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Emerging to breathe...

January 2nd, 2009 at 10:40 pm

264 slides/ 11681 words translated....
311 slides/ 19256 words to go!!!

I think I can, I think I can...

They'd rather wait for me!

December 31st, 2008 at 06:23 pm

Spoke to the guy with the 29 presentations and told him I could only commit to doing 17 by Jan 5... he said he doesn't need them until the 12th, and that, if I am available, he'd much rather wait and have me translate them all!

WOOO-HOOO-HOOO-HOOO!!!

(had to share! back to work!)

Swamped! :)

December 30th, 2008 at 03:19 pm

Friends, I'll be MIA for at least a week! Not even reading, probably...I've got 16 hours worth of scripts for Feb...(Thank God for the work, and Thank God that they are sending them early this time!...sometimes I don't get them until the 10th of the previous month!)... AND, I've got tons of work from a government entity in charge of promoting investments here in ES... 29 presentations!!....I think I can, I think I can.... I think I can...

I told you!!!

December 8th, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Remember I said I would get less translations this month?

http://miclason.savingadvice.com/2008/11/05/less-translations-this-month-but-could-b_44822/

Not anymore! the other translator found a full time job and quit, so now her work got reassigned to me!!

Oh, well, I had a week "off"!
LOL!
back to the salt mines!!

Less translations this month, but could be a good thing...

November 6th, 2008 at 03:13 am

See, they have been sending me about 10-15 scripts per month, and, if you take into consideration it takes me anywhere between 2 and 4 days to translate each one... well... my month is full... and, remember, this translations actually pay very little (below local market prices), so that meant I wasn't even looking for new (more profitable) work, because I didn't have the time for it... Now they've hired another translator...this month, they'll give her 3 scripts, and I get 8... so, yes, I'll make less money, but I'll actually have more free time to prospect for customers (or just enjoy the Holidays and start looking in January, when I imagine the new translator will get half the scripts)...so, getting less work from them might actually be a good thing!

Cha-Ching! first cheque of October!

October 2nd, 2008 at 10:35 pm

Woo-hoo! I got paid for translations today, and tomorrow I get paid at the office...Now, I won't have the translation money until Wednesday, because I already picked up my check, but, unfortunately, arrived back at the office too late to deposit it today. I don't want to go to the (outside) bank and then deposit the cash into my account. Plus, all my payments are due starting on the 10th, so that'll give the check plenty of time to clear (3 working days, since it's from a bank different than mine)...Once the cheque goes through, I'll make the payments online...woo-hoo!

Steps to freedom - update

September 5th, 2008 at 07:32 pm

Well, things aren't going as planned, in that I haven't been able to make the payments I had estimated/ save as much as I wanted...(car maintenance, medical bills)..but I still think it's doable -it's only been 2 months!...and at least I got both the house fund account and the "tax" account set up...so that is progress...Also, what I did was more of an average, so that, in the end, things might still work out...(I can use a larger portion of the Xmas bonus for this, for example)...if all else fails, I'll aim to be debt free by:
Xmas of the year I turn 40 (so, December instead of July 09), or, worst case scenario: before Ale turns 10! - so, June 2010!!)

The dream is alive!!!

Look! The volcano is gone! ;)

September 1st, 2008 at 01:28 pm

It has been very rainy lately, and it was sooooo cloudy this morning, you could not see the volcano!...I just had to point that out to Ale...
I was translating a program on volcanos in El Salvador....I must say, I didn't quite like it, it made it seem like my country is so barren...LOL!..it probably is...we are one of the most deforested countries in Latin America... Frown

They showed a waterfall and a piece of forest, but, since they were focusing mostly on the waterfall, it looked "rocky"...so....


Oh, well, it's part of the package for August (programs to be aired in Sept, and $$$ to be paid end of Sept/beginning of Oct)....I'm behind this time. I should have delivered the last script yesterday night, or, at the latest, today, but I still got 3 scripts to go!...

well, that is it for today...I have to take advantage of Labor Day (we are off at the Embassy, naturally, but, Ale is at school, niece is asleep and sis will soon be leaving for work, which means I have the whole morning to try to catch up with translations...but, since you know what they say about all work and no play, I called a friend and we will go to the movies around noon, so we are out just in time to go pick up Ale from school!)

