Mobile menu

Advice desperately needed!
Thread poster: xxxjussieray
xxxjussieray
Spanish to English
Dec 20, 2005

Apologies to all and sundry...don't mean to sound like a drama queen, but I'm wondering whether to persevere with translation...

I'm 32 (although don't see how that's really relevant) and graduated in September with an MA in Translation Studies from a good, red-brick university in England. Why can't I get an in-house translation job? The reason I don't want to go freelance straight away is because, quite simply, I'm not experienced enough and don't want to harm my reputation by pretending to be so.

One factor could be that I haven't seen a single in-house position using Spanish-English (my language combination) in Britain!! This I don't understand seeing as Spain's economy has never been better, the country's been in the EU for donkey's years now, and Britain and Spain enjoy quite a bit of trade together! It's mostly French, German, Japanese, Dutch and Arabic on offer for trainee translators or project managers in the UK. I'm sure if I lived in the US or Canada, Spanish translators would have a better time of it...but please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Could it also be my age? As repulsive to think it is, many companies might have it in their heads that a woman my age has nothing but babies on her mind. I was so desperate at one point, I was even thinking of putting 'Single, childless and sterilised' on my CV!!! However, this would be pandering to their disgusting prejudices, akin to putting something like WASP in your personal profile, which I don't intend to do.

Should I go to Spain? Would I stand a better chance simply because there are fewer native English speakers resident there who have an MA from a British university? I realise, of course, that there's no guarantee of getting a job wherever I go. I am willing to accept that getting an in-house job is hard work and difficult. However, no-one told me that it would be nigh impossible.

Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

Chocolateisurfriend



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-12-20 11:32]


Direct link
 

Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 11:23
Just wondering... Dec 20, 2005

What happened to your fellow classmates? Did they get in-house jobs or get alternative language-related jobs? Have you spoken to the university's career officer? Do you have any commercial contacts from the time you lived in Spain that may be able to give you a lead?

Orla


Direct link
 
xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:23
German to English
+ ...
Advice desperately needed! Dec 20, 2005

jussieray wrote:

I'm 32 (although don't see how that's really relevant) and graduated in September with an MA in Translation Studies from a good, red-brick university in England.


Congratulations! (Yes, I do mean it!)

The reason I don't want to go freelance straight away is because, quite simply, I'm not experienced enough and don't want to harm my reputation by pretending to be so.


That's very wise. I had five years' experience in-house, and wish I had had more.

Why can't I get an in-house translation job?


Because there aren't an awful lot of them about.

One factor could be that I haven't seen a single in-house position using Spanish-English (my language combination) in Britain!!


Voilà.

This I don't understand seeing as Spain's economy has never been better, the country's been in the EU for donkey's years now, and Britain and Spain enjoy quite a bit of trade together!


I gather that the status of foreign languages in the UK is going from bad to worse. In a country that seems to think that the rest of the world should and does speak its language, there will be understandable reluctance to pay someone good money to translate into and out of "foreign".

Could it also be my age?


I think this is unlikely. Logically, that would make women who already have older children very attractive to employers. Is that the case in the UK? (It certainly isn't here in Germany.) It would also only be a factor if an employer were envisaging investing in training you further in some way; as I say, my impression is that UK businesses have a problem seeing much need for investment in languages skills at all, and probably expect recruits to bring any necessary skills with them.

Should I go to Spain? Would I stand a better chance simply because there are fewer native English speakers resident there who have an MA from a British university?


In a word, yes. Not just because you would be competing with fewer similarly qualified people for more translation jobs; my hunch is that you would be happy in a wide range of jobs in administration or industry that would satisfy your desire to work with languages simply because you would be working in a different culture and linguistic environment. Doing so would not prejudice your entering translation later, either - quite the reverse.

It doesn't have to be Spain, either: Spanish gives you a wide choice of destinations.

Marc


Direct link
 
Mary Lalevee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:23
French to English
Go to a Spanish-speaking country Dec 20, 2005

I worked in France for a while and there were quite a few F/E in-house positions, here in the UK they are very few and far between. I think you should move to Spain and work there for a few years if you possibly can, I'm sure there will be more positions there. Here in the UK, I'm sure there are many English people who think they can understand Spanish so they don't need a translator (so they think). In a Spanish-speaking country that won't be the case, and English will be the language needed by all international companies in the country.

I'm sure, for instance, that Japanese companies in Spain will need documents in English not in Japanese, like in France.

Good luck!

PS I was taken on as an in-house translator in France at the ripe old age of 44!

[Edited at 2005-12-20 14:15]


Direct link
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:23
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Whatever you do, don't give up! Dec 20, 2005

Try some other job for a while. It pays for the Christmas presents (and more mundane things in the New Year). Try to find something where you meet people, but a few in depth are probably better than lots superficially. Build up a network - you never know how far it will spread.

Spain or the UK - Spain might be easier, I honestly don't know. You can always learn more Spanish, however much you know already, just by keeping your ears and eyes open.

Learn the jargon or terminology of your job in both languages, and try free-lancing anyway if you can find a job or two you feel confident about. They're not all high-risk or difficult - you can learn the ropes on standard correspondence and 'general texts', and branch out gradually.

Attend a pow-wow or two and perhaps find a mentor who would proof-read for you, maybe not every time, but would help with advice when needed. (I've never met one of my best mentors, but we mail and phone regularly, and I am not exposed to her chain-smoking Now the advice goes both ways, and it is not always translation-related!)

Keep looking for the in-house job - but don't wait for ever.

I was 48 before I got into translating properly - but I had started out in librarianship and strayed through several other jobs. It need not have taken that long if I had kept my eye on the ball, and it was frustrating at times, but looking back, I have no real regrets.

Best of luck!


Direct link
 

Alp Berker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:23
Turkish to English
+ ...
Major demand in the USA for Spanish Dec 20, 2005

There is a major demand for Spanish here in the States, I know a number of friends who make their living by doing this combination. You also have easy access to Latin America if you need it. The rates may not be as high in Europe, but there is plenty of work here in the States.

Direct link
 

Marian Greenfield  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not quite... Dec 20, 2005

Alp Berker wrote:

There is a major demand for Spanish here in the States, I know a number of friends who make their living by doing this combination. ....


There is indeed lots of Spanish to English work here in the U.S., but not a lot in the way of in-house jobs, except as project manager at translation companies. They do exist, but are not easy to come by.


Direct link
 

Marian Greenfield  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:23
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
totally agree with Marc Dec 20, 2005

I have to say I agree 100% with Marc Prior... and I'm speaking from the vantage point of the U.S. market... where I have 25 years of experience, 20 of them in-house, mostly as Manager of Translations at JP Morgan, and where I'm President of the American Translators Association, so I know the market pretty well.

Get thee to Spain if you want more opportunities for in-house Spanish to English positions.

The other issue is what other experience you bring to business... There are more opportunities for in-house translators (at least here in the U.S.) specializing in finance, legal, pharmaceutical, medical and technical translation than in most other fields.

Some translation companies do hire generalist in-house translators, but most hire project managers to outsource translations....

jussieray wrote:

Apologies to all and sundry...don't mean to sound like a drama queen, but I'm wondering whether to persevere with translation...

I'm 32 (although don't see how that's really relevant) and graduated in September with an MA in Translation Studies from a good, red-brick university in England. Why can't I get an in-house translation job? The reason I don't want to go freelance straight away is because, quite simply, I'm not experienced enough and don't want to harm my reputation by pretending to be so.

One factor could be that I haven't seen a single in-house position using Spanish-English (my language combination) in Britain!! This I don't understand seeing as Spain's economy has never been better, the country's been in the EU for donkey's years now, and Britain and Spain enjoy quite a bit of trade together! It's mostly French, German, Japanese, Dutch and Arabic on offer for trainee translators or project managers in the UK. I'm sure if I lived in the US or Canada, Spanish translators would have a better time of it...but please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Could it also be my age? As repulsive to think it is, many companies might have it in their heads that a woman my age has nothing but babies on her mind. I was so desperate at one point, I was even thinking of putting 'Single, childless and sterilised' on my CV!!! However, this would be pandering to their disgusting prejudices, akin to putting something like WASP in your personal profile, which I don't intend to do.

