On Translator’s Value and Giving Discounts – Végh Fruzsina Judit

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“All translators are weirdos”… After a short break, The Localization Podcast returns with my first guest Vegh Fruzsina Judit. A seasoned Hungarian translator and proofreader.

Our conversation took more than 2 hours, so we decided to split it into two parts. In this first part, we cover the following topics:

  • Can you survive if you’re not a team player?
  • Should you start as a translator or proofreader?
  • The worst kinds of freelancers
  • Learning your value as a translator and building confidence
  • How to know when relationships are strong?
  • How to earn the customer’s respect
  • The risk of working with end clients
  • Rates & giving discounts

This is episode #21 of my speaking / social interaction practice, also known as the Localization Podcast 🙂 #localization​ and #translation​ insight delivered to you by the power of voice. #translators


Andrej Zito 

Hi, everyone. This is finally the localization podcast episode 21. And as I announced and promised in the last episode, which was Episode 20, I will not release a new episode until I have a guest. And finally, that dream has come true. So today, I’m recording my very first interview with my long time, friend, slash freelancer, whose name I didn’t even know how to pronounce until today. So Végh welcome to the podcast.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Hello.

Andrej Zito 

Maybe, yeah, maybe it may be to, to brief our listeners? Maybe you could like try to recap like how we actually know each other? If you remember it.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Sure. It’s really interesting. Yes, I would call you my friend. Even though we have we have never, ever met in person. And I think-

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, we didn’t even speak until today, right?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah, yeah, this is the first time we hear each other. So I started my freelance career, almost 14 years ago. And I used to work for a company which still exists, original birth birthplace in czechia. skumanick and maybe more pronouncing it correctly, but never mind. And I was working for the Hungarian office. I was

Andrej Zito 

Oh you were?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

Wait, really I didn’t know that. What?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I used to be a project manager for. Okay, okay. And it was a long time ago, we didn’t get on with the manager of the place. It was very hard. So I decided to quit and start a carrier on my own. as a freelancer. That was my dream. And it turned out to be a good idea. Actually, you know, 14 proof, isn’t it? So and after I left the schematic as a project manager, they started to use me as a freelancer. Yeah, in that pool, and, and that’s why because if you remember, screw Manik was a share had a shared pool. I think. And that’s why you started to work with me from from brenau. Right. I remember correctly. You were in. In Prague.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah. Yes. You mean like a shared pool of the freelancers. Right?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah. Maybe

Andrej Zito 

That’s what you mean. Yeah.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

And, and you offered me lots of jobs for a certain for a certain company, and clients. And we got on very well, as you know, personally, you introduced me to the word of Dexter. Do you remember that?

Andrej Zito 

Really? Well with Dexter? You mean the TV series?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

You mean the killer? The killer killer. Really? I don’t even remember. I didn’t know it was dead long time ago. Because it’s been like, like, it feels like it’s been like, ages. Since I was working for Screw it.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

Andrej Zito 

But I really didn’t know that you worked as a project manager. Probably I forgot about it. So was it like your first job ever in the translation industry that you started working for the Hungarian officers of Skrivanek as a project manager?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yes, that was my very first contact.

Andrej Zito 

So what is like your background like do you have like some linguistic education or how did you end up working as a project manager for Skrivanek?

Yeah, I fortunately I have a teacher’s degree and linguistic degree as well. I also started my PhD studies in linguistics, but I never finished them. I think it’s a, it’s a pity. So I’m up. So I was absolutely interested in linguistics, and I still am. And the connection between screwvala and me was a colleague of mine. And she was, she was the head of office, I think. And we used to teach a Czech guy together to Hungarian because he wanted to, he wanted to study Hungarian, every day of the week. And it was one person. So we shared it. We worked for the same language school. And that’s why that’s how we met. And, and when there was a vacancy in their office, she said that, okay, that’s cool her, I think she she’ll be fine. And that’s how I ended up there. It was, it was by chance, I think.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, the same, the same thing happened for me, like I ended up in the whole industry, just by accident, you know, because I think I was in the second year of my university studies in, in Brno, Czech Republic, and I wasn’t like, even studying anything closely related to localization. You know, I didn’t even know that like something like studying localization or translation even existed, you know, I was studying computer science. And then I was just like, looking around for like, my first job ever, you know, so I was just like, going through several different interviews. And then somehow I ended up in like, in the basement of Moravia, which you probably know, and they had like, their peak periods. So there were two guys in the interview. And they hired us almost immediately. No, I don’t think they even evaluated the test that we did. So. And 15 years later. I’m here doing the localization podcast. So you know, like things like this has happened. Definitely. So but from what I understand like remote, what you’re saying that actually your first job ever was teaching the guy Hungarian, right, that was before Skrivanek?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Oh, yes, we can say that. And, of course, it wasn’t my first job. Working at the university, I used to work as a receptionist, it’s, you know, it was a very popular job at the end of the 90s, at the beginning of the 2000s. And I could use my language skills, when but I, I never worked as a teacher, I mean, as a high school. Only as a private teacher. I didn’t like it wasn’t, it wasn’t my, my path to follow. And Excuse me. And that’s why I was so happy to have a proper job in an office. It was very useful. It was absolutely useful, because I could I could see this industry from a very useful perspective. Client. clients don’t know too much. I think vandal Thornton, local thoroughly don’t don’t know too much, either. But project managers have contacts to both words to the vendors and to the clients as well, I think and it’s a very tough job. I think organizing, contacting people, solving problems, managing deadlines, it’s like juggling all the time. Non Stop juggling throwing things in the air and keeping them in the air. Like in a circus.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, like juggling many different things, right?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah, absolutely. And, and I was, it was it was very tiring. And I decided to quit. And that’s why I started working as a freelancer.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I still want to still I’m still interested like in your first like project management experience. Did you join screw Vanek as a project manager right away or did you start like as like maybe some Junior position which is usually called just like a project coordinator these days?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I think I started as a proper project manager but I never very many Special titles gained, like, Sr or a system or nothing, nothing, I was just simple project manager, right from

