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freelancing

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With the next class of newly state-certified translators and interpreters ready to go out into the “real world” next week, I thought a little help on the way into setting up one’s business might be appreciated. I found these tips on how to get started over on business know-how and thought I’d share them here, even if they are not specifically for translators/interpreters: 32 Low-Cost Ways to Promote Your Business  Starting …

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My colleague Corinne McKay published a very interesting post on her blog last week, the theme of which I would like to take up here, as well. It fits the end of the year and the usual review I do. She posed five questions, which I will try to answer. Here they are:  1: Are you happy with how much you earned, as compared with how much you worked?  …

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Having a person with the flue in the house usually means you, too, will catch it sooner or later. Last Monday night it was my turn. My throat had been starting to hurt Sunday, but I had hoped to stave off the worst somehow (tea, scarves, warm socks…). It didn’t quite work, though. Since I had an important meeting on Wednesday and really felt terrible Monday night (I think I …

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My schedule is packed for the next few weeks until school is out, so please bear with me if I “only” share what others have written – but please believe me that if I share something, it really is worth it! Here is a post by Samar Owais I found over on copyblogger about the most common mistakes freelancers make, often without even realizing it! I hope you find yourself …

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I came across an excellent article on prices and costs over at Ferris Translations this week, and I wanted to share it with you: Dumping costs? What?!? Posted on February 10, 2014 by Michael Ferris Within the language industry, like any industry, there are also translators and language service providers that offer dumping prices. What are dumping prices? These are prices that are considered “unfair” to the competition because …

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Eigentlich wollte ich diese Woche über meine ersten Schritte als Dozentin berichten, aber dann kam dieser Blog-Beitrag der Kollegin Ricarda Essrich auf meinen Bildschirm, und den muss ich einfach verbreiten! Ein weiterer Beweis für die sinkende Moral gegenüber Freiberuflern und die Ahnungslosigkeit leider nicht nur der Auftraggeber, sondern auch der Übersetzer…. das ist mehr als traurig! Aber jeder lese und urteile selbst: Odesk – das Abzockerportal für Freiberufler 26. …

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Scams are unfortunately no longer a rarity even in the translation business. That why I am glad colleague João Roque Dias has compiled a great website with all sorts of information and helpful links and examples on translator scams and identity theft, available here.  I also came across some excellent tips on the elanex website: For translators, some simple steps we advise are: Instead of publicly posting your resume …

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I have written a few times about pricing and discounts lately, and how the tendency is to go down with prices especially when times are tough, even if only temporarily. Now this article by Paul Sulzberger published on The translation business has been making the rounds in the translator community, proposing a completely different approach to falling prices – namely to raise them?! It is kind of long, but …

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Regular readers of this blog will remember that I had written down some thoughts on discounts earlier this year – and that I was not in favor of them. Now, in a mailing list the other day, a colleague (whom I do not know personally) offered discounts for Ramadan and called it “month of sharing”. The idea of offering a limited discount on the occasion of an important event …

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I was on an interpreting assignment yesterday afternoon, relieving a colleague who had been working the morning shift at a conference organized by the city of N. Having worked for them before under less-than-perfect conditions (that’ll be the topic of another post), I was curious what the setup would be like. When I got there, the booth sat in nice view of the stage and screen, the technician was …

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Tja, man muss scheinbar nur laut genug sagen, wenn etwas nicht passt, und schon ändern sich die Dinge… Dieses Jahr hatte ja eher langsam angefangen und nicht viel besser weiter gemacht, wie ich in meinem Geständnis berichtet habe. Zwar hatte ich immer wieder Aufträge, aber nicht so beständig und groß, wie ich das gerne hätte und gewohnt war. Ich hatte sogar schon mit dem Gedanken gespielt meine Preise zu …

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Als freiberuflicher Übersetzer passiert es einem immer wieder: die Anfrage nach einer kostenlosen Übersetzung. Wie man am besten darauf reagiert? Hier ist eine tolle und wirklich hilfreiche Graphik: Sollte ich kostenlos arbeiten? As a freelance translator it happens again and again: the request for a free translation. How to best react to it? Here’s a really helpful chart: Should I work for free?

