In 1987,I left Palestine for eight years to further my studies. I had obtained an IB diploma from Lester B. Pearson College in Canada (1987) and then an MA in Applied Foreign Languages from Lumière University- Lyon, France. That same year, my mother was extremely ill and I decided to return to Palestine to be near her. She passed away that same summer and I was on the move again. I was already doing translations here and there – even before going to university.
These translations included interpreting for the French Consul General at the opening of the French Cultural Center in Gaza in 1989, and translating play therapy sessions at the Gaza Community Mental Health Program. However, still in the mindset of having a ‘fixed job’, I started working as Public Relations Officer for the World Trade Center (WTC) in Gaza. Signed up for a Ph.D. Program at La Sorbonne University in Paris.
My position at WTC was very interesting. Every day involved a variety of activities and I had the opportunity to travel for my job. However, I could not accommodate the working hours. I wanted to be in control of my own time.
In 1998, while finishing (and defending) my Ph.D., I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. I decided then that becoming a mother was the most important thing and I quit my job. By that time, Birzeit University was establishing the Institute of Law, which needed a lot of translation and interpretation work. With this, I started my career as a freelancer. I realized very quickly that I should plan realistically. After some harsh experiences, I learned WHEN to say ‘yes, I can do it’ or ‘No, I cannot do it”.
This became my strategy. I put family first and filled in the free time with translation. I targeted quality first. Therefore, I raised my fees and explained to all my clients that I do one job at a time and submit a finished ready-to-use product. I kept my promise most of the time and respected quality and deadlines.
Moreover, I was transparent about the problems I faced, even if it meant telling my client that after having started the job, I did not think I was the right person to do it. Most clients appreciated the honest communication and I could refer them to the translators most competent for their work.
This strategy enabled me build cooperative rather than competitive relations with other translators. Virtually, we acted like teams and stepped in for each other.
The major problem I face is the current taxation system, which compels a home-based translator to spend hours of administrative work and to issue VAT invoices with payable taxes every month even when the invoice is not collected. Paying taxes consumes much of my time and efforts, and I have been calling for reform to ease on the procedures, but have received no official response.
The best part of my work is that I can take some time off and focus on my family, which I have been doing for the past two years. During this time, I participated in writing a book about Politics and the Power of Tourism. I wrote the chapter on Gaza, the “Missing Assets”.
My day as a freelance translator/interpreter does not have any fixed routine. I may work from home, from a café near my children’s school or at a swimming pool in Jericho. My office consists of an efficient laptop and Internet connection. There are days when I have conferences to interpret and I act like an employee for these days. I always say, I can work, swim and cook at the same time.
Dr. Rania Fulfil
How To Set Up An Account on MENA Alliances Platform
Registering and applying for MENA Alliances is an easy process! Below we will clarify simple steps for successful application to MENA Alliances’ freelancer program. To open the CONTRACTOR FORM follow these steps:
Go to menaalliances.com
Click on “Work”
Go to the quick access menu at the bottom of the main page, and click “Become a Contractor”
Type the following URL into your browser: http://menaalliances.com/freelancer/ .
After you have successfully reached the CONTRACTOR FORM, complete the required fields. *Required fields are marked by a red star. Please fill in all fields, otherwise your application will not be submitted successfully. After filling in all data, you can upload your CV in the upload section. There is a space to write comments or information that you think is important to be known about you.
You are almost there! By clicking the button “Submit” at the bottom of the page, your application will be automatically sent to the recruitment office.
You are done! You will receive an automatic email stating that your application was received and will be processed soon. The email will be sent directly to the email address provided earlier in the email address field.
Our Recruitment Process
Where does you application go once it is submitted? It will go through a systematic procedure that is briefly explained in this section.
The recruitment process at MENA Alliances consists of two major stages including: (1) Talent Review and Sourcing and (2) Attraction and Acquisition.
Stage 1: Talent Review and Sourcing
The main goal of this stage is to review and target potential talent/contractors that have unique skills in one or more of MENA Alliances’ service/product fields. This process will take place for each field of work.
Stage 2: Attraction and Acquisition
This stage includes four main processes as follows:
At this point, each candidate must have completed and submitted the CONTRACTOR FORM offered on the MENA Alliances official website. The screening process begins with viewing and analyzing of these applications to identify the potential contractors based on skills, experience, background and samples of previous work (portfolios).
The applications will be assessed and filtered according to the pre-mentioned factors. After that, the shortlisted candidates will pass to the next step.
After short listed candidates are identified, first-round interviews will be conducted for each candidate by the Talent Acquisition Specialist to obtain in-depth information about each candidate regarding his/her specialty. Another list (the Final List) will be prepared including only the candidates that show a certain level of seriousness, commitment and proficiency to go through a second-round interview – conducted by the business department.
Selection & Categorization
The contractors who pass the final round of interviews will be selected and contacted to verify availability, span/time of work and contact information to be ready for future offers.
MENA ALLIANCES provides a key differentiator in the MENA talent marketplace by providing businesses with hand-picked Freelancers through a creative selection process.As well as end-to-end Service Offerings utilizing a mix of the Talent Network and in-house experts.
MENA ALLIANCES’s Talent Network is classified into three different groups as the following:
Additionally, the MENA ALLIANCES Talent Network is built to ensure that each level of talent is given opportunities that leverage their skills while ensuring that the rigorous selection process and quality of our talent reflect MENA ALLIANCES’s quality standards.
Group Payment Rate Quality Assurance Oversight Scope of Work Silver Low High Simple jobs Gold Middle Middle Mid-complexity Experts High Low Complex Jobs/need high skills
Talent Network Resourcing Model enhance the capacity of freelancers at Silver level, as they will receive direct feedbacks and comments on their work from freelancers at experts level which will give them the experience that they will need.
How to Become a Professional Freelancer at MENA Alliances
Tip 1: Show your Work/Create an Online Profile
When you are new to freelancing, getting your business off the ground is all about hustle: creating a solid and complete online profile and web-presence; finding ways to prove your skills; and being persistent in your pursuit of new clients. This is how most freelance work is offered: remotely and online!
Tip 2: Care about Your Clients
Often as a freelancer, you will be working as part of a larger project (e.g., you may be writing content for a website while others are designing it, coding it, promoting it, etc.). So take an interest! If you feel it is appropriate, do not be afraid to ask your client conversationally “How is it going?”. This is particularly true when you are working for smaller companies.
Tip 3: Stay Cool!
Freelancing can be stressful.
Deadline looming? Forget your weekend off!
When you are snowed under with work to do, it can be difficult to stay positive and appreciate the world around you. At times like this, it is crucially important to maintain a sense of humor and keep things in perspective. Staying cool under pressure is much more attractive to a client than tearing your hair out.
Tip 4: Be Totally Reliable
You are a professional selling a service. If you say you will finish the work by Friday, get it done by Friday. Stay up all night, hire other freelancers to help you, do whatever it takes. The best way to lose clients is to let them down—so don’t! Ever!