Andrej Zito 

Sometimes simple is is the best. But maybe like for the people who are listening and they’re not familiar with chronic, I’ll try to maybe just share what I think is the difference between chronic and the more traditional lsps. Because like scre Vanek, to me is and maybe that’s your experience as a project manager as well, is that they’re a localization department. In screven, again, the whole group is like very small. And by localization, I means like, you have like international clients, they send you stuff like, I don’t know, documentation software, for localization. But what I thought and understood is that the the core of their business is actually people from from the street coming to the office and having I don’t know, like hardcopy of I don’t know, like some certifications that they want to translate. So that’s kind of like the I don’t know, like the traditional translation business, I would say, not like the new it fancy localization stuff. So is that your experience as a project manager in the Hungarian office that you would deal with people who come like from the street with something that translate? Or did you did you also deal with like, international clients that had something more it and you know, digital documents for translation?

Only the latter only the latter, because in Hungary, we have a huge agency, governed, governed by by the state itself. And this is the agency which only, which can only provide Swan translations, for instance. And that’s why people go there, of course, they are on the market, but I cannot call them market players, because they have very different views about deadlines. And then which person quality and anything else and never work for them, I never worked for them, I think it’s kind of I feel like, I would feel like a priority to work if I could work for them. But I never, I never, I never attempted thing. Interesting. I don’t know why. And, and for us, it’s chronic. We had our domestic clients, which are also quite big clients, and international ones as well. And from the very first day of my, of my job, as, as a part of the of my role was to use cad tools, computer translation tools. If you remember that time, there weren’t too many of them. And they will be very simple or absolutely simple compared to today’s tools. And all of them existed in you know, you know, initial form or in a very basic form version 1.0 or 2.0 form. And now they’re some of them, some of them don’t even exists anymore. I’m not sure about it, because they don’t have to use them now. And some of them gained high popularity and they are they are widely used popular, very expensive. And and of course they are very smart. Compared to to those those early days.

Andrej Zito 

Yes, yes. I think I still remember that like, like Kratos was definitely the number one CAD tool and today they still kind of like maintain that market dominance, right as do try this with all their different tools that they offer. But I still remember like, I think that like like when you wanted to translate like Word document, I think I still remember that there was kind of like a plugin into Microsoft words. And you were translated directly in into Microsoft Word to remember those days like you didn’t even run through the for the editor. Yes, yes is like it was inserting all those crazy tax. And then like, for example, because like I’m working like, I never work as a translator, you know, so like, you have like a very different perspective of everything that’s going on. And like, I know, like, for example, maybe I remember maybe just like a better memory, like, you know, like usually like when certain translators, you know, they would mess up the tags. And so then when we, as the engineers got the bilingual file, then the next step is for you to kind of like cleaning up, which means that you just generate only the the target version, you know, the translated file. But sometimes, like, when the tags were broken, like, it would not work. So we need to, like investigate, like, where the tags were broken, fix them manually. So this was really, really a huge pain. But I wanted to, I wanted to talk a little bit still, let’s still stick to your project manager experience. So how do you remember like getting training? Like, was there a proper training for for becoming a project manager at that time? Or was it more like a self thought experience for you?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

And so my colleagues are very helpful. back. So honestly, I never received the proper training. I think, like, this girl, and this one, and more options, you know, with with, with whom we shared, a pupil, the student, I think she showed me something. But you know, she had very, very quick movements, she knew everything. And I was sitting next to her. And I tried to remember everything, which is impossible, of course. And I tried to follow her movements with with a mouse, which is impossible, impossible. But time after time, we trained, we trained ourselves, and we share this info with each other. So this kind of self generated training or self organized training, one person was using one tool and sharing the same for her experience with the others. I think it was very useful. I learned quite a lot. Honestly, I think I’m, I’m better trained. Even now, after 14 years, then most of the project managers I’m working with now. I have had this experience that I’m not sure I’m not sure that they know, the tools. Well, they understand the whole process, which is maybe they are just newbies, I’m not sure.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah. Well, we’ll get to that later. Um, so then you mentioned that you love because of your manager, right? Can you maybe like, share some more details? Like, like, what wasn’t working for you? And was that was that the only reason for you leaving, like the relationship? Or was it also related to the work? Or did you add the time, or they have like this kind of like feeling that you want to be read or translating versus managing the translations?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I never had had an ambition to become a translator. I, I admired them. I even worship some of them. Because I because I thought, you know, they were they were gods in Misty Mountains up there. We respected them highly. Absolutely. That is also an interesting difference. Compared to that. We understood that they were clever people. They were very smart people, skillful people. And of course creative people. And their stuff. You know, they’re they were all weirdos. And I know that it’s true because I’m a weirdo myself.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, you will need to explain this at some point why you think that all the translators are weirdos?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I think they are. Yeah, we are weirdos.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I think I think I have the title for how to how to promote this episode. All translators are weirdos. By that it will definitely pick up some attention. Yeah. Okay. Keep going.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I just wanted to. I just wanted to leave quite simply, there was no chance for any promotion. I could see that the money was, you know, salary was quite low. And we had a quite big pension. I didn’t like it. I don’t like to be frustrated. I had nightmares before going to work every single day. So I decided I will put myself first. And I will and I will end up I will cut off the ties. And and I think I made the right decision. Because it was my health at risk. At the time.

