Translators during COVID-19

The Life of a Freelance Translator in the Time of Corona

The schedule of freelance and in-house translators is usually different. Because their office is headquartered at home, freelancers choose activities relevant to their lifestyle. While coronavirus has changed drastically the work routine of many employees, I believe it did not have much impact on the professional life of freelance translators.

What is an exception today to many employees has long been the rule for freelancers. The life of freelance translators has long been characterized by their stay-at-home job. In this article, I will showcase how many activities, exceptionally adopted today by many employees quarantined at home because of the coronavirus, are usual activities to freelance translators based on my personal experience.

Freelancing as a lifestyle

Don’t you get bored staying at home for days? This is a reiterated question I was frequently asked. As many workers are used to leaving home early in the morning and returning late, staying and working at home is an integral part of my workdays as a freelance translator.

In this regard, I believe the rate of people who used to work at home before the quarantine-at least in my home country- is significantly lower than those working outside their home. To face unemployment, many youths decided to seek an alternative online. Freelancers, therefore, could cross international borders online and create professional relationships with foreign companies and clients.

Hence, freelancing or working at home has become a lifestyle for many freelancers long before the current quarantine. While collaborating with companies online brings income to freelancers, some companies benefit from working with freelancers in terms of spendings. They only pay for the service and do not cover any insurance or annual paid vacation. However, many online articles and videos on how to spend a day at home during quarantine went viral.

The benefits of freelancing

As a freelance translator, time management is essential to achieve my tasks. It is a skill acquired over time. Working at home does not mean to wake up or sleep late. Waking up early enables me to finish housework early such as cooking in order to start work at the appropriate time.

The daily duties should normally be identified the previous night to avoid distraction and wasting time in secondary tasks unless a new urgent work is received on the same day. After closing all social media to concentrate well at work, I start translating, writing, or doing other language-related tasks.

The flexibility of remote work gives the possibility of changing activities and working hours from time to time. If there is no work to be done, my activities include learning new skills through online platforms. By learning a new skill, freelancers can offer new services and therefore increase their income.

Many activities are undertaken daily by freelance translators. For instance, I need to be updated with world events to help execute my translation work. I, therefore, read some online news articles and watch documentaries in Arabic, French, and English. Reading should generally be an ongoing process in the translator’s life.

I am also supposed to be constantly looking for clients by contacting new companies and seeking new collaborations. Not to mention that sport is necessary as part of the schedule and can be done at home by following any sports channels on Youtube.

Apart from work, many activities can be done from home over the year. To run errands online provides also precious free time to be used efficiently. To avoid standing in line for hours, bills can be paid online too. Unless needed more than once, shopping can also be done online once a month to save time and effort.

Changes during the COVID-19

What is different for me as a freelance translator during the Corona epidemic is not being able to visit my family out of the quarantine. Rather, I phone them. And instead of practicing sport in the open air, I exercise at home in front of my computer screen. Not to mention being doubtful about whatever comes from the outside and requiring it to be checked and cleaned, and the streets that are almost deserted.

All in all, this corona time might be an opportunity to get used to do many activities online at home, organize time, learn new skills, and recognize the importance of family bonds. Many people also could live the life of freelance translators and cope with the new lifestyle. This epidemic might make us reconsider our priorities.

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