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Do you remeber how did you get your first job as an independent...
Thread poster: Helena Diaz del Real

Helena Diaz del Real  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:42
Member (2005)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 7, 2005

Hello!
...freelancer for an agency you get now a fluid flow of work from?
(Ups! I guess my english is very bad! sorry!)
Would you like to explain it to us/me?
Thank you!
Helena


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 16:42
... Dec 7, 2005

My very first freelance job was about conveyor belts, which a more experienced colleague passed on to me, as she was very busy. Exciting or what

Two months later, I got a small job from a client who has now become my most loyal and profitable collaboration. It was just a job reference, think it was only 10 euros. But they've given me loads and loads of work every week since then. So there you have it.

Orla

[Edited at 2005-12-07 14:56]


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Raffaella Cornacchini  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:42
English to Italian
+ ...
yes! I organized a pilgrimage Dec 7, 2005

I was still studying when a Roman parish contacted the school for Interpreters and Translators I attended to organize a pilgrimage. So I had to guide 4,000 pilgrims around Rome, buy toothpaste and snacks for them, translate menus and prayers, arrange meetings, even interpreting for the Swiss guards (who wanted to know more about them) when they visited the Vatican. That was really fun until an old man suddenly died and I had to contact his family and even organize the transportation of his body.
Definitely a 360° experience!

raffa1


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Fred Lessing
English to Portuguese
Be part of "them"! Dec 7, 2005

I remember my first agency, with which I worked for many years. I think what did the trick for me was to

A) always provide within the agreed deadline
B) to always base my terminology on existing standards or widely-used reference works
C) always make sure that someone read my translations before I handed them back

Each of the above points needs checking even before you accept a job:

regarding A) Will you really be able to manage the deadline? Negotiate if need be
regarding B) Agree with the agency BEFOREHAND on the reference materials to be used. If they're glossaries or previous translations provided by them, make sure BEFOREHAND they're of an acceptable quality
regarding C) Make sure you have someone to proofread your translations - i.e. while you're a "beginner", i.e. for the first 2-3 years as a freelance translator. Later on, make sure to always time to calmly go through your translation again before handing it off.

BOTTOMLINE: As a translator, you must have the mental capacity to take full responsibility for your end product, i.e., give your customer (even if it's an agency) the certainty that your translation can be put in the market as it is.

If you cannot do that, then make that clear from the start. Note that today, a translator is not just a translator anymore, he's an "outsourced human resource". Meaning, you become part of your customer's organisation. Make your customer feel that you are part of their organisation as quickly as possible.

Etc. etc. If you want more ideas and input, don't hesitate to contact me directly at acento22@mail.telepac.pt.

Fred Lessing

Helena1962 wrote:

Hello!
...freelancer for an agency you get now a fluid flow of work from?
(Ups! I guess my english is very bad! sorry!)
Would you like to explain it to us/me?
Thank you!
Helena


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Fred Lessing
English to Portuguese
Anecdotal reply Dec 7, 2005

About 12 years ago, I was working for a variety of agencies in Lisbon, mostly for software-related jobs. That's because I was one of the first freelance software localisers in my country (which happened by total accident). One day, I received the very same 2000-word translation from 4 agencies. I did all of them of course, but was utterly confused (and actually slightly changed the wording in all of them). A few months later, Microsoft Corp. from Redmond (USA) called me asking if I was "one of the Fred Lessings" who did 4 out of the 11 tests they had sent to Portuguese agencies to see who could provide them with Language Quality Assurance services. As it turned out, all my 4 tests had score highest, and so in the end I became their Language Quality Assurance consultant, and a few years later their senior terminologist for European Portuguese.

Fred
(Sintra, Portugal)


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Ingo Dierkschnieder  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:42
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Down memory lane... Dec 7, 2005

My first translation job was about as exciting as Orla's, a translation of an air conditioner manual.

I am neither working for that translation agency nor the one after that but shortly afterwards contacted a translation agency that I knew from an in-house position at another translation agency (naughty or what?). They almost immediately gave me some work and are still my best client.


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Pablo Mayen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
A CCTV manual while I was still a rookie... Dec 7, 2005

It hadn't been but two weeeks since I finished my bachelor's degree and I got this call from a friend (thank God) to translate a 100-plus page manual of CCTV...and guess what. Rush job and stick to the format!:) (format of the document? What on earth was that?):(

However, after almost six days of no sleep and like a thousand trips to the office that requested the job to ask specific terms...well I did it. And it's been almost 8 years of that job and the customer stills sends me a regular flow of work.

PS. Why most of my peers in this profession have to start working on electrical/mechanical stuff?


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 16:42
You'll take anything when you start off... Dec 7, 2005

It's because we were newbies and didn't know any betterwe were willing & hungry enough to take any boring crap that came our way! You know how it is when you tell someone you're a translator, they think you laze around translating the most fascinating works of literature - yeah right!!

Mind you, I had already done technical translation & project management in-house for two companies and had studied it in university, so I was already familiar with translating such technical concepts etc by the time I went freelance.

[Edited at 2005-12-07 15:53]


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Paula Dana Szabados  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 18:42
Member (2005)
English to Romanian
+ ...
plastics processing Dec 7, 2005

My first one was in plastics processing: blow moulding and extrusion. A friend of mine had some operation manuals translated by someone I do not want to know and, as the translation was pretty funny, he needed the manuals retranslated. I still work with this company on a regular basis. So it was technical, too.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:42
Flemish to English
+ ...
T.I. and the military Dec 7, 2005

A translation in 1986 about cars for a start-up agency, called Translate International, now: Telelingua.be and for a Belgian military court in Germany (military service).
---


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:42
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
phone call Dec 7, 2005

After several calls by US telemarketers - who never can pronounce my name correctly, it mostly comes out like they are trying to get rid of a hairball - I was rather grumpy when I got yet another call from another person mispronouncing my name. My answer basically was: What do you want?
It turned out to be my first client, and since then I answer the phone very politely (at least initially)!

I don't quite remember what it was, something for a website. And I still work for this client.


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 10:42
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
An operator's manual Dec 7, 2005

This whappened when I had my first PC with Windows 3.1 (?) after my first job in-house had finished. I was given a hard copy of a large manual on the Engine, Electrical and Hydraulic systems for agricultural tractors. I kept me busy 30 days and 30 night(mare)s.

Best,

Elías


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Daniel Bird  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:42
German to English
By chance one afternoon at London's Goethe Institut... Dec 8, 2005

...spied a notice on the pinboard. Six months later I was still working for that tour operator. Ideal job for a rookie.
A friend of mine - also a translator in his time - said that one day we would look back at our early days in the game as 'a golden age'. Well, we could do four nightshifts a week and still find time to go clubbing so perhaps he was right.
Same friend had a thing for the daughter of an agency owner - umpteen years later I still get work from them.

[Edited at 2005-12-08 10:51]


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