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