Mobile menu

Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Putting 'Freelance Translator' on ID card
Thread poster: Hipyan Nopri

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 13:50
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Nov 26, 2006

In Indonesia, when a student is still studying at a university he/she is often asked by his/her parents, relatives, friends, or neighbours, about his/her GPA every semester.

After he/she graduates from the university, the question changes from what his/her GPA to where he/she works. People tend to ask 'where' (he/she works) rather than 'what' (his/her work is).

So, the answer may be 'at a bank, a military service, a school, a university, a firm, etc.' The more prestigious the work, the more respected and admired one will be.

Through this forum, I want to share my rather silly but unforgetable experience with regard to the frequently-asked question.

After graduating from university for a few years, I met my old friend. She told me of her amazing success in her career so enthusiastically that she almost forgot to ask about my work.

Finally, before we parted each other, she asked me curiously, "Where do you work?" Because it is a question of place, I answered, "At home." It is the only question she asked about me during the conversation.

What is her response? She simply responded with a sweet but mysterious smile. Of course, the smile may mean anything, but I am pretty sure that she thought I was unemployed - just stay at home, do nothing but eat and sleep.

If only she asked, "What do you do for a living?" I would proudly reply, "I work as a freelance translator - making money by working at home."

This story implies that freelance translator is still a less-known and maybe less-promising profession. Thus, it is possible that some freelancers do not state it on their ID. As for myself, I do put the phrase 'freelance translator' on my ID card.

Hence, through this post, I want to know whether you clearly put 'freelance translator' rather than 'self-employed professional', for example, on your ID or not.

Thanks so much for your willingness to share your experience.

Kind Regards

Hipyan Nopri


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Different in UK, and explain GPA Nov 26, 2006

Hipyan Nopri wrote:
In Indonesia, when a student is still studying at a university he/she is often asked by his/her parents, relatives, friends, or neighbours, about his/her GPA every semester.

After he/she graduates from the university, the question changes from what his/her GPA to where he/she works. People tend to ask 'where' (he/she works) rather than 'what' (his/her work is).

First, I suggest you should explain GPA when you use it (including in your CV). It was unknown to me (in the UK) until I searched for it just now and found that it is Grade Point Average. Also the numerical value should be explained: in different countries exam results may be out of 6, 10, 20 or 100.
In the UK you may be asked where you work, but I think equally likely is "what [kind of work] do you do [for a living]?" If I were asked "where do you work?", and I were a home-based full-time freelance translator, I would probably reply "I work at home as a technical translator". (In case you are wondering, I am employed part-time as an engineer, actually spending my time in translating, plus I do a little freelance translation work at home.)
On my card I put "Technical Translations (German and French into English)".
Oliver


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Angie Garbarino  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:50
Member (2003)
French to Italian
+ ...
In Italy Nov 26, 2006

You are asked "What [kind of work] do you do [for a living]?" too. Not where.

and on my identity card there is "Translator" but without any specified language (Not requested here).

Bye bye

Angioletta


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:50
Member
English to Turkish
Similar in Turkey Nov 26, 2006

But I think it has rather got to do with the conventions of language. The usual questions in Turkish might translate as "What work do you do?" and "Where do you work?" In my young and arrogant days, I used to answer the latter, "In a small room just next to the kitchen" or something. But now I just say that I am self-employed (and I have moved to across the bathroom, anyway). The real show begins when they ask what I do, and then say, "No, I mean your job, what you do for a living" when they get the answer 'translator.'

[Edited at 2006-11-26 14:40]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Karine Piera  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:50
English to French
+ ...
In France Nov 26, 2006

Although I might be wrong, I have nevery specified my occupation on my ID.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Özden Arıkan  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:50
Member
English to Turkish
Is it ID or business card? Nov 26, 2006

If the former, there's no such field in Turkey or Germany, but whenever I come across the field of 'occupation/job/profession' when I have to fill out an official form, I write 'translator.' As for business card, it is 'language services provider', with pairs stated.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ivana UK  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:50
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
My Italian ID card Nov 26, 2006

has "interpreter & translator" on it but this doesn't apply to the UK as we have no ID cards (yet) here.

When people ask me where I work, I simply say that I'm a freelance translator. I don't provide them with the location as such because what they actually mean is "what to do you do for a living?".


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Benno Groeneveld  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:50
English to Dutch
+ ...
I put Dutch-American communicator Nov 26, 2006

on my business card. Covers most of the things I do and I like the sound of "communicator". (I also call myself a 'foreigh correspondent' once in a while, and pull my trenchcoat out of my closet. I live and work in the US but report for media in Europa. 'Foreign correspondent has an even nicer ring, and brings to mind those old pictures and movies, and the US is a very foreign country for a lot of people)

When I fill out my American tax forms, I usually put in journalist/translator. You're then supposed to use one of the job codes that the tax people provide, but since I have such an unclassifyiable 'mutt' of a job, I usually end up classifying myself as 'other'.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:50
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My Visiting Card Nov 26, 2006

On my visiting card, I have put "English Teacher, Translator EN/PT/EN, English Language Consultant". I have put this latter title as it covers practically everything that I do in the field of English Language services, ranging from a phone call from a client asking me if a sentence is correct through to interpreting services or assistance to anglophile foreigners who visit Brazil. Ah, and to look more British my card has the Union Jack in full view!

As for ID cards, the Brazilian Alien Registration Card does not show the profession. I think that on my application form I put "English Teacher" because this brought in most of my income at that time, but now I make more from translation than teaching, so this will probably change next time around.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:50
English to Russian
+ ...
I really wonder Nov 26, 2006

why didn't you reply: virtual office

It always sounds misterious and enough explanatory in this part of the world!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Harry Hermawan  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 13:50
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
Be creative... Nov 26, 2006

Yan,

The answer I would give to such questions would be mysterious answers so the person asking the questions would frown, but then I would just say the work that I get are from different parts of the world and through the comforts of our home, this sounds exotic and would reap/trigger raised eyebrows.

