Do you like admin? Maybe so. Maybe you are a numbers person. I, on the other hand, am not. Nonetheless, there is no business without records and reports. How can you charge a client if you don't issue an invoice? How do you know how many jobs you are working on and when they are due if you don't keep track, preferably on paper or its digital equivalent? How you go about this depends on your needs and your pocketbook. However you choose to keep score, just remember that planning ahead can make such a difference.
Back when I started translating for online agencies, I would haphazardly write down due dates and issue invoices that lacked any visual orderliness or appeal. Then, as at the time I was voraciously seeking new ways to be productive, I came across Translation Office 3000. It solved many problems at once and gave me an overall vision of my business. Some useful features as of the latest build are:
Project view with project name and due date
Job view (individual jobs within project and fee)
Rate calculator based on units (words, characters hours) and price inputted by user
Info tab for each project
Filters like all projects, uncompleted projects, overdue projects and more
Client view with address, email, URL, ph0ne and more
General invoices and total, invoice tab per client
Reports like share of income per agency based on different criteria like all time top 10 clients
Prospects tab where you can enter marketing information per prospect
Customizable. I added fields such as: Total Time Spent on a project, Words per Hour, Pages Per Hour and Hourly Rate. You can be as creative and specific as you like, and you will have all your info in one place
Despite all these goodies, if I had to choose my translation admin setup, I would not have bought Translation Office 3000. Here are a few reasons why:
It takes up RAM that could be allocated to something else
I am locked into a system, married to it, if you will. I am obligated to pay for updates, and I have to take special measures to back up the database. Otherwise, I could lose valuable information that would be a headache to retrieve manually.
TO3000 is tied to one PC, and I've never seen how I could send files back and forth through the cloud efficiently. On the other hand, something like an Excel file is mobile and you can even read it on your phone. Where is the TO 3000 app?
I am not using the software to its full potential. At first, when the market had many different small agencies to keep track of, I needed the power of Translation Office 3000 to make sure my invoices were paid, and paid on time. Now, with huge conglomerates, each with their own platform, oftentimes they take care of the invoicing and you just need to enter the info for each job online without having to actually upload an invoice.
Customizable is relative. I would love to have each proofreading job assigned that is not yet ready to work on to be in italics. I don't think this is possible. However, in Excel or Word, this is a piece of cake and requires no customization.
As I said earlier, if I could go back and do things over again, I would not have bought Translation Office 3000, but rather I would have devised a simple, effective system, preferably designed by someone proficient in Excel and other Office software. Then I would make changes to my setup as needed. I wouldn't have to pay extra money, use up extra RAM and be locked into a system.
I just had a thought: You could download a trial version of TO3000, and if you don't like it, you could still play with it and take some screenshots for ideas on how you want to set up your own system.