Rule No. 1. Always charge at least 1.5 times your usual rate for rush translations. There is no point in charging a cent or two more per word if the resulting stress and aggravation will make you age 7 years within a year or two.
Rule No. 2. If somebody insists on paying you in 60 days instead of 30, which is the norm in the translation industry, tell them that you will have to double your rate. It is only fair to charge twice as much if you have to wait for your money twice as long.
Rule No. 3. Take a nap at least once a day between translating sessions, on a very comfortable bed or sofa and with blinds drawn. If you stick to Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2, not only will you have plenty of time to stick also to Rule No. 3, but you will live to be at least ninety (90). While most employees would get fired it they dared to implement my Rule No. 3, freelance translators can’t be fired for sleeping on the job. Scientists agree that people who take a nap on a daily basis and sleep at least 7 hours per a 24-hour period live at least 7 years longer than people who don’t get enough sleep.
Rule No. 4. Have a blog for sharing your translating experience and your life’s wisdom in righteous rants in you blog posts with other translators. It is so good to hear comments such as “you are so right about everything!” and “I want to marry you!” in your blog’s comment section (even if you have been more or less happily married for several decades). At least you will know that somebody really appreciates you, no matter what your husband or wife says. If you have an occasional troll making disparaging comments about you and your insightful posts on your blog, you can always delete such comments, which will drive the trolls nuts.
Rule No. 5. Keep learning new things about your chosen language or languages. Scientists agree that for example the onset of Alzheimer’s disease is usually delayed in bilingual people on average by seven years. Since bilingual and multilingual people necessarily exercise their brain significantly more than monolinguals, their brain does not atrophy as much, which is often the case with most people after a few decades of light use. If you ever come to a point when you suddenly find that you know just about everything that you ever wanted to know about your chosen language or languages, you can always start learning a new language to keep exercising your brain, such as Danish or Mongolian.
Rule No. 6. Don’t forget to keep exercising your body as well. You don’t have to be a body builder if you are a man, or an emaciated gym freak if you are a woman. Just make sure that you get enough exercise to feel alive and to be healthy well into your sixties, seventies, or eighties. Scientists agree that light exercising 5 days a week, or walking for as little as 15 to 30 minutes a day, will add at least 7 years to your life.
Rule No. 7. Get yourself a pet if you don’t have one yet, preferably a dog. When you have a dog, you have to walk him at least twice a day, each time for about 15 minutes, which means that you will easily meet the requirements of my Rule No. 6. Scientists agree that the stress levels are significantly decreased in people who have a pet, especially since having a pet is the only way to go anyway if what you need is unconditional love. Scientists also agree that low stress level and unconditional love will significantly extend the life span of most people, regardless of how much money they make.
(Feel free to suggest another golden rule if you feel that something really important has been omitted in my Seven Golden Rules for graceful aging of freelance translators).