21 June 2013

Juggling two jobs: when you are not quite ready to be "just" a freelance translator

I have not written a post for over three weeks, and there is a reason for that: sometimes it is hard to juggle two jobs, or more precisely two jobs, an online course in translation and a life.

In my capacity as a journalist, I get to spend three weeks in Brazil this month to cover the Confederations Cup. I love football, I like reporting and I find such assignments quite good fun. However, I don't quite know what I am supposed to do with my side job as a freelance translator while I am in Brazil. It is probably inevitable that I should set it aside for a few weeks, at least until my day job goes back to normal, but that is actually easier said than done. 

Indeed, I have not been able to do a lot of freelance translation this month, and yet I think of myself more as a translator than as a reporter by now, so I find that quite hard. I have the feeling that I cannot afford to put my budding career on hold just like that, and above all I miss the work of actually sitting down to translate. So the experience has made me think.

It is good to have a job to pay the bills, and most experienced freelancers advise that beginners should have something else until they establish themselves in the world of translation. On the other hand, it is also good to be able to focus full-time on your career of choice, and juggling two jobs often conspires against that.

If I had more time to focus on translation, I would certainly do more marketing. I would also translate more, though there is no way I would be able to fill all my working hours with translation jobs right now: I am simply not there yet. It is tricky to opt between the financial safety of keeping a full-time job on the side and the determination and drive that would inevitably come under the additional pressure of being "just" a freelance translator. 

I sometimes get the feeling that a little uncertainty would be good for my career as a freelancer, and occasionally even that I will never make the leap I need to make next if I keep my regular job. I hope I will know when the time is right to opt out of my job as a journalist in such a way that I take on some additional pressure to fuel professional growth without jeopardising the well-being of my family as well as myself by resigning the extra income.