Only Human Translators

Dilemmas of an upwardly mobile translator

Dilemmas of an upwardly mobile translator

Freelance translation is full of decisions. Shall I take this job? Shall I reject that one? How much should I charge? Should I put up my rates? And all decisions have consequences. If you ask for too much, the client might go elsewhere. But if you ask for too little you might get offered something better. And if you take this, you haven’t got time to take that. My decisions of the past year all seemed to come home to roost in the two weeks since I’ve been back from holiday. First I seem to have lost a good client. It isn’t a badly paying agency I’ve been wanting to get rid of for ages, it’s a direct client with interesting translations that I’ve been working with for years. The only problem from my point of view was that my relationship with the client dates from a time when I didn’t charge direct clients enough. Since I realised this, I’ve been steadily increase my rate with them and it’s now approaching what I’d ask for from a new client, although they’re still getting me a little cheap. Unfortunately, they don’t see things like the same way. Surprised that they hadn’t sent me their regular monthly translation, I asked them why. And they finally admitted it: “We’ve found someone cheaper for the regular stuff. It’s not you, though. We really like your work.” As if that made things any better. All I could do was remind them that I’d still be there when they needed quality translations and wonder where I’d fill the gap in my monthly schedule. The same...