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The poorest translator on earth.
Thread poster: Silvia Calderón

Silvia Calderón  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nov 23, 2004

Having read my fellow translators' comments about job opportunities, tools, salaries and so on for some time, I have come to the conclusion that I'm the poorest translator on earth.
To begin with I don't have a computer of my own (I use the one in the office), I don't have access to most of the tools translators use all over the world, and what is even worst, being a translator in this part of the world (Patagonia, Argentina) means that you can only get a job as a biingüal secretary or administrative clerk. The nearest Professional Association is in Buenos Aires, and even there translators' rates are incredibly low.
The only good thing is that from time to time I can read this Forum I see what's going on out there.
Silvia.


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:38
Dutch to English
+ ...
Poorest translator Nov 24, 2004

Hi Silvia,

But the view must be incredible!

Good luck and hope you get your own PC soon,
Marijke


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 21:38
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Not the poorest Silvia Nov 24, 2004

Although I agree that there might be lots of richer translators, there also must be out there translators who have no computer, far from everything, with low wages but who don't know Proz.com yet. And that's a huge difference.

Silvia, look at the positive side of that, fill your profile, contact colleagues from Buenos Aires, be in the move as much as you can. I hope that you'll soon be able to have your own computer. Don't worry about the tools if you're thinking of CAT tools. Many very experienced translators don't use them.

If you have Internet access and know Proz.com you're not isolated any more, you've found a door to the world.

Welcome

Claudia


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Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:38
Member
English to Turkish
Howtos Nov 24, 2004

Dear Silvia,

Please take a look at the Howtos (above, under the Community menu). I remember a fascinating article by one colleague on how to establish freelance business with a very very small capital(including tips for PC and computer programs). It should be classified under "Getting Established". Just enter the Howtos page and scroll down.

I wish you the best of luck


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 04:38
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Its a global trade Nov 24, 2004

No matter where one lives. If I would depend on jobs from Finnish clients I'd have starved already years ago. For native Spanish translators the whole world is open.
But I know things are bad in Argentine and banks give no loans. Hope you'll find a way forward soon.
Regards
Heinrich


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two2tango  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:38
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
You sound defeated. You shouldn´t Nov 24, 2004

Patagonia is just a place. Places are not so important in this cyber age. Just look above my posting, answers from friends living in Chile and Germany, and the UK, and Finland.

Think big. You may get great jobs though Internet. But first you must believe you can. Forget about being "the poorest". You have brains and skills, this is no small stuff.

Improve your ProZ.com profile, add your CV, just make it your window. Participate in KudoZ, not to amass points but to answer wisely and have people notice it. Participate in fora and show that you can write and have your own ideas.

Network!, network!, network! This is the magic word that brings jobs. This place is based on networking, and it works!

Read the fora and the "how to", there is a lot of shared experience here. Participate in our Spanish forum, make friends, and ask for help, for information, for tips....

Just feel positive, think positive, act positive.

Enrique


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Heike Reagan  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:38
Member (2004)
German to English
You'll get there.... Nov 24, 2004

No, I'm sure you're not the poorest translator on earth!
I agree with the previous postings - don't let the lack of your own computer get you down! Try to improve/add to your CV, and do all you can to introduce yourself to everyone, sent out resumes, answer to job postings, etc.

in cyberspace it really doesn't matter where you're at! We can all communicate within minutes with each other, from USA to Argentinia!
Besides, things are different all around the world - yes, you can buy a computer here within a few minutes, but paying the credit off... now, that's the hard part!
If you can use the computer at work, that's fine! You can do what's needed and have access to it. That's what counts. Your clients don't need to know it's "borrowed", now do they?

P.S. I wish I could speak spanish, I just read in the newspaper here in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that qualified english-spanish translators are in high demand......

[Edited at 2004-11-24 05:10]


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 03:38
English to German
+ ...
Pool up your resources and abilities and get ready Nov 24, 2004

Always look on the light side of the life - Rgds,Brandis

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Lorena Grancelli  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:38
English to Spanish
Cheer up!!! Nov 24, 2004

Patagonia is an incredibly beautiful place.
I wish I could live there!!!

You know what, almost 8 years ago I had no PC of my own, only one or two dictionaries, and I worked for an experienced translator who paid me almost nothing. I had to take a bus and the train to get to her house and take her a diskette and a printout. Almost no earnings at all!!
I did that for a while, till one day I decided to work on my own and charge more. I became a freelance translator and marketed myself from the beginning. There are many tips for that. You may find many in ProZ.

When you find places like ProZ, plenty of nice people to share things with and plenty of tools and resources, you feel you are not alone.

I suggest you should read previous "getting established" postings, try to get your own PC (maybe in installments?) and then try to market yourself. Build an appropriate resume, get some experience, get in touch with people from other provinces or even other countries, offer your translation services to translation agencies, etc.

Get in touch with me if you want any advice/help.

