Being in a situation which is the same as yours, I can recommend that until you get a decent client base try and do at least a few hours of teaching until you get on your feet. I have taught English for the past 7 years, and when the company that I worked for closed down it was amazing how quickly I was able to pick up a class or two as an AE (auto entrepreneur) to keep the finances ticking over whilst having enough time for translation projects. It actually works to my advantage- not only am I still in the "business world" and therefore keeping tabs on what's going on but it also gets me out of the house and see people (even if they are clients!) which is a break in the "I work in a bubble"- ie chained to your computer day in day out.
Having one or two classes per week also means that you're sure that there is some money coming in for a least a two or three month period, which is good to know if there is a slight drop in translation work.

Kind regards

Kelly
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Joanna Coryn (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:53
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Couple of final questions (for Kelly, Michael and Sheila particularly) Jan 22, 2013

Kelly, Michael and Sheila, as FR to EN translators (with Kelly and Michael living in France), I think you may be best placed to answer these last few questions I have now that I'm ready to start contacting agencies/finding clients:

Is it a good idea to phone agencies and speak to them, rather than emailing a cv and cover letter?

I don't have an area of expertise (yet?) - will this count against me and is there a way I can make it seem positive? I am also a little worri
... See more
Kelly, Michael and Sheila, as FR to EN translators (with Kelly and Michael living in France), I think you may be best placed to answer these last few questions I have now that I'm ready to start contacting agencies/finding clients:

Is it a good idea to phone agencies and speak to them, rather than emailing a cv and cover letter?

I don't have an area of expertise (yet?) - will this count against me and is there a way I can make it seem positive? I am also a little worried about the lack of qualifications (I mean apart from my degree, which as I'm sure you know doesn't really seem to carry much weight here) - is it likely that they'll ask, and is there a response that I can give which shows that I have what they need without being qualified?

For example, would they be interested in seeing samples of my work? Should I make sure I have a selection of short texts available to send?

With private clients I'd be interested to know of any strategies you might have used for finding them, or if they came through contacts you already had.

Many thanks indeed. Michael, I have sent you a private mail regarding tax/AE status, but if you don't have time to respond I quite understand and that goes for the questions above too - I'm incredibly grateful for the help and advice I've already received from everyone and have certainly had my fair share and don't want to seem greedy! I hope that all these posts will help others too.
Best wishes to all, Joanna

PS I've just had proper look at the ProZ Forums and realise how much information there is already there - I do apologise if in fact these questions have already been answered.


[Edited at 2013-01-22 18:36 GMT]
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:53
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A few more comments then Jan 23, 2013

Joanna Coryndon wrote:
I don't have an area of expertise (yet?) - will this count against me and is there a way I can make it seem positive?

You really have to tell an agency what you can do and what you can't: when they've allocated you a job is not the time to turn round and say "I don't know what half of these genetic engineering terms are in English". Are you capable of translating scientific, engineering, medical, legal, marketing, social sciences.... texts? Probably not all of them!

For example, would they be interested in seeing samples of my work? Should I make sure I have a selection of short texts available to send?

That's a good idea. Have them ready to send, or put them in your profile here and simply send them the link.

With private clients I'd be interested to know of any strategies you might have used for finding them, or if they came through contacts you already had.

Tell everyone you know; link to your profile here in your emails; give your business card to anyone and everyone (they've all got friends and family); chat about people's business and let them know what you do... Some of my direct clients came through my teaching contacts, so make full use of yours. One good client started as a student, then needed his company website translated, then...

I spent 15 years doing EFL business training in France and for the last seven I gradually built up the translation activity alongside the teaching, until it became the major activity when I got tired of the travelling. There are always going to be conflicts, you just have to accept that. Having a 2-hour lesson (often with travelling time around it) knocks a big hole in the day, and job offers often want instant replies that you can't give, or have deadlines that simply aren't possible. But nobody should expect freelancing of any type to be a peaceful, stress-free existence.

If you set yourself up as an AE, you can use that for translating, and for teaching, too, but nothing will prevent you also accepting work as a 'vacataire' or with a CDD contract. You just pay the social security for each - don't declare your salaried earnings as AE income! If you start to get most of your income via the AE route, you may have to change to something more 'heavy', though I never did. AE is perfect for a mixed income earner.

And you really don't need to wait until you retire to take up translating.


 

Joanna Coryn (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:53
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sheila! Jan 23, 2013

Great - this is a really helpful response (and thanks particularly for adding the last line!)

 
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