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Thread poster: Clair Johnson
Clair Johnson
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Nov 6, 2003

I am completely new at this whole thing. I graduated last year in Latin American Studies, have near fluent Spanish and Portuguese, and have spent a total of two years living and stdying in Latin America.
I am looking to become a translator or interpretor and am lost as to what to do now.
Should I look to doing a Masters, or another specific qualification???
How do I register with an agency?
How do I get my first jobs?
Thanks for your help!


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xxxTransflux
Local time: 13:12
French to English
+ ...
Study for a MA Nov 6, 2003

clairjohns wrote:

I am completely new at this whole thing. I graduated last year in Latin American Studies, have near fluent Spanish and Portuguese, and have spent a total of two years living and stdying in Latin America.
I am looking to become a translator or interpretor and am lost as to what to do now.
Should I look to doing a Masters, or another specific qualification???
How do I register with an agency?
How do I get my first jobs?
Thanks for your help!


Hi there

Being bilingual or fluent in several languages is not enough in itself. I know many people who can easily switch between several languages, who are far more fluent than I. But they are rarely excellent in one language and their writing skills suffer the more languages they know.

I did an MA in Translation after a language degree which really helped me get a feel for translation and take it up as a career. I think if you are going to be taken seriously you should do an MA. Otherwise you need to have professional knowledge in a specialised area as well as your language skills.

Anyway, best of luck


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:12
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
A similar thread Nov 6, 2003

http://www.proz.com/topic/15571

You might want to read what others have already said about your question.
Hope this helps and Good Luck!
And a big welcome to ProZ.com
Monika

clairjohns wrote:

I am completely new at this whole thing...


[Edited at 2003-11-06 17:43]


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Jeremy Smith  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:12
French to English
+ ...
Me too - sort of Nov 6, 2003

clairjohns wrote:

I am completely new at this whole thing. I graduated last year in Latin American Studies, have near fluent Spanish and Portuguese, and have spent a total of two years living and stdying in Latin America.
I am looking to become a translator or interpretor and am lost as to what to do now.
Should I look to doing a Masters, or another specific qualification???
How do I register with an agency?
How do I get my first jobs?
Thanks for your help!


It's true that it's not enough solely to be bilingual, but you presumably did a fair amount of translation during your degree course, otherwise you wouldn't be considering such a career move. Doing a Masters in translation would undoubtedly go in your favour, but doing a Masters is also costly. I managed to get an in-house job in a translation agency to give me a decent amount of experience, and have only just gone freelance in the last few weeks. I would like to be able to say that I have burst onto the freelance scene, but that would not be entirely accurate. I am finding that those elusive fist jobs are only trickling in very very slowly, and I'm spending most of my time trying to market my services. You can find agencies by the wonderful power of Google, the Yellow Pages, payment practices lists (there's a Payments Practices group on Yahoo - a quick search will bring up the URL). Gaining a foothold in the industry will, I strongly suspect, be a long hard slog. But the rewards, both financial and personal, will be worth it. Good luck!


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 14:12
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
The first language comes first Nov 7, 2003

The better you know your first language the better you will be as translator.

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xxxPaulaMac
French to English
+ ...
Translate into English only Nov 7, 2003

Hi, I noticed that you offer translation into French and Portuguese, but yet say that you are "near fluent" in those languages - not good enough, I'm afraid! You'll do much better working into English only. All it takes is one lousy translation (which you have an almost 100% chance of producing if you are only "near fluent") and the clients will stay away in droves. Focus on your strength - English - and don't handicap yourself by offering a service that you cannot provide as well as native speakers.
PMac


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mbc
Spain
Local time: 13:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don´t do translate into a non-native language Nov 10, 2003

PaulaMac wrote:

Hi, I noticed that you offer translation into French and Portuguese, but yet say that you are "near fluent" in those languages - not good enough, I'm afraid! You'll do much better working into English only. All it takes is one lousy translation (which you have an almost 100% chance of producing if you are only "near fluent") and the clients will stay away in droves. Focus on your strength - English - and don't handicap yourself by offering a service that you cannot provide as well as native speakers.
PMac


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mbc
Spain
Local time: 13:12
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don´t translate into non-native language Nov 10, 2003

I agree with Paula. I live and work in Spain and the majority of my work is just correcting translations into English done by non-native speakers. I speak Spanish and Catalan all day, everyday with my friends and family, but I will not translate into these languages. Let your clients know that you write English well-- that´s going to be your most important skill in the long run.

Cheers.


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