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Freelancing in the USA
Thread poster: carolinamelo

carolinamelo  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 00:58
uit Duits in Portugees
+ ...
Jan 21

Hello everyone,

I recently relocated with my husband to the USA and I am currently waiting for my EAD. In the meantime, I am trying to take a look at the necessary steps to start working for my customers from here and maybe even take advantage of the new situation.

What should I be aware of? What would change for my clients in Europe? What do I need to do to get started here? Do I need to hire an accountant? What if I plan on working part-time and have a low income?... See more
Hello everyone,

I recently relocated with my husband to the USA and I am currently waiting for my EAD. In the meantime, I am trying to take a look at the necessary steps to start working for my customers from here and maybe even take advantage of the new situation.

What should I be aware of? What would change for my clients in Europe? What do I need to do to get started here? Do I need to hire an accountant? What if I plan on working part-time and have a low income?

What is your general recommendation?

Thanks so much for your suggestions!

Carolina
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philgoddard
Verenigde State
Member (2009)
uit Duits in Engels
+ ...
Some thoughts Jan 21

I came to the US from the UK fourteen years ago. I worried that I'd lose all my customers and have to start again, but most stayed with me, and the time difference proved an asset rather than a liability.

I still find that 80 percent of my work comes from Europe, so I have to get up early to check my emails.

I find US tax forms complicated compared to British ones, so I use H&R Block. They're expensive (about $400 for maybe 90 minutes' work), but the service has been
... See more
I came to the US from the UK fourteen years ago. I worried that I'd lose all my customers and have to start again, but most stayed with me, and the time difference proved an asset rather than a liability.

I still find that 80 percent of my work comes from Europe, so I have to get up early to check my emails.

I find US tax forms complicated compared to British ones, so I use H&R Block. They're expensive (about $400 for maybe 90 minutes' work), but the service has been good and they try hard to save you every last penny of tax.

I don't think the sky is going to fall in if you do the odd freelance job while waiting for your employment authorisation.

Good luck, and I hope your experience is as positive as mine!
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Adieu
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkye
Local time: 02:58
Member
uit Engels in Turks
+ ...
Interesting Jan 22

philgoddard wrote:

the time difference proved an asset rather than a liability.


That sounds rather interesting. Would you care to explain that?


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 00:58
Member (2007)
uit Engels in Portugees
+ ...
@Carolina Jan 22

My move wasn't as big as yours (same currency, only one hour difference). I moved 5 years ago from Belgium to Portugal. I kept all my customers and the one hour difference means that most of the time I start working earlier than is usual here…

Good luck to you!


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australië
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
uit Engels in Russies
+ ...
Moved to Australia Jan 22

Hi Carolina,

We moved to Australia from Sweden 11 years ago, and I still have my European clients. They already know me so they send me projects without waiting for my confirmation, and actually it works really well because for smaller projects our time difference is an advantage.

I had a funny episode last year. I live in the suburb called St Lucia, and one of my European clients saw the name on my invoice (somehow, they overlooked the bit which said 'Australia' furthe
... See more
Hi Carolina,

We moved to Australia from Sweden 11 years ago, and I still have my European clients. They already know me so they send me projects without waiting for my confirmation, and actually it works really well because for smaller projects our time difference is an advantage.

I had a funny episode last year. I live in the suburb called St Lucia, and one of my European clients saw the name on my invoice (somehow, they overlooked the bit which said 'Australia' further in the text). They've got very excited and congratulated me on moving to a new country:). I had to disappoint them but it just proves that clients do not really care about where you live if they are happy with your work.
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Teresa Borges
philgoddard
expressisverbis
 

Adieu  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:58
uit Engels in Russies
+ ...
Their day ends when yours begins Jan 23

Baran Keki wrote:

philgoddard wrote:

the time difference proved an asset rather than a liability.


That sounds rather interesting. Would you care to explain that?


You might agree to jobs before going to bed (when they email you in their morning) and have everything lined up and ready to go in the morning.

OR you might get sent stuff in the morning (end of their day) that you can complete by the time they start their next work day, giving you a one day edge over their local translators.

OR... you might be a night owl and do those evening jobs immediately.


Patrícia Backes
philgoddard
Vanda Nissen
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkye
Local time: 02:58
Member
uit Engels in Turks
+ ...
I still don't get it Jan 23

Adieu wrote:

You might agree to jobs before going to bed (when they email you in their morning) and have everything lined up and ready to go in the morning.

