Off topic: Excerpt from a blog: "Want to turn your language skills into a career?" Uncalled for?
Thread poster: ViktoriaG

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:40
English to French
+ ...
Oct 28, 2006

The following is an excerpt from a blog:

Mt. Airy, MD July 19, 2004 -- Do you want to turn your language skills into a career? Would you like to be your own boss? Have you been looking for a business opportunity that allows you to work at home? For a freelance translator, the answer to all three of these questions is "Yes." If you are among the growing number of people interested in starting a freelance translation business but aren't quite sure how to go about it, foreign language communications guru Denise Russell has written the downloadable e-book just for you. This no-nonsense, step-by-step guide is entitled Turn Your Second Language Into Ca$h: Seven Essentials to Becoming a Successful Translator. The download the book, go to "Anyone who speaks another language in addition to English needs to look at the income-earning potential of becoming a freelance translator," says Russell.

If you're interested, you can read the rest at:
You will need to scroll to find the article.

I just have one question. Don't we already have enough incompetent people to deal with in translation? Did we need such smart advice? What kind of people will this "advertisement" attract and what could the consequences of this be on the industry? I already have a hard time having someone appreciate my work and take it seriously - hence, the payment troubles we all face sooner or later.

What do you think?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2006-10-28 10:55]

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Joost Elshoff  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:40
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Says enough about US translation policy Oct 28, 2006

If such a thing exists. Seems to me that people in the US (sorry for the generalization) don't think much of what skills a competent translator should have.

And if this lady says anyone in the US speaking more than one language should try to become a freelance translator to earn big sums of cash, I seriously doubt she has any knowledge of what truly goes on in translation.

Seems to me she's more of a money making guru than a language & communication guru.

Nearly everybody here knows it takes more than just knowing a language to become a translator/interpreter. But people attracted by this ad/blog will definitely not have the right motives/training/education/skills/experience to do the job.

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Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:40
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Even scarier Oct 28, 2006

Search the Web for information on this person. She is in the business, and successfully so. It is hard to believe someone of her stature is implying that speaking other language qualifies you for the translation business.

Then, again, maybe the book has legitimate advice for those who, having the necessary skills —which go beyond just speaking another language, are interested in the translation business. Maybe it is just a poorly phrased and unfortunate sales pitch.

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Claudia Krysztofiak  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:40
English to German
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Just another of those opportunities to become a self-made millionaire Oct 28, 2006

I am sure there are lots of people without a job who are desperately looking for an honest way to get out of their current situation and earn some money.

To me, this seems to be just another of these smart offers for such desperate people. Books like this and even more so ads like this promise heaven to get at the little money these people still call their own. Usually, the only ones who may earn a living from these kinds of books are the authors or publishers.

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Ivana de Sousa Santos  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:40
French to Portuguese
+ ...
My opinion Oct 28, 2006

I think that all of this is for the profit of the book's author because we know, or most of us know, how hard is to get established, to find clients, and once established the competition we face sometimes with proofreaders who want our place as translators (yes, it happened to me) and all the requirements some companies ask from you... Etc. Its not easy.

I agree with Claudia when she says "this seems to be just another of these smart offers for such desperate people" and I can imagine these poor people thinking "well, I know that other language, so why not give it a try?" And they will only to find out that they made a mistake.

I would like (but won't) buy the book. I am curious about the tips about being a translator only with the knowledge of another language...

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:40
English to French
+ ...
Could be a good book, but... Oct 28, 2006

I have nothing against books on the subject of getting established as a freelance translator. On the contrary, I think it could be useful to freelancers and agencies alike - maybe it would have some people who are not ready yet refrain from trying to get established, which is good for them and good for the people they would have dealt with. Maybe it would help some of us who are already in business to pay more attention to the things they should and and less attention on the things they're wasting time with and which are harmful, both from the freelancer's and client's perspective. Maybe...

But with a title like this, it sounds much more like a get-rich-quick scheme than anything else, and yes, I agree that the author seems to be into cold hard cash rather than into helping people out with her knowledge and experience. In fact, what kind of people like to pay cold hard cash for get-rich-quick schemes? I don't want to generalize, but these are the kind of people who like to get rich sitting on their bum. With such a mentality, I sincerely doubt one can become a good translator/freelancer/businessperson/fill in the blank. I imagine freelancers who outsource the work behind the client's back so they don't have to work and still get paid - often with the quality we know. I imagine freelancers that do the job so fast that the quality of it is practically nonexistent - these are the people who couldn't care less for quality because they are in this for the money. Imagine being in the client's shoes now. I imagine freelancers that try to invoice more than the agreed sum - and who send PayPal invoices with threats that they will contact PayPal and have them take the money off their account - I've seen this happen also and it's simply outrageous.

Now, after having dealt with such freelancers, why would a company trust me with a contract when their experience so far has been so bad? Why would they pay the going rate for the job when they are probably scared to death to get another unusable translation? Makes you wonder...

I think that books with titles that have dollar sign$ in them are hurting our profession more than anything else. No wonder there are so many posers on ProZ and on other language service sites as well!

[Edited at 2006-10-28 16:33]

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