 

After my confession a few weeks ago – and receiving some quite encouraging responses from you, thanks again so much! –, I have received one larger and a few small jobs, but still nothing steady, the way it used to be before “the slump”.  I also had the opportunity to speak with one of my agency clients about the slow start of my business year. It was quite enlightening …

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After looking at 5 ways not to use Twitter for freelancers, I came across another very interesting and helpful post on Chris Brogan‘s blog: 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business. Here are my favorite points: 4. Point out interesting things in your space, not just about you.  7. Be wary of always pimping your stuff. Your fans will love it. Others will tune out.  13. When promoting a …

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I debated with myself whether to write this post or not. To ‘fess up or not to ‘fess up… Is it professional or not to talk about this? Will this hurt the way (potential) clients see me? Might it maybe even help? And finally: Don’t most freelancers have these times at some point in their careers? In the end I decided to do it: I confess. I confess that …

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Neulich las ich auf einem englischen Blog für selbständige Texter von den “10 Geboten für überarbeitete Selbständige“, verfasst von Taylor Swift. Wirklich lesenswert, aber für die, die keine Zeit haben oder deren Englisch nicht so doll ist, hier die Kurzfassung der 10 Gebote auf Deutsch: Du sollst die Termine deiner Kunden ehren. Du sollst nicht mehr Aufträge annehmen als du ausführen kannst. Du sollst keine Schritte im Prozess auslassen. …

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Since I’ve spent the last two days on the big computer project for this year, i.e. switching from desktop to laptop with all that entails (something I will blog about once it’s done), and will be involved with that for a little while longer, I’ll only share a great short article today I found over at the excellent FreelanceSwitch on how to use Twitter wisely for business purposes. It …

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Ich bin nun schon eine Weile als Dolmetscherin unterwegs, und bis jetzt wurde ich entweder über Agenturen oder Kollegen, die alles organisiert haben, angeheuert (Privatkunden auf dem Standesamt zähle ich jetzt mal nicht dazu). Gestern nun kam meine erste Dolmetschanfrage von einem Direktkunden (dem ich übrigens von Kontakten aus meinem beruflichen Netzwerk empfohlen wurde), und der wollte, dass ich in meinem Angebot auch gleich die Technik mit einbeziehe. Nun …

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Agencies – for many translators and interpreters, it almost seems to be a dirty word, probably because of the bad experiences they had with them. I know there are many different types of agencies out there, and so far I’ve had the great fortune to work with mostly those that are worth the name, not what I call “re-bagers” (“Umtüter” in German), meaning someone who simply passes a job …

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Seen here I know, I’m not the first one to write about this, but in my opinion we cannot stress it enough, especially to customers!  And hopefully, this will also help you sort the good from the bad, meaning: help you find the customers worth keeping, because they understand how quality, deadlines and price interact, and that good quality has its price and takes time. Have any of you …

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Reading Nataly Kelly’s article “The Words We Use to Describe Ourselves” published in the October issue of the ATA Chronicle, I came across the neologism “interpretator“, a hybrid of the words translator and interpreter. I think it should become the new word for those of us who both translate and interpret.  I do, so from now on I will refer to myself as interpretator… Who’s with me? 😉 …

 

Here’s a good write-up on a situation most of us are familiar with, also called The Favor!  You’re sitting at home (or at work) slaving over a translation when out of the blue you receive a call/email/text message* (delete where appropriate) from a colleague/friend/acquaintance* (delete where appropriate) who you have not heard from for quite some time. The message usually begins in similar fashion regardless of whether it is …

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How to write a blog post about a conference? That’s the question I’m asking myself right now. Not an easy task, methinks, since although short, it was packed: Two and a half days filled with interesting lectures, lively panel discussions and instructive workshops, with meeting colleagues and friends, some again, others for the first time (yes, that would be you, my dear Twitteros), with drinking coffee and water (and …

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Anlässlich der bevorstehenden Konferenz in Berlin dieses Wochenende, an der ich teilnehmen werde, und des zur gleichen Zeit stattfindenden Weltübersetzertages, gibt es heute mal eine passende Pressemitteilung des BDÜ. Der Bundesverband der Dolmetscher und Übersetzer räumt am Internationalen Übersetzertag am 30. September mit falschen Vorstellungen vom Beruf auf. Fremdsprachenkenntnisse alleine reichen schon lange nicht mehr aus.  (Berlin, 20. September 2012) Hartnäckig hält sich das Gerücht, dass Übersetzer im stillen …

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Since I’m on a mini-vacation again this week, here’s an excerpt from an excellent post from the myGengo blog on how to judge the quality of a translation: Before submitting Prior to submitting your text to be translated, make sure you give the translator proper context. In addition to giving a brief summary detailing what the intentions for the translation are, also be sure to guide the translator on …

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Inspired by the recent Labor Day (May 1), I thought I’d share with you why I am a freelancer and why I do not want to be employed. Let me start with how I came to be self-employed in the first place. While I was studying to become a translator and interpreter, I was already working freelance on the side (although not very much), doing small jobs mostly subcontracting …

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… denn sonst wäre es diese Tage nicht so einfach einen kranken Hund zum Tierarzt zu fahren und die halbe Nacht durchzumachen, um sicher zu stellen, dass sie nicht kollabiert. Die Arbeit lässt sich ja netterweise meistens auch außerhalb “regulärer” Bürozeiten machen (v.a. wenn man eh schon wach sein muss), so dass die Kunden trotzdem glücklich sind – auch wenn ich es nicht bin… Nachtrag: Meine schlimmsten Befürchtungen sind …

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My office is closed for a few days over Easter, so I’m taking the easy way out this week by sharing a great article by Debbie Swanson on the Freelance Switch blog. Having two dogs myself, I can really recommend it! Most freelancers are eager for tips and information, turning to forums, classes, and networking for ways to learn and improve. But did you ever consider looking to your …

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Das Thema Vorsorge scheint zur Zeit in aller Munde zu sein. Ob das vielleicht etwas mit der Idee von Ministerin von der Leyen, eine verpflichtende Altersvorsorge für Selbstständige einzuführen, zu tun hat? Wie dem auch sei, nicht nur über die Altersvorsorge, sondern auch über diverse Versicherungen wurde diese Woche auf verschiedenen Listen und Foren heftig diskutiert. Als ich dann heute auch noch einen Anruf meines Versicherungsmaklers bekam, ob ich …

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Nachdem mein Arbeitsrechner jetzt endlich wieder läuft, kann ich also meinen ersten Blog-Beitrag des Jahres schreiben (auch wenn es technisch gesehen der zweite ist…). Zuerst einmal ein Blick zurück auf 2011: Zu meiner großen Freude durfte ich 2011 deutlich mehr dolmetschen, u.a. auch in der Kabine, und ich habe einen Direktkunden bekommen, für den ich regelmäßig dolmetschen darf. Natürlich war immer noch die ein oder andere Hochzeit dabei, aber …

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When I tell people I work from home, they tend to think that I sleep late, walk around in my PJs and lay on the couch with my notebook, taking frequent naps. Well. Maybe that’s what other freelancers do. I don’t.  I get up early (usually between 6 am and 6:30 am) and get dressed (who knows when potential customers may find their way to my door?), and I …

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At the interpreting assignment yesterday, my usual partner in crime was on vacation, so I had the pleasure of meeting a new colleague. She is just starting out, both as an interpreter and a translator, and of course was full of questions on how to find work and clients. As expected, she asked for my “secret” after hearing that I had started freelancing not so terribly long ago myself, yet …

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