how does one get some work to get started?
Thread poster: malloryknox
Local time: 11:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Oct 7, 2008

hello people!
I am brazilian, and i lived in the UK, where I married. I am currently living in Brazil.
I have an university degree in media studies, and am doing a special course in the translation field. I know portuguese and english. I work dealing with foreign investors and tourists from all over the world, but as translation has been my hobbie for over ten years I figured I could do that as a profession, which is what I´m attempting.
But how does a beginner get small jobs to get started? I need experience and I also need to find out if that´s really something that I want to do for real. Can anyone help me out?
Thank you very much

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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:35
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
Hope this helps Oct 7, 2008


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Luis E. Romero
Local time: 09:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jobs Oct 7, 2008

Most people try to contact translation agencies and start out that way.

My father works in Colombia and he put a small ad in the classified section of a local newspaper advertising his services. May you could try something like that as well. He also is a member of another online translation service website, which I'm not sure I can mention here, where you can make a profile and people can search for translators based on certain criteria.

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Local time: 11:35
Portuguese to English
+ ...
thanks Oct 7, 2008

Oh thank you that was worth reading!

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Specialise ! Oct 9, 2008


I would advise you to specialise.

Don't claim you're able to translate anything. Nobody is.

Identify the subject areas in which you are genuinely an expert translator, and emphasise them.

Most of the time, people looking for a translator have a specific type of document to be translated, which requires specific knowledge of that field. They won't hire just anyone.


Do not ever try to translate out of your mother tongue, into another language that isn't your mother tongue - no matter you fluent you may *think* you are in that other language. You probably aren't.


Build yourself a reputation by delivering excellent translations on time in a businesslike, friendly way. If you do, people will come back to you with more work.


Don't work for peanuts. If you accept a job at a low rate, you won't enjoy doing it and may cut corners to save time. Work out your own minimum tariff and NEVER accept anything less. You will find that you are constantly rejecting jobs that pay less, or rejecting prospective clients who show an interest and then ask you to reduce your tariff. Don't ever do that, because if you do, you're on a downward path to low-paid, poor quality, thankless work.


Never work without a Purchase Order. Clients expect you to ask for one, and you always should.


Focus on quality. You should always be making little improvements, learning better ways of working, enhancing your translating skills. Ultimately what gets you the work is not how cheap you are but how good you are.

[Edited at 2008-10-09 09:45]

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