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Thread poster: Emma2001
Emma2001
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:33
English to German
Jun 7, 2001

I am bilingual German/ English and live in the UK but I normally prefer to translate English>German. I have a bit of professional experience since I was in a few jobs where I had to translate lots and I also did a few transcriptions for bilingual recruitment agencies. I\'m 21 now and would consider a professional career in translating. I wonder what kind of degree to get, what agencies to contact and where to get more experience. My first step was to register with ProZ but so far I haven\'t been lucky with jobs I suppose companies hesitate to give their work to me because they can see from my CV that I have not had a professional training. Is there any other way how I can assure them of my translating skills? I\'m quite happy to do test translations because that way I can show what I can even without a degree.



I\'m grateful for any advice on this!



Emma


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:33
French to English
Jun 8, 2001

There are as many different backgrounds as there are translators. Here are a couple of suggestions as to what, in my experience, will make potential clients sit up at take notice :



- a degree (in something you like, are interested in and are good at, and from a \"good\" institution for the subject area of your choice)



- time spent abroad (and/or work in a relevant environment in your home country) where your non-native language skills are used as much as possible with a view to obtaining relevant professional experience in your chosen field



These questions are always difficult. A language degree is always helpful, but some of my clients say they prefer professionals who know about the subject area and who have excellent langauge skills, rather than language degree holders with no relevant experience. Easier said than done no doubt. You can only write about things you know about and that knowledge has to be acquired. You improve with time and become more efficient too. There are also a few excellent institutions where you can obtain a diploma in translation.



Bear in mind, that your clients will trust essentially in those with whom they can communicate in like terms, those who know a little at least of what their business is all about. (My humble example : I have some legal training and language training and professional experience of both, apart and together. Chance brought me into the field of yachting but what got me started in the field was the law/language training together with personal and professional contacts).





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Jun 9, 2001

My husband can speak many different languages that aren\'t related. Yet on his resume he\'s torn on how to \"advertise\" himself. Should he, as he has, list the many different languages he can speak and risk looking like an agency yet, this way he gets alot more offers. Or, should he list, for example only the Germanic languages? Or just Spanish and Portuegese? ect..ect...? Yet, this way, he\'ll not get the direct contacts for Italian or French for example. He\'s been getting great jobs, however, it\'s not enough to translate full-time, which is his great desire! What is your suggestion? Maybe you can take a look at his resume and give us some suggestions?

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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jun 14, 2001

Replies to the above messages and questions:



1. As a translator you have to know what you are writing about. Whether to give preference to a professional who has language skills or to a translator who has some other specialised skills is kind of difficult. Personally, I feel the latter is still best: as a professional translator you have learnt (hopefully) to enter new subjects and fields relatively quickly. Learning something else and then trying to learn languages takes a lot longer (don\'t forget: in order to achieve the level of proficiency required of professional translators, you will have to deal with such a language for at least 5 years or so (according to linguistics and translation theory).



2. Re: listing different languages in one\'s CV: list all of your skills - don\'t sell yourself short. If you know that many languages, why would you want to hide it??



3. Re: starting out, ...: contact major agencies - the ones that are reliable in terms of payment, etc. They are usually also more willing to accept \"trainees\" or less experienced translators because they have the sufficient in-house resources to edit your translation if necessary.

Start networking - ProZ is a good place (but you will hardly ever get to meet anyone face-to-face); so join your local translators\' association (you live in the UK: join IOL, for example). Literally, go out and try to meet other members (attend annual meetings, etc.).


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Jason Schaitel
United States
Local time: 10:33
French to English
+ ...
Jun 20, 2001

I am a 27 year old american. I\'ve never lived outside the USA and don\'t currently speak any other languages, however, translating and studying linguistics has been a dream of mine since highschool. Am I to old? am I starting to late? Am I just living in a pipe-dream and should just stay in the IS field? I dream of learning French, German, Latin and Spanish and perhaps Greek and Hebrew later. Without living abroad is this just a silly idea? I think I can do it, I have learned many programming languages quickly, my brain seems to function well



thanks



Jason Schaitel


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 11:33
SITE FOUNDER
Jun 20, 2001

Quote:


On 2001-06-20 12:34, schaitel wrote:

I am a 27 year old american. I\'ve never lived outside the USA and don\'t currently speak any other languages, however, translating and studying linguistics has been a dream of mine since highschool. Am I to old? ...



I think I can do it, I have learned many programming languages quickly, my brain seems to function well





Hi Jason,



It is not too late. But it will be soon.



Best of luck!

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xxxeurotransl
German to English
+ ...
Jun 20, 2001

I think you are never too old to learn new things.



Back at university, when I was studying Japanese (before going with Spanish instead), there were 2 \"nice, little old ladies\" - both around 65-70 years old. They started Japanese from scratch, like everyone else in that group, and eventually got their Master\'s degree in Japanese translation.



So, you see it\'s never too late.



Another fine example: one of my university professors (he was a professor of finance and economics) decided to enroll in medical school when he was 51. Not only did he complete the program in 5 years (6 years were the minimum requirement there), but he did all that while working as a full-time university professor (teaching, research, etc.). He then opened his own practice (as a general practitioner), and to this day, he still doubles as a university professor in finance/economics and a general practitioner.



