how to determine the experience of a translator
Thread poster: msartelli
msartelli
Spanish
Jan 22, 2003

How would you determine the experience of a translator if you should to say if she is a junior, semi senior or senior translator?



I think that a mix between years of experience, tools she manages, academic achieves are some of the issues to analyze in order to determine it. But how many years of experience and what academic achieves make a translator a semi senior or a senior professional?



Regards!





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Marcela García  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:50
English to Spanish
+ ...
Experience Jan 22, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-22 16:53, msartelli wrote:

How would you determine the experience of a translator if you should to say if she is a junior, semi senior or senior translator?



I think that a mix between years of experience, tools she manages, academic achieves are some of the issues to analyze in order to determine it. But how many years of experience and what academic achieves make a translator a semi senior or a senior professional?



Regards!









Actually, I agree with you, it is a variety of factors that make experience: work experience, academic experience, fields of expertise, a special knowledge of certain subjects, international exposure (that is, knowledge of cultural differences, not just meanings of words), those are things that count in becoming a professional. Basically, the ability to know that clients comes first and the job has to be done efficiently and in a timely manner.



Cheers,



Marcela





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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 20:50
English
+ ...
There is no shortcut (that I know of) & Explanatory Blather Jan 22, 2003

I once hired a translators with a master\'s degrees in \"applied languages\" and she couldn\'t even answer a phone properly in their mother tongue.



I once farmed out a document to another with a degree from a top WEuropean school of translation & interpretation -- the typo-ridden product arrived late with no vocabulary research. Her consecutive interpretation was little better.



I seem to rate OK on KudoZ and have done these awfully specialised things but have nothing more than a US high school diploma to show anyone.



There\'s experience and then there\'s flair. Flair stems from a multi-ethnic background - the Wandering Jew Syndrome, if you like.



There\'s also the hardnosed business angle: it\'s great being all talented and experienced, but missing deadlines is punisheable by damnatio memoria by my book.



You can glean a helluva lot from a CV. Is it a CV? Has it got an advertising slant? How many typos can you find? Are there inconsistencies of content and layout?



It\'s awfully subjective. The best advice I can give is to canvas NOW for all translators of every imaginable language pair, give them tests and start them off with short translations. Smart customers will also test you with short translations first. Invest in such a client: farm that short text out to two or three translators, pay them (please!), submit the best of the lot and farm out subsequent work to the lucky winner.



On my own score, I did simultaneous interpreting for years but, after a two-year break, really bombed out on my last contract because, as I later realised, I\'ve gone a touch deaf and some French words in a Spanish accent never got past the earphones thru to the eardrums and neurons. It covered the agency with cow patties. I\'ve called it quits to simultaneous work for this incarnation.



I suppose my bottomline here is that you\'ll grow and prosper as long as your willing to invest more than you can afford in the beginning. One of my best surprises when I went freelance was that my Paris bank was FAR more supportive than I\'d ever expected: it was rather tight about about a $500 overdraft when I was earning salaries, but thought nothing of $6,000 once I set out on my own.


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xxxTService  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:50
English to German
Just test him. Jan 23, 2003

Send him text samples to translate and check the outcome.

It\'s just this what counts - and what you need: A good translation.

You cannot tell a client that he has to accept a poor translation by reasoning that the translator\'s background is a perfect one.



People lie.

Translators too.



Just have a look at the recent job offer: The Robotics Project. 13 bids till now.

The outsourcer requires a person with deep experience and skills in the field of industrial robotics.

Just guess how many of the applicants really have that experience... Most of them do not, I presume. But that does not keep them from applying to a job they cannot handle.



That\'s not the way it should be - but that\'s the way it is.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:50
German to English
+ ...
Definitely samples Jan 24, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-23 08:55, TService wrote:

Send him text samples to translate and check the outcome.

It\'s just this what counts - and what you need: A good translation.





I agree completely (despite all the fuss made about test translations). I have seen people with decades of experience and sterling resumes turn out very poor samples, while others with almost no experience have produced excellent ones. I would be wary of basing quality on years of experience alone. In addition, using samples tests people on exactly the type of texts you need translated - maybe they are excellent on technical stuff, but poor translators of marketing materials. You\'ll find out fast.



I think the academic angle might be more important in Europe. In the States it is a plus, but not absolutely necessary (particularly since translation is not a well-known or practiced academic discipline here with a wide split between the commercial and literary worlds). However, many of the top translators in the world do regularly publish articles in translation journals regardless of their academic background - that definitely helps put them in the \"senior\" category.



In any case, I have only seen this junior/senior distinction in full-time staff positions for the purpose of determining a pay scale. Is that the reason you ask?

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