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Becky

Do you call yourself a freelancer?

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I recently came across an interesting blog post by Laura Belgray explaining why she doesn't refer to herself as a freelancer. She's a copywriter, not a translator, but I think it applies to our world too. Actually, I think it applies to any professional working solo.

In her own words, here's why she doesn't use the word "freelancer":

Because it sounds poor. Poor, and desperate.

It might be a good word for SEO.  But in my experience, the second you say you’re a freelancer, people think you’ll take any scraps, for any pay.

I want to say she's exaggerating a little, but then I think how much better "I run a translation business" sounds than "I am a freelance translator". It shouldn't, but it does. Why do freelancers have such a bad rep? Is it because we're willing to accept lower prices than "traditional businesses"? Is it because people associate freelancing with making some extra cash on the side?

Whatever the reasons, I find myself using the term less and less with clients as I grow my business and I think that's the best option for me. What about you? Do you call yourself a freelancer?

Here's Laura Belgray's blog post: http://talkingshrimp.com/f-word-freelancer

 

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That's a very good point to discuss.

Hum... Typically I haven't had any problems calling myself a freelancer. It does carry some misconceptions depending on where you are at and who you're talking to though. In some countries the freelancing style is quite common and widespread, people don't have difficulties understanding the lifestyle or workflow.

In others, being a freelancer is indeed the very same thing as being a homeless person looking for the next small gig that will keep them alive for the day. It's unfortunate, but this perception exists because these people do exist. There are people who decided to do freelancing (not just with translations, with pretty much any kind of service), but they don't know the means to disseminate their work, so much so that they diversify what they do enough to always be doing something but never be doing what they do for real. And it's a sad condition, in my opinion, unless the person somehow lives comfortably and happily like that.

In these scenarios, I believe there is nothing wrong with calling yourself a professional translator or a translation business owner instead. It's not only true, it does have an air of "officiality" to it, which makes it look more stable, and therefore more trustworthy, which should in turn get more confidence into the potential clients. And it stops people around you from thinking you are a vagabond, which admittedly, can happen depending on who those people around you are...

I don't feel restrained when using the word Freelancer, but I do advertise myself often simply as a Translator. That does the trick. Until I have to explain what a translator does. ^^

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Funnily enough, I have never actually described myself as a freelancer. If people ask, I just say I am a translator and I work from home, and my business card says "Professional translation, transcription and proofreading". I think that makes it quite clear.

 

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2 hours ago, Ot√°vio Banffy said:

There are people who decided to do freelancing (not just with translations, with pretty much any kind of service), but they don't know the means to disseminate their work

I think this is part of the issue. As independent professionals we manage all business departments ourselves (translation, sales, marketing, accounting, etc.), and the marketing side of things is perhaps one of the most challenging. I know it is for me. Fortunately, there are plenty of great resources out there to help us out with this, like the smartCAT webinars and the Translators On Air talk show.

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On 1/10/2018 at 7:54 PM, Becky said:

Why do freelancers have such a bad rep? Is it because we're willing to accept lower prices than "traditional businesses"? Is it because people associate freelancing with making some extra cash on the side?

Whatever the reasons, I find myself using the term less and less with clients as I grow my business and I think that's the best option for me. What about you? Do you call yourself a freelancer?

 

Hi Becky!

Let me answer those questions right away:

1. Freelancers have a bad reputation because many beginners will accept anything at any cost regardless if they know the field or not (i.e. a copywriter trying to do some SEO technical work) and thus will affect the concept of what freelancing really is.

2. I have been calling myself a freelancer since 2013 when I started to do some translation work in my field (psychology) but your post has provoked an insight... perhaps the word freelancer doesn't represent who I am and what I do anymore.

Very interesting thread! :89_clap:

Kindly,

Josh
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