Mobile menu

starting in the business of translation - help
Thread poster: nacima
nacima
Spain
Local time: 00:39
Spanish to French
+ ...
Mar 20, 2009

Hi everyone,

I am not a usual forum user so I do apologize if this post does not have its place here.
I am French, living in Spain and working as an employed secretary. Most of my job consists in translating documents of all sorts from Spanish to English (occasionally to French) and vice versa and also to communicate with our foreign clients. I am not a professional translator, however, I have been contacted to make some translations (in this case of a website connected to tourism) from Spanish to French and to English and since this would be a first for me I would appreciate if you could advise me on anything you may think of (usual proceedure between translator and client, price practices whether it be a website, technical documents, simple documents, per word... - in which cases do I have to ask for reference materials? In technical translations does the client provide with a glossary? Do I have to ask for it? Anything you can think of about work format?... as you can see, this non exhaustive list of questions shows how inexperienced I am. I have always done translations but always whithin my professional activities first as a teacher and now as a secretary, but never as an independant job. For now I won´t do it as my main source of income since I already have a stable job that leaves me enough free time to work on something else, but I would like to know the rules of the business.

Thanks beforehand for your attention and for your advice,

Nacima


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Susan Welsh  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:39
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
The site has lots of useful information Mar 20, 2009

There is a ton of information already on this site, but it's not easy to orient yourself. Learn now to do a Forum search under the topic you chose, "Getting established." Also, if you watch the Forums for a week or so for topics that interest you, many of your questions will discussed.

There is a user's guide to the site at:

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/262/1/ProZ.com-Translation-User-Manual

Read the Frequently Asked Questions at:

http://www.proz.com/faq

Most of this is stuff you probably don't want to know right now, but take a look anyway.

One thing you will learn from the FAQ is that rate information for different language pairs is only available to paying members of the site.

Good luck,
Susan


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:39
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
I ask you. Mar 20, 2009

Reminds me that only last week I was thinking of becoming a professional diver, taking people down to visit coral reefs off the coast of Mexico, or Bournemouth, Corfu, Madagascar, wherever, because I've done some diving and snorkelling and I've always been interested in the sea. Ah, the sea, the sea. My old dad, now, he was a bit of a sea dog, and he used to take me out in his boat around Rathlin Island and tell me the names of fish, show me how to navigate using only the stars, that sort of thing. How I chuckled as I looked back on those happy days, and I wondered vaguely about how much I should charge for my new-found profession - should I charge just a little to begin with, a laughable pittance, to attract some custom as I get into the swing of things, since I wouldn't be doing it very well to start off with? Are there any rules?, I mused. Would I be treading on anyone's toes? Could it be that I'm out of my depth here with this diving lark?, I tittered to myself.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A crash course on translation? Mar 20, 2009

That's my advice: even if you use both languages fluently in a business environment, translation takes a lot more. I strongly recommend that you take some course on translation to better understand the pitfalls and things to consider, before you make mistakes that cost you your first customers. Good luck!

Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 19:39
French to English
+ ...
Love it! Mar 20, 2009

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Reminds me that only last week I was thinking of becoming a professional diver, taking people down to visit coral reefs off the coast of Mexico, or Bournemouth, Corfu, Madagascar, wherever, because I've done some diving and snorkelling and I've always been interested in the sea. Ah, the sea, the sea. My old dad, now, he was a bit of a sea dog, and he used to take me out in his boat around Rathlin Island and tell me the names of fish, show me how to navigate using only the stars, that sort of thing. How I chuckled as I looked back on those happy days, and I wondered vaguely about how much I should charge for my new-found profession - should I charge just a little to begin with, a laughable pittance, to attract some custom as I get into the swing of things, since I wouldn't be doing it very well to start off with? Are there any rules?, I mused. Would I be treading on anyone's toes? Could it be that I'm out of my depth here with this diving lark?, I tittered to myself.




Direct link Reply with quote
 

KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 23:39
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Get a book and read it Mar 20, 2009

nacima wrote:
... as you can see, this non exhaustive list of questions shows how inexperienced I am.


Not to mention the probable failure to browse the extensive archives. Get yourself a nice "offline reference" or two or three and read it/them.

For the business aspects, Oleg's book isn't bad, and it's entertaining: http://www.proz.com/books

Or there's the classic book by Alex Eames: http://www.translatortips.net/ht50.html

Or Corinne McKay's book

For translation training stuff, you might look at some of the volumes used in university courses, such as the "Thinking XXX Translation" series, where XXX is the language. For French, Spanish, etc.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:39
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
So, how's the diving going, Mervyn? Mar 20, 2009

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Reminds me that only last week I was thinking of becoming a professional diver, ... and I wondered vaguely about how much I should charge for my new-found profession


Are you still hanging around the ProZ forum, or have you swum off?

I imagine you will take months if not years to arrive at your decision - putting together a business plan, obtaining qualifications, doing market research, arranging to be legally registered as a freelancer in your field of business, ...

Seriously, Nacima, the decision to be a freelancer translator needs to come before the offer of work, as you have clearly understood. You have been working in a completely different environment. Employers seem to expect employees to provide translations at the drop of a hat. I teach English in France, and many of my French students (at pre-intermediate level and even lower) say that they are expected to translate from AND INTO English, or TEACH English. I've been here for 13 years now and I would NEVER accept money for a translation into French (although I've done favours in return for a locally-produced bottle - with no guarantees of a perfect text).