Lorena


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Marea
Paraguay
Spanish to English
+ ...
I share your thoughts and experience- but don't stop : Keep going Nov 24, 2004

Hi Silvia, I just want to say that I completely agree with your comments and thoughts on the difficulty of progressing in the translation industry in developing countries, especially here in South America. Having worked here in Asuncion, Paraguay, as a public translator for national and multinational companies, I can definitely say that wages are way low compared to other places, work seems to be never ending, and nothing just seems to compensate. Here in Paraguay, there are no associations at all, very few translators, and very few people who know about ProZ.com. Translation resources, such as computer technology, specialized dictionaries, etc. are very scarce or otherwise notably expensive. So there you are...another person who feels just the way you feel. However, I am currently planning to make my own translation webpage- the first of its nature here in Paraguay, and with the adequate advertising and marketing, everything will hopefully get back on track. So my advice to you is to keep going: jobs as bilingual secretaries and/or administrative clerks can serve as experience, but don't stop there. Innovate. Advertise yourself. Wishing you the best of luck,
Regards.


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Silvia Calderón  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 22:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks. Nov 24, 2004

Thank you all for your nice words of comfort and advice.
Silvia.


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Ruxi
German to Romanian
+ ...
Silvia, you are not the only one Nov 30, 2004

I don't want to start here a place of tragedy, but Silvia's message showed me once again how unfair the world is, including the one of translators.
I am sure there are a lot of poor translators in this world, in the poor little countries and that they are good.
When reading the complaints of our colleagues here about "low" prices and so and refusing jobs because they don't offer a certain price, I feel often angry and whish sometimes people should be brought to the cruel reality which they don't know, or already forgot.
Now, you all here try to encourage Silvia and speak about the dear colleagues on ProZ. You also give theoretical advice.
What shall we dou with advice which don't work?
I think we should find a real way to help our poor colleagues.
Like in a market economy we have here very reach and successful translators and very poor and unsuccessful ones.
Why couldn't we put our forces together and help each other?
In the German forum it was a suggestion we could largely apply:
Those who have so many jobs and offers they are not able to accept anymore, or are to busy for a time (having a baby, or other urgent problems), or are tired a.s.o, could offer those jobs to the ones who are free.
This way they don't lose clients, the clients are happy to get their translations done and some other translators can get out of poverty.
Just think of it.
Many clients don't come on ProZ, or on Internet sites, they are already acustomed to some agencies, or translators. So for other translators jibs are rare and they can not find a market, not even to promote themselves, or show what they able to do.
Giving only advice is like seeing somebody drowning in a water and you just sit in a boat and say: "You must swim and do that and that", but not give a hand.
What people here need is a fair competition and an open market.
Starting with discriminations like:
- only native speaker are good/allowed
- only platinum jobs
- low prices mean bad quality
- people in small, poor countries don't translate good so pay them lower prices,
- only CAT allowed a.s.o

do only create a wall between people and make an unfair and unreal selection of translators.Poor people, from small, poor coutries are instantly being eliminated and have no chance.
Culture and other fields are interesting in each country. Why not translate them and show them to the world.
Many people in the world would be so interested to read books about the culture and life in different regions, their traditions, history, poems, tales, a.s.o and they are not being translated: meaning Argentina and the whole South America, India, Iran, Arabian countries, Afrika, China,Japan, Eastern Europe a.s.o.
Editors and publishers are not doing anything for it.
We could for instance make on this site a list of works which could be translated, which we find interesting and useful to translate and we could sent them to editors all over the world.
There are a lot of potential jobs for translators, only the will to offer and pay them is lacking.
And the most important: jobs have to accessed by everyone and offered to everyone.
I know it sounds somehow like comunism, but it is unfair only a fe translators should always be called for jobs.
I also wonder if those teams on PROZ are still alive and could accept new members. They would also be a help.

Silvia, you are not the only one. 3 years ago I had no computer and Internet at home and I was not allowed to work private at the the office or use Internet for private interests. I used to have some translation jobs, many done on paper.Today I have an old computer my husband has build of pieces,Internet, no CAT and no jobs, no money, but I have skills, certificates, languages on board and talent.And all this in Germany year 2004.Why wonder of Patagonia?!
People let's do something concrete!Your colleagues are really drowning!

Ruxi


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xxxtr.
Local time: 03:38
English to Italian
a good idea Dec 1, 2004

Ruxi wrote:
Culture and other fields are interesting in each country. Why not translate them and show them to the world.
Many people in the world would be so interested to read books about the culture and life in different regions, their traditions, history, poems, tales, a.s.o and they are not being translated: meaning Argentina and the whole South America, India, Iran, Arabian countries, Afrika, China,Japan, Eastern Europe a.s.o.
Editors and publishers are not doing anything for it.
We could for instance make on this site a list of works which could be translated, which we find interesting and useful to translate and we could sent them to editors all over the world.


That would indeed be great. Have a look at this:

http://www.wordswithoutborders.org/

from the "about us" page:

Few literatures have truly prospered in isolation from the world. English-speaking culture in general and American culture in particular has long benefited from cross-pollination with other worlds and languages. Thus it is an especially dangerous imbalance when, today, 50% of all the books in translation now published worldwide are translated *from English,* but only 6% are translated *into* English.

Words Without Borders undertakes to promote international communication through translation of the world's best writing--selected and translated by a distinguished group of writers, translators, and publishing professionals--and publishing and promoting these works (or excerpts) on the web. We also serve as an advocacy organization for literature in translation, producing events that feature the work of foreign writers and connecting these writers to universities and to print and broadcast media.


I think it would be great if more initiatives like that sprung up.


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