What you focus on grows, right? So let’s remember why it’s so great to be a freelance translator after all.
Of course there are ups and downs like with every other type of work or business, but why is it an attractive path to be on or seek out? Here’s my perspective:
1. I can listen to music all day long while I work
Although translation work is seldom related to music, it can still be a big part of my life. This is something that freelance translators have in common with a lot of other people, like painters, carpenters, drivers, gardeners, etc.
I work from home in my own office, so I just crank it up whenever I feel like.
2. I sell words, not hours
This gives me a large degree of freedom, because I don’t necessarily have to stay in the same place until the clock says it’s okay to leave. As long as I meet my quota for the day, I can take breaks at strategically important points in order to increase my overall productivity significantly.
Sometimes it’s just cheaper to do something right now, instead of postponing it until later. Perhaps you forget, or perhaps an opportunity is lost.
3. I have more up-time during a year
If I’m starting to feel ill I can catch it before it develops, because I am able to rest when it’s really important. It’s amazing how much good an hour of sleep will do at just the right time.
You might be able to pull through eight hours when you feeling ill, but it could very well cost you forty. Compare that to sleeping one hour and work fifty afterwards.
4. I’m building someone else’s business but I’m also building my own
Although I don’t own what I produce, I can’t really do the work without building my own business. I need to get my own tools, I build my own memory and termbases and my list of contacts grows constantly.
This is very motivating, which again helps fuel the growth of my business.
5. I can work instead of travel to work
I normally have a couple of hours extra per day, where I can work, because I work from home. A laptop with CAT tools lets you work wherever there is an internet connection, so you’re not even limited to staying at home in order to work.
6. My income is robust
I have many clients who receive my work. I can’t get fired by one person and loose all of my income.
If one client won’t buy anymore words from me, I can serve somebody else. This is a much more real form of stability.
7. I can choose how close I want to be to the consumers of my work
Do I want to be the only one separating a man and his newfound love overseas, due to the language barrier, and let the feelings roll? Or do I want an agency to just hit me with everything they got, until I just haven’t got any time left to spend all the money I make in the process?
It’s all about freedom.
8. My income is highly scalable
What’s more important? Translating, or learning a new skill?
The more I translate, the more money I’ll earn, to be able to pay someone with the right skills to do something for me. If I want to learn how to do it myself, I can take time off, earn less, but keep what I have made myself.
This goes all the way up, and all the way down.
9. I open up a completely new world to people who don’t know my source language
This is how I got into translation, and it’s probably how I’ll exit. When you put aside all the focus on money, this is really what it all boils down to.
Helping people, letting them in.
10. It doesn’t matter if the rain is pouring down or the snow has blocked the front door
I’ll just keep translating, one segment at a time, until the sun shines again and the snow has melted.