Freelancing Text Translations– Pros and Cons

Currently, freelancing is not just a popular trend, but also a means of earning money, and/or of quick and trouble-free finding a person to perform nearly any task. However, when used for earning money, freelancing implies working hard and long, close to an eight-hour work day; and when for finding a good performer – freelancing may turn into a sort of Russian roulette.

There is a great many tasks and works that can be performed in your arm-chair and in front of your PC monitor screen – ranging from superficial re-writing tasks down to complicated programming and/or accounting works. Of high demand nowadays is another type of freelancing active, i.e. translation of texts, films, song lyrics etc. So, if you are qualified enough (with real knowledge and experience as necessary supplements to you diploma card) and willing to test your skills in a new line of activity, freelancing translations will not be a hard occupation to find. However, before that you should assess all pros and cons of this job.

Working at home is very alluring. But, only for those completely unwilling to work in a team. On the one side, it is very easy and convenient, as you do not have to select and neat your clothing, do the inevitable jostling work in public transport during rush hours, and/or hear you boss’s stinging reprimands. On the other side, then, you have the drawbacks of freelancing: sitting at home all day long staring at your PC screen, with no single person to chat with or tell your grievances. One way or another, a human being needs communication, and acting as part of team. So, it would be wise to think twice before once engulfing into freelancing activities.

If freelancing, you have an irregular working day, which helps adjusting your day to your needs, and managing many tasks without asking your boss to take leave for an hour or so. Practically, though, clients request that their tasks be done as quickly as possible, and usually it is awkward to refuse. Therefore, in the majority of cases your work not only occupies the typical working day frame (from 9.00 to 18.00), but may further expand onto you evening hours and even whole nights. A freelancing translator needs to properly organize their working day, otherwise, poor arrangement of work time would inevitably affect the quality of translations.

Another drawback of freelancing translations is lack of connection with team, and limited scope of communication, which entangle gradual loss of professional skills. In the base case, you would probably be “out of the picture” on the latest changes and news. Therefore, apart from proper self-organization, a freelancing translator needs to permanently keep up their knowledge. As it is only team work and spirit of competition that stimulate improvement of qualification and interest in any latest trends.

Another party to freelancing translations is clients. In the world of freelancing translations clients are both employers and bosses. It does not take long or much for a client needing to have their text translated to find an on-line translator, even without leaving home or PC desk chair – freelancing translation services are offered at numerous translation placement centers. Any such placement center acts only as a link between a client and a translator, thereby warranting payment for and quality of work. A client then only has to post a translation order in the common list, and select an appropriate translator.

This seems so easy and simple, as you do not have to personally acquaint with the translator, pay for their sick leaves and/or vacations, or even arrange their workplaces, since freelancing translators work at home. Not to mention the sphere of taxation, as the laws in their current state do not provide for any clear structure or system in this sphere, leaving the issue of taxes and fees out of sight.  

Actually, though, a client is always at risk when selecting a translator, since this selection of person and their qualification is done “by word of mouth”. The art of translation is a very fine process, as it not only requires decent knowledge of the language, but also understanding of all nuances and connotations of context. Since a client is by no means knowledgeable in the language of translation, they will not manage to properly assess the quality and accuracy of such translations.

As was mentioned above, any person may claim to be a freelancing translator since it is so easy. But the question still remains as to their qualification or absence of such, which is not obvious, nor clear, from their avatar, nor can be properly assessed by positive reviews. It may be the case that previous tasks of any particular translator were quite easy, but your very text would prove to be “a hard nut to crack”; if so, that translator would still do this task and send it to the client, which is not able to reliably assess accuracy of translation. Unfortunately, the professional code of ethics of freelancers does not protect against unscrupulous translator. So, despite the so obvious pros of freelancing activities, you should remember that freelancing translations are a specific subject requiring particular attention and control.


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