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Reflections on 2017, my first $US 100,000+ year from translation
מפרסם התגובה: Dylan Jan Hartmann

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
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Maybe not teak Jan 23, 2018

Might have been cherry wood.

 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
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Thank you! Everyone can work hard and make an honest living :) Jan 23, 2018

Lingua 5B wrote:

and now - it's tradition


I'll let you in on something, the heading for this post was just a clickbait title.

The post itself wasn't even about the $$

Go back and have a read.


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
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Let´s talk about cheques, 5B! Jan 23, 2018

Lingua 5B wrote:

Matthias Brombach wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote: I just thought as you provided a pic with bicycles it was easy to provide one with the Benz.

... as we know from the previous pic, he´s already married


I just wanted to see the car, that's all. As far as I can recall, he was showing his workplace in a coffee shop, and was providing his annual earnings report before as well. Or if it was some other poster, I apologize.

He showed annual earnings report last year(s?) as well, and now - it's tradition. (for all of you who are asking - why?)


Sorry, I couldn´t resist. Credits to Salt 'n' Pepa, of course

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydrtF45-y-g



[Edited at 2018-01-23 12:20 GMT]


 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
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Exactly. Jan 23, 2018

DJHartmann wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

and now - it's tradition


I'll let you in on something, the heading for this post was just a clickbait title.

The post itself wasn't even about the $$

Go back and have a read.


Agree, two consecutive years, in ten years you will be a millionaire.


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
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Getting back to the point Jan 23, 2018

Lingua 5B wrote:

Agree, two consecutive years, in ten years you will be a millionaire.


If that costs me my health, sanity and family, I don't want it.

Too much focus on the numbers is what caused me to stop, take a look at myself and my situation and make a better, more balanced strategy.

Sole focus on trying to make $$ will lead to disappointment, losing track of life's priorities, or sickness.

If you really insist on seeing my car and the rest of my new-found happy life, Google search for my instagram.


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
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In that case ... Jan 23, 2018

DJHartmann wrote:

Lingua 5B wrote:

and now - it's tradition


I'll let you in on something, the heading for this post was just a clickbait title.

The post itself wasn't even about the $$

Go back and have a read.


I agree that securing sales of approx. EUR 100,000 by working what sounds something like 4000 billable hours in a year is a very dubious feat. Now, my sales have never reached half of that, so maybe I'm just jealous, but it also sounds like I spend about a third as much time working (billable and non-billable hours), while fairly rigorously reserving evenings, weekends, public holidays, and six weeks of vacation for doing things other than working.

And the biggest problem with a good year is certainly not the taxes: At least they end up doing a lot of good for a lot of people. The real problem is avoiding the assumption that the next ten years will all be similarly good or (worse yet) that the next ten years will each bring the same increase in revenue as the one before.

The other difficulty is that working 20% less is likely to cost you a lot more than 20% of your sales, if it means you are working more or less regular hours. Irregular hours make it possible to make up for slow spells with extremely productive periods and that abilitiy is severely limited when you refuse to chronically work ridiculous hours. I think this decision is well worth it, but it's important to be realistic about how much the luxury of free time costs.


Irene (Renata) Liapis
 

Tim Friese  Identity Verified
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I think the opposite Jan 23, 2018

Michael Wetzel wrote:

The other difficulty is that working 20% less is likely to cost you a lot more than 20% of your sales, if it means you are working more or less regular hours. Irregular hours make it possible to make up for slow spells with extremely productive periods and that abilitiy is severely limited when you refuse to chronically work ridiculous hours. I think this decision is well worth it, but it's important to be realistic about how much the luxury of free time costs.



I actually think the opposite relationship holds in my case. I deliberately keep my schedule flexible and will occasionally work a very long day or week when there is lucrative work. Making >$1000 a day for a few days on a fast/easy project lets me slow down later that week or the next.

If I wanted to work 10 billable hours a day, I would have to fill my time with a lot of lower-paying work, and then once busy with that work I wouldn't be able to jump on rush/high-paying projects for my best clients.

[Edited at 2018-01-23 15:08 GMT]


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
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My statement was probably unclear, Jan 23, 2018

but I was agreeing with you.

Being willing or able to occasionally working very long days and weeks makes it far easier to earn more.

I think everyone deals with significant ups and downs in terms of the amount of potential work coming in: Someone working regular hours gets hit just as hard by the downs, but can only take limited advantage of the ups.

That is also important in terms of business planning: If you don't mind and are able to work 12 hour days,
... See more
but I was agreeing with you.

Being willing or able to occasionally working very long days and weeks makes it far easier to earn more.

I think everyone deals with significant ups and downs in terms of the amount of potential work coming in: Someone working regular hours gets hit just as hard by the downs, but can only take limited advantage of the ups.

