As a freelance translator you never know what your next project will be. That is, unless you are extremely specialized and only working with a small niche market of clients. I specialize in software localization and business communications, and even if the majority of jobs come from this area, I get a wide variety of job offers, especially from agencies. That is one important reason to why I just love my job. One day I am engrossed in software terms for a company providing PC support, the next day I am translating press releases on donations for the relief efforts in Haiti, China and New Zeeland. I know I will be translating press releases for aid in Japan soon, and I look forward to this. The next week comes with translation of organic, or natural, skin care products, plus more software translation. The other day I poured my heart into translating a letter to an agency in Sweden, asking for help in stopping the transportation of nuclear waste. It is amazing what we translator can be involved in, isn’t it?
Sometimes I see an ad in a Swedish magazine, and I am able to say; I translated that. When people ask what I do, and I try to explain, I often give an example of a digital camera manual, saying, I translated this manual into Swedish. It makes it easier for people to understand what I do. I take pride in seeing my translation in print, but especially in being able to “help” and indirectly affect politics, relief efforts etc.
This is the positive side of variation. The negative side can be that you are offered projects that are plain boring or difficult, but then you can usually turn this project down, right? Unless it is a valued, long term client and you have not had any projects in a while, etc.
I hope you enjoy the variation in translation projects as much as I do and feel valued for what you do. Happy translating!