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freelance translator - proof of knowledge
Thread poster: Wouter Vanhees

Wouter Vanhees  Identity Verified
Belgium
English to Flemish
+ ...
Sep 6, 2006

Hello everybody,

I'd like to start working as a freelance translator, from English into Dutch which is my mother tongue. I have a job, so this translation work would be part time, in the evening and during weekends. I've studied in English for some time, have a master's degree (but not in languages), and have some professional experience of writing texts in Dutch. So no, I don't hold a translator's degree, and I know that this might be a major drawback. Now, it's not realistic in my situation to go back to school to study for such a degree. However, I would at least like to be able to prove that my knowledge of English is good enough. Would a certificate from TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge ESOL be sufficient for this? I would prefer to take the Cambridge ESOL exams, and then more specifically the Certificate of Advanced English, or the Certificate for Proficiency in English. Do you think such a certificate is worth it in my situation? Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance for all your comments and replies!


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:51
English to French
+ ...
LOI Sep 6, 2006

Hi,

You can always follow the HBO Vertaler Engels of the LOI, which is quite complete and offered through distance education (at your own rythm). Of course, that's if you wouldn't mind going "back to school".

Just a thought,

Marie-Claude


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
EN reading skills / Dutch writing skills + translation training Sep 6, 2006

wv64212 wrote:

Hello everybody,

I'd like to start working as a freelance translator, from English into Dutch which is my mother tongue. I have a job, so this translation work would be part time, in the evening and during weekends. I've studied in English for some time, have a master's degree (but not in languages), and have some professional experience of writing texts in Dutch. So no, I don't hold a translator's degree, and I know that this might be a major drawback. Now, it's not realistic in my situation to go back to school to study for such a degree. However, I would at least like to be able to prove that my knowledge of English is good enough. Would a certificate from TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge ESOL be sufficient for this? I would prefer to take the Cambridge ESOL exams, and then more specifically the Certificate of Advanced English, or the Certificate for Proficiency in English. Do you think such a certificate is worth it in my situation? Any other ideas?

Thanks in advance for all your comments and replies!




The fact that you will translate to your mother tongue and that you already have writing experience in Dutch is valuable, to start off with.

If you think your EN is deficient, you probably should study it, but the fact is an ability to read texts to decode them and encode them into your own language is a translation skill more than a language skill, i.e. you need to focus on reading skills in EN and writing skills in Dutch, and also the intermediate translation process.

So, you might do better to get some basic training in translation techniques (assuming your EN is adequate). There are a number of shortish, distance courses, in preparation, for example, for the IOL Diploma, which is widely recognised and mostly likley includes the DUTCH-EN option.


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 12:51
French to Dutch
+ ...
Train yourself Sep 7, 2006

These days you find lots of training material in the two languages on Internet.
Some examples to begin with:
- annual reports of multinationals
- uers'guides of hardware companies
- software guides
- games

Take the English version and translate it for yourself. Then look at the Dutch version and ask yourself why the translator(s) worked in this way. At the same time, collect and make bilingual glossaries in Excel.

Buy some good dictionaries and books about some basic subjects (food, the human body, bolts and nuts, etc.).

Good luck.

[Edited at 2006-09-07 08:56]


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Sonja Allen  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:51
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Cambridge Exams are not enough Sep 7, 2006

Many years ago, when the Institute of Linguists still restricted the participation in their translator exams to people with a degree in the source language or who have lived in the country of the source language for at least 5 years, I enquired there, if they would recognise the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in some way. They told me at that time that they rate this Certificate no higher than an A-Level. I would therefore recommend that you get some proper translator training. There are distance learning options which should be possible for you to manage.
As to trying to do translations in the evening and weekends while holding down a full-time job, I would not recommend this if you seriously want to get into translation. Don't want to say it is impossible but you would restrict yourself only to taking on small jobs with a generous deadline of which there are probably not very many. Most of the jobs I get for example are either the 4000 word job to be done in 2 days(which means working flat out on these days) or the small 500 word jobs to be done the same day (client rings in the morning and wants it by 3 pm). I can't really see how people can manage this while being at work all day.
Maybe doing the distance learning course will also give you a flavour of what it is like to manage another obligation on top of your full-time job.


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Wouter Vanhees  Identity Verified
Belgium
English to Flemish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Sep 7, 2006

Thanks everyone for your valuable input!
I'll look into those distance translation courses.
If anyone else would like to add some useful tips, please go ahead.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I am confused.... Sep 10, 2006

wv64212 wrote:

I've studied in English for some time, have a master's degree (but not in languages), and have some professional experience of writing texts in Dutch. So no, I don't hold a translator's degree, and I know that this might be a major drawback... However, I would at least like to be able to prove that my knowledge of English is good enough....
I would prefer to take the Cambridge ESOL exams, and then more specifically the Certificate of Advanced English, or the Certificate for Proficiency in English....
Do you think such a certificate is worth it in my situation?


According to your profile, you provide consecutive, simultaneous and whispering interpretation.
If that's the case, why do you think you would benefit from the above exams? Why is your confidence so low when it comes to translating?

On the other hand, lots of people start translating part time, and carry on for years before taking the step to become full time independent translators. You can but try, see if you really like it, train yourself as NMR says and get some feedback on your efforts.

After a few month assess your progress and productivity. If you think you can make it and still feel very positive about it, carry on learning and practicing, and start looking for work to see how it goes.


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Wouter Vanhees  Identity Verified
Belgium
English to Flemish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
interpretation Sep 11, 2006

Dear Juvera,

I think you have me mixed up with someone else. I'm not an interpreter at all, and as far as I can see (just checked it) it doesn't state that in my profile.

I only want to provide translation services, no interpreting.

I just wanted to get the Cambridge CPE to show that I do have a sound knowledge of the English language. It's true it wouldn't say anything about my translation capabilities, but it would at least say something about my knowledge of English.


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Re: interpretation Sep 11, 2006

wv64212 wrote:

I think you have me mixed up with someone else. I'm not an interpreter at all, and as far as I can see (just checked it) it doesn't state that in my profile.


Dear wv64212

Well, its there. Your profile is very sparse, so probably that's why I noticed it. If you hover over the language pair on the left hand side, "services offered" comes up with all sorts of goodies.

I have to confess, that I didn't see this on my profile either before, but now I checked it and mine is offering two different set of services. I have no idea, how it was edited, I'll have to look into it.

Both of us are the "victim" of the variety of things offered for inclusion to our profile by the site.

You may want to ask a question on the forum about editing it, unless you are able to find it quickly.


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