Should I go to Spain? Would I stand a better chance simply because there are fewer native English speakers resident there who have an MA from a British university? I realise, of course, that there's no guarantee of getting a job wherever I go. I am willing to accept that getting an in-house job is hard work and difficult. However, no-one told me that it would be nigh impossible.

Any advice would be sincerely appreciated.

Chocolateisurfriend



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2005-12-20 11:32]


Direct link
 

LuciaC
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:23
English to Italian
+ ...
Also wondering... Dec 20, 2005

If you search 'translator' in toplanguagejobs.co.uk, for instance, you get a lot of jobs where two SL are required. So I am just wondering whether the fact that you only have one language, even if you know it very well, might be a disadvantage for you. I suppose that looking for a job abroad might be a good move.

Best wishes,
Lucia

[Edited at 2005-12-20 16:07]


Direct link
 
Lluc Potrony Juli�
Local time: 12:23
English to Catalan
+ ...
Don't go to Spain -phantom economic growth: bad salaries Dec 22, 2005

I'm Spanish looking for works in Barcelona where there are a lot of agencies. It's difficult to find good fees. Spanish politicians say that Spanish economy is going well -for the topmost burgeois. the 70% of the "young" people (between 18 and 35 y.o.) don't earn 1000 euros a month. They are called "mileuristas" bacause of that. These people include young translators of course Translation agencies are doing like any other enterprises: they offer bad salaries, if the do offer jobs. The economic growth is based on not paying enough to most "young" people. They cannot get established because the bad salaries and the real state economic buble.

Go to Spain if you do have a job there already.

Good Luck


Direct link
 

Sonja Allen  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:23
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Don't just look for pure translator's jobs Jan 4, 2006

Not only pure translator's jobs can be useful. I worked for three years in the customer service department of an investment firm in the UK looking after our German clients. As we had to answer quite a lot of very tricky questions about investments, funds etc., we received very good training in all investment matters. Thus I gained valuable expertise in that field which I think is at least as important as gaining translation experience. From time to time, I was also asked to translate some documents or letters into German which was good practice! Dealing with German clients in German on the one hand and reporting back to my managers in English on the other also required me to be fit in all the investment terminology in both languages and be able to express the issues as well in English as I did in German. So more or less this was nearly like translating itself.
All in all this was a good opportunity for a beginner and a good springboard. So don't shun jobs that do not list translation as the main task in their description.
Good luck with your job hunt.


Direct link
 
xxxjussieray
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Jan 4, 2006

I just want to thank everyone for taking the time to post advice for me. Your expertise is greatly appreciated!

Am currently widening my scope and looking at project managemenet positions.

Chocolateisurfriend


Direct link
 

Richard Cook
Spain
Local time: 12:23
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm in Spain, working as an in-house translator Feb 20, 2006

I'm a graduate of Spanish with an MA in Linguistics, and I was working as an electronic dictionary editor in London (for iFinger) until the office was forced to close through lack of investors.

I found myself being forced back down the IT avenue through a lack of language-related jobs, but was coming up against extremely stiff competition (I was in web development for two-and-a-half years, before joining iFinger for a further two-and-a-half years).

An opportunity to rent a room in Granada presented itself, so I went out there to try my luck. Within about two months (I arrived in mid-summer) I managed to land a translation job of sorts, joining the ranks of the "mileuristas". However, I used that as a stepping stone and found a better in-house translation job, and am now taking home over €1,200 each month.

I should add that Granada has a reputation for being a difficult place to find decent jobs, but I still managed it. Perhaps if you went to a larger city you would have more luck (Madrid or Barcelona).

Try looking on http://www.infojobs.net, but bear in mind that most employers will expect you to be resident in Spain, indeed in the province where the vacancy is advertised.


Direct link
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Advice desperately needed!

Advanced search


Translation news





Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »
SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »



All of ProZ.com
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs