akabana: (sewing sophie by <lj comm="tmg_icons">)
For the past few weeks I've been wondering whether or not I would go back to freelancing if I were to be offered a permanent or semi-permanent position. My contract was extended with another two weeks, so I will be on the company payroll at least until the end of August. There has been talk about a six-month contract, but nothing definitive. I've already stated I wouldn't decline a more long-term position, but it wasn't an easy decision to make.

Each choice has its pros and cons. As a freelancer, I had more flexible hours, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Although I could choose rather freely when I worked and for how long, I was also forced by necessity to work late at night or on weekends. Another issue is the pay. My impression is that when I'm working on a salary, I'm actually doing more for less. I once calculated I could make earn an amount equal to my current monthly salary by working two full (~40-hour) weeks as a freelancer. Although a freelancer incurs extra costs (pension insurance and such) and only rarely has the chance to work full weeks, the end result would be the same even with these variables: I would make more money as a freelancer. But on the other hand, working in an office provides a steady source of income, whereas a freelancer, in my experience, only faces two kinds of situations: swamped or bored. Either there's enough work for three people or there's not enough for a half.

So I eventually decided to give it a go, chiefly because of the stability of both the paycheck and the working hours. But the fact remains that I'm underpaid even by the standards of an academic field dominated by female employees. If they offer six months with my current salary, I'm game, if less, I'll become my own boss again. After the six months I'll have pretty much equal experience on freelancing and payroll employment, and hopefully will be better informed to reach a decision in favour of one or the other.
akabana: (sewing sophie by <lj comm="tmg_icons">)
Although I really should. Last Thursday I started working again at the translation office where I spent the last summer as a trainee. My contract lasts until the end of July, with an option for two more weeks in August, so you could call me seasonal help. Since it's the season that causes all the fuss and trouble.

July is the month when Finland closes shop. I'm serious. Everyone wants to have their summer holiday in July. Hence, one third of the in-house translators are on vacation in July. The problem is, the holiday season in most of Central and Western Europe doesn't start until later, in August. So, many other European branch offices (excluding Sweden, for instance) are just now busy trying to get as much work done as possible before everyone goes on holiday. And since we get quite a big proportion of our assignments from other European offices, we're swamped.

So, they called me early last week: "We're a bit short-staffed, could you lend a hand?" And here I am, a salarywoman once more. I get this feeling that I currently do more and get paid less than as a freelancer, but the fixed (or slightly flexible) hours have their perks: no more working 'till the wee hours of dawn or on weekends.

But I'm  loath to wake up at 7 o'clock ayem. Besides, my brain doesn't function properly before 11 o'clock or noon. Luckily, I apparently can do quite a decent job on autopilot ^_^;;;
akabana: (sewing sophie by <lj comm="tmg_icons">)
Question: How do you know you've worked too hard for too long?

Answer: When you start reading "MPEG file" as "MPREG file".

Sigh. Still almost 3k to go -__-;;;
akabana: (GUNM icon by <lj user="jubilli">)
It's done. I hardened my heart and sacrificed my not-quite-virginal credit card to the altars of online bookstores. To be more precise, I finally, realizing their rapidly approaching out-of-print status, ordered all ten Sandman collections in paperback. And got them for a few euros less than the price of Absolute Sandman vol.1 in Finland - ten books for the price of one, so to speak. I simply didn't want to get into the situation where my only options would be to buy the oversized and overpriced Absolute volumes or to hunt for overpriced out-of-print used copies if I ever wanted to own the whole Sandman series (not counting the later additions like Dream Hunters).

It's a funny feeling you get when you've just spent almost 120 euros in books. *giggles, then jeers with a queer squint* But hey, the price per book came to something like 11.7 euros, when the retail price here is closer to 20. So I actually saved a lot of money while it may look like I splurged.

And my copy of Tales of Pain and Wonder has apparently shipped, but not yet arrived. I'm getting somewhat impatient here.

Speaking of impatience, I almost ran out of the said unvirtue when my SDLX edit kept mysteriously crashing on me yesterday. Since it almost invariably died only when I tried to confirm some specific segments in some specific files, I felt the problem was file-related rather than program-related and contacted the SDL Finland office where I had subcontracted the work (all right, it's the office previously referred to as "office B" or something, but it's really too much bother) and we used the best part of this morning trying to work it out.

It turned out that the problem wasn't file-related, but luckily my counterpart in the SDL office found a solution posted on one freelance translator discussion forum. It was indeed a bug, although easily fixable by fiddling with the settings. The only thing that bugs me is that I should have found it myself... I only tried to look into SDL's own solution database, but since they're revamping the system, the database was unavailable. And did I tell you I just updated the program and the problem occurred only afterwards? And that you can't report the bugs to the SDL technical team unless you have a paid support contract? And, based on the dates of the forum discussion, the bug only appeared after the aforesaid update package was launched? And for the time being at least, it isn't listed as one of the "known issues" of the said release.

For a while I felt like a fisherman watching his boat sink. If the this tabletop suddenly died on me, I could load the translation software on the laptop and carry on working. But if the software starts acting up on me, I'm reduced to twiddling my thumbs until I get it fixed. I'm really, really glad it's over.
akabana: (Default)
When I was looking for a traineeship this spring I sent an application to this translation company A. Well, they hired someone else, but it didn't matter, since I was hired by this other company B, and I've been working for them ever since. A few weeks back I got email from this first company (A) inquiring whether I would be interested in a traineeship or a part-time position. I replied that I was far too busy with my master's thesis and freelancing to do any on-site work, but that I would be interested in working freelance. Yesterday I got a reply asking me to post my CV and price list :) Which means I have to update my CV and make up a price list...

I hate pricing. For the moment, I'm being paid by the company B price list, which isn't that bad, but could be better. I think I'll post a price list with somewhat higher word prices than the company B list. The problem is that I'm still relatively new to the industry and don't have a clear conception of an appropriate price level. Well, have to go by the gut feeling and state that pricing is negotiable to a certain degree.
akabana: (Default)
I was supposed to start working on this translation. There was a zip folder on the company server supposed to contain the files to be translated. Only, it contained all the files of the manual, all 18, when I was supposed to translate on 5 of them - I wasn't aware of this fact at the time, just thought 'oh my, a lot of files, some of them must be really small or something'. So I start translating from file one. On the second day (Sunday) I begin to smell the fish. The files are not huge, but, well, average-sized, but since there are so many of them, it means a huge lot more work than I had bargained for. Something's not quite right. And since it's Sunday, I can't get a hold of the person in charge of the project so I send her five or six emails during the day, each more panicked than the last.

This morning, it was all solved. The person in charge had accidentally uploaded the wrong zip file onto the server - i.e. the folder with everything instead of the folder with only my files in it. She was very apologetic, I was very apologetic for not realizing it sooner - I put it down on my general inexperience in this line of business. I got more time for completing the assignment, since I had started at the first files, but the files I had supposed to be translating were the last ones, so all the work I had done during the weekend went down the drain.

I'm not really angry at anyone about this - well maybe a bit at myself for not realizing it sooner, but only a bit. The person in charge is a friend of mine from the time I worked on-site, and we think we both learned something from this experience. These things happen, errare humanum est, or something like that.

Back to work, then.

Blaah.

Nov. 17th, 2007 07:48 pm
akabana: (Default)
I'm working and I feel I'm making no progress at all. Well, at least an ultrasound device manual is a lot more interesting than a car repair manual. In my opinion only, of course.

Boyfriend's cooking tagliatelle with walnuts, pears and blue cheese, and there's good Italian Pinot Grigio in the fridge :) So it's not half that bad, anyway.

Whoomp!

Nov. 10th, 2007 05:14 pm
akabana: (Default)
First, you complain there's not enough work to put food on the table, and then whoomp! You're swamped. I'm beginning to deduce this is not an uncommon experience for a freelancer :(

I'm working weekends again and there's another assignment waiting, but luckily it has a more reasonable timetable than the current one: I will actually have more than enough time instead of the usual 'almost enough time' or 'not nearly enough time'. I have yet to encounter 'so little time you're zombified into a true translation machine', but I bet it's coming my way. For a while I thought that '11 000 words in three days' -case was it, but nah. I mean, I actually slept during that weekend, so hardly any real zombification occurred (it's a regular joke of mine that this translation machine runs on coffee and cookies - in the translation company where I worked last summer there was always much distress when we ran out of cookies, and I've never drunk so much coffee as I did while working there; I'm still in withdrawal :p).

And the weather doesn't help much: watching gray and rain and rain and gray from the window behind the PC screen is somewhat demoralizing. But, hey, it's already dark now so I can draw the curtains. Besides, bf is making pizza for dinner - not the ready-made frozen kind, but from scratch. He's actually quite good at it :)
akabana: (Default)
I really should check my emails more often, or at least regularly. Yesterday I missed a job assignment (I do freelance translations) because I didn't read my mails. Meh.

But when they offered me assignments before, they usually called...Where was I to know that this time they would use the email?! *whinewhine* Ahem. My own fault for being such a lazy-ass.

And now off for the local library, I've got a master's thesis to write. Which is no fun, since my prof, who's supposed to be directing me and my bloody writing process is not inclined to do any actual directing. He insists on seeing a full primary version (60 to 80 pages) and refuses to read or comment on any single chapters or pieces of writing prior to that. He might comment on my table of contents, though, like that's any help. The funny thing is that he's not actually obliged to direct student's theses if he doesn't want to, he could transfer the job to somebody else if he wanted. If. But no.

So, I'm going to write 60 to 80 pages in French only to find out that there's something awfully wrong with my methodology or approach or whatnot and do the whole thing over again. And he's going to do nothing to help me. That stupid, arrogant, selfish, stuffed-up bastard of a Frenchman!

And I can't very well give up, since graduating officially is going to help me big time professionally. So I'll just swallow me pride and keep going, a-crumbling and a-mumbling and a-swearing but progressing nonetheless.

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March 2011

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