Is the telephone the freelance translator's best friend or worst enemy?

February 24, 2016
Is the telephone the freelance translator's best friend or worst enemy?

These days, the majority of freelance translators use email as their preferred means of keeping in touch with clients. Email provides the ability to send messages any time of day or night, without the worry that you’ll be disturbing the client – he or she can simply reply at a convenient time. 

So is there still an essential role for the telephone in the modern freelancer’s office repertoire, or has it become simply a cause of distraction and timewasting?

Essential phone tasks

Many freelancers would still not be without their phone during the working day, for those occasional moments when an urgent query arises that needs to be clarified with the client straight away. Or those times when a job opportunity comes up that needs a fast and direct response. 

Telephone distractions

Of course, the telephone can also be a major source of distraction. Friends and relatives who think that because you work freelance means you have time to chat at any time during the day can be hard to avoid, as can irritating sales calls that interrupt your work flow and cause you to lose your focus. 

Modern smartphones bring a whole host of other distractions, from the temptation of surfing social media sites to addictive games to online shopping apps. Avoiding using all of these can take serious willpower, particularly when your phone is buzzing with updates from friends commenting on each other’s photos or planning a big night out. 

The perfect balance

As with so many modern gadgets, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Excessive telephone use can be a major distraction and can reduce your hourly income, as time spent on the phone is time that isn’t spent translating. However, there are still moments when having a telephone to hand is important for keeping in touch with clients and dealing with urgent issues that arise. It’s all a matter of balance! 

Final thoughts

How much time do you spend on the telephone during the working day? Is it an essential tool for keeping in touch with clients or a major distraction? Let us know via the comments section. 

By Ofer Tirosh

Ofer Tirosh is the founder and CEO of Tomedes, a language technology and translation company that supports business growth through a range of innovative localization strategies. He has been helping companies reach their global goals since 2007.



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