Why Do Translators Choose the Freelance Lifestyle? - Part 1

July 31st, 2016
Why Do Translators Choose the Freelance Lifestyle? - Part 1 | One Hour Translation

The one thing we know about starting a freelancing career is that it’s not an easy experience.

The one thing we know about starting a freelancing career is that it’s not an easy experience. Sure, it’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s many things, but it’s definitely not easy!

What’s the Attraction of a Freelance Lifestyle?

For a large percent of the population, just the thought of starting out on their own and becoming self-employed is enough to bring on a panic attack! It’s a terrifying thought because it all depends on you: there’s no-one to fall back on and there’s no-one else to blame if you don’t succeed. Having a dependable paycheck arrive each week/fortnight/month is a very comforting feeling, and the thought of having to depend entirely on your own knowledge and skills for your paycheck can be a very scary thought.

So why is it that so many people dream of being able to run their own business by offering clients a personalized service using the knowledge and skills they have learned to date? And it’s true! Many, many day-jobbers would give anything to have the freedom they believe freelancers have, to have the flexibility freelancers have, and to enjoy the financial freedom that freelancers have. Like freelancers, they want to be in control of their own lives and not be answerable to someone else. Ah, if only it were that easy!

The Truth about Freelancing

So what is the truth? A freelance translator’s truth is that it takes an awful lot of courage to make the final decision to go it alone. Now you have no-one at your back – it’s up to you to make the right business decisions to ensure that your freelance translation business is a success. There are some stressful times ahead: to start off with you need clients, or will you decide to work for agencies? What translation rate when you charge your clients? And what if they don’t pay on time? What do you do if you’re struggling to complete a translation project on time? How do you work at home when you have a family to consider? You now have to run a business so you’ll need an accountant unless you’re qualified to handle the paperwork yourself.

All these questions encompass the life of the average freelance translator; so you may be wondering: Why is it that freelance translators seem to enjoy the lifestyle? They certainly seem less stressed than translators working as employees for someone else!

The Driving Force Behind Personal Success

Before we list the differences between a freelance translator and a translator working as an employee for someone else, we need to understand that fear is the driving force behind personal success. The key factor that motivates people is the fear of something bad; it’s not the urge to acquire or achieve something good. For example; we have children because we fear leaving this world without leaving something of ‘us’ behind; we eat because we fear hunger; we make friends because we fear loneliness; we live in fancy houses and buy expensive cars because we fear what society might think of us; and so on.

Comparing the Life of a Freelance Translator with a Freelance Employee

  • The employee goes to work each day because he needs his paycheck; whereas the freelance translator starts their day according to the schedule they’ve designed for themselves.
  • Generally, an employee is not able to refuse work assigned to them by their boss: on the other hand, the freelancer can pick and choose between clients. If a client leaves, then they find another one to take their place. Unfortunately, the employee doesn’t have that option.

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