Any other freelance translators out there?

(8 Posts)
duchesse Mon 14-Oct-13 11:48:40

I'm just phasing myself back in to full-time work after dropping down to part-time (ie only taking jobs that were offered to me, rather than actively seeking them) for a couple of years off during DD3's toddlerhood. Now she's started school I'm trying to get back to full-time.

Thing is, stuff seems to have changed in the last few years. My last year of proper full-time work was 2008 while I was pregnant and it seems a lot harder to find work now. Where am I going wrong? I'm a member of the professional websites (Translators Café, ProZ, LinkedIn, etc...) but there seems to be so little work about, and what there is being paid peanuts. Is this an effect of globalisation, of recession, or of ineptitude on my part at finding jobs?

Any advice gladly received!

lemmingcurd Mon 14-Oct-13 23:45:29

Hello there. The globalisation and recession may be playing a part but as with any profession it's often a case of building your reputation back after taking a break. From the POV of someone who never took a maternity break I can say there's no shortage of work but there is a massive shortage of quality translators. Are you up to speed on SDL Trados or other CAT? Do you specialise in a particular field? Do you offer to do a (short) translation test in your applications? These things might help. Also a beautiful pdf CV. As for the rates there is a general downwards trend , you have to produce more work in the same time to maintain decent income, I have found. Voice recognition software has helped enormously in this respect. good luck!

bottersnike Tue 15-Oct-13 14:58:09

What's your language combination? Do you specialise?
There has certainly been a marked increase in bottom-rate work in the last few years so you have to ignore that and focus on the better paying agencies / clients, which can be hard.
For my combinations (German/French into English) I have found that there is plenty of work out there, but it can be hard to filter out the badly paid stuff to find the projects that are worth the hours!

LinzerTorte Tue 15-Oct-13 15:12:16

Are you a member of the ITI? I became a qualified member a few years ago so am now listed on their website, which has led to quite a few enquiries - and the companies that use their website tend to pay fairly decent rates. I managed to put my rates up last year after around five years of charging the same rates, although maybe they were just on the low side to start with!

bottersnike Wed 16-Oct-13 10:54:37

That's really encouraging, linzertorte. I'm just about to take my ITI exams and am hoping I will be able to increase my rates / get better paid work off the back of it. I definitely set them too low when I started out smile

duchesse Wed 16-Oct-13 11:43:26

To answer the various questions:

My language pairs are Fr--> En and Sp--> En
My specialism is legal documents although more recently I've found myself doing a book on carpentry of all things.
I don't have TRADOS or any computer tools as have never had enough money to buy them. Also I have an ethical resistance to them as they are being used to drive down prices at the expense of the translator.
I haven't done the ITI exams yet as have been busy child-rearing and would have to go to Cardiff or London. I have yet to be convinced that they are worth it tbh. Glad to see that others have found them worthwhile.

I can't see how to make a living out of freelance translation any more. Until 5 years ago, I was hardly ever out of work- in fact I had to turn some away at times. Now I'm lucky if I get two things a month, even from regular clients. My rates are not exorbitant (would be just about enough to live on if I worked full-time) but agencies want to drive them down continuously. Nowadays I only seem to get the work that is tricky and can't done for less than half the price by machine translation.

I am at the moment applying for an in-house translating job with a major international organisation. Really hoping that happens as am tired of the fray now.

LinzerTorte Wed 16-Oct-13 13:09:13

duchesse I didn't have to go anywhere to take the ITI exam; unless things have changed since I did it - and I'm sure I would have heard - you take it at home over the course of a weekend. Hope the job works out anyway; there are definitely advantages to working in-house.

bottersnike Good luck with the exam. I actually found the text itself easier to translate than a lot of the texts I'm sent, although writing the commentary was a little trickier as I was a bit out of practice with essay writing; it almost felt like being back at university!

Oogly Mon 10-Feb-14 22:09:23

Hello just bumping the thread to see if there are any of you still around to chat? New translator here looking for"colleagues" .

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