Why I could never go freelance

My replacement BahnCard arrived on Friday, so yesterday I was actually able to take the train to work as normal instead of working from home, as I had been for most of last week. I was actually quite pleased to get back – despite the advantages of working from my own home (one of them being the opportunity to sleep for a whole extra hour but still start working earlier than I usually would. Lie ins. Bliss!). Sitting at home, all alone, just isn’t the same as being surrounded by colleagues. Admittedly the person I share an ofice with is on holiday this week, but I still have people popping in to ask me for help with a particularly badly written English text, and of course there’s always the tea breaks. A tea break all alone in your own kitchen seems pretty pointless to be perfectly honest. And after spending all of Thursday and most of Friday at home, by the time I signed off from work’s system I was suffering from cabin fever! in fact, I phoned Jan and asked him if he would meet me for food somewhere because I just had to get out of our flat! If I ever did go freelance I would definitely have to rent an office somewhere that I could go to at the beginning of each day and escape from once work was done, otherwise I think I may just find myself going crazy!

There are many different ways to talk about wood…

Last night, while waiting for the boyfriend to come home, I decided it would be a fantastic idea to search Amazon for translation resources, just in case this mad idea of becoming a freelance translator actually turns out to be a good one.

The obvious place to start was with dictionaries. After all, nobody can translate without at least one dictionary. So I started by looking up the specialist dictionaries we use at work and went on from there.

I was amazed by 2 things. Number one, the price. OK, I was expecting them to be quite expensive (my big Collins German-English / English-German dictionary cost about 40 quid and that was 4 years ago), but some of these prices are ridiculous. OK, this one is still quite reasonable at a mere 12 pounds, but how about this… a used book for over 200 pounds?!? I wish I was joking! Admittedly it is slightly better on the German Amazon (only 120 euros for a new one) but still… who has 120 euros just lying around? Looks like this translation lark will be an expensive business!

And the second thing that I was surprised by… how many subjects dictionaries exist for. Take a look at this one for example. A dictionary for Holz. That’s wood to us English speakers. Yep, that’s right. Wood. As in the stuff you get from trees. How many words can there possibly be relating to that topic? Well, enough for an entire dictionary it seems. Or how about an English/German mathematical dictionary. And there was me thinking maths was all about numbers. It seems I have been mistaken all these years. But this is the one we all really want. The Yacht Dictionary. Oh yes. Becasue how could any book collection ever be complete without it?

Y’know, I’m not actually sure where I was going with this post. I kind of had this vague idea that it could be an interesting topic, but either it really, really isn’t or I just can’t write (spare my feelings and tell me it’s the former, ok 😉 ) Either way, I’m still going to hit publish. It’s not like I have anything else to talk about these days…

Running around town trying to figure out who can help

I went to the IHK today – the Industrie- und Handelskammer. That would be the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to my non-German speaking readers. Why did I go there? Because my boss thought they could give me better information on going freelance than the employment agency. So I took myself off there only to be told the IHK isn’t responsible for people who want to work as freelancers… they can only help me if I want to set up a business (and if I want to do that I have to pay fees and taxes and deal with a thousand times more paperwork). Instead the woman there advised me to go the the translator’s association. So I headed off towards home – the Baden-Württemberg branch of the translator’s association just happens to be pretty much round the corner from where I live. Unfortunately it was already closed. But tomorrow I shall take myself there before 2pm and see if I can find anyone to help me.

And right now I’m off to the boyfriend’s place. He still has my CV on his computer from last time I was job hunting, so I’m off to update it, make it look pretty and stick it on a USB stick for transferral to my own computer. I’ve already seen one job that I can apply for (translating for a software company) so I’ll be getting on that first thing tomorrow…

I would also like to say a massive THANK YOU to all my bloggy friends who left such lovely, lovely comments on my last post. I will definitely keep you updated… along with the rest of the internets. Who knows, maybe the information will be useful for someone else in the future. I’m probably not the first foreigner in Germany who’s ever found themself in this situation and I sincerely doubt I shall be the last… especially if this recession continues.