If you really want to become a freelance translator, then you need to get a basic translation qualification, find out what needs to be done to set yourself up in business in Spain, decide on specialities (I'm sure you couldn't translate every text), speak to accountants, business advisors, tax officers, etc, ...

By the time you've done all that, you'll probably have answers to most of your questions and, if you're still set on the idea, you can set yourself up as a Spanish/English to French translator.

Good luck and stay active on ProZ - it's a worthwhile place to meet other language specialists - and keep answering KudoZ questions - it's interesting; enlightening when your peers agree/disagree; and of potential use if you do turn professional.

PS TO PROZ STAFF: Do I qualify for any BrowniZ points for that last comment?

[Edited at 2009-03-20 20:27 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:39
Member (2009)
French to English
Thinking XXX Translation Mar 20, 2009

I can vouch for Thinking French Translation. It is amazingly thorough and the exercises get much more complex as you get further into the book. However, it does not discuss the business side of translation or the use of CAT tools at all.

For the original poster, since you do some translation at your day job, try working up an estimate based on your hourly rate. At least then you will know that it is worth your time.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:39
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Good advice, Jenn Mar 20, 2009

Jenn Mercer wrote:
since you do some translation at your day job, try working up an estimate based on your hourly rate. At least then you will know that it is worth your time.


Much better idea than asking other people. Each one of us translates at our own pace, and we all have slightly different ideas of how much money we need to earn to make a living. Both these calculations are essentially personal ones, although you also have to bear in mind what the market will permit. The only way to arrive at a figure is to calculate (a) how much you can translate in an hour, how many hours per week, etc (bearing in mind that there's admin to be done, plus holidays etc); (b) how much money you need to earn to cover ALL your expenses (professional and personal) and then have enough left over to enjoy life; then (c) calculate from the above figures how much you need to charge per word.

That's the theory, anyway.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

sarandor  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:39
English to Russian
+ ...
Another excellent book Mar 20, 2009

I read this book a couple of years ago when it was still available for free on the internet as a series of articles:

'Translation as a Profession' by Roger Chriss

http://www.amazon.com/Translation-as-Profession-Roger-Chriss/dp/1430301333/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1237581023&sr=1-2

In my opinion, it's one of the best books for those who want become freelance translators. Highly recommended!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

CristinaPereira  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:39
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Translators come out of somewhere... or not Mar 20, 2009

It seems to me you’re on the right track, since you have some years of practical experience in the language field. I don’t know if you have a degree, if you can guarantee top quality in your native language (French, in the case), but if you do, all for the better. Since you say you’re not thinking of translations as your main source of income, I think you should take advantage of the opportunity that was given to you and see what happens. Just do your best and if the client comes again it usually means they liked it. Then, if you’d really like to consider this career path seriously, of course you'll have to bear other things in mind, such as defining your rates, considering CAT tools use, marketing yourself, etc. But if you have been given the opportunity to do this particular project and you think you have the skills and time to do it, I don't see any reason why you shouldn’t do it.

As to your more practical questions, you’ll have to discuss that with the client (I guess this is a direct client, not an agency?). Maybe they don’t know better, too. In your case, I would ask for reference material, if any, general instructions and, for the price, well, you may have an idea since you have done it before. Usually the price is per word.

Good luck,

Cristina


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 00:39
Member (2009)
English to Croatian
+ ...
The sea boy Mar 22, 2009

Mervyn Henderson wrote:

Reminds me that only last week I was thinking of becoming a professional diver, taking people down to visit coral reefs off the coast of Mexico, or Bournemouth, Corfu, Madagascar, wherever, because I've done some diving and snorkelling and I've always been interested in the sea. Ah, the sea, the sea. My old dad, now, he was a bit of a sea dog, and he used to take me out in his boat around Rathlin Island and tell me the names of fish, show me how to navigate using only the stars, that sort of thing. How I chuckled as I looked back on those happy days, and I wondered vaguely about how much I should charge for my new-found profession - should I charge just a little to begin with, a laughable pittance, to attract some custom as I get into the swing of things, since I wouldn't be doing it very well to start off with? Are there any rules?, I mused. Would I be treading on anyone's toes? Could it be that I'm out of my depth here with this diving lark?, I tittered to myself.


Mervyn,

You are the top ProZ narrator.... looks like a happy childhood to me, just sailing around with your dad and learning about the sea.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
nacima
Spain
Local time: 00:39
Spanish to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
starting in the business of translation - help Mar 23, 2009

Dear All,

Thank you so much, to all of you, for your prompt replies and your advice to which I will certainly dedicate some time, searching, learning and above all browsing this site as some of you said that many of my questions have probably been answered already here. I do appreciate your cooperation in this.
Mervyn, I have to add my name down on the list of those who have loved your post. Thank you.

Nacima


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:39
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks, Nacima Mar 23, 2009

I must say my mood has mellowed somewhat since that first post, and your largesse does you a lot of credit. Those who told you to study it up first were more on track. I am sure you will go far.


Mervyn


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

starting in the business of translation - help

Advanced search


Translation news





Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs