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I'm self-employed and work at home, and my work life entails taking mainly indifferently written German texts and transforming them into polished English. Sometimes, when the texts in question are actually about something (e.g. technical documentation, annual reports), my work provides some fascinating insights; on the other hand, a certain amount of my work involves texts intended not so much convey information as to create the spurious impression that they contain information, or that the information is other than misleading or banal - i.e. marketing texts, news releases or (this week's gag-me-with-a-spoon) management training seminar materials. To that extent, cynicism is probably my greatest occupational hazard.

I don't dislike my work (occasional deadline terror aside). I'm good at what I do, I have the satisfaction of a job well done, and what feedback I get is almost always positive. But the work no longer challenges. I could walk away from it with no regrets. (As a matter of fact, I did bail at one point; I was doing something entirely different for a while, but unfortunately that company chose to commit suicide by management.)

From my perspective the most difficult thing to deal with is not the workload (although it can be pretty consuming) but the fact that virtually all the human interaction in my work is electronically mediated. I have never actually met most of my clients. This makes the whole business seem rather abstract at times, which I don't think is ultimately good.

I have to say, though, that my peers - the other freelance translators with whom I have contact - are as wonderful a wonderful group of people as one could ever hope to meet, interesting, interested and open.

Work-life balance is something I have to wrestle with seriously at the moment. Like many self-employed persons, I am often tempted to take on as much work as I can get (as long as the price is right). At the moment the market is about as hot as I've ever seen it. There are lots of things I would rather by doing right now - scratch that, right this minute I'd like to be cycling - or maybe rollerblading - but I am seriously oversold through the end of the month.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Sat Apr 21st, 2007 at 07:18:59 AM EST

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