That is also important in terms of business planning: If you don't mind and are able to work 12 hour days, it is not so difficult to average 8 hours per day over the course of a year. If you are limited to an 8-hour work day, then it is very difficult to average 6 hours per day over the course of a a year, because you have such a small margin to catch up bit-by-bit for the slow periods.
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Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
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50 Cent Jan 23, 2018

The whole back and forth with humorous gusto reminded me of a rap album: https://youtu.be/NNxOTi3GoIE





Seriously though: the time to work 15-hour days is a young man's (and young woman's ) game. As we grow older, our metabolism changes, our hormonal balance changes, and those translation slam feats we
... See more
The whole back and forth with humorous gusto reminded me of a rap album: https://youtu.be/NNxOTi3GoIE





Seriously though: the time to work 15-hour days is a young man's (and young woman's ) game. As we grow older, our metabolism changes, our hormonal balance changes, and those translation slam feats we used to perform in our 20s or 30s quickly become a thing of the past. There are exceptions. I recently listened to an NPR (National Public Radio, here in America) interview with Sir David Attenborough, who's hitting 90 years or whereabouts. He said he's lucky for still being able to work on documentaries because some of his contemporaries can no longer walk, some have memory problems, etc.
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mughwI
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It depends Jan 23, 2018

There it is. The answer to most questions asked regarding our profession.

So, for the naysayers: Given the right mix of business acumen, persistence, language combination vs. demand, consistent job influx, and just plain blind luck, US$100k is perfectly doable working only 6-8 hours, Monday to Friday.

Some caveats: (a) I spent the better part of my career honing my skills and compiling a carefully selected list of loyal direct clients; most of them acquired through reco
... See more
There it is. The answer to most questions asked regarding our profession.

So, for the naysayers: Given the right mix of business acumen, persistence, language combination vs. demand, consistent job influx, and just plain blind luck, US$100k is perfectly doable working only 6-8 hours, Monday to Friday.

Some caveats: (a) I spent the better part of my career honing my skills and compiling a carefully selected list of loyal direct clients; most of them acquired through recommendations from colleagues. (b) Given that I work within a highly saturated language pair (English-Spanish), keeping myself relevant and in high demand means there is a lot of upkeep to be done on a regular basis. (c) Although I do take vacations, I do not stop working. I just take smallish jobs that pay very well, and only work up to 4 hours per day. (d) My background, before freelance translation, was in business, marketing, and hi-tech. This means I basically hit the ground running, and did not have to struggle with not knowing how to handle clients, sales, invoicing, software, hardware, research, etc.

Finally, keep in mind that this is all subjective and specific to individual circumstances. YMMV.

PS: I do not currently own a Merc. Yet.
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Robert Forstag  Identity Verified
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It is not (only) about "hard work and determination" Jan 23, 2018

It seems worth noting certain aspects of DJ's circumstances that have allowed him to attain a six-figure annual income while working mainly for agencies. To wit (relative to other language combinations) there are not a lot of translators working from Thai into English, and my guess is that many who do have nothing approaching *native* ability in English. Even fewer working in this combination have the really "highly educated level" of English that DJ clearly has. All this results in limited comp... See more
It seems worth noting certain aspects of DJ's circumstances that have allowed him to attain a six-figure annual income while working mainly for agencies. To wit (relative to other language combinations) there are not a lot of translators working from Thai into English, and my guess is that many who do have nothing approaching *native* ability in English. Even fewer working in this combination have the really "highly educated level" of English that DJ clearly has. All this results in limited competition for jobs which demand high quality, and hence the ability to obtain a constant stream of work at rates that, at the very least, are not scandalous.

And even with all that, he has had to work very hard, and often at rates that many experienced translators (and apparently he himself) do not consider particularly good.

None of these remarks are intended to take anything away from what DJ has accomplished. Instead, they are intended to provide perspective necessary to understand some of the factors that made those accomplishments possible.
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Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
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Life work balance Jan 23, 2018

Seems that everyone's missed your point Dan... but that's partly your fault, and shows how important a title is and to put information upfront in a piece of writing. I almost gave up myself, your first post reads like a Trump memoir.

So most readers are frothing at the mouth over 100K a year, and forgetting the breakdown and crap private life that implies for a translator.


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
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Exactly! Jan 23, 2018

Richard Purdom wrote:

Seems that everyone's missed your point...

So most readers are frothing at the mouth over 100K a year, and forgetting the breakdown and crap private life that implies for a translator.


I purposely made the title clickbait but you’re right. My point of the story was to step back and find a level that I can continue to remain consistent, enjoy life and stay healthy.

Trump memoirs? Haha! I’ve not read any to relate to. It WAS written on the phone at 4am with the ProZ.com app though! So, close one!


 

Helena Chavarria  Identity Verified
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Enjoy life while you can Jan 23, 2018

Michael Wetzel wrote:

Now, my sales have never reached half of that, so maybe I'm just jealous,



I think I'm jealous of the fact that your family let you work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. My husband doesn't mind me working but he also wants to enjoy his retirement. My two daughters, who are in their 30s, lead busy lives and I give them a hand with their children: taking them to school and picking them up, feeding them and looking after them in the afternoons. I don't do it every day, but it's enough to prevent me from working as much as I would like.

I admit that at first I found it difficult to put my work in second place but after a couple of sudden deaths in the family, I realised that life is for living and that if my family is happy then I am too.


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
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A sense of duty Jan 23, 2018

Helena Chavarria wrote:

I think I'm jealous of the fact that your family let you work 16 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.


I totally understand your point about appreciating life.

Perhaps I should’ve made it clearer: I am the sole income provider for my family. My eldest daughter is 6 and youngest nearly 2. My wife stays at home caring for #2 and helps look after me through long work-stints.

I’ve made it clear to her numerous times that much of our success is thanks to her continual support and I couldn’t have done half of it without her.

[Edited at 2018-01-24 00:03 GMT]


 
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