Recently, my little routine has been shaken up. I’ve been interpreting more than usual, a friend has been destroying our bathroom (with a view to make it nicer) and I’ve even met colleagues from Brighton. It has been a shock to my system, as I’ve spent most of the last four years working on my own from home.
Solitude and isolation are big issues for freelance translators. It can be hard to motivate yourself when you don’t feel like working, there is no support structure to help you out in times of trouble and talking to one’s plants may become regular behaviour. People often tell me that they can’t understand how I can work every day on my own and that they couldn’t do it. I actually don’t mind it; I’ve got quite a hectic social life in the evenings and at weekends and I like immersing myself in my work with as little interruption as possible. I also like the fact that I don’t have to contend or adapt to other people’s way of working; I do everything the way I find more efficient and I have no-one else to blame when things don’t work out.
I do feel lonely at times, but there are ways to alleviate this: I chat online with a few buddies, there are lots of translators’ forums on the Internet and I have the odd lunch with a friend here and there. I am very happy with the latest developments on the work front as well: more interpreting means getting out and about and it was very nice meeting colleagues living in Brighton & Hove and being able to talk shop.
I sometimes go to a client’s office in London to finalise projects and I’m always amazed at how much people chat and walk around. However, I’ve now realised that it’s difficult to remain focused on your work when there are people around. In the last few days I’ve found myself drawn to the bathroom, even when it’s not time for one of my friend’s 4.2 cups of tea an hour. I like chatting and interacting with people so much that it’s probably a blessing that I don’t work in an office, or I’d be achieving very little. As a matter of fact, my work has been infinitely slower and this blog has certainly been neglected, just because of another person being here. So although freelancing probably isn’t for everyone, it certainly is the best option for me.