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Work experience in exchange for comments and feedback, is it a good idea?
Thread poster: Ana Lozano
Ana Lozano  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jan 17, 2008

Hello there!

I am trying to find ways of building a career as a translator and it is proving rather difficult. I studied English Philology at University in Spain and have translated unofficially for many years. I am now doing the International House Online General Translation course as I cannot afford to do any postgrad studying at university - small children and tight finances!

I would really like to know if it would be a good idea to do unpaid virtual work experience in exchange for comments/knowledge. I know that some agencies will allow trainee translators to do unpaid work experience in-house and I am wondering if this would be possible online.

If anyone is interested in giving their opinion or even further, giving me some pointers on how to go about this it really would make my day. I do get feedback from the course but it is only one big assignment every fortnight and it just isn't enough.

Also, any recommendations on books on how to improve my translation technique etc.

Thanks to all in advance!!!!


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María Teresa Taylor Oliver  Identity Verified
Panama
Local time: 16:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
Volunteer translations Jan 17, 2008

You could search on the Web, I know there are some non-profit organizations that use volunteer translators.

Actually, I just searched "Volunteer translations" in Google and came up with two threads right here in ProZ:

http://www.proz.com/topic/91550

http://www.proz.com/topic/57212

Good luck!


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:19
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Pro-bono is good, but ... Jan 17, 2008

María Teresa Taylor Oliver wrote:

I know there are some non-profit organizations that use volunteer translators.



I agree that it's a good idea to do some pro-bono work if you have little experience, but don't count on the comments etc. Most of the time, in my experience, they just give you a heartfelt "thank you!", lacking (either or both) the time and the knowhow to give any feedback.


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Juliana Starkman  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 16:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree with Sheila Jan 18, 2008

Pro-bono is good for adding names to your list on your CV, but they are not usually translators themselves and will not be able to give you a proper critique.
Unfortunately, courses are also short on useful information for real-life work, in my experience.
I would suggest changing your CV; creating a translation-only version, rather than the multi-tasking one you have now on your profile. Creativity and design are important of course, but you are not selling your design skills here. Also, have someone re-edit your description of your services, as there are some (albeit small) grammatical errors. Every little bit counts, right?
I sympathize with the need more work/small children/tight finances situation, being in it myself. Hang in there and keep improving your skills, build glossaries, study terminology, etc. and hand your card out to every one you meet who still has breath in their body.
I've found that when you're at the most desperate, you'll generally get a lucky break.
Good luck.


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Ana Lozano  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Work experience Jan 18, 2008

Thanks to the three of you for all your valuable comments. Special thanks to you, Juliana, for bringing the errors to my attention! Your feedback on my CV and the information on it has been really useful. I shall be concentrating on changing that straight away!

Thanks so much!! It is all very appreciated!!


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Maria Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:19
English to Greek
+ ...
Question Jan 19, 2008

Sheila Wilson wrote:

María Teresa Taylor Oliver wrote:

I know there are some non-profit organizations that use volunteer translators.



I agree that it's a good idea to do some pro-bono work if you have little experience, but don't count on the comments etc. Most of the time, in my experience, they just give you a heartfelt "thank you!", lacking (either or both) the time and the knowhow to give any feedback.



Hi Sheila,

Supposedly someone works for a non-profit organisation and uses that as a reference. Will that reference be considered as important as a reference from an agency;
I guess some experience is always better than no experience, but the way i see it, it can't be viewed the same way.


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