Advantages wide range of services available, relatively cheap
Disadvantages only method of payment is via credit card
www.aquarius.net, is after ciao and similar sites, my first stop in the morning when I log on to the net, as I am of course a freelance translator, and am always on the look out for new commissions, be they big or small. After all, small translations can lead to bigger things (Mighty oaks from tiny acorns doth grow…). I signed up to aquarius.net in September 2000, when I was trying to find my feet as a freelance translator.Registration to the site is easy, there being three types of membership: Gold, Silver and Bronze. I initially signed up to the Bronze Membership, being free, and submitted my details. Whilst I had not really found a great amount of stuff that was applicable to me, in terms of jobs and commissions, I still regularly used to check back at the site to see if there were any forthcoming projects.
In May I was very close to going under, as I had run out of money, work was drying up and I had been rejected for countless jobs. However the tiny spark came through aquarius, where a translation company in Graz saw that I was a Vienna-based native speaker who had teaching experience. Through this one search, where they found me by chance, I have now got a steady monthly income, which pays the bills, with various things coming through on a near daily basis, so that I know that work is generally forthcoming.I have since upgraded to the Silver Membership (at a cost of Euro 60 plus VAT per annum) as it allows me to list more specialities, language combinations and also bid for rapid response projects. With the bronze membership you can list up to three language combinations, and three specialities. With silver you can list up to five of each. The gold membership costs Euro 150 per annum + VAT and offers you unlimited combinations. Whilst this might sound a lot to shell out, I have recouped the 59.50 Euro outlay (I joined when it was EUR 50 + VAT) in 1 hour of language teaching – teaching that was gained through my free bronze membership. There are also Agency membership rates which also agencies to find freelancers and take them on as necessary. Payment is by credit card via the net or via fax.
The silver membership has opened a lot of doors for me - although from friends I have heard that not everyone has had the same degree of luck. I responded to an advert in September which ended up in a translation worth £4500 (€7200) and have gained two long-term customers through Aquarius, who have paid my membership fee countless times over, inluding one in Germany who frequently rings me up with an urgent job that needs to be done overnight, but upon whose completion I often don't need to work for two-three days.I would have to say that the key to getting the bids is being quick on the draw (i.e. replying as soon as the advert is inserted), competitively priced (put out feelers what other people are charging) and reliable. People rapidly get to know your and if your reputation is good then people will stick with you.
As well as being a contact database, there are a number of special offers available and the forum, which is currently under construction will allow me to discuss with other translators.
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