Have you ever wondered how a typical day in the life of a freelance translator looks like?

Here’s a sneak peak in my office routine!

09:00 a.m. Reading e-mails and answering the most urgent. Assigning projects to freelancers I work with (eg. for Russian or Hebrew) and  prioritize the rest.

10:00 I realize how long my list is – I order strong coffee ?

Begin crossing off things from my list as I finish through the various assignments and projects.

Some copywriting – a friend wants me to write and translate their holiday home description for Airbnb and Social Media.

Off to some project managing again! A new e-mail has arrived, and they need translation of a website to 3 languages. Of course, they want to know the cost, first so I have to send them a quote. Now, if you want to be a professional, you have to do a correct estimate of the word count and then calculate how much it will cost you to pay 3 other translators to do it and then send off your quote. And think: do I have time to do one of the languages (the one I usually work with) myself, or do I also outsource that one? Here’s the tricky point, time management! You can read more about how to prioritize and organize your time better here.

The time is now 12:00 (in the best scenario) – I need a break. I either go outside for a walk (and a second cup of coffee or a fresh juice) or just pop in the next office, where my friend works, for a chat or read translation blogs for some motivation ?

12:15 – one of the freelancers I outsourced the translation to, needs clarifications. Unfortunately I cannot answer that myself, so I have to get in touch with the client and get back to them. In the meantime a couple of more e-mails have just popped in my inbox and I read them to see if there is something urgent.

12:30 – Phone ringing: a returning client: when and how much will it cost to translate a legal contract from Greek to French. Now, I have to contact my go-to person for French legal texts (you know who you are!) and see if she has time to do it and then get back to the client with a time/price quote.

(In the meantime the translation I was working on is still unfinished…)

By the end of the day I have translated a tourism text about a famous Rhodes resort, describing its cuisine, beaches and nightlife, a few pages of the book I have been working on for the last 2 months, I have corrected 2 translations of Covid_19 instructions that were sent to me by one of my freelance translators, managed a couple of projects, proofread a High School diploma and delivered it to the client, answered several e-mails and phone calls and managed to drink ¾ of my coffee. Now talk to me about exhaustion…

However, have you noticed something I shouldn’t be doing in my work routine? Because I have! I constantly check and open e-mails, and respond to them, breaking my focus and delaying the work at hand. I really should have set hours to check and answer to emails because otherwise you cannot really focus at a single task… Maybe I should re-read the article about Time management for freelancers (and especially translators)!

How about you? What is your work routine and what is your biggest mistake? Or biggest win?

Let me know in the comments!