Certified Translator, Professional Freelancer

A Freelance Translator's Point of View

I have been self-employed for over 30 years, except for a short stint as an employee with a client translation firm. At the time, I had excellent reasons for accepting the proposed position - a more regular schedule, financial security, peace of mind. I left after six months, unable to find happiness in that formula, although ideal for most people. Freelancing, I got into it when I was little!

But freelancing implies client prospecting, paperwork, lack of work, financial insecurity, stress, sleeplessness, work overload… In the translation field, the difficulty isn’t so much a matter of finding work, but of knowing how to manage your workload. It's relatively easy to find clients. The “catch” is to not end up working seven days a week, one of the more classic traps of being a freelance translator.

Unfortunately, this is the case for many translators who deal directly with clients, i.e. without an intermediary between them and the company or organization seeking translation services. Since there is the great risk of the client permanently turning to another translator if the freelance translator continues to turn down projects, he/she accepts the requirements of an initial client, of a second one, then a third one... Since self-employed translators must definitely not put all of their eggs in one basket, this is well known! So they offer their services to private companies, respond to calls for tenders by the federal government and public agencies, and slowly but surely, they get their first contracts and start operating, often alone at home. They create their own translation aid tools, memories, glossaries, term banks, manage their tax accounts, collect their bills, etc. They earn increasingly more money, but at the cost of long working hours.

Why deal with a translation firm? No more client prospecting, bids, deadline negotiating, populating of translation memories, building glossaries, bill collecting. The advantages? Colleagues to consult with and have around, being part of a group and team spirit, the assistance of computer experts, regular bill payment, a variety of clients and subject fields, vacations and absences without fear of losing a client, access to the firm’s technologies and work tools, and so on. A return to a more normal life without losing your freedom. Often in a firm, professional life – and life itself – is even nicer. What are you waiting for?

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