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How can I get more work in my specialty area?
Thread poster: Sara Senft

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jul 6, 2008

I specialize in education translations. At first, I wanted to teach Spanish. But now I am tutoring native Spanish speaking kids in basic skills....reading, writing, math. Sometimes, I get a translation project to help out one of my co-workers who speaks little or no Spanish.

I know I am best off working in my specialty field. How can I get more work in it? It seems like there isn't much of a market for my field, though.

What do you suggest?


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Give it time and effort Jul 6, 2008

Hi Sara

I notice you just joined proz in May and that you only have two years'experience. I think you could give this some more time. Keep bidding for projects on proz and hopefully as you get more bids accepted and do work for agencies, the relationships you build with them will help you eventually get jobs in your preferred field. Work on the quality of your general translations for now and this will eventually build up your portfolio. You usually have to start general and then narrow down (although some people get lucky). That's life...!!

Good luck - you can do it!!


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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 21:26
English to Russian
+ ...
Try to contact school districts directly Jul 6, 2008

Hello, Sara,

I would suggest that you contact the local school district(s) directly. It takes a bit of a nerve to make a cold call, but remember - you cannot be shy if you market yourself.

Don't get discouraged if you get a now. As my marketing wiz friend says, "if you don't get a bunch of no's, you are not trying hard enough!".

They might tell you that they already have a regular translator. In this case, suggest that they contact you whenever their regular translator is not available.

Best of luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Go to the source.... or near the source Jul 6, 2008

Alexandra Goldburt wrote:
I would suggest that you contact the local school district(s) directly. It takes a bit of a nerve to make a cold call, but remember - you cannot be shy if you market yourself.


Absolutely. Schooling administrations or education departments, who are more likely to have a need for these translations. Maybe a call just to arrange a personal visit, and then a personal visit to get to know the people and so that they remember your face.

And/or: Try to locate and contact translation agencies who work for universities or high-schools and specialise in educational stuff. Websites of translation firms located in important univesity cities.


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- Carolina  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:26
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
I completely agree with Alexandra and Tomás. Jul 6, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder wrote:

Alexandra Goldburt wrote:
I would suggest that you contact the local school district(s) directly. It takes a bit of a nerve to make a cold call, but remember - you cannot be shy if you market yourself.


Absolutely. Schooling administrations or education departments, who are more likely to have a need for these translations. Maybe a call just to arrange a personal visit, and then a personal visit to get to know the people and so that they remember your face.

And/or: Try to locate and contact translation agencies who work for universities or high-schools and specialise in educational stuff. Websites of translation firms located in important univesity cities.


Also, be patient, persistent and brave; sooner rather than later, you will succeed.
Regards and good luck,
Asimenia


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good advice Jul 6, 2008

There is good advice from those who replied before I did, and I would add that it would even be a good idea to contact individual schools. School districts tend to be a bit bureaucratic so you can quickly get the brush-off there from some secretary, but school principals and school secretaries might be more receptive because they are on the front lines. And if work like translation needs to be "cleared" through the district, they can do the "clearing" for you.

Moreover, the school secretary is the one who answers the phone and talks to the principal, and you're in the system already. That is a big plus.

I can assure you from what I have seen that there is a great demand for educational type material, and there are even agencies that specialize in that kind of work. You might have to start with materials directed to parents, etc. but that is a start. Some of that work is being outsourced to other countries (cheap prices), but to translators who are often clueless as to the US educational system and the variety of Spanish used by the target population.

Of course your Spanish needs to be quite good, because coming from an educational institution, it needs to reflect the highest standards.


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Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
To Henry..RE: agencies Jul 7, 2008

Henry:

Could you give me a list of some agencies that specialize in this area? I would prefer agencies based in the USA, since that's where I live. (And I am most familar with how the USA's education system works!)

I just thought of another idea; Contacting Special Education organizations and offering to translate their materials.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agencies Jul 7, 2008

Hi, Sara,

Unfortunately I have no list, it is not my area, but I have seen references to agencies that work in the area of educational translations into Spanish. However, I recall no specific ones. Try some appropriate keywords in Google and do some research.

However, if I were you, I would shy away from agencies. I think most of them only want to pay peanuts. I have seen many Kudoz questions on the subject coming from countries I won't mention where rates are known to be low. On the other hand, the translators lack knowledge of how things work in US schools and the audience involved.

It would seem to be to your greatest advantage to find your own direct clients, perhaps close by. I would think that the Hispanic population in your area would be growing and the need would be unfulfilled.


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