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How can I get translation experience?
Thread poster: Helena Cuñado

Helena Cuñado
Germany
Local time: 14:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dec 6, 2008

Hello to everyone!
My question is very simple:
How can I get translation experience? I am looking for jobs, I do not mind working for agencies or as freelance, but I never get anything. I guess the reason is my lack of experience, but how will I get experience if I do not get jobs? I have registered as volunteer translator for some sites and organizations, but even there they also prefer experienced translators! I have also offered myself as stagiaire or similar, this means that I would even work for no wage if at least I could work in what I like!! But it is useless!
I am first degree in translation and interpreting studies, I made language courses abroad and all I got in three months was a ridiculous 100 words job and one test (and I even got no answer)!! Companies don't even bother to send me samples to translate as they see my references. I have registered in some translator's sites as Proz, but well, I am not rich, and I can only afford paying membership to one of them.
So, if you please could tell me about your own experience, your education, your training, whatever you think may be helpful, I would be very very very very thankful.
Thanks to all of you for your attention. It is very nice to see in these forums how translators help each other (what I saw while taking my degree was quite different).
Thank you once again.
Have a nice day
H.


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Andrei Yefimov  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:29
English to Russian
+ ...
translate, translate, translate Dec 6, 2008

Hi,

All you need to do is translate, translate, translate. There is no other way, believe me.

Best,
Andrei


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xxxwonita
China
Local time: 08:29
What is experience? Dec 6, 2008

How would you, and the agencies, understand experience?

I started out in the translation business with 2 years of experience, because I studied languages and the last 4 semesters were about translation and interpretation. I told the potential clients with good conscience that I already owned much experience in the field of literature, business correspondence etc, which I had done plenty of excercise at the university. If I had been asked, I would have honestly explained how I understood "experience", though it had never happened.

When I got my first enquiry for a translation job in the tourism branch, I was asked the same question:" Do you have experience in translating such materials?" I offered them such an answer:"I am a certified tourist guide", which was accepted as my translation experience in the tourism field.

I participate actively in KudoZ, where I do gain deep insight in fields I have never translated. If asked, I would say "Yes, I have experience in that field. I even know some of the toughest terms..."


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:29
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Only by translating ten thousands of words Dec 6, 2008

Andrei Yefimov wrote:

Hi,

All you need to do is translate, translate, translate. There is no other way, believe me.

Best,
Andrei


And why not start right away with some Wikipedia articles in your favourite subjects?

Just do it,
Gerard


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Helena Cuñado
Germany
Local time: 14:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Translating Wikipedia Articles Dec 6, 2008

Hi Mr Noord

I had already thought that translating Wikipedia articles would be a really good experience (and also a pleasant one). But I think that I do something wrong when trying to select an article to translate. Maybe should I contact the Wikipedia team to apply as translator? I am already translating for gospeltranslations, but most articles are quite similar.
Thank you all for your answers and your time.
Best regards
H.


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:29
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
More experience Dec 6, 2008

Carvallo wrote:
Click on the image.
I did that and you wrote: Try to learn more programms. That's a mystery to me because Wunschmerz asked how he could get more translation experience.

Wunschmerz, even if you are applying as a practical trainee (stagiaire = french?) you should point out your potential and what is so special about you, cause there are a 100 other guys out there, I guess.
Maybe it's possible for you to find a direct client with very easy text types. How about visiting an exhibition with a bunch of business cards?
Good luck!
Steffi


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:29
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Good Suggestions Dec 7, 2008

[quote]Carvallo wrote:

Click on the image.

These are excellent suggestions. Participating in the Kudoz questions is very educational. In addition, I think you could describe yourself a little bit better. How come you know German, Dutch, and Spanish - where did you learn? What experience do you have in your specialty areas? And yes, as Carvallo points out, you need to narrow them down to the ones you really know a lot about. If you can attract people via your profile, or refer to your profile when you apply for jobs, you may get the jobs you need to gain more experience. Meanwhile, do as much volunteer translation as you can. Translate articles from magazines or newspapers and ask someone to review it for you or review it yourself after a week or so - you'd be amazed at how much you can learn from that.


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Anna Sylvia Villegas Carvallo
Mexico
Local time: 07:29
English to Spanish
Message to Tuliparola Dec 7, 2008

Tuliparola wrote:
Carvallo wrote:
Click on the image.
I did that and you wrote: Try to learn more programms. That's a mystery to me because Wunschmerz asked how he could get more translation experience.


Hi Steffi.
That's additional. I quote one of Wunschmerz' complaints: "I am looking for jobs, I do not mind working for agencies or as freelance, but I never get anything."

Wunschmerz almost broke my heart with such a complaint. So, I'm suggesting her to learn more programms (software) such as Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, PageMaker, Adobe Acrobat Pro, QuarkXPress, etc., and apply for jobs requesting these.

Many of us started with little or no experience, but did an extra effort in order to getting jobs accordingly.

By the way, I can see you work with few translation tools. That's Ok if you feel comfortable the way you do it.

Cheers.


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Helena Cuñado
Germany
Local time: 14:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Try to learn more programs Dec 7, 2008

Yes, I have also thought about that, but don't I need an official and expensive version of the programs to work with them? Trados, which I think is the most required, costs about 800 Euros, how can I afford that? Right now I am working with a demo. Is it legal to work with demos or do I have to purchase the official version when getting started? Since I get no jobs even to support my basic needs, how will I afford the purchase of all these software? If someone can tell me if the use of demo programs, or programs downloaded from the Internet, is legal, I would be very thankful.
Thanks for your comments.
Have a nice Sunday


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:29
German to English
+ ...
How can I get translation experience? Dec 7, 2008

If you have more time than money at your disposal, try OmegaT, which is free and provided by volunteers.

You could also volunteer your services to the OmegaT project, and kill two birds with one stone.

Marc


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Learning programs: Read what we have here Dec 7, 2008

As you have probably found out by now, we have different forums for different topics here and most CAT programs along with a few non-CAT applications have their own support forum here.

As far as CAT demos (and freebies) are concerned, just to name a few:

Deja Vu X: fully functional demo for 30 days
MemoQ: fully functional demo for 60 days and more interesting offers
Wordfast: timeless demo with limited features, but nevertheless useful for small projects
OmegaT: open source software available at no cost
Star Transit: free available Transit Satellite PE editor for client-prepared projects
Across...

You should also make yourself familiar with OCR software and if you think about freelancing, shop around for bookkeeping solutions. All of that is part of the experience.

[Edited at 2008-12-07 11:27 GMT]


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
And yes.. it is legal Dec 7, 2008

It is perfectly legal to use demo versions that are officially offered on the providers' websites. AFAIK, Trados does not offer a demo version anymore, so I am not too sure about that. But that would be rather a question for the SDL Trados Support forum.

[Edited at 2008-12-07 11:39 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:29
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Nice way of giving profile feedback Dec 7, 2008

Good screenshot with feedback, Carvallo. Aside from the fact that I agree completely with the suggestions on it, I think it's simply an efficient way of getting the message across.

Something else our colleague might consider is ditching the anonymity. I can't see how that would be helpful in this case.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 13:29
Concentrate on DE and NL Dec 7, 2008

I'd think you'd get more work concentrating on your DE-ES and NL-ES language pairs. As you probably know by now, the EN-ES is a pretty big pond and there are many people before you in that queue.

Also, you could pick up some work over the Christmas period when other translators are on holidays.


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