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Never translated professionally, really would like to...how? (New twist on old question)
Thread poster: Anna F.

Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
May 20, 2003

Hi all,

this is my first post and I\'ve only been surfing this site for a week now...

At times I feel like I could stay here forever because there are so many interesting pages to read and always something new to learn!



Well, I guess it\'s my time for questions now...hope you won\'t be bothered.



I\'m a beginner. I\'ve never translated professionally and really would like to do it but...how?

I know, the board is full of similar-related posts but, thing is, I still have questions (I read your answers and am not totally \"satisfied\").

For example,

Gillian Noameshire suggested to use agencies and get experience..

All the agencies I\'ve contacted told me \"we\'re sorry, you have no previous experience\"...



Charities...ok but which ones? how can I contact them and ask if they need any translation(I\'m in London, \"london calling\")?



And...how can I write a CV and Covering Letter considering my experience level is O?



Also...how can i improve my writing skills which seem to be particularly important?(any book or web site to suggest?)...I wanted to take a course in journalism but, I confess, my self-esteem is not that high so I am scared I would just waste my money...

Still, I know having a certificate from the London School of Journalism would be of great help for my CV.



Well, I do appreciate all the advice you will provide me with!



Anna



Ps I\'m looking for basic glossary in Literature and fine arts in English and Italian,again, any suggestion? (I\'m getting lost in the \"GlossPost\" section!!!


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
my way: May 20, 2003

I started my career simply by passing a translation test in an agency and working and learning there for two years.

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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 07:10
Partial member (2002)
English to Italian
+ ...
What would you like to translate? May 20, 2003

Anna,

What you would like to translate? Are you interested only in art/literature (according to the key words you indicated in your ProZ.com page) or in other subjects as well?

If you are interested only in art/literature, then your target is Italian publishing houses. Very difficult to get in, as you probably already know. A master in literary translation (there are quite a few programs here in Italy) would be very useful especially because you get in contact with people who actually work in publishing houses.

If you are interested in other subjects, then you could start taking a course for preparing the IOL (Institute of Linguists) examinations. Several British universities organize such courses. IOL is a very respected body. You should also start thinking about specializing in some fields such as legal, marketing, software, finance, medicine, etc.

As for improving your writing skills in Italian, I found this Web site quite useful: www.mestierediscrivere.com



Laura


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Flora Iacoponi, MCIL  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
glossaries May 21, 2003

Hi Anna,

I\'m not a freelance translator yet (I\'m still working in-house) so I can\'t really help you with tips on how to start, how to find customers etc..However, if you\'re looking for glossaries on art/literature there\'s a very rich glossary section at www.biblit.it as well as tips on courses, schools and how to become a literary translator (even if they say there that it\'s very hard)..Also, the website suggested by Laura is excellent, really worth a thorough reading..Buona fortuna

Flora


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
German to English
+ ...
Translating for charities May 21, 2003



Charities...ok but which ones? how can I contact them and ask if they need any translation





Try the Pluto group at

http://lists.pluto.linux.it/



Marc


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Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
...to go further May 21, 2003

Cara Laura,

ti ringrazio per i consigli che mi hai dato e per l\'indirizzo del sito web.

Vorrei pero\' trovare dei siti che mi indichino anche come migliorare il mio inglese, credo che portare avanti le due cose insieme potrebbe risultare particolarmente utile. Infondo non si finisce mai di imparare!



Mi chiedi se ho altri campi di specializzazione..non lo so..potrei dirti che sono un\'appassionata di musica, che mi diletto ad usare il computer studiando programmi etc ma da qui a ritenermi in grado di fare traduzioni specifiche..non lo saprei...

inoltre, in molti consigliano di offrire dei samples alle agenzie...ma, again, io non saprei da che parte iniziare non avendo esperienza e non sapendo quale sia il corretto approccio alla cosa.



Altri consigli??



Grazie



A.


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Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
English Charities -Londo based- May 21, 2003

Hi Marc,

thank you for the link but I think I should find English charities first because I am in London now so...


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Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
in-house May 21, 2003

Hi Flora,

Thank you for your answer and advice

the website you suggested is terrific!!!



you said you are not a freelance translator yet, may I ask you how you started?

I don\'t even know if I should be a freelance or in-house translator...lack of experience..!(



cheers

A.


