FREELANCE WORK

Putting Out Fires Left & Right

Umbrella in hand. Trying not to get soaked anymore than I already had. Winters in Shanghai can be rough, especially when you’re fighting for a spot on the metro. The city will change you and like the saying goes, “if you can’t beat em, join em!”.

Being an English teacher is introspective. I never realized just how many unique and specific idioms there were. This is part of being a native English speaker that is difficult to convey as a teacher to non-Native speaking students. A level of authenticity, and when used properly, a saying can really add “flavor” to a language, and not just in English, but any language for that matter.

I was on my way to tutor ‘Xinwen.’ He was a mid-20s businessman who worked in IT just over in the next neighborhood from my apartment. I had been teaching him phrases and day-to-day English that would be useful around the office and dealing with clients.

“What’s up Xinwen?” “How are you doing?”

“Oh you know, same old same old. Just putting out fires left and right today!”

“Oh man, that sounds rough! Well, this part of the day isn’t too bad though, huh!?”

“Oh yeah, learning English is the best!” (Some tone of sarcasm in there, I can sense it!) [Both laughing]

Over the years spent teaching adults, I found it to be really entertaining and fun. A broader range of topics could be covered, and as my students learned from me, I learned from them. But one thing was constant. I kept getting odd, one-off tasks.

I’d check my WeChat in the evening, and my phone would blow up with messages from students and friends or students.

“Can you check my emails for any mistakes?”

“This marketing report needs to go out tomorrow, can you give it a look?”

“Why are there spaces next to paragraphs?”

“Should I say best regards or kind regards?

As the questions piled on, I realized that people just wanted clarity and answers that couldn’t be found on Google or Baidu. They also had the mounting pressure of working at International companies and English was a must. Instead of scheduling a lesson, commuting to a local Starbucks, and spending time together practicing English things became more and more remote.

Skip forward 5 years, and I’m sitting in a cafe in Hoi An, Vietnam. I’ve just gotten a few new tasks today. I mainly use UpWork and Joe’s English Cafe to get in touch with people who need help with their English content. The jobs have been interesting to say the least. To name a few gigs I’ve gotten in the past:

  • Mediterranean Cruise travel itinerary editing
  • Writing a Facebook post for finding a lost dog in Sweden (they found her)
  • Creating numerous variations of questions to be asked by guests to a hotel concierge robot in Japan
  • Editing a new Uber-like service description launching in Pakistan
  • Making product descriptions sound more natural. Products included: e-cigs, electric toothbrushes, rice wine, home workout elastic bands, and squishy toys
  • Writing up area reports for a new neighborhood development in Ontario
  • Transcribing engineering YouTube videos for a Vietnamese client
  • Editing a dentist webpage based in Hungary
  • Editing and proofreading a thesis on AI & Machine Learning for a student in Sydney
  • Editing UI/UX design presentations for a new freelancing website in Russia
  • Translating Chinese to English for a children’s book about different vegetables and fruits
  • Editing a report on Hainan Airlines in Malaysia

 

 

“I mainly use UpWork and Joe’s English Cafe to get in touch with people who need help with their English content.”

These are just a few jobs and as time has gone by I’ve been looking to expand. If you’re interested in working together feel free to get in touch! And if you’re looking for a second pair of eyes to edit or proofread your English content, let’s put these fires out together!

Need help with editing, proofreading, or writing your English text?

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Joe’s English Café

Conceptual copywriting, editing, proofreading, voice recording, and translation services.

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Joe’s English Café

Conceptual copywriting, editing, proofreading, voice recording, and translation services.

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