Andrej Zito 

Yes, yes. Yes. I know what you’re talking about. Yeah. Okay, but didn’t you have like, didn’t just struggle like with a fear of like, okay, like, if I go in the pen, then like, I will not have like the monthly secured paycheck and the money may not come in? Or did you already somehow secured some work before you even quit Skrivanek?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

No, no, I wasn’t interested in.

Andrej Zito 

So it was just like a leap of faith like, okay, like, if, like you said to yourself, like, okay, I’ve had enough. I just want to be fit. And like, my health is more important to me than the pay paycheck. Just somehow try to figure it out as a freelancer.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yes, exactly. I had no background. I had no job offered, that I had interviews. And I simply ran away. I had a job offered that additional company, same job. And I mean, as a project manager, and I decided to run away. It made me so uncomfortable. And it was it was horrible. I imagined myself working there. And it was the most horrific picture. I said no, and I didn’t even know what to do. But I decided to, you know, stand up, keep up. And then to go forward. That was that was my decision. And my colleagues were very nice, who stayed at the office, because they sent me some review jobs, proof, proofreading, jobs. And a quite good at it. And I enjoyed it. And I didn’t know that time now and do the proofing was not a very popular job. And I was I was the one accepting all of them. And I think it was a very good lesson as well, starting as a proofreader in the industry. And it is you actually made me become a translator. Because you didn’t know that I never worked as a translator and you send me a translator- ever.

Andrej Zito 

I really hear what you’re saying. No, but but Okay, before we before we get into like your whole career as a as a translator, I still want to stick to like the first moment like after you quit because like, only recently like I got like a comment from someone that I don’t know, you know, they just somehow found the podcast and this was someone who just like recently finished like their linguistic studies, you know, so I think that there are actually many people listening to the podcast who were probably in the position where you were when you quit your job, you know, like you quit your job, you know, you have to pay your bills and you have nothing so like what was going on through your mind and how long did it take till you got your first job? And like were you thinking about you know, like finances like, did you have like some savings or I want to I want to focus on that period like until you kind of like turn it into like like okay like until it kind of until like you saw like the the the light at the end of the tunnel like you said yourself like okay, like I can actually survive being a freelancer.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

There no tunnel. The moment I quit the company, I was out of the tunnel. And I don’t know if you understand what I mean.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, because like you think like you felt free? Yes. I know. Because like I also had the same experience like when I quit from some people. various companies because it was really like, like, I couldn’t take it like it was making me frustrated dealing with some people, blah, blah, blah. But then, you know, like when you end up, like, with no income. I think that for many people, this is like, where the fear starts to kick in, you know, like, first you have like that for a moment when you’re like, Okay, fuck you, fuck you. I’m fine. I’m done with you. Like, I don’t have to deal with you anymore. I’m super happy. But then, you know, like, there’s no money coming in. So how are you going to survive? Is that something that was going on through your mind? Or did you just experienced the positive part? Where you just left the company, you were still high on being free? And then you started getting jobs. So you never actually had to? Like consider like, okay, like, Where am I going to actually get the money to, to survive?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I was the second time. I am very happy to be free. At last, I had to realize during my role there, that I’m not a team player at all. Not something you’re happy to put in your CV? No. Oh, definitely. Because everyone wants team players, and much more Why? Current because most of the jobs are just individual jobs, nothing. I think. And, and I realized that I wasn’t a team player. And yeah, it was quite sad, but important moment in my life. And, and I decided, you know, being being an accompany meant a burden to me. But we, me as a person, and as a moral person was a burden, to accompany to. And I didn’t want to be a burden to anybody. And I didn’t want to feel imprisoned in an office anymore. That was part one part I had in my mind during the time, and and I was quite sure that I could find a job very quickly, because I knew that I was a good project manager, not the best one, but a skill one. And, and when I realized, after some time, I simply don’t want to do this. And I realized that I could be seen as a freelancer. So my colleagues, my ex colleagues were extremely helpful. And, and they sent me jobs almost right away. And it was it was kind of a

Andrej Zito 

A blessing?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

It was a feedback, because I could I could yeah,

Andrej Zito 

It was like a size sign. Right?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah. Yeah.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I was just wondering like, like, how long did you had to wait for your first job to arrive? If you remember,

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

From my colleagues, a few days maybe. Because they realized that they could use this as a as a proofreader. And that you are always short, short on proofreaders as I remember, and as I can see, but that was the time when the company ended in about a year after I quit. And, and all the people went to different companies, you know, all of my colleagues, and that’s why I had, so that was my first clientele. The clients that everyone went to a different agency, and they offered me jobs. So that’s how I started to build myself as a freelancer, my, my, my platform, and it was good because I had quite various, no differentiate in differentiated portfolio from the clients and I could earn lots of lots of experience. And, and I had a new client coming. A new agency, I don’t know where from, honestly, okay, I remember but it’s very complicated that he wasn’t an expert. colleague of mine, and he was and he became very quickly. My major, my major clients.

Andrej Zito 

So how did he find you?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

It was just very interesting because it also happened through Skrivanek. I wish there was a project manager there a girl between we were very close with and and. And he she had a vendor and proofreader boy, and I don’t I’m not sure he if he was a project manager, he just tried to be a project manager for, for this company. And, and later, he quit and came back home. He lived in Barcelona, I think that time. And, and he came home to Hungary. And, and he contacted me and, and his friend, his friend and his colleague had this certain company and, and with him, I had absolutely no ties, and never heard of him. And he contacted me, I created a very good test translation. And and he decided to work with me. And we were still working together. interest.

Andrej Zito 

Oh, that’s amazing. That’s amazing.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah. More than 10 years with a client, I think it’s really something.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah. So you mentioned that I might have been like one of the first people who turned you into a translator? Is that really the case? Or did you did you try to do like, like your own initiative to to become more of a translator? And also sorry, I’m usually just, I just spit out all the questions at the US, you have to remember them. When did you actually discover or find out that being a translator might be better? And by better? I mean, maybe more lucrative?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

It was actually you. I mean, no extra generating? No. storytelling, because you it’s as you turn into the translator, literally. Because I don’t know if you remember it, but you sent me proofreading jobs only? Until-

Andrej Zito 

I don’t remember that. I don’t remember that. Because like, I’m, I’m actually surprised because like, well, we can we can we can share it like, because like it’s been such a long time, like the client that we were mainly working with hp. And HP was not only sending us HP stuff, but HP was also a vendor for Microsoft. So it was a combination of HP materials, and also Microsoft material. So typically it but I don’t remember like if there was someone else who would do translation before you. So that’s why I’m like this kind of like it doesn’t match my memory that you would just be doing proofreading because then I don’t know who would be doing the translations before that. Maybe possible. Is it made possible that we were sending it first to the Hungarian office of Skrivanek? And then you would do the proofreading? I don’t know.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Maybe. chances are?

Andrej Zito 

Because at that time, there was no machine translation, right?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

No, no, of course not. No, absolutely.

Andrej Zito 

From my from my from my Skrivanek time I remember that I was lucky especially for Hungarian because I had you. And I also had this other agency which was called tech. I’m not sure if you know about them. If you know any of the guys I remember each one and and last law. So I was very happy because like my Hungarian was like the best language ever. Because more of them were like reliable and there was there was nothing to you know to like, check after after you guys. So that’s what I still I’m still confused. Like who would be doing the translations before you?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I’m not sure I cannot.

Andrej Zito 

So So was it? Was it just like we were sending you like translation for proofreading. And then suddenly I said, Oh, the translator is not available. Can you maybe give it a try and do a translation? Do you actually remember that first?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I think but you didn’t tell me that. The translation the translator is not available. Please do the translation. And I saw, I was like, shocked. I was shocked. I never performed major translation before that. And I had some, let’s say flirts and some things we translate. But, you know, I had I, without exaggerating, I have to tell you that I had a great, great respect to translators. And I was quite sure that I could never reach that level of skill or abilities, language, knowledge, anything. background, cultural, linguistic, anything to make, to make me eligible to become a translator. That’s what I thought. And one day, one day you, you came and said, please do this. And I was just reading. I was in shock. I had a very huge heart heart rate. And I said, I was, I remember that I couldn’t even reply to you immediately, because I wanted to tell you that I never never performed the translation before. But it was such a huge opportunity. And I didn’t want to let you down. I didn’t want to let myself down. So I decided to, to confirm the job. And that’s how it all started. With that one HP job. Yes. So

Andrej Zito 

I didn’t know I was so powerful, but okay. But that’s actually that’s actually that’s actually funny, because I think that like, maybe I can share this story because it’s like, nothing, nothing. No secret. I think they like even the global me, the company that I’m working for right now. That’s how they started, you know, because they were also working for for some client, which which I cannot name. And then at some point, the client had like an extra request, like, Hey, can you maybe also do this? You know, so instead of saying, like, No, no, I have never done that ever before. They just said yes. And they just like, learn it. On the go, you know, so I think that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s how actually, like, people discover like new things that they could be doing, and maybe the new things will fit them better than what they’re already used to doing. So what I’m wondering is like, how was like you said, and like you were you were like, fray, were nervous. But how does like a proofreader transitioning into translator,

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I think it’s a better way. I mean, there are two ways to become a translator and proofreader. You start as a proofreader, and you become a translator on the go. Or, you know, you start the mess later and later you accept some jobs, the proof, it’s more difficult and it’s it’s not the best way. I think it’s better to start as a proofreader. Because as a translator, you have a different concept in mind. And as a proofreader, you have to be a runner, or just like a marathon runner, and then the sprinter at the same time. And there’s a translator, you don’t need that double skill, you just have to have a concept about the job. How what kind of, you know the tone of voice you will use or the pick of words apart from Tammy Modi be friendly if you want to be professional or these are these are the decision this sorry, these are the decisions you have to make as a translator. And as a proof, you have to understand this vision, this concept. If there’s any most of the time. I have to say there is no concept behind the works. And you have to be able to pick you know typical Not just make Miss Patrick, anything else, but also inconsistencies. And you have to you have to check every sentence on its own, you have to check the paragraph and you have to check the whole text. And that’s why I have to be a sprinter and marathon runner at the same time. Because you have to be able, for both. And and it’s really difficult if you start as a translator, I’m not sure that you are actually capable of this. If you know what I mean. You can understand what I mean.