I hope that these two examples will serve as a source of inspiration to \"schaitel\" and many others. And don\'t forget: we, as translators, must be committed to \"life-long learning\" anyways, and it really doesn\'t matter how old you are.


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Troy Fowler
English to Japanese
+ ...
Jun 25, 2001

NO. ITS NEVER TOO LATE...I have proof.



Two of my co-workers started learning their second language quite later in life, and both are quite capable translators. One (an American) started learning Japanese at age 25, and he\'s now translating full time for Toyota. The second is a Japanese women who left Japan for the 1st time at the age of 42 to come to an American grad school. She is now in her 50s (I think), and doing just fine.



Good luck, and don\'t loose your enthusiasm.



Troy


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Marcus Malabad  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:33
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Jun 26, 2001

Ngek! and here I am trying to learn New Testament Greek, Aramaic and Coptic for almost 15 years...and have reached only feminine nouns and the accusative case.



15 more years to go until I reach the vocative case and imperative verbs. That\'s 15 more years until I can say: \"Sarah, get off that camel!\"



NEVER too late to learn! I have another proof: I have a buddy from Sweden who\'s been learning languages all his life. Ok, granted he\'s better equipped intellectually than most mortals but, hey, he started learning Georgian (of the Caucasian kind and not the Atlanta twang) at 28 and mastered all 16 cases (or thereabouts)in about a year or so. I remember he was trading lewd jokes with a taxi driver in Tbilisi while we going back to the dorm after a lunch of kharcho and cheap Georgian wine. At 22 he spent one summer in a Basque village; the next year he was translating Basque short stories into Swedish. At university he studied Russian and Mandarin and at 30 he went to Beijing to study Miao at the Institute of Minority Languages (courses taught in Chinese of course). His recently completed PhD dissertation (age 33) was on Miao grammar.



And you thought German was difficult!


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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 11:33
SITE FOUNDER
Jun 28, 2001

Please extend to your friend my personal invitation to ProZ if he is not already a member.

: )



Very inspirational.


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xxxivw
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Jul 5, 2001

Sharing the frustration of not being recognized for the hard work put in weekly, and losing hope in direct ratio to the speed my reserves are running out - may I ask your advice on how to finally reach the point where I can \"smell the violets from ABOVE\"?? Meaning: I\'ve worked as a translator for almost ten years, yet always behind someone else\'s back, never in the spotlight; in most cases not even noted by name. Emails to agencies left unanswered. Seemingly satisfied clients not getting back to me.

Clients tell me I\'m good. I believe I\'m good. Even colleagues (!) admit I\'m good. How can I make my name heard?

Any help would be appreciated.



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Henry Dotterer
Local time: 11:33
SITE FOUNDER
Jul 5, 2001

One bit of advice: specialize.



If you have not already, define a clear specialization. Then \"own\" it. If Hungarian legal work is your specialty, consider these steps:



- Make your own website, featuring links to Hungarian legal resources, and keyword phrases like \"hungarian contract translation\". Register your website with the major search engines. (include a KudoZ box!)



- Answer every Hungarian legal KudoZ question. Your colleagues will come to recognize you as the authority there, and when they need someone to collaborate with, they will come to you.



- Use eGroups to start a discussion group for Hungarian legal translators (ProZ will \"sponsor\" you with a crosslink.) Invite your KudoZ friends.



- Write an article on Hungarian law. Send it to Multilingual Computing, Language INternational, etc.



- Publish a glossary on the topic of Hungarian law.



- Find an exceptional colleague in your field (hopefully in a totally different timezone) with whom you can jointly bid on projects; together, you will be able to complete jobs better and faster...and your shared glossaries and TMs will help you to become even better over time.



One more bit of advice: use your real name. Make it your brand.


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Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:33
French to English
Jul 6, 2001

Inspirational reading. On the subject of late learning, when working in professional ethics, the chairman of one committee was a senior judge, retired, but was called back many a time because good judges are thin on the ground. This man had been a doctor for years, had fancied having a stab at the legal profession late on and simply sailed through his studies. Great brain, great sense of humour, a gift of a person on earth (although a little hard of hearing in his later years, which is almost a sine qua non for judges in England!) After having spent time in Brazil a few years ago, I decided that I\'d like to get Portuguese under my belt when my children are older. This discussion is encouraging.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2001-11-30 17:35 ]


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xxxivw
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Jul 6, 2001

I find your response extremely helpful.

Thank you, Henry!

Ildiko


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Sonia Rowland
Local time: 17:33
German to English
+ ...
Jul 7, 2001

I am an English native speaker living in Germany. For five years I was temping as a clerk because I haven\'t got the German requirements to be taken over permanently by a company, even though I had six years\' experience working in a bank in England. One day, a colleague remarked on my being bi-lingual and that I should apply to sit the external translator exam to become \'staatlich geprüft\' (state examined). That\'s all the encouragement I needed and I was off planning and organising my moves! This was half a year ago and now, with the Diploma that normally recuires three years of studies under my belt, I\'ve chucked in my job and will start as a freelance translator next week. Agencies I\'ve spoken to assured me of the high demand of English native speakers, especially specialising in banking. Maybe I should, but I\'ve no second thoughts and am looking forward to finally doing for a living what I enjoy most.

So, wish me luck everybody!

Sonia.


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