OR you might get sent stuff in the morning (end of their day) that you can complete by the time they start their next work day, giving you a one day edge over their local translators.

OR... you might be a night owl and do those evening jobs immediately.


In my experience if you don't reply to a PM's email within the next hour or so they tend to move on to the next translator and forget all about you.
Perhaps I haven't been fortunate enough to find those elusive boutique, high end clients that can afford to wait for 6 or 8 hours for you to wake up and reply to their emails.
Other than changing your body clock completely and keeping odd hours, I really don't see how a person living in Australia gets to work mainly with European clients unless, of course, they have clients that insist on working only with them and nobody else, and are willing to put up with the time difference.
I've been wondering about this issue for quite some time as I'm toying with the idea of moving to a faraway location myself, and this issue of time difference is the only thing that puts me off. I'm really curious to know how time difference can be an 'asset'.


 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australië
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
uit Engels in Russies
+ ...
Not all clients expect you to reply within one hour Jan 24

Baran Keki wrote:

Other than changing your body clock completely and keeping odd hours, I really don't see how a person living in Australia gets to work mainly with European clients unless, of course, they have clients that insist on working only with them and nobody else, and are willing to put up with the time difference.
I've been wondering about this issue for quite some time as I'm toying with the idea of moving to a faraway location myself, and this issue of time difference is the only thing that puts me off. I'm really curious to know how time difference can be an 'asset'.


Neither myself, neither my husband have an issue with keeping our European clients. In fact, we have acquired more clients from Europe after moving to Australia. If you have unique skills or language combination, your clients will be willing to wait three hours for your reply. So, it is all about being a good professional, the rest does not really matter.


philgoddard
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkye
Local time: 02:58
Member
uit Engels in Turks
+ ...
You have (half) a point there Jan 25

[quote]Vanda Nissen wrote:

Baran Keki wrote:

If you have unique skills or language combination, your clients will be willing to wait three hours for your reply. So, it is all about being a good professional, the rest does not really matter.


Granted, if you have unique language combinations like you do (Swedish to Russian, Danish to Russian) you'd be undoubtedly in demand wherever you're located, but as for English to Russian pair, I don't think you'd stand much chance against your compatriots in Russia or in Europe if you happen to live 7 to 10 hours ahead of their local time.
As for skills and quality, I'm afraid those 'assets' are becoming more and more secondary to monetary considerations. If you're a cheap translator in a fiercely competitive language pair (like English to Russian and English to Turkish) you're more likely to be in demand for translation jobs even if you deliver embarrassingly bad translations. I know this because I proofread their rubbish and make it look halfway decent (this appears to be a new trend btw: if your rates are high you get proofreading jobs instead of translation jobs).
I'm glad to hear that you and your husband are doing well. Not everybody is as lucky as you, I guess. If you were starting out today as an English to Russian translator in Australia, you'd probably be forced to work with the 'best rate' agencies in that part of the world.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Verenigde Koninkryk
Local time: 00:58
Member (2014)
uit Japannees in Engels
Saddening to read that success is only a matter of luck Jan 25

Baran Keki wrote:
I'm glad to hear that you and your husband are doing well. Not everybody is as lucky as you, I guess.

You comment effectively ascribes what success they have had to luck, rather than to ability, judgement, business acumen, hard work, customer service or any other of the attributes that one might imagine play a role.

For one thing, that's a rather slighting thing to say. For another, if you really believe that only luck matters then presumably you have no belief in the validity your own skill or experience either, which I suspect has implications for your self-esteem.

When I see exchanges like these I think of Gary Player, who was accused of being lucky after winning a bet based on skilful shots. "Well," shot back Gary, "the harder I practice, the luckier I get."

To get back to the topic in hand, I work in a very different time zone to the bulk of my clients. It clearly benefits me in some limited ways. Clients sometimes ask me to do rush jobs overnight while they are sleeping, or contact me late at night (but during my working day) to allocate me jobs with longer deadlines. On the other hand, they may give me fewer jobs in the morning (because I am asleep and cannot respond immediately), but I don't know for sure as I don't have visibility into their order flows.

Overall I think it is probably a neutral to slightly positive factor.

Dan


philgoddard
 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkye
Local time: 02:58
Member
uit Engels in Turks
+ ...
I'm sorry that you chose to interpret my comment this way Jan 25

Dan Lucas wrote:

Baran Keki wrote:
I'm glad to hear that you and your husband are doing well. Not everybody is as lucky as you, I guess.

