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When do you cry “Uncle”? June 4, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings, Translation Sites.

I just finished two large jobs and a couple small ones, delivering a total of 20,000 words today. The muscles in my shoulders are stiff, and my arms are a little numb. I have been busy before, but the past few days have been absolutely insane. Everyone I know is completely overwhelmed with translations. When does it end, and when do you cry “Uncle”?

One friend/colleague starts turning down work when she has six Post-It notes stuck to her monitor, indicating six different jobs. In my case, my job board, as you can see, is filled from top to bottom with jobs and crossed-out jobs. I guess you just learn how much you can handle and practice saying no to clients when you are too overwhelmed. But that’s easier said than done.

I’d be curious to hear how everyone else manages to handle a deluge of work. Do you feel guilty saying no to your clients? Do you say no to new clients, yet squeeze in work from long-term clients? I realize my work load this past week was beyond insane. I have some small jobs on my desk now, which are manageable, but I’m taking some time off tomorrow for some “me time” – a pedicure and if they can squeeze me in at the last minute a deep-tissue massage. I also plan on finally writing about the importance of a job tracking system and will talk about how some of my friends track their jobs as well.

In the meantime, I’m off to get some supper and get ready for water aerobics – and, most importantly, turning off my computer. More on this subject tomorrow!



1. Corinne McKay - June 5, 2008

Sorry for commenting on every one of your posts, but they’re just so good! The whole workflow management thing is such a huge issue; two translators in Colorado are thinking of offering a seminar called “Zen and the Art of Freelance Translating,” about how to maintain a balance in life and not be eternally scrambling to keep up. It’s especially hard when, like most translators, you are a) a person who inherently likes to make other people happy and hates saying no and b) a person who thrives on success, in both a financial and emotional sense. I know a few people who stick to an established schedule, don’t take rush jobs, don’t work nights or weekends, etc., but for the rest of us (and I think that’s almost everyone) it’s an ongoing struggle! One thing I try to do is to tell myself, because I think it’s true, that I’m not doing myself *or the client* a favor by taking on a job that I know will push me over the edge; then it’s just a matter of convincing the client to look at it the same way!

2. The GITS Blog » Know when to say “no” — and whose fault it is when you don’t - August 14, 2008

[…] independent translator, I often have a hard time saying no to my clients. This is a pretty common problem with […]

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