Si se puede! Si se puede!

July 30th, 2008 at 04:36 pm

(it CAN be done, it CAN be done!)
I've only got 1 more translation to go...after that, I'll be FREE to enjoy my nights (8pm -11pm)...I will be able to catch up on my knitting (I'm -or was!- knitting a blanket for Ale, for Xmas... and now I'm way behind!)....or read....or watch TV (although, I DO have it on and watch a bit while I translate...don't ask me why, I work faster that way!...yeah, I know how that sounds!)...or, do NOTHING...

The only problem is...I'm having a "laziness attack"...I really don't want to work on it...and, I COULD delay it for the weekend, but....we have the national holidays (in honor of the Patron Saint) coming up next Mon-Wed...and, wouldn't it be great to be FREE before Friday, so that I could REALLY enjoy the holidays...no work at the office, no work at home??

((sigh)) SI se puede, SI se puede!

Goals = Steps to Freedom

July 3rd, 2008 at 05:16 pm

Thanks for all that responded to my last post...it really was illuminating!

As a result of your answers, I sat down and thought about what I NEED/WANT to do, financially, to really be able to leave this job and start my own translation business; here's the list of what comes to mind, complete with the time frame I've allocated to achieve the goals: (I still need to work on them to see whether they are feasible, though!I also need to figure out the most logical way to set them up - which one to do first, etc., so the exercise is not really over yet!)

Step 1. be debt free! - I have about $8.5K in debt...about $6k is for a personal loan, and the rest is cc debt...Step 1 is to pay that off, so that I have the tremendous amount of money I'm currently using to pay off debt available to build up my financial situation...

timeframe: I want to be debt free before my 40th birthday (next year)...that gives me 12 months! ...I'd need about $800/ month to be able to do this...hmmmm..

what I'm doing about it: my debt level is finally low enough that I can get a loan through the bank that does our payroll without needing a co-debtor...I submitted the paperwork yesterday...I just hope my sketchy financial history in the past 5 years doesn't affect me...

Why did I do this?....well, the new loan would be at 10% annual interest; the current one is 11.5% and the cc is 28.99%! (YES, that's not a typo!)...this would significantly reduce the amount of interest I'd be paying, and would make it easier to actually pay off in 1 year...

Step 2- Taxes! ...more income will mean more taxes...based on estimations, I'd need about $5,000 to pay my taxes next year.

Timeframe, again, would be 1 year (a bit less, actually, since taxes are due April 30!)...I'd need about $555/month to achieve this...

How I'm going to do this: I've already spoken to the bank exec and I'm setting up a savings account next payperiod (July 11) so that I can start saving 1. part of my salary and 2. the corresponding amount whenever I get paid for translations

Step 3- Emergency Fund I currently have about $150 in my EF (that's almost nothing, I know!)...I need to have $5,000...but, for that, I'm giving myself 2 years (24 months)...that would take about $210/mont...

Are you still with me? If I add all this up, I'd need $1,565 AFTER TAX to fund all this...doable? difficult, yes, but not impossible...especially if I put money aggressively into debt repayment, then work on the tax thing and then "catch up" on the EF thing...

Step 4- "tie over" fund ($2,000)...this is not really urgent and could be left for my "last year" here...this would be my "revolving credit" with myself to cover normal expenses in case translation payments are late.

Step 5- house fund - I need at least $10K in here... that should be enough for a downpayment on a small house in a good (read: safe) neighborhood; a 3-bedroom would be nice, so I could leave 1 bedroom as a study...but, really, a 2 bedroom would be more than enough! (I can always set up in my room, in the dinining room or living room!)...this one, as you can see, is already started...it has $30 in it, and $30 will be automatically added on the 28th of each month...I don't plan to make any additional contributions to it until the debt is paid off/money for taxes is complete....If it turns out that not all $5K are needed for taxes, I'll transfer the remaining amount to this account. Once the debt is gone, I'll use part of that money to start increasing contributions to this fund...and once the EF is full, I'd add part of that, too (snowballing, in a way!)