Andrej Zito 

I think, I think I do. But at the same time, I don’t know, like, what they’re teaching the people who go through the studies, you know, I would expect that they teach them like what you just said, you know, like, the concepts and like the style and the tone of voice. So maybe they’re not totally unprepared. But would you in general say that like being a proofreader is a is an easier way to get into the translation industry as a freelancer?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I think so. But it’s really interesting. The position of proofreading or review, depending on how it’s called now, or quality assessment, there are so many things. Because, to me, it seems like that it’s really important. It’s a really important step in the process. But at the same time, I have the feeling that it’s they do it because it’s mandatory. And, and companies would skip it, if it could, if it was possible.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I think I know what you’re talking about. Because like I see, like many of the companies and I think I was like, basically shitting on on this before, like if I see like a company and if I go on their website, and like the first thing that I see is ISO certified, then I’m like, okay, like, boring, you know, because like they only do certain things just to comply with like, a certain certifications, like okay, like you need to have a translation then you need to have like a QA separate proofreading. And they just do it because like, it’s kind of like, mandatory because of the ISO certification. But like, in reality, like, you know, like, there are like many different factors that come into play. And usually, like when I see like, ISO as like, the main benefit of certain company, to me, it means that they cannot use their brains to to come up with something extra to add the value for the client, you know, so, so yeah. Okay. How is it working for your own? You know, like, did you start working from from home? Or did you already at that time be like the new millennials that you know that you would go like Starbucks coffee? How was it you mentioned that like you like, like your freedom on its own, but at the same time, like, I think that everybody who’s working from home needs to kind of like have a certain level of discipline to actually do stuff and do other things around the house. So how did you start How was like your first experience, you know, working from home, not going to the office? And maybe try to compare it with like, what you’re doing right now? Like how has your four year freelance life evolved over the years?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I didn’t have a more like, you know, spontaneous, and and leaving. First year, for sure. It’s long gone. It’s long gone, but very stupid little little freelance at time. Yes. Well, I’m happy to say that and and I realized one time that keeping deadlines is important. And later, right now, I, you know, I feel that they are always negotiable. time in my life when I was quite accurate. I was quite accurate. And now I’m not not that much. Maybe

Andrej Zito 

Oh, okay. Yeah, I don’t I don’t think that I would be interviewing you if you are not keeping to your deadlines because I don’t like people who don’t stick to their deadlines, especially if they agree with it. That’s like the worst kind of freelancers and not only freelancers like Anyone that I’m working with is like, when you ask them like, Okay, can you please deliver something by I don’t know, let’s say tomorrow? And they say yes. And then they even if they like, know that they’ll be late, they don’t even like, tell you that, hey, I’m sorry, like, I’ll be late, can you extend it, they just don’t do anything. That’s like, the worst kind of delays that that really pissed me off. Because like people are like, not accountable for for their own deadlines that they agreed to. So I’m glad that I worked with you during your consistent times when you were delivering on time. Because otherwise, you wouldn’t be you that I would have a different memory of you. Okay, please continue.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

No, I am not my lesson. No, you have to be capable of developing and growing. Because I know it’s really annoying. When somebody, somebody is waiting for your work, and then you’re late, maybe you are late with the reason most of the time I’m late with the reason and this reason is usually out of my own control. Pieces meal for the time, when it happens almost every day, part of part of the freelancer life I think,

Andrej Zito 

Can you can you maybe share like some examples of what you mean? Like what is out of your control?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

For example, you go home, because you know that you have like, three hours to finish the job, which takes 90 minutes to finish. And suddenly, the transport dies, then you have to you have to walk on, and it takes much more time. Or suddenly you have health issues or your loved one has issues. And it actually happened when my mom was very, very ill. And I had a very, very tight deadline for something. And all the pm and I was crying. And I told him that it was impossible for me to finish the job. And he was very, very understanding. It doesn’t happen too often. I think I made I made this kind of call like two times in my life and never lied. This is out of my control. I never am not, you know, not a bad person. I don’t want to cause troubles. To project managers. I remember how stressful This work was. And and I like them even even if I don’t have personal relationship with most of them. And, and I just want to be reliable and kind and and deliver good quality. sometimes happens. Life happens.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, life happens. Yeah, yeah, exactly. That’s what I was thinking as well. Do you have like any like routine? Like when you start your work, like do you try to like or like morning person or an evening person? Can you maybe like I just I just want to get like in a practical way of like, how you how you go through your day as a freelancer?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

I don’t have a typical day.

Andrej Zito 

Okay, life happens to you everyday, right?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Yeah, I have. I have a plan, or I have rather have a hope for every day. That way. But I hope you know, every everyday and with a little prayer like, please, please don’t go in my next day, like you did today, yesterday or the day before. And sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. And I know right now I know what I’m capable of. Client wise, work wise, workload wise. So I know how to fit everything in into into my schedule and my schedule is not as tight as it used to be because at the My my goal was to have as many clients as possible, as many jobs as possible, and I never said no to anything. That would, that was my, my approach. And it’s really difficult to get rid of it, when when you are already with the flow, and already have your well established relationship with clients, and you can go go for a longer holiday without risking a relationship with a client clients and losing it. And now I have very well established relationships really, and myself to, to negotiate the deadline with a budget. But it took a lot of time. And not just time, but to learn my own value, and to gain and to build confidence. I think I think that’s the most difficult thing, when you start as a newbie, in any any industry that you have to you have to learn your own value, and you have to build confidence, basically, out of nowhere. And, and I’m very proud of myself, that I was capable of doing this. Really. It wasn’t it wasn’t in my DNA. It was work. Yeah,

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I totally agree with you like the, like, everybody needs to, like, judge their own value. But like for the for the new people listening, you mentioned like, you know, like you’re confident like about your relationships with the clients? Like how, how would you advise for the new people like, how they can kind of like measure, or know, when their relationships are strong, strong? Like, what are the signs that you’re looking for? when you’re when you’re going to say that okay, with this client, I now have like a better relationship. Is it purely based on the email communication? Do you also try to, if possible, meet with some of your clients in person because you think that like a personal connection? adds like a lot of like, strengthens the relationship a lot more? What What’s your opinion on this? How do you know that a relationship with a client is strong?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

They it’s very interesting thing. They tell you things they’re not supposed to tell you.

