10 Ferengi Rules of Acquisition for Language Freelancers

In the fictional universe of Star Trek, there exists a race of entrepreneurs known for earning great profit! They are known as the Ferengi. Their ethics are questionable and by no means trustworthy. Their prime and only goal in life is to become rich. As a race, they are quite successful reaching it. They religiously live by a code called The Rules of Acquisition. Some colleagues would classify some language service agencies as Ferengi. Although freelancers should not adopt all the ways of this quite greedy race, their expertise in some choice matters can teach us how to earn a good living.

Below are my 10 favorite Rules of Acquisition as applied to freelance interpreters and translators (yes I am a big Trekkie). They are listed by their Ferengi number, not in numerical order.

1. Once you have their money … never give it back.
You dedicate precious valuable time to complete projects, time that could be spent on other paying work. There is no problem in standing behind your work, so if you see fit to re-edit documents that is ok. Add valuable freebies, like team consulting. Never do work for free, and don’t discount your fee!

7. Keep your ears open.
The Ferengi have an acute sense of hearing which can be very useful in obtaining information. As entrepreneurs, we need to stay alert and keen to business opportunities. They appear where you least suspect them.

8. Small print leads to large risk.
Be aware of the big agencies! Some are good, some aren’t. The bigger the contract with lots of small print, the more likely you will need a good lawyer to review it! Otherwise, you may lose your profit, and that is a big no-no on Ferenginar.

9. Opportunity plus instinct equals profit.
Need I say more?

13. Anything worth doing is worth doing for money.
Unless you are a non-profit, this is true. Our time is valuable, and we are in business to make money.

17. A contract is a contract is a contract but only between Ferengi. Ignore the last part.
Be careful to what you agree in writing; it is legally binding. Always fulfill you contractual obligations. You have the right to require the same from the other party. Not having a contract as equal partners is an invitation to be robbed!

18. A Ferengi without profit is no Ferengi at all.
A freelancer without profit is a hobbyist, not an interpreter or translator! The road without profit leads to bankruptcy.

22. A wise man can hear profit in the wind.
Similar to Rule 7, entrepreneurs must look for and be aware of opportunity before it blows around.

34. War is good for business.
Many interpreters started their career in service to the military.

35.Peace is good for business.
Without war, nations and companies redirect efforts to other endeavors and rely on good translators and interpreters. These language professionals facilitate communication that leads to creation new of business opportunities!


Which three of the ten Rules of Acquisition will you implement within the next three months? What do you think of this alien code? Please let me know and I will be happy to share some more!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

5 thoughts on “10 Ferengi Rules of Acquisition for Language Freelancers”

  1. Pingback: Weekly translation favorites (Mar 13-19)

  2. I’d love to see another post like this, Jeff. I’ve already employed number 9.

    As an interpreter, I agree with 7 for sure, especially as listening to/overhearing conversations will help you to practice understanding when you can’t quite hear properly.

  3. Pingback: Ten More Ferengi Rules of Acquisition for Language Freelancers | Alfonso Interpreting in Greenville, SC

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *