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How to become a professional tranlator/interpreter? Need help!
Thread poster: Raul Benet
Raul Benet
English to Spanish
Jan 13, 2004

Hello there,

I have posted a similar message in the Spanish forum but I thought I’d post it here too, so I don’t miss any ideas/advice you can give me.

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Raúl Benet and I am Spanish. I now live in Valencia, Spain, but in the past I have lived 1 year in the USA (1987), 5 years in London (1998-2003) and a few months in France, where I have close family.

I am 34 and I am a telecommunications engineer. I have always worked in the IT market, never as a professional translator/interpreter, but I have always had a love for languages. I can speak fluently English, French, Spanish and Catalan.

This past 2003 I have done a few jobs as an interpreter, mainly through friends who needed somebody who could speak English. I really wasn’t looking for it, one day my phone rang and it all sort of snowballed from then on.

It all started when a solicitor friend of mine got an English client and he needed to understand what was that he had done. Quite important for a good defence, we both thought! J So he called me up, I talked to the guy and we got him 3 years –out in 18 months if good conduct- as opposed to the 16 years that the attorney was asking for. Not bad. I liked the experience, I made money and I helped somebody. Don’t worry, he is no public menace, he didn’t hurt anybody, just a lost kid who did a few stupid things while he was high on drugs.

A few weeks after that I got my big break as an interpreter. Again, a friend needed an English Spanish interpreter. Only this friend was in charge or bringing The Doors –yes!! The bloody DOORS!!-- to their only Spanish concert in their 2003 tour. So I was in charge of simultaneously translating all their interviews with the Spanish press. And I was getting paid for it!!! And in the evening I got to see the concert for free of course… and in the backstage area, hanging out with the boys!! J

Oh, to think that many translators/interpreters spend years and years translating boring books about tractor mechanics and DVD instruction leaflets and I, on my second job as an amateur interpreter, I get to meet THE DOORS!!! If there are any music lovers out there, you know what this means.

After that wonderful experience I have done another job as interpreter, but nothing like The Doors experience of course. However, I have enjoyed all on them. And since I never like the IT market much I thought that it would be quite nice if I could make a living as a translator/interpreter. Hence this post.

I would appreciate ideas or advice on how to become a professional translator. Do I need to be certified? I guess I do, don’t I? Does certification change across countries? Is it all the same if I become certified in Spain or in the UK? I know in Spain there is a 5-year translation degree, but I can’t drop everything just now and go back to Uni to spend 5 years in Translators School. Any nice, cheap, fast, good courses I can take? Maybe an online one? What are your experiences? What should I do, giving my background? Any ideas/advice are very welcome, specially the Spain-related ones, as I am living here now.

If you still haven’t committed suicide by reading this post, thank you!!

Raúl Benet


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
I hate you. Well, perhaps not :) Jan 13, 2004

Raul Benet wrote:
A few weeks after that I got my big break as an interpreter. Again, a friend needed an English Spanish interpreter. Only this friend was in charge or bringing The Doors –yes!! The bloody DOORS!!-- to their only Spanish concert in their 2003 tour. So I was in charge of simultaneously translating all their interviews with the Spanish press. And I was getting paid for it!!! And in the evening I got to see the concert for free of course… and in the backstage area, hanging out with the boys!! J
Raúl Benet


Again, I hate you The DOORS, for God's sake!

Anyway, even when I'm dying of envy, will try to answer some of your questions. About certification, the answer is mostly no. You don't need a certification to become a translator, but some clients ask for it. You can take additional courses at the Uni, or to read books about translation theory -there are quite a lot, both in print and in the internet. A lot of people here have degrees in fields other than translation, and it hasn't been a problem.

I started a thread about this same subject some time ago, here:

http://www.proz.com/topic/12154

If you act professionally, you are a professional, even without a certification.

Also, there are a lot of threads here in ProZ that I'm sure will answer your doubts. You can use the Search box at the left of your screen.

[Edited at 2004-01-13 18:08]


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:22
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I am green with envy! Jan 13, 2004

Okay, besides my green envy smoke clouding my computer, here it goes: Start by making yourself a good CV with all these experiences(The Doors, the Legal stuff, etc.) featuring prominently. Also highlight your IT background.

Even though you do not like the IT business, there is a lot of translation work in that branche, so advertise yourself in that area as well. Perhaps by doing some cold-marketing by sending your cover letter with CV to a couple of companies. An ad marketing yourself in a local business paper might help as well.

Regarding courses. Search on the Web for some translation courses that you can take on-line or a certificate in translation at a local university. It would be difficult to spend 5 years studying, but it would help you to get some translation background. Furthermore, take some small business management courses (if you can) to give you some baggage when you have your own translation set up.

You may also wish to do some free translations/interpretations for your local church or other charitable organisation. Those also look very good on CVs.

Well, that is what I can think off at the spur of the moment.

Good luck and welcome to our neck of the woods.

