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What Motivates Freelance Translators?

June 2, 2017

The ability to pursue one’s interests seems to far outstrip the desire for financial reward, when it comes to the translation industry. Lifestyle elements are also more important than money, reflecting the values of the new freelance workforce.

“The face of the modern work has moved a long way from the old pattern of leave school, get a job, get promoted and work there from 9 to 5 until retirement,” explains Tomedes’ CEO Ofer Tirosh. “Technology has made a huge impact on the way we work and has made freelance lifestyle available to millions of individuals around the world. People are able to pursue their goals in ways that work for them – it’s a question of fitting your work around your lifestyle, not fitting your life around your work.”

The US alone has 53 million freelancers, according to the latest findings from the Freelancers Union. That’s worth a staggering $715 billion in freelance earnings to the US economy each year. And the sector is growing ever larger: 32% of freelancers are experiencing increased demand for their services, compared with just 15% who are noticing a decrease in demand.

The freelancing boom has seen companies benefit too. Companies get to enjoy an expanded talent pool, without the cost of keeping a team of experts within their business. They can simply buy in expertise at will, while keeping overheads to a minimum.

See: Employee Motivation: Emphasising on the Power of Now!

According to a recent survey conducted by Tomedes, a professional translation agency to find out what motivates translators to do what they do. There are a lot of assumptions made about freelancers, but data in this field is still in its infancy, so we wanted to compare the reality with what people assume.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that money was only the third most important factor in people’s decision to work as freelance translators, with just 17 percent of respondents citing that as their motivation.

Love of language topped the table, with 52 percent of freelance translators stating that was the inspiration behind their career choice. Flexible working hours came next, with 20 percent respondents citing this, as the reason they became freelance translators.

Of course, freelancing isn’t without its drawbacks. The lack of job security, holiday pay, sick pay and other benefits can be difficult to manage. However, with freelancers becoming an ever-larger part of the global workforce, understanding their motivations – through surveys like the one conducted by Tomedes – has never been more important.

Also read: How Can Senior Management Deal with Employee Motivational Issues?

Feature image credit: freedigitalphotos.net

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