Step 6- Ale's college fund- I still have 9 years, so I'm also counting this as "not urgent" (although, I know those years will pass quickly and I NEED to have at least some money in it...I will start the college fund in August of next year!- after I'm debt free!)

Step 7- health and life insurance- I already have a (very modest) personal life insurance policy, apart from the one given to me by my employer...if I go out on my own, I'll need to increase the amount and I'll need to add disability insurance...Medical insurance: I already know the one I want! It's like a pre-paid plan with one of the best hospitals in the country...If you are hospitalized for an emergency, for whatever reason, insurance covers 100% of it...if you go to emergency care, but are not admitted, you have to pay $11.45...for non-emergency care, insurance pays 80%, as long as you go to their doctors and providers...no problem with that!...they give you a thorough check up at the beginning to determine eligibility, so if they accept you, there are no "pre-existing" conditions!...I would also sign up as an "independent worker" with the social security institute (medical care)...I know I will need $$$ for this, but, again, it's not urgent and I'll look into it about 2 years before my "estimated date of departure - EDD"

Step 8- retirement Currently discounted from my salary are about $400/month...and the employer -by law- pays as much into the fund, too...so I need to think about putting at least $800/month after I leave...

...I've estimated what level of income I need to have to make all this possible...
I'd need to make $13K the first year (July 08 to July 09) to be used exclusively for The Plan...this is definetely feasible!(I know it doesn't add up, that $1,650 X12 i $18,780, not $13,000!...what I mean is $13,000 would come from the translation business)...then I'd need to increase that amount by about $2K every year for the next 3 years...the other advantage of waiting until Dec 2012 is that, if my position is terminated, I'm entitled to full severance payment: 1 monthly salary per year worked! (under Salvadoran law, if I leave, I don't have a right to severance payment...I believe the Embassy does give you something according to your bosses' request...up to 50%, I think- need to look for the latest update to the policy!)

I also need to keep really good track of what I'm doing and where the money is going...and make sure I keep focused on what I really want!

"Why are you still here?"

July 2nd, 2008 at 03:47 pm

I was commenting on my $1,000 weekend translation, and a friend from work asked me that question...she then answered herself: "oh, because that's not every month!"...
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of leaving my "job" and become an entrepreneur and do the translation thing full time...I mean, I could drop Ale off at school and go back home and work until lunch time, then work for another hour or two then go pick her up...I could take her to dance lessons, stay there and work while she has her class (I have a laptop and a spare battery...and I generally connect to the internet when I finish the translation, just to "clean" it- a.k.a look for words or expressions I don't know/I'm uncertain of or unhappy with, and then to send it after I clean it...)
....the problem, as my friend pointed out, is that I don't get $1,000 translations EVERY month...then again, if I were doing this full time, I'd have more time to promote myself/make more contacts to make sure I DO get $1,000 worth of translations every month...
HOWEVER...at the moment, I NEED about $1,500/month....(to cover living and other expenses PLUS debt repayment plan PLUS savings- however little- PLUS taxes, etc)...once my debt is gone, this would go down significantly (as, currently, about 43% of my income goes towards debt...still an improvement over the 47% that I was allocating last year!)...
My job here is "secure" for 4 more years (the life of the program!)...notice the quotation marks, because, really, NO ONE's job is ever secure, is it?...
anyway...my goal is to be debt free, and then save for the dowpayment for a house (notice how my ticker is now showing the amazing amount of $30? It's a start!...once I finish with the debt, I'll be beefing that up!)...I then want to get my own house (easier to do if you are "employed"...but now banks are starting to also grant loans for "independent" people - to use their own words!)...SO, I guess my strategy would be to get the loan with the bank while I'm still employed here (before sept 2012), THEN make the jump!...does that sound like a plan??

I finished the translation!