You comment effectively ascribes what success they have had to luck, rather than to ability, judgement, business acumen, hard work, customer service or any other of the attributes that one might imagine play a role.

For one thing, that's a rather slighting thing to say. For another, if you really believe that only luck matters then presumably you have no belief in the validity your own skill or experience either, which I suspect has implications for your self-esteem.

When I see exchanges like these I think of Gary Player, who was accused of being lucky after winning a bet based on skilful shots. "Well," shot back Gary, "the harder I practice, the luckier I get."

To get back to the topic in hand, I work in a very different time zone to the bulk of my clients. It clearly benefits me in some limited ways. Clients sometimes ask me to do rush jobs overnight while they are sleeping, or contact me late at night (but during my working day) to allocate me jobs with longer deadlines. On the other hand, they may give me fewer jobs in the morning (because I am asleep and cannot respond immediately), but I don't know for sure as I don't have visibility into their order flows.

Overall I think it is probably a neutral to slightly positive factor.

Dan


I don't know what makes you think that I've insulted Vanda's and her husband's ability, judgement, business acumen, hard work, customer service etc. that wasn't my intention at all. You seem to have missed the point completely and deliberately misinterpreted my comment.
They no doubt have some long-standing customers from before their move to Australia (acquired through their hard work, business acumen) who continued to work with them (and nobody else it seems) despite the time difference and added some new ones to their portfolio based on their track record. I have nothing but respect for them. You obviously chose to ignore what came after that "not as lucky as you" bit.
For those who misunderstand/misinterpret my posts on this thread, my argument is this: if you've recently started out as a translator in a very competitive language pair (such as English to Turkish, English to Russian as opposed to Japanese to English, Danish to Russian, Slovakian to Pashtu etc etc etc.) it would be very difficult for you to land clients from Europe if you're living in the GMT+11 time zone and not replying to your emails within 1 or 2 hours. I hope this makes sense. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough.
I personally think luck is fairly important, again, if you're working in a competitive language pair. There were a number of instances where I landed some very important clients by replying to the emails sent by persons (in the small hours) who are not listed on the BB directory here or didn't have much information about them on the internet where I acted on impulse and literally took a gamble with them.
Of course, working in Japanese to English pair, you don't have much need for luck and it looks like it's okay for you to comment on people's self-esteem.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Verenigde Koninkryk
Local time: 00:58
Member (2014)
uit Japannees in Engels
How else to interpret it, given the context? Jan 25

Baran Keki wrote:
You obviously chose to ignore what came after that "not as lucky as you" bit.

Let's take another look:

Baran Keki wrote:
I'm glad to hear that you and your husband are doing well. Not everybody is as lucky as you, I guess. If you were starting out today as an English to Russian translator in Australia, you'd probably be forced to work with the 'best rate' agencies in that part of the world.

These are the final words in your post. I can't see anything after "Not everybody is as lucky as you, I guess" that acknowledges that the success of these two people might be, you know, down to their skill and effort. On the contrary, you assign their success to time (oh, they were already established) and place (oh, they were not previously in Australia). Otherwise they'd likely have had no choice, you say, except to work with bottom-feeder agencies.

I disagree. My experience is that successful people tend to be successful in most things they do, because what counts are character and attitude, which lead to competence. My take is that this couple would probably have been successful either way.


Of course, working in Japanese to English pair, you don't have much need for luck

So again, you imply that success is driven not by the abilities of the individual but by the language pair in which they work. Well, if you think it's easy, by all means come on in and try to make a living in one of the Japanese pairs. Despite the difficulty of acquiring this notoriously "hard" language (which should in theory constrain supply of translators) you'll find there are plenty of freelancers struggling to keep their heads above water.

and it looks like it's okay for you to comment on people's self-esteem.

I commented that if you believe that only luck matters - as suggested by your comment about Vanda and her partner - then logically you must also believe that your own skills and effort are meaningless, and yes, I do think that such a belief would negatively affect your sense of self-worth.

If I am wrong, and you don't believe that your own skills and effort have no worth, then perhaps you shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the skills and effort of others as mere luck. Perhaps you just didn't think about it before you wrote, but your post was pretty negative in tone and in a public forum like this one, people are free to make reasoned criticisms of your comments (and mine).

To put it another way: the fate of freelance translators is not determined solely or even primarily by luck, country or language pair. We are not puppets but actors, able to make our own decisions, responsible for our lives, and capable of tearing success through the iron gates of life if we want success enough to make the necessary sacrifices. Though we cannot make the industry stand still, yet we will make it run...

Which brings us nicely back to the OP.

OP - I began my translation career in my home country, half a world away from the country of my source language. I've done OK. It's possible. You'll have a better chance if you have a USP of some kind, like a strong specialisation.

Regards,
Dan


expressisverbis
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Verenigde Koninkryk
uit Sweeds in Engels
+ ...
‘ello, ‘ello, what’s going on here? Jan 25

Next Sheila will be along shouting and swearing and smashing crockery

To be fair, Dan, I didn’t read Baran’s comments as being negative towards Vanda the way you did. But I don’t agree with him either on this or on his general point about time zones.

Being in a different time zone clearly brings the advantage of overnight deliveries. And the disadvantage of being asleep during the client’s office
... See more
Next Sheila will be along shouting and swearing and smashing crockery

To be fair, Dan, I didn’t read Baran’s comments as being negative towards Vanda the way you did. But I don’t agree with him either on this or on his general point about time zones.

Being in a different time zone clearly brings the advantage of overnight deliveries. And the disadvantage of being asleep during the client’s office hours may well be exaggerated. Most clients, and maybe even the big agencies, will be capable of taking account of time zones when communicating with you. If they don’t, you’re probably better off without them.

And once you’ve proved yourself, they will definitely wait until you’ve had your beauty sleep and first coffee of the day for all but the most urgent of texts. I don’t think it’s as dog-eat-dog out there as some make out.
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Dan Lucas
Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Verenigde Koninkryk
Local time: 00:58
Member (2014)
uit Japannees in Engels
Nothing to see here Jan 25

Chris S wrote:
Next Sheila will be along shouting and swearing and smashing crockery

Just another bit of ProZ argy-bargy...


 

Baran Keki  Identity Verified
Turkye
Local time: 02:58
Member
uit Engels in Turks
+ ...
@ Dan Jan 25

Again you're taking things out of context, blowing them out of proportion and misinterpreting my comments to conduct some sort of bizarre psychoanalysis about my 'sense of self-worth' (I'm okay in that department, thank you very much, as for my skills and efforts please kindly take look at my profile and read my clients' reviews there).
All I meant by "not as lucky as you" was that they were lucky (perhaps this was an unfortunate choice of words on my part, seeing as how it set you off int
... See more
Again you're taking things out of context, blowing them out of proportion and misinterpreting my comments to conduct some sort of bizarre psychoanalysis about my 'sense of self-worth' (I'm okay in that department, thank you very much, as for my skills and efforts please kindly take look at my profile and read my clients' reviews there).
All I meant by "not as lucky as you" was that they were lucky (perhaps this was an unfortunate choice of words on my part, seeing as how it set you off into a tirade about 'self-worth', excuse me for English not being my first language, perhaps I should've said "fortunate" instead of "lucky") in that they have clients that can afford to wait for 5 to 8 hours (based on the regular office hours of most European agencies) for them to reply (and judging by the fact they can afford to wait for that long, they shouldn't be your regular "first come first served" type agencies that require you to use funny online CAT tools and apply discounts), and they were lucky (sorry, "fortunate") to get new clients.
I didn't mean it like "your skills and business acumen don't count for anything, it's just down to pure luck that you've landed European clients". This is your interpretation.
I agreed with Vanda that having rare language combinations can get you clients and make them wait for hours for you to reply (Would you start again with your "skills" tirade if I said she was lucky/fortunate to have learned Danish and Swedish back in the day?). But if she were working only as an English to Russian translator in Australia, chances are she'd find it fairly difficult to land clients from Europe given the time difference between the locations. You deliberately (conveniently?) left that part out, of course.
This whole argument is about the matter of time difference. I never said learning Japanese or Danish was 'easy'. I really don't know what part of my posts gave you that idea (then, again, I'm still unclear what made you launch into that song and dance about "skills", "business acumen" etc. in the first place).
Thank you for admitting that "I didn't think about it". Yes, because I didn't mean what I said in the sense you're trying to make them sound like in your posts. It appears like you're the only person who took offense by my post for some weird reason. I certainly didn't mean to insult Vanda's and her husband's (you say "her partner", again you're seeing things that I don't see) skills as a translator, I didn't say learning Japanese and working as a Japanese to Turkish translator was easy (What the hell has this got to do with my original comment anyway?)
If Vanda feels insulted by my comment, if she thinks that I deliberately downplayed her skills as a translator, then I'm prepared to apologize to her here. But this was not my intention at all. I believe she'll agree with some of my points about the language pairs (especially the competitive ones).
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