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Off topic: Wanting to be a translator, How do I start?
Thread poster: dicek
dicek
English to Japanese
Nov 23, 2005

Hi, all.

I am a 28-year-old Japanese who lives in the SF Bay Area. I was born and raised in Tokyo, until I was 13 years old. I have completed my university education in the U.S. in the year 2000. I have been working various jobs since then, mostly retail; trying to find things I want to do for my life. Honestly, I haven't be able to find one yet.

I work in outdoor retail store, as a part-time sales person. Although the company I work for provide me with a great health benefits and good people to work with, I really don't make that much money, just above minimum wage. I make living out of this job and by playing online poker. Some of you may think this is funny, but I do make $700-$1000/month by playing online poker. I can make living this way, but this is not the life style I want for rest of my life.

After I spent some time doing research for the job I want, I concluded English-Japanese translation is the good place to start. I can use my Japanese skill. I may not be able to make living out of it, but it should pay better than minimum wage, and it might lead my life into other direction. That's what I want.

The problem is, I don't know exactly the best way to start. Hence I am writing this post. I will write pros/cons about me as an inspired translator including non-translation related knowledge/skills. And things I have done so far. Any comment is welcome. I know this post is not about translation, but if anyone of you can give me suggestion as to how to look translation jobs or resources on both online and off-line. That'll help me a lot. Thanks.


Pros:
- I am a native Japanese speaker
- My father is a Japanese writer working for various newspaper and magazines so he can answer my question about Japanese writing.
- I am a rock climber and I do have good knowledge of climbing related gear. After all, I did learn something by working in outdoor retail store for almost 5 years.
- I am a poker player and read dozen poker-related books and have good understanding of theory behind it.

Cons:
- I do not have professional experience as a translator.
- My English, especially writing, is not perfect.


Things I've done so far:
- Open yellow page and start calling local translation agencies. (No solid lead yet)
- Made this post.


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John Walsh  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 16:10
Member (2004)
Italian to English
. Nov 23, 2005

dicek wrote:


Pros:
- I am a native Japanese speaker
- My father is a Japanese writer working for various newspaper and magazines so he can answer my question about Japanese writing.
- I am a rock climber and I do have good knowledge of climbing related gear. After all, I did learn something by working in outdoor retail store for almost 5 years.
- I am a poker player and read dozen poker-related books and have good understanding of theory behind it.

Cons:
- I do not have professional experience as a translator.
- My English, especially writing, is not perfect.


Things I've done so far:
- Open yellow page and start calling local translation agencies. (No solid lead yet)
- Made this post.

You've already taken one of the most important steps by joining Proz, now you have to:
- write your profile
- answer Kudoz questions (train)
- go through the forums (learn)
- study
- do some volunteer work (translators4kids, local support, etc.)
That should keep you busy for a while.
btw - start contacting agencies when you have something to sell. You're not ready yet.


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Kurt Porter  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:10
Russian to English
+ ...
How Do You Start? Nov 23, 2005

dicek wrote:

Hi, all.

I am a 28-year-old Japanese who lives in the SF Bay Area. I was born and raised in Tokyo, until I was 13 years old. I have completed my university education in the U.S. in the year 2000. I have been working various jobs since then, mostly retail; trying to find things I want to do for my life. Honestly, I haven't be able to find one yet.

I work in outdoor retail store, as a part-time sales person. Although the company I work for provide me with a great health benefits and good people to work with, I really don't make that much money, just above minimum wage. I make living out of this job and by playing online poker. Some of you may think this is funny, but I do make $700-$1000/month by playing online poker. I can make living this way, but this is not the life style I want for rest of my life.

After I spent some time doing research for the job I want, I concluded English-Japanese translation is the good place to start. I can use my Japanese skill. I may not be able to make living out of it, but it should pay better than minimum wage, and it might lead my life into other direction. That's what I want.

The problem is, I don't know exactly the best way to start. Hence I am writing this post. I will write pros/cons about me as an inspired translator including non-translation related knowledge/skills. And things I have done so far. Any comment is welcome. I know this post is not about translation, but if anyone of you can give me suggestion as to how to look translation jobs or resources on both online and off-line. That'll help me a lot. Thanks.


Pros:
- I am a native Japanese speaker
- My father is a Japanese writer working for various newspaper and magazines so he can answer my question about Japanese writing.
- I am a rock climber and I do have good knowledge of climbing related gear. After all, I did learn something by working in outdoor retail store for almost 5 years.
- I am a poker player and read dozen poker-related books and have good understanding of theory behind it.

Cons:
- I do not have professional experience as a translator.
- My English, especially writing, is not perfect.


Things I've done so far:
- Open yellow page and start calling local translation agencies. (No solid lead yet)
- Made this post.


John has given some good advice. In addition, you should spend a lot of time going through the PROZ Article Knowledge Data Base:

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/categories/Business-of-Translation-and-Interpreting/Getting-Established/

Two associations have excellent articles on the translation profession. One American, one British:

1.http://www.atanet.org/
2.http://www.iti.org.uk/indexMain.html

I'm not saying you should become a paying member, but you should certainly read their articles. Both have certification exams.

Education is not a bad thing. With your poker winnings, you might even be able to fund an MA the Monterey Institute of International Studies

http://www.miis.edu/gsti-progs-degoverview.html

The bottom line is that you shouldn't go down this path just because you have skills in two languages. That doesn't make anyone an interpreter or a translator. You can make good money at either profession with time, but it's not a given. However, you'll also never get rich. You'll need to work hard at obtaining the required skills to do either job and you'll constantly be learning/improving, or at least you should be.

For me personally, primary motivations should include:
1. A strong desire to serve as a bridge between cultures and people.
2. A genuine love of languages. I still get tickled by turning a phrase from one language to another, realizing that I just nailed something in the target language that the audience will also appreciate. I just wish it happened more often!

Good luck in your research, studies and preparation.


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