I'm a translator, and I charge by the word (or line, in a few cases). This is pretty standard for translation, on the rare occasions I agree to do proofreading of other people's work, that's usually billed by the hour. This works out very well for me - I'm fast and accurate, so it results in a high average hourly rate, and it encourages me not to goof around (too much). One of the big trends in the translation industry is downward pressure on rates due to global competition; I've managed to resist it for the most part and I've even raised my rates over the past year, but that's because I specialize in patents - something most people can't do a good job with. Even so, my clients are very resistant to rate increases. Oh, and Ester, I'm going to join the chorus and say your rates sound way too low.
I've been a freelance translator for 16 years, and in that time I've bought a house (in Oakland) and gotten plenty of credit cards issued. I had to supply several years of tax returns for the mortgage, but that's about it - every one else just looks at my credit score, I guess.
AGA stoves make me think of Posh Nosh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzjR0yL4f0Y
On Five Women
Hey, Geo. Kayes! You must have spent some time in Oakland - Mills? Loved the piece.
I've freelanced my whole career as a technical translator, because that's the default option - there are very few jobs available for in-house translators. Because I specialize in German patents, I've had very good luck finding work, and I make a good living. I certainly wouldn't want to be a freelance writer, though.
I grew up right over the border in Western NC, and a similar demographic shift has been happening there. There are now Hispanic groceries and restaurants, which there most definitely were not in the '80s when I was a child.
I own a nice house in Oakland, about 1500 sq. ft., in a safe neighborhood with some amenities (Haddon Hill), and my mortgage is $2100 a month. I managed this with a combination of very good luck and patience. I bought the house almost 11 years ago with two other people, and bought them out one at a time when they wanted to move on. The guy we bought from had redone the house to flip it, and was having trouble selling it (the market was in a soft spot, amazingly enough). We offered $425000, $25000 less than he wanted, and we got it. It's been a great house, and I'm very happy living here, now with my girlfriend, but it's taken most of my money and various types of creative financing with the help of my parents and my former co-owners to get where I am. The way the market is now, I could never afford to buy, I'm glad I took the jump when I did.
It's "Beretta". The picture is actually a Beretta, though, good job there.
I'm going to be slightly smug here, because my insurance is $132.35 per year. It's a combination of a really old car ('84 Mercedes 300 TD), good driver discount, low mileage discount, and having insurance from USAA, which is non-profit and is awesome. It's also just the minimum liability insurance required in California, because no way will anyone steal my car!
Wow, there is/was a grow-op on Hillgirt Circle? That's hard to believe, I live just a few blocks away on Park Blvd. and those houses are posh!