July 1st, 2008 at 02:40 pm

98 pages and about 28,000 words...all I remember is that I'll get $1,014 (or was it $1,016?) after taxes...this money will come in in August, so I already updated my excel spreadsheet...my current monthly average is $956...not bad....but my target is $1,000....still, it's the 1st of the month, so I can still "catch up"! Smile

Translations!!!

June 28th, 2008 at 02:08 am

Well, July will be a 'dry' month...I got paid for all my translations last week (and the $$$ is all gone already!- some spent, some paid)...and the next payments aren't due until AUGUST! ....((GASP!))...AND, I have to renew my drivers license and the car registration...so in July I won't be able to make payments above the minimum payments...I hate it!...((sigh))...at least, I have the $$ for both the minimum payments and the license and registration!...PATIENCE!!!...
oh, but August will be a great month!...I already have $300 worth of translations that are due in August...and I just got a new 96-page job!...of course, that means I should be translating, not blogging!!!...oops! gotta go!

Ack! Taxes

June 11th, 2008 at 03:34 am

..not wanting to be caught off guard next year, I modified the excel sheet my co-worker gave me to calculate my taxes for next year...I've input the salary info (old salary for the first 9 pay periods, new salary going forward) and linked it to my translation business sheet for translation income/ taxes...
Just with that info, I've already jumped into a higher tax bracket...and my estimated taxes for next year are at $4,000....If I reach my goal of $1,000/ month average, I'd have to pay $5,000...
this year I had to pay about $2,600...

OUCH! ...I guess I need to start a fund for that, too!

Thing is, the Embassy - by law- cannot withhold income tax from our salaries (although we do have to pay income tax) ...AND, for services, the translation companies withhold 10% of my income as income tax (which they have to deliver to the Ministry of Treasury)...BUT, given the (estimated) level of income, I'd have to pay 30% income tax ...
and, given that I don't need a car to do my job, and that the laptop was a gift...well, I don't have business-related deductions...

oh, wow, MORE translations!

June 10th, 2008 at 05:48 pm

I got a 3-part document yesterday...managed to finish it and send it in (now that I know the piece I'm working on is due on the 12th)...that should be about $65...my monthly average is slowly climbing again towards the $1,000 mark- currently at $950....and I still have 2 weeks in June that would go towards the July total...Great!

$134 this weekend!

June 9th, 2008 at 05:02 am

Thatīs the total for translation for this weekend. And I still have 3 pieces more, due on the 12th, 16th and 18th...they should be about $100 each! yay! - this helps make up both for the "lost" week and for the $$$ that was overbudget from the trip! yipee-yay!

:: happy dance::

We're back from DisneyWorld!

June 6th, 2008 at 04:11 am

long story, but our Miami to Orlando flight got cancelled (and that was THE flight for us...the only one that had space! add to that 100+ revenue passengers from that flight added to the other ones = RENTAL CAR!)...I ended up having to rent the car in Miami and driving to Orlando!!!...and they DIDN't have compacts, or economy, or mid-sized cars...I had to take a full-sized one!!! ...add to that the fact that dropping the car at a different location is more expensive, plus the gas to drive that monster from Miami to Orlando...well, between the car rental and the extra purchases, we spent ~$200 more than we had budgeted (fortunately, I did have a little extra I could use for just such a thing!...after all, don't they say when you travel you should pack your bags and take your money, then take out half of what you packed and add 30% more $$$??)
I got lost, too! (have I ever told you I have a "broken" compass?? I get disoriented VERY easily!...here, it's a joke...but, believe me, it was NOT funny!!!)...it took me 2 additional hours to find our hotel!!! ...
well, that was day 1.
But on day 2....we went to Animal Kingdom and loved it!!! - we didn't do many rides, but we DID see a lot of animals ...AND...as part of the Year of a Million Dreams, we got chosen to be on the Mickey Mouse float in the parade!!!!
We had to buy some clothes because our bag DID travel to Orlando without us, and Miami said our bag was in Orlando, but Orlando hadn't acknowledged receipt of the bag...and, NO, when you travel stand by you don't have the right to be reimbursed for purchase of clothes or toiletries if your flight gets cancelled (you do have a right to compensation if the airline loses your bag, though!)
On day 3 we went to Epcot and they gave us free "ears"! (I had already bought Ale's, but she kept insisting that I buy myself ones, so we could both have ears...and I kept saying "No").
We also went to get our bag from the airport...and I got lost again! both on the way TO the airport and back!
Day 4 we went to Magic Kingdom. Left early (10pm) because Ale didn't want to stay for the fireworks (the noise scared her!)...
Day 5...got up at 4am to go to the airport and drop off the car/get on the 6:15 flight! Got to Miami, checked in and went to the Miami SEaquarium and to the beach (but did not stay because Ale stepped on a rock at the beach and freaked out! - she didn't want to go near the water again and I didn't want to fry in the sun!)...went back to the hotel for some pool time and to change. Went out to hunt for a Barbie Girls MP3 player she wanted (with her own money)...had to go to 3 different places, to finally find 1 left at Toys R Us!...

