How much is enough for a translator?

8 Aug

Have you ever thought about how much money do you need? What is the amount (per month, if you will) you will be satisfied with?

The thing is that this notion of “enough-ness” is quite important for any person, according to a lot of coaches, therapists, etc.

In 2012 I bought a book by Jean Clark et al. called “How much is enough?”. Although this book is about making children feel that enough is enough, I think that it is never late to start understanding the true meaning of this words – whether you are 20, 30, 40 or 60.

On my first publiс speaking event (UTIC 2016) I listened to a speech of one of the leading En-Ru translators of the proz.com community – Oleg Rudavin (BTW, author of “Internet Freelancing” – http://www.proz.com/books/1/Internet-Freelancing). His “enough” equals the amount you need to cover your monthly spending PLUS “a little bit more” (his words). This equation seems perfect, but what seems enough today can become too little very fast. When I was 20 (when I started my freelance career as a 4th-year student at the university), my rates were ridiculously low, but the money I used to get that time was OK for me – I used to live with my parents, and I didn`t have neither a wife nor children. Once all this becomes a part of your life, you have to make more money. So, the meaning of “enough” is unstable, which means that you have to adjust your income according to new challenges. Moreover, given the nature of life (well, we can`t predict our future), it is only natural that any entrepreneur should always try to maximize her income.

Although the last sentence is generally true, this is a straight way to insomnia, stroke or cerebral hemorrhage (its not me who is saying it – it`s a widely accepted opinion of physicians). Instead, in order to have a cushion against “famine” periods, unexpected situations and/or challenges, you should have an emergency fund amounting to 3-6 months of your normal way of living. Plus, there should be certain milestones set for your income – actually, things you want to buy: a car, a house, a flat, etc. Without these things it`s much more difficult to identify the meaning of your “enough”.

I am still quite far away from what is enough for me and my wife. That`s why I have a couple of projects which have nothing to do with translation. But I hope that eventually my life will be a balance of both activities – translation and selling, because translation is a real passion of mine.

Once it`s your passion, you can`t let it go.

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