Andrej Zito 

I’m just thinking about the stuff that I talked about. Where are we when we were working together? Okay.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Indeed.

Andrej Zito 

It’s Yeah, it’s it’s, it’s it’s 12am.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Okay. No, I, I really mean that they tell you some background information, or their share some of especially the project managers, because I don’t have direct and claims right now. And I prefer that way. They used to send clients when it was, it was really difficult. So I prefer working for agencies, and I prefer working with the project managers. I never had, personally I think I never met anyone in person in my life. Not either you. No, I like being friendly. I’m open, sometimes chatty, sometimes because I’m getting older, you know? And, and not as a not as that younger I used to be for 1314 years ago. This was a different time and different, different me. But I like an idea of a smooth relationship. And I want to show my clients that I’m a real professional that I am and understand their problems. I understand what the end client wants. And I feel if my against something right advice, my I have a different opinion or a different advice or a different approach. I always tell them very clearly, and, and with an eye always have proof. It’s very valuable. I gained respect with this approach. Maybe I’m not even capable of anything else. I’m not sure. But But if you show how professional, how professional, no, you are sorry. I think it’s, it’s worth it. It’s always worth it at the end of the day, because the project managers love vendors who know what they’re talking about. And the way they do what they do, they they can, who can understand the whole process? Who can understand the project managers position in the whole process. Of course, I understand. I used to be one. So I think it’s just, you have to take as many pieces of the puzzle in the industry as possible, because that’s how you understand that the end client, and that’s how we understand the protocol, you can see the different vendors. I think, I think that’s the point that you have to learn, not just the tools that you don’t not just, you know, going through the trainings, but you have to gain information about anything that’s possible for anyone who is ready to tell you something. It’s not gossip. It’s, it’s purely about the job. That you understand why, and where you go, and where the industries coming to. And you have a roadmap.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, yeah, I definitely agree. Like, that’s like the added value that kind of like, I think separates the good from the best. And I think like, maybe I even mentioned this on one of the earlier episodes, and I think it also applies, it applies to everyone in the world where whatever you’re doing, but I think I was also mentioning it for, for the case of project managers, you know, like, you can mainly just focus like on like, okay, like what the customer wants from me, and then just pass that information to the freelancers and get the project done. But that’s just like the basics, you know. But then if you are more interested in like finding out like, what the what the product or the service that you’re localizing is actually about, who are the end consumers, or the end clients of the product. And if you see like these things, like in the bigger picture, it definitely increases the value of you as a project manager, because like anybody can like forward handoffs, from their clients to the to the rest of the team. And you can get the project done that way. But I think it’s like a very boring way to look at project management. So you mentioned that and clients are difficult. Can you elaborate more on why that is so? Why you prefer working withLSPs.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

And clients don’t don’t know about the industry, they just want to get the job done. And I think it’s quite understandable. In my opinion, they don’t ever have to know because they pay and they have a request. And they have a deadline. These three factors are more or less enough to work for them. But they don’t understand. If you have issues, they don’t tend to reply if you have questions because they don’t understand your questions or why you want to know something and maybe they say it’s confidential information. And perhaps it is but without this information won’t be able to deliver a quality job because it miss miss something. And, and of course, sometimes they are very pushy. clients, they’re absolutely ignorant. Depends. And sometimes they are both. I mean that during different phases of the job. If you have 10 days for instance. During the first three days, they absolutely it happened to me As the deadline approaches, they are getting more and more pushy. And I think it’s not good, because you have to concentrate on work. And it’s really tiring. To be open and ready to answer questions from the client and explain things to them. This is what NC does. When a language service provider does not I don’t have to deal with it. If I’m, if I’m working for the LSP, instead of the client, the end client. So I think that’s why it’s, it’s difficult, it takes more communication, more effort. And you want to get more information from the client, it’s not necessary. So I cannot see the benefit. Work for and clients as, as you know, as a simple mandore. I have no company behind me, I have just this small business company. No, I’m just an enterpreneur. Nothing else. And that’s why it’s more comfortable to push this responsibility on the LSPs and enjoying myself as a Matador.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I think it makes things simple, simpler for you as a freelancer. But on the other hand, I also think like working directly with end clients. Of course, it depends on like if they actually have like a localization department or someone like in that company who actually thinks about localization in a different way than just asking a couple of freelancers to do some translations. And I think like, what is the upside is that like, if you don’t have the middleman, which to you looks like a benefit, I think like working directly with and clients gives you like more opportunities to improve things, assuming that they’re like listening, and they want to improve their localization. And also it kind of like, cuts off the middleman. And I know that like, one of the main things that I was struggling with in my previous companies, especially It was a feedback from freelancers was that, you know, dealing with translator queries, when you send it to the to the LSP, then you need to wait for them to pass it on to the client, because many of the queries, the project manager, or anyone working on the LSP site, they cannot answer it, you know, they have to actually ask the client, so this adds like extra time. So I think it was in all of this, that we were actually considering just opening like a direct channel between the translators and developers, for example, like when you’re translating like a software, and there’s like a strain, which has like an ambiguous meaning. It’s much easier if you can just ask directly the developer who put the string there, and they know the meaning, rather than waiting for some project manager to pass it on to their client who may be just be like another project manager on the client side, and then they have to pass it on to the developer and everything just adds time. So I think like working with end clients has also is its benefits. So I just wanted to share this so that it doesn’t look like it’s a bad thing. Always.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

No, no, absolutely not. It has benefits. Yes. Timeline? Because you can you can get a higher rank. If you don’t, own company, you know, who is negotiating between you and the client? I think if I look, look at it, that it’s it’s the price of my profit. I think, to me, it’s worth it. But I understand some people, some people have a different approach and they see it in a different way. It’s fine, it’s fine. I can I can absolutely understand those vendors who are looking for the opportunity to work directly to an end client or more, of course. I tried it. And to me, to my corrector with my personality You do?

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, yeah, I think yeah, I think this is a very good point. It’s like everybody should just try things on their own and experience. So even though we are like trying to give like some advices and tips here, this is really just something that works for you. And I think this is very important that everybody learns and kind of like tastes, what is available and finds out what’s working for them and what makes them happy and just stick to stick to that. So you mentioned rates. That’s kind of like a sensitive topic. I don’t want to ask like for your rates, because that’s like, kind of like irrelevant, but you also mentioned like your value. So how do you approach negotiating rates? Have you been in a position where the LSP has asked you to lower your rates? How do you go about it? Do you calculate like your your margin? Do you look at it from like a long term perspective? Do you also take the relationship into account? How do you approach the topic of rate?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

It changed over time. First, I was happy to have any job coming in,

Andrej Zito 

Of course,

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

And whatever rate it had, whatever the rate was, Iaccepted it. And I didn’t even pay attention to the rate at first, during my first year, I think, because I was happy to have a solid solid circle of clients. And I was happy to work for them. And, and it seems like the stable, well established relationship, it was almost like being an employee without the, you know, the backdrop. And then it was it was good. It was it was very comfortable, and easygoing, and I enjoyed it really, really much. And after a time, I realized that I read some blog posts about translation. And it was really interesting to see how different colleagues from different cultures, different backgrounds, think about certain things about like rates or discount, for instance, and there is a lock, I cannot remember which one, I’m sorry. But it is a really interesting post about billing discount. And the author of the blog post, wrote that he never, he never gives discounts to me. And he had very good arguments, very excellent, strong arguments way. And, and I started to think about that way, because, you know, everyone thinks that if you’ve worked for a client, who is a regular, and you give discounts, you get more jobs from them, which is going to be a long term cooperation. But at the same time, it means that you have to work more for the same money, and you might lose other clients or other opportunities. And maybe you won’t be able to, to develop to grow over time, because you work for the same client over and over and over again. And if it gets boring, and you become a specialist of something will be you won’t be maybe, maybe chances are that you won’t be able to use this kind of special, the knowledge and insight portion, you lose this client. And you have to pick new ones. And second, if you lose this one client you work for it means that you lose all your income. So that’s why I don’t like this kind of based on discount long term relationships. I don’t like it. I think it’s it’s not useful. It’s not fruitful, especially not from the managers perspective. It’s really comfortable for the clients, I think, because they don’t have to look for new vendors all the time. They have the volume and cheaper.

Andrej Zito 

I have a I have a quick question just about this discount just to make sure that I understand this correctly, because I understand how discount, especially when we’re talking about like long term relationships, how that works between end clients and LSPs. So they usually have like this minimum amount of work that the need to give to the LSP. And that’s when the discount kicks in. So they have like this guaranteed amount of work they’re expecting. And if they don’t get that amount of work, then like their higher rates are applied. How does it work with freelancers? Do you also have something like that when you talk about discounts? Like the LSP? would guarantee you a minimum amount of work per month? Or is it just like, okay, you work for us, and we promise you that we will keep giving you work. But we will use this discount, regardless of the amount of work that we send to you.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Of course, they regardless, of course, actually, I don’t give dispute. And my reason is that my reason for not giving discount is that if I dedicate myself to one client in my life, lose my regular ones. And second, I I cannot accept as an argument that a lot of clients do this lsps that I we give discounts to the end clients, so you have to discount to us, I cannot check it, or have the chance to check their books, and cannot call the accountants to endorse them. Oh, if you have this and client, z, and you have a new ID LSP. And please tell me, if you have a special agreement about discounts with this and claim z, they will laugh at best way to call the police. which is understandable. Of course. I think I think relying on something from the LSP perspective is not fair. I don’t. And of course, that’s that’s when I’m, I feel very sorry for the project managers, because it’s not their decision. But they are the ones who have to communicate it.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, they’re the messengers.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

And, and I feel so sorry for them. Of course, I’m angry with some. Because they are the one don’t

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Just naturally,

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

But it doesn’t mean that like I act like that. Because you know, I’m a I’m an experienced translator and inexperienced vendor. And I understand the process behind. So I want shout, I won’t be necessarily in as the communication in the tone isn’t inappropriate. Otherwise, I understand No. You say no, I don’t give discounts. I’m sorry. If you want to work with me, under this condition, please, please feel free to do so otherwise, we won’t be able to cooperate. And interestingly, I don’t think many people do this, because 90% of the time the client except that I don’t give discount,

Andrej Zito 

you mean the end client or the LSP?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

The lsp. LSP yes I don’t work for clients now. So when I say client, I mean LSP to pay attention to it. Okay. I don’t know why I mean, maybe there’s they just want to keep a good vendor or giving 5% 10% from my rates is not as important because to be honest rates depend on the market, not on the vendor or not on the client. If you if you are from a you know not so rich country and your market is small, your rates will be much significantly lower. And then a vendor from a vendor who is coming from from a region big market

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, but like market like but it also depends on like, what is the competition for that for this language barrier, right? Because like if I don’t have any Hungarian translators, and I really need to, like promote my new product or service in Hungary, if I don’t find anyone suitable, then you might charge me more than I don’t know, people might charge me in Germany or France, because I have a lot more options. Right? So that’s also like, it’s kind of like a supply and demand, right? It’s like the basics of economics. But of course, you

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Are aware of this. Yes. Otherwise, you want to charge more?

Andrej Zito 

Yes, yes, yes. Yes. That’s what I was just going to say. Because like you, as a freelancer don’t know if if I’m actually struggling to find someone good. So you don’t know that you have the opportunity to charge me more. And I would still take it because I have no other option. But yeah, I think we will talk a little bit on on the discounts. But just like, let’s talk about general like your rates, like do you have like a standard rates that you apply for everyone? Or how do you differentiate between, like, let’s say, new client? I’m not sure if you’re like taking new clients at this point? What if you had a new client? Do you start a negotiation by saying like, these are my rates? Or do you let them approach you? Like, what would you suggest you want to pay me? And maybe also give an example with existing clients? Because you said like, you have this long term relationships. I’m wondering, what are your rates have changed over time? And if they change, did they increase? Or did they go down?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

You have very very complex questions.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, I wanted to, I want it Yes. You know, because when I was preparing for this, I was like reading Tim Ferriss, you know, Tim Ferriss?

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

No.

Andrej Zito 

He’s like, he’s like this, he has like one of the most successful podcasts. And I know him because he wrote the book four hour workweek. And he’s generally like this kind of like, efficiency guy. And he tests like, a lot of things. So I was going through like he, he made like a blog post about interviews. And he said that he wanted to differentiate his podcasts to be very practical. And I also want to do the same thing, you know, so that’s why I’m asking about these details, you know, because like, all your answers could help someone who’s just starting out or who’s listening or who’s more experienced. So I want to know how you approach these rates, because I’m pretty sure this one was a very important topic, for everyone, for all the freelancers, you know, like how they set their rates. And especially since you were talking about like, the value of yourself, like, you know, like that you are like, a professional, you’re very good translator, you know, your value. So I want to know how you reflect this in your rates and how you go about a negotiation of the rates.

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

Knowing my value means that I don’t discount. It’s one thing I know, I cannot be flexible with this. Because my, my lsps and my project managers, they’re quite demanding. So I fear that if I try and let let it happen, once it happens, it will happen all the time. But it’s me, it just me. I don’t say it’s necessarily true. It’s just my fear that it might happen. And knowing my value also means that I try to renegotiate my rates time after time. The thing is that whenever I chose an LSP to work with, or they picked me, simply they they had ready to go rates. And I tried to negotiate these rates right at the beginning because I found them very low. And very, no previous decade rates and sometimes it worked out sometimes it didn’t. But I I tried to renegotiate my rates because life is getting more and more expensive. And if you have if you have the same rates, you won’t be able to allow yourself certain things after a while. You are not I was never offered higher rate due to time or because we had a, you know, a five year anniversary call our cooperation. So, we increase your rates for for this reason no, it never happened to me and I just simply try to renew, negotiate negotiate all the time. For instance there are times when you are offered to to perform a quick job and then an extra edited job Express job and they offer you a standard rate and tell them, no, thank you, I cannot accept it. Because it moves the dial, I will be late running late with anything else, anything else I I already accepted and promised. And I have to squeeze this job into my already full schedule or into my not so tight schedule. But I want to have, you know, a lazy day. And, and it means that my extra effort is for my time. And that’s for you know, not for the job. Because it’s big or small doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters that you need quite right away. So you have to offer me more than stellar, right? And it depends how much I asked for. And that’s the point. When you know, when when you will understand if the job is really urgent or not. If the job is urgent, they will pay you higher rate is not so urgent, they will try to look for somebody else.

Andrej Zito 

Yeah, that’s a good that’s a good

Végh Fruzsina Judit 

You know, it’s about psychology. You have to learn people, you have to observe how they behave, how they react, what can you allow yourself what kind of tone you have to use, or what can you use, how you to speak, when to be friendly and when to be when to be meant to be flexible and when to be very, very firm. And it comes with experience. There is no recipe but material know that you screwed something up. There is the tutor, I think. And you don’t have to be ashamed of yourself, especially if you are a beginner and you know, a newcomer you just you just have to you just have to test the client and you have to push yourself, you know a bit not much just to get to get the picture of yourself. Because if you start a new profession, and you have a different background or you you have already worked 20 years in different industries still doesn’t mean that you actually know yourself. It’s a different situation. It’s a different profession. It’s a quickly changing environment. And you have to you just have to observe yourself, Know yourself. And if you know yourself, you will know your clients. The LSP is the project managers. And that’s when you can build strong relationships with them. I think.

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