Lucinda


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hyperbaric
English to Spanish
Joder tio! podria haberlo hecho yo. Jan 13, 2004

Solo saludarte y decirte que como la persona que trajo a los DOORS a españa se llama Lorenzo y su colega Ivan, pues supongo que los conoces. Lo que me ha echo pensar, que si le hubiese dicho algo a ivan podria haber sido yo y no tuuu el interprete. En fin, asi es la vida. Bueno chico, me alegro por la oportunidad que tuviste y supongo que si has llegado hasta aqui no tendras mucho problema en conseguir lo que quieres.
En cuanto a las posibilidades de formacion en el tema te dire que en la UNED hay un curso o master (no recuerdo muy bien) que te da la titulacion de "Especialista en traducciones Ingles-Español" o algo asi, lo mire hace mucho tiempo. Creo que con eso y tu titulo de ingeniero, tendras mas que suficiente para presentar alguna acreditacion, siempre y cuando te limites a tu area de especializacion.
Un saludo y suerte,
hiperbarico
Raul Benet wrote:

Hello there,

I have posted a similar message in the Spanish forum but I thought I’d post it here too, so I don’t miss any ideas/advice you can give me.

First, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Raúl Benet and I am Spanish. I now live in Valencia, Spain, but in the past I have lived 1 year in the USA (1987), 5 years in London (1998-2003) and a few months in France, where I have close family.

I am 34 and I am a telecommunications engineer. I have always worked in the IT market, never as a professional translator/interpreter, but I have always had a love for languages. I can speak fluently English, French, Spanish and Catalan.

This past 2003 I have done a few jobs as an interpreter, mainly through friends who needed somebody who could speak English. I really wasn’t looking for it, one day my phone rang and it all sort of snowballed from then on.

It all started when a solicitor friend of mine got an English client and he needed to understand what was that he had done. Quite important for a good defence, we both thought! J So he called me up, I talked to the guy and we got him 3 years –out in 18 months if good conduct- as opposed to the 16 years that the attorney was asking for. Not bad. I liked the experience, I made money and I helped somebody. Don’t worry, he is no public menace, he didn’t hurt anybody, just a lost kid who did a few stupid things while he was high on drugs.

A few weeks after that I got my big break as an interpreter. Again, a friend needed an English Spanish interpreter. Only this friend was in charge or bringing The Doors –yes!! The bloody DOORS!!-- to their only Spanish concert in their 2003 tour. So I was in charge of simultaneously translating all their interviews with the Spanish press. And I was getting paid for it!!! And in the evening I got to see the concert for free of course… and in the backstage area, hanging out with the boys!! J

Oh, to think that many translators/interpreters spend years and years translating boring books about tractor mechanics and DVD instruction leaflets and I, on my second job as an amateur interpreter, I get to meet THE DOORS!!! If there are any music lovers out there, you know what this means.

After that wonderful experience I have done another job as interpreter, but nothing like The Doors experience of course. However, I have enjoyed all on them. And since I never like the IT market much I thought that it would be quite nice if I could make a living as a translator/interpreter. Hence this post.

I would appreciate ideas or advice on how to become a professional translator. Do I need to be certified? I guess I do, don’t I? Does certification change across countries? Is it all the same if I become certified in Spain or in the UK? I know in Spain there is a 5-year translation degree, but I can’t drop everything just now and go back to Uni to spend 5 years in Translators School. Any nice, cheap, fast, good courses I can take? Maybe an online one? What are your experiences? What should I do, giving my background? Any ideas/advice are very welcome, specially the Spain-related ones, as I am living here now.

If you still haven’t committed suicide by reading this post, thank you!!

Raúl Benet


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
Animo... Jan 14, 2004

Eso de las puertas no lo entiendo mucho, pero si le echas los kilos al asunto vas a salir adelante, te lo aseguro. A mí se me hace que tienes pasta...

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louisajay
Spanish to English
+ ...
Interpreting/Translating Jan 14, 2004

Raul,

As I notice you are not far from Catalunya, have you considered the University of Vic's Summer Translation Programme? There are details here http://www.uvic.es/fchtd/especial/en/vstp.html and you might find it useful. The university also does Masters courses in Conference Interpreting, and other translation certificates, which do not involve fulltime studentship. Their llicenciatura can also be done parttime. Alternatively, you could consider doing the IOL DipTrans by distance learning (http://www.iol.org.uk/qualifications/exams_diptrans.asp) which would be recognised in many countries as an acknowledgement of your translation ability.


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 21:22
English to French
+ ...
Edwal, Jan 14, 2004

Edwal Rospigliosi wrote:

You can take additional courses at the Uni, or to read books about translation theory -there are quite a lot, both in print and in the internet.


can you advise one or two books on translation theory, or even the bible of it ? I am really very interested.


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louisajay
Spanish to English
+ ...
Theory Jan 15, 2004

there are several very widely-used books but Peter Newmark's A Textbook of Translation, Mona Baker's In Other Words, Hervey and Higgins' Think Translation and Hatim & Mason's Discourse and the Translator and The Translator as Communicator are all a good start! That's of course if you're after English books.

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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:22
English to Spanish
+ ...
From the top of my head Jan 15, 2004



can you advise one or two books on translation theory, or even the bible of it ? I am really very interested.


Let's see. One of my favorites is "Introducción a la Traductología", by Gerardo Vazquez-Ayora. ISBN 0-87840-167-9. Others are "A linguistic theory of translation", by Catford; "The Art of Translation", by Savory; and Becoming a Translator" by Douglas Robinson.

I've heard about The Translator's Handbook, by Morry Sofer, but I haven't read it yet.

About Internet, there are some great websites with useful information. One of my favorites is

http://www.linguabase.com/tips.html

There are others, commercial ones, but I don't know if i can post them here.

Regards

Edwal

http://www.proz.com/home/4951/

Oops. I forgot La Linterna del Traductor. here it is: http://traduccion.rediris.es/

[Edited at 2004-01-15 15:46]


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