Every day, when we came back to the hotel, we added up what we had spent to make sure we were more or less on track...
And every day Ale got to write down what SHE had spent out of her $75...so it was a good exercise for both of us!

Came back home to find 4 pieces of translation waiting for me...all due next Monday, so I gotta get to work early tomorrow.

Gotta go! that's my report for today!!!

Add $9 more!

May 28th, 2008 at 09:58 pm

a quick one-pager! woo-hoo!

Another $106!!!

May 28th, 2008 at 05:28 am

When I came home, there was a new package of translations waiting...a lease agreement amendment- joy! (not!)...
still, I've gotten quite used by now...but, I swear, thinking about the difference between a lessor and a lessee (or arrendante and arrendatario in Spanish) makes my head ache...it's one of those things I've never quite gotten...so I just repeat like a parrot: lessor is arrendante...lessee is arrendatario, and keep going!)

I had until Thursday night to turn it in, but I want to be FREE tomorrow and Thursday to pack and make sure I'm not forgetting anything! (yes, I have a list...but unless I have ENOUGH time to pack, I feell like I'll forget something!)

my monthly average "fell" to $867...but because I had to divide by 7 now, since all/any work gotten on the last week of a month will most probably NOT be paid the following month, but the one after that (so, this translation $$$ will probably be paid in early July, rather than late June!)

More translation jobs!

May 22nd, 2008 at 03:44 pm

a PACKAGE arrived yesterday. It's one of those training evaluation packagess, which pay $0.03/word, and which generally bring in anywhere between $6 and $20 for each session evaluation. This one had 5 session evaluations. I've already finished 2 and they were about 1,000 words (so, $30 pre-tax). I'm finishing tonight, and I'm hoping this one will bring in about $70 in total.
(see? I told you God would send work along!)

$34 more for a $1,015 average!!!!

May 21st, 2008 at 04:17 am

Just finished another translation. That brings my YTD average to $1,015!!! yay!
and if I get anything else this week, it still counts towards June...
Week after starts counting towards July, and then there'll be a "lost" week...

We'll see...I know God will send me enough work to make up for that week! Smile

add $42 more!

May 14th, 2008 at 10:33 pm

another 2 small translation jobs!

$46 more!

May 13th, 2008 at 04:33 am

from urgent translations....just finished the 2nd one! ...time to go to bed! Smile

1st official translation for May!

April 3rd, 2008 at 08:45 pm

well, I just got another translation job...considering the 30-day credit rule, I should get paid for this one on May 5 or thereabouts...it will be about $100!
Now, if I could just collect on the other customers....

It's April....where's my $$$???

April 1st, 2008 at 08:29 pm

since 2 customers had promised to pay me "at the end of the month" (already overdue, since one should have paid end of Feb and the other one mid March)...I sent them a note today inquiring about the payments ...((sigh))...after all, $$$ on paper is just that...$$$ on paper...it's no good to me unless I actually GET it...in fact, it's bad to me if I don't get it, because that means all that effort (oh, and my fingerprints!) were wasted!

****
The dermatologist suggested all that typing MIGHT worsen the problem!

New translation!

March 27th, 2008 at 08:18 pm

This one is Spanish into English. About $140!
woo-hoo! (I was starting to worry!)

Deadbeat customer- part II

March 26th, 2008 at 11:04 pm

Ok, so I kept calling until the receptionist knew my voice/number and refused to take my calls...no problem, I just dialed a different number and got someone else (it's one of those "rescue services" provided by a local cell phone company to its customers, so they HAVE to answer). I even had a bit of a spat with her, because she said: oh, yeah, I know, we will give her the message. And I asked: are you sure you got my last name right? Sure. Ok, could you spell it for me, just so I make sure you got it right? I can spell it, lady, don't worry. Really? go ahead, spell it for me! ...you catch the drift (only the people that KNOW me get my last name right...everyone assumes its either Lazo or Larios or Claros...)
Anyway, I called again today (gave her 3 days to respond to my last message)...since I was told she's not in, I asked for her boss...I was told HE's not in (not sure I believe it, it might just be the secretary trying to cover for the girl that contacted me)..ok, so I ask for his e-mail...would you believe the secretary "doesn't know what his e-mail is"?...yeah, me neither. So, I asked for a fax number (she couldn't withhold THAT from me, could she?) I wrote a very nice memo explaining that I had been contacted to do the job on 2/26, agreed that terms of payment where "immediate" and that I had delivered the work on 2/27...I also added that I normally deal with the person that contracts me directly but, that since I had fruitlessly tried to contact this girl (didn't use that expression, of course!) for the past month, I felt I had no other recourse but to contact him directly. I stated the amount I was owed and asked for a speedy payment. I included a copy of all the translated documents, a copy of the email I sent the girl and a copy of the fax transaction report...
Of course, I also added my phone # and email...

I hate this!...I should have asked to get the original documents (birth certificate and other legal docs) and not release them until I had the $$$ instead of making things easier for her by telling her she could scan them and send them to me via email/fax!

Deadbeat customer!

March 19th, 2008 at 06:27 pm

This is ridiculous! ...
I call at 9am, she's not in yet, I call at 10, stil not in...I called at 12 (yesterday) she had just left for lunch...I called at 2, she still wasn't in...I called at 3, she hadn't returned and they didn't expect her back for the day...

today, the same thing...I emailed her (from 2 different addresses, just in case she has me blocked) and sent the translated documents again via fax (together with the original transmission page from 2/27)....

We are being dismissed early today...I'm still hesitating between going to her home tonight (I know where she lives because she originally contacted me through the owner of the translation agency, and they're neighbors) and waiting until after the holidays to contact her boss directly (who, after all, is the owner of the documents, so he's the actual end customer) and refusing to deal with her anymore...

hmmm....another option would be to just try to get her boss directly today after lunch (it's already 12:30)

Needless to say this isn't someone I'd like to work with in the future...(all this over $53! can you imagine if it were more than that??)

New translation!

March 14th, 2008 at 06:48 pm

This one is going to Europe!...
it is 4 pages long, and it needs to be sent in by Saturday 5:00pm (that's ok, it's plenty of time...especially since the topic is related to my work, so I know/have access to the vocabulary!)
I might have to work until midnight tonight, as we have a fun family activity (just Ale and I, but, hey, we ARE a family unit!) for tomorrow morning...and I'd hate to cancel on Ale because of work!....
this one could easily bring in $110-$120

I'm happy. And grateful. Just yesterday I prayed for a ~$100 translation for either this week or next one (Holy Week is next week, so there probably won't be any work, thus I'd have a "lost" week for translation $$$)...so, after taxes, I would have about $100! How's THAT for a speedy answer??

$60 more!

February 27th, 2008 at 09:06 pm

I had a couple fast translations today (as in: wording for 2 or more pages was 90% the same!)- woo-hoo!...that went real fast...and I even get paid tonight for 1 of them! woo-hoo! ($53...will go to new school shoes for Ale...hers are starting to come apart...they cost $20...the new ones should last us until end of May - which is the end of the school year- don't have much hope of them still fitting in August!)


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