Thursday, April 23, 2015

To freelance or not to freelance

I'm very bad at this writing thing. I always start writing projects thinking "this time I'll keep it going!" and it never happens. This is why my blogs (like this one) are always empty, and I'm not a writer. However, what I've realized is that I'm an extremely good editor. It's not just spelling and grammar; I can pick out tone and style as well. I have frequent issues with self-published books (usually picked up on my Kindle), but it happens quite often with major content providers as well (e.g. news, current events, pop culture sites).

I also find myself enjoying translation work in the only two languages I'm fluent in: Chinese (Mandarin for spoken, both Traditional and Simplified for written) and English (mostly American, of course). Japanese has been my next project for years now, but much like writing blogs, learning it is a stop-and-go affair.

That brings me to the subject of this post. For the past year, mostly due to financial concerns, I've been toying with the idea of doing freelance translation and editing work. I already do a lot of this on a pro bono basis (starting from high school actually) - mostly for family and friends but also for kindred souls on the internet. For examples of my latest work you can check out the Xenoblade Chronicles X video subs by 許為傑. I own the Google+ page darkshard45, and I've been helping 許為傑 with grammar and flow.

The major issue with making this into a side business is time. Translating and editing are typically very time-sensitive. Editing is something I can complete within an hour or two for most projects, but translation projects can take days or weeks with work and life competing for attention. I can always start with just editing, but translating is where I stand out and usually do my best work. I'm afraid that it will become too time-consuming, and I'll end up letting down customers who would actually be paying now.

I figure this is where I needed opinions from people who know me. Some of you know me well, and most of you don't. What do you think should be my course of action? Should I attempt to make this into a freelance business or just keep it as a hobby?