But then, if you feel that the answer to such question waste time, just give a straight answer translator/interpreter ("penerjemah").

Begitulah Yan, hidup ini... yang penting ada terus pekerjaan mau disebut apa yang penting duit ngalir...dan bisa ngasih istri dan anak penghasilan yang cukup lah...lagipula kalo makan gengsi agak nggak enak ditelen gitu...hahaha

That's why freelance translator needs to educate (oops sorry too arrogant... change: to inform) the public...I just put "swasta" (private sector) on my ID. Beres...dah

[Edited at 2006-11-26 23:23]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 07:50
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
At a private practice Nov 27, 2006

Hipyan Nopri wrote:
Finally, before we parted each other, she asked me curiously, "Where do you work?" Because it is a question of place, I answered, "At home."


The question "Where do you work" instead of "What do you do for a living" is also common in ZA. But "I'm a translator" would still be an acceptable answer to that. Next time someone asks you that question, tell them "At a private practice" or "At a translation office" or similar.



Direct link Reply with quote
 
Melina Kajander
English to Finnish
ID card..? Nov 27, 2006

First, Hipyan, could you please clarify what is the ID card you talk about? The only kind of ID cards I know are like passports, i.e. proofs of your identity, and they don't ask for your profession!

But yes, in any official (and unofficial) documents where my occupation is asked, or in any other context for that matter, I always write/say 'freelance translator'. And proudly, too. Even though it is annoyingly true that some people are still quite ignorant of what that actually involves. (They often think it's some kind of oral thing but just call that 'translating', and I have to explain that translating is actually done in writing, & if it's spoken it's interpreting, not translating...)

Also very annoyingly true is the still common notion that if you don't go out to work, to an actual workplace, you don't really *work* (in some people's opinion)... At best they think you're just busying yourself with some kind of hobby thing, not real work... Don't know whether to laugh or cry. Is 9-5, Monday to Friday really ALL some people can understand..?!

I wonder what could we do to change these all too common perceptions?!

[Edited at 2006-11-27 21:51]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 13:50
English to Indonesian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks so much for all your information Nov 28, 2006

To Walter:
I am sorry for assuming that GPA is familiar to all English-speakers. You are right, it stands for Grade Point Average. In my country it ranges from 0 to 4. During their study, students will be proud if their GPA is higher than 2.75. It is the minimum standard for public employees recruitment test.

To Sergei:
I deliberately answered, "At home," waiting for the next question, "What do you do for a living?" Unfortunately, it did not happen for she seemed to interpret that I was unemployed. Therefore, the second question is not important any more. She might think that her second question may hurt me.

'Virtual office' may be an interesting answer, too. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are not familiar with the Internet yet. Only a small number of university students who are rather active searching for various important articles for the sake of their study. This is due to two major obstacles - the expensive Internet Cafe fees and their lack of English proficiency.

In fact, in addition to providing for translation services, I am also teaching English to secondary school students on a freelance-basis. When I asked them to send their homework to my email address, I was highly surprised to hear their asking me in a choir, "What is email address, Sir?" "Don't you mean it is your home address?" The two factors above are the major causes for this regretable ignorance.

To all:
Indeed, we live in different parts of the world with different cultures and languages. The differences bring about different speech habits and self-conceptions.

For example, in Indonesia, people tend to use the question word 'where' (do you work?) first and then to follow it by 'what' (do you do for a living?) when they talk about occupation. If the work place is familiar to them, the second question will follow. Then, the third question is usually concerned with the employee status (private/public, or full-time/part-time). The final question is generally related to the salary/income level.

In my case, the work place is unusual to the common people. Therefore, when I told my friend that I work at home, she was not interersted in asking a further question for 'being at home' is perceived as 'being unemployed' because freelance translator is a relatively new profession.

In addition, the profession is invisilbe - most of the time we work in the working room and look for and get jobs through the Internet. People do not see what we are doing. This is obviously different from other professions. For instance, people can see a teacher leaves his/her house and goes to school.

It seems that this is also the case in Jakarta (the capital) even though many foreign people and organizations are available and often need translation services. This is clearly exemplified by Harry's experience. Tapi, seperti ente bilang sebenarnye yang penting 'duit ngalir terus.' Setuju banget. Maaf kalau bahase Jakartenye kurang pas ya.:)

The situation appears to be different abroad. From what all you have said, it seems that the profession is quite familiar among the people.

Nevertheless, I keep putting 'freelance translator' on my ID card. By doing so, people will be aware of the existence of the profession.

Thanks once again for all your comments. However, I am very happy if there are still many other comments proposed by our fellow translators.



[Edited at 2006-11-28 09:36]

[Edited at 2006-11-28 10:40]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:50
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Freelance / Business owner Nov 28, 2006

It's funny, but I have noticed two different reactions here in the US when I state that

1) "I am a freelance translator." (most people think starving, barely getting by, not making any money at it) or

2) "I own a translation business." (= respectable entrepreneur doing well).

As for the ID, I don't have an ID that would list my profession. My main ID is my driver's license and that just has address, height, weight, driving restrictions, etc.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


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


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

Putting 'Freelance Translator' on ID card

Advanced search


Translation news





Déjà Vu X3
Try it, Love it

Find out why Déjà Vu is today the most flexible, customizable and user-friendly tool on the market. See the brand new features in action: *Completely redesigned user interface *Live Preview *Inline spell checking *Inline

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



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