A good freelance translator is a busy freelance translator – i.e. per definitionem NOT free. While I’m busy typing away, in one remote corner of my cerebral cortex I’m also considering suitable subjects for blog posts. Good news is that today I came up with eight or ten. Bad news is that I don’t have enough time to entertain my tiny but enthusiastic blog audience.
After much deliberation here I’m at 22:57, just before starting my night shift, munching on an apple, and keeping up my own spirit by writing a blog post on what carries the translator over a busy period. The answer is short and simple: money.
My theory is that any amount of money can be easily multiplied, at least mentally, using the following approach.
1. Translator is contacted by client about a potential job. Approximate word count multiplied by regular “new word” rate, multiplied by 90% to take into account potential repetitions. Translator is happy as he* thinks of ways spending the money some time three months from now.
*For the sake of simplicity I will assume a male translator, since I’m one of those, even though a recent study found that some 60% of freelance translators are women. Luckily for me, Hungarian language does not have distinct grammatical genders.
2. Translator receives the job, complete with a purchase order. There’s still ample time to start working on the job, anyway there are three small projects to finish first. More opportunities to daydream about spending the money some time in the future.
3. Translator actually works on the project. Well, yes, this also has to be done at some point. Boring passages, unclear instructions, missing reference files and corrupted translation memories all result in the translator thinking about why he’s actually doing this. How much is another sleepless night worth?
4. Translator finds some time to issue the invoice. Even though most translation agencies have set rules for preparing the invoices by the same day every single month, the translator is most of the time busy, so finding a time to issue invoices usually involves some magic hat trick. Translator is happy to have “found” a long forgotten 342 euro project he did two months ago that now neatly adds up, together with 10 smaller items, to an invoicable amount.
5. About a month later translator receives the wire transfer. He already forgot, or otherwise gave up the objects of his daydreams of yestermonth…. now the money is suddenly required for such mundane purposes as electricity bills, tuition fees, mortgage payment, not to mention tax for this and tax for that. Oh, and some money to set aside for new winter tyres. If any money is still left, translator can finally enjoy the financial rewards of his lost nights and wifi infested holidays. If he has time, that is.