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Flora Iacoponi, MCIL  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
Besides... May 21, 2003

being in London is a big advantage (in my opinion)...Try this link http://www.city.ac.uk/languages/dt.htm for courses on translation (both distance and regular) and keep your eyes open for jobs as a junior translator or something involving a bit of translation, for a start (you\'re more likely to find such positions in London than in Italy). ciao

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Flora Iacoponi, MCIL  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
How I started... May 21, 2003

I was a bit lucky at the beginning I must admit, because I found a job as an in-house translator with very little previous experience in translation. As I said before, this is more likely to happen in the UK or in Ireland than in Italy so I would keep my eyes open..As regards the cv, if you don\'t have any specific experiences in translation, I would try to highlight all those skills that could be useful in a translation job. For example when I applied for this job, I had done only few technical translations but I had skills in web design, multimedia and computers in general and that helped a lot...

ciao

ps: I\'m writing in English in case other people are interested in this topic..


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Mónica Machado
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:10
English to Portuguese
+ ...
being in London should be a plus May 21, 2003

Hello Anna,



In my opinion you should try to find an in-house positions. Not that difficult in London area. Do try to focus on translation companies and contact them to see if they are in need of somebody with your qualifications. If you know computers enough, it might be easy to find some DTP work for a start - if that is in a translation company it might be a start. Some companies need people in the holiday period as well, so it might be a good idea to try that as well.



I have worked in-house in a translation company (London area) and in my opinion that is the best start you could have.



All the best

Mónica





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Anna F.  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:10
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
"not enough" May 21, 2003

Hi Monica,



Well, to be honest I contacted all the translation agencies I found in the yellow pages..I sent my cv etc. Still they were all saying that not having experience (most of the times they were asking for 2 years experience!) they already had somebody else more qualified and experienced.

this is one of the reasons why I feel disappointed about the matter.. who can one get experience necessary to find a job if nobody gives him/her chances??

that\'s ridiculous!



any specific agency or suggestion?

(somebody mentioned \"charities\"...I\'m contacting them as well but small ones don\'t go \"outside\" and big ones already have all the people they need...)



A.


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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
An idea... May 21, 2003

...I don\'t know how useful this suggestion will be as I too have not \"officially\" started a translation career (although I do have some experience) but I was thinking, why not look for translators in your area, and in your language pairs, and offer your services on a voluntary basis. Someone may be willing to take you under their wing and let you help out a bit with translating, and looking up terminology - plus it would give you some experience.

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Domenica Grangiotti  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
English to Italian
+ ...
One suggestion May 22, 2003

If you - like everybody else - need to work to earn your living then my suggestion is to also try and find a (possibly) interesting job not necessarily in a translation agency.

My experience: I worked for 11 years in the Technical Dept. of a multinational Company in Italy: English was the official language for all documents to be circulated in the Group so I spent 80% of my time translating/ writing in English AND I developed a strong background in electrical engineering and electronics.

Have a look around and examine a wider range of possibilities. Tha\'t my advice.

The best of luck.

Domenica


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:10
German to English
+ ...
Experience May 22, 2003

It is normal, in any profession or vocation, first to obtain training (either by study, or in an apprenticeship, or by some other means), then to work as an employee, before perhaps becoming self-employed.



Translation is no different. Except, perhaps, in that there are a number of skills involved: good writing skills in the target language, a sound understanding of the source language, the actual techniques of translation, subject knowledge, business practices, computer skills, etc., and some of these skills, most in fact, can be obtained without formal translator training. That does not alter the fact that the skills have to be acquired, and knowledge of a foreign language is only one of them.



Once acquired, the skills still have to be honed. Even with formal training and qualifications, very few translators will be capable of working immediately to a high standard, consistently and reliably. Would you let an electrician with no experience rewire your house? Or a dentist with no experience drill your teeth? Ouch! Even two years\' experience, under the guidance of a more experienced colleague, is still very little.



So far, you haven\'t mentioned your qualifications. What training do you have? If none, I strongly advise you to get some formal training. You are ideally placed to do so, as others have said. If you have training but no experience, a good approach is to work in another area (preferably an area in which you are dealing with written language) whilst at the same time practising your skills by translating on a voluntary basis. In the Internet age, it shouldn\'t be too difficult to find worthy causes who would benefit from an Italian translation which they would otherwise be unable to justify paying for - web sites of international charities, open-source documentation, etc. Nor is there any reason why these \"customers\" need be in London, or even in Europe.



Sorry if this sounds hard, but my opinion is that it takes more to become a translator than simply living in a foreign country and learning the language.



Marc



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