Mobile menu

Becoming a translator in France
Thread poster: xxxbibish
xxxbibish
France
Local time: 05:32
French to English
+ ...
Feb 14, 2008

Hello everyone,

I am British but I live in Paris, France and would like to become an in-house translator (French and Italian into English), but am unsure how the system works here. I hear that you need to have a diploma from an 'école de traduction' as what counts here is qualifications and where you got them rather than experience. I have a degree in languages and am looking at doing a PG Diploma/MA in Translation by distance learning this year, but would that be recognised here? I did consider starting by doing freelance work, but it is quite complicated here and also expensive. I would be looking for something full-time if I were to leave my job.

I would appreciate any advice! Thanks a lot.

Naomi


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Terry Richards
France
Local time: 05:32
French to English
+ ...
Diplomas not required Feb 14, 2008

Hi Naomi,

I'm in exactly the same position as you, British living in France and working as a translator. I don't have any kind of language qualifications or diplomas and get plenty of work. Nobody has ever asked me for any qualifications. If you want to do an MA, by all means do so but I doubt that it will ever repay the financial or time investment involved.

As far as the nightmare French bureaucracy goes, you might want to consider going the "portage" route. It's fairly controversial here on Proz but I personally have found it quite satisfactory. If you search on "portage" you will find plenty of arguments for and against

Terry.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:32
Member
French to English
+ ...
Does depend on experience Feb 14, 2008

Dear Naomi,

France is admittedly a bit obsessed with everyone having specific qualifications/diplomas for each and every job category, but I think that translation is perhaps one of the few things that escapes this confinement.

Although I'm freelance not in-house, I have seen in-house job offers where the company is looking for someone with proven experience and good references rather than with a degree in translation per se. That said, you are probably more likely to find an in-house job with an agency than with a company that requires an in-house translator, IMO.

You do not mention in your post whether you have any experience as a translator? Although the degree-versus-experience debate is ongoing here at Proz, I think that everyone will agree that you won't have much luck finding an in-house job if you don't have any experience in translation whatsoever.

If you don't want to resign from your current job, there are ways to gain experience as a translator whilst still working elsewhere, although this invariably will mean less free time.

You could look into the "micro-entreprise" option or "portage salarial," both of which are much less onerous and risky as you get established. Either could be a good way to build experience, set-up a client base, and bridge the gap towards working in-house.

If you already have loads of experience…well, then, you can probably start firing off your CV and ignore my post!

Best,
Jocelyne


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giulia TAPPI  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:32
French to Italian
+ ...
ESIT Feb 14, 2008

I am Italian, living in Paris since 1980.
I studied Law in Italy, but when I came to France I quickly understood my Italian Degree was not going to open many doors for me; so I decided to study at ESIT, the best translation school in France (another one, ISIT, is good also, but private and far more expensive). Then I went freelancing, and had no problems whatsoever. On the contrary, I took advantage of the school network!
On the other hand, I did not find complicated at all to be a freelancer; you just have to subscribe to 3 bodies (URSSAF, social security and pension). It is expensive, but not complicated at all!
Of course, you can get work in other ways, especially with French into English pair: plenty of jobs, in my opinion, but also plenty of competitors!
But I agree that in France your diplomas are very important, even if, of course, your final work will really make the difference.
Giulia


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxbibish
France
Local time: 05:32
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Feb 14, 2008

Thank you for your replies, Terry, JS and Guilia!

Acually, I don't really have that much experience in translating professionally. That's the problem, and I'm not really sure where to start. I work at a law firm and I am often asked to do translations, but I have never done freelance translating. I heard that it costs a lot to join URSSAF as a translator (profession libérale) so perhaps I will look into the portage scheme. If you could let me know how to do this and what it is exaclty, I'd really appreciate it! Unfortunately I can't afford to study full-time, so that's why I was considering doing a part-time diploma. I know it's expensive, but since I don't have any experience yet, I thought it would be a good stepping stone to getting an in-house position.


[Edited at 2008-02-14 10:20]

[Edited at 2008-02-14 10:31]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Béatrice Huret-Morton  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:32
Member (2012)
English to French
+ ...
ESIT/ISIT Feb 14, 2008

True, as a native English mother tongue you don't need so many diplomas, but they help if you wanna work in-house. Very importantly, they will get you a much bigger salary. In addition they open the door to international organizations.

And if you do want to study why not. But I would definitely advise picking one of the main schools in Paris (ESIT or ISIT) as on top of anything else they will get you inside companies through internships as of the first year and this very often leads to longer term jobs.

You can do these programmes while working full-time (I did) although some time you have to be a bit creative.

Cheers,

Béa

[Edited at 2008-02-14 13:01]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxbibish
France
Local time: 05:32
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
ESIT/ISIT Feb 14, 2008

Thanks, Myriam. How on earth did you manage to study here and work full-time? I'm intrigued. Didn't you have lots of lectures to attend?

Thanks

Naomi


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Kylie Rawson
Local time: 05:32
French to English
Distance courses and building experience for a debutant Feb 21, 2008

I hope I'm asking this in the right place!!
I am an Australian living in France.
I have 5 years experience in translating (French to English) for my partner who is an Anthropologist. I've translated some articles (with the possibility of a book coming up), everyday emails, letters etc., art essays, exhibition catalogues and various other things within that theme. I am also a practising and qualified artist (painter, photographer etc.).

I am interested in doing a 'distance formation' because I am not confident enough in general translating to propose my services. I have found that there are not many of these Translation courses!! Does anybody know of any good Distance Translation courses? I've found one by Words Language Services that is 'apparently' accepted internationally but I don't want to take something on unless I'm certain that it is of worth (don't really have money to throw away!!).

I'm basically looking for information that can help me get started and build up a diversity of experience. It is not so easy to find work when you don't have any technical experience.

I appreciate any and all suggestions that people may be able to give.
Thanks : )

[Edited at 2008-02-21 17:01]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

helena barham  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:32
French to English
Becoming a translator in France Feb 21, 2008

I have lived in France for 24 years now and am yet another person trying to get into the freelance translation work. However, I worked as a freelance translator 10 years ago and then for personal reasons dropped out. I am not sure how to approach agencies as I have done so much other work in the meantime but very few translations and mostly for people I know.

If anyone can give me ideas on my approach it would be greatly appreciated.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
ElliBe  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:32
French to German
+ ...
A propos portage salarial en France Mar 3, 2008

bibish wrote:

Thank you for your replies, Terry, JS and Guilia!

Acually, I don't really have that much experience in translating professionally. That's the problem, and I'm not really sure where to start. I work at a law firm and I am often asked to do translations, but I have never done freelance translating. I heard that it costs a lot to join URSSAF as a translator (profession libérale) so perhaps I will look into the portage scheme. If you could let me know how to do this and what it is exaclty, I'd really appreciate it! Unfortunately I can't afford to study full-time, so that's why I was considering doing a part-time diploma. I know it's expensive, but since I don't have any experience yet, I thought it would be a good stepping stone to getting an in-house position.


[Edited at 2008-02-14 10:20]

[Edited at 2008-02-14 10:31]


Salut,
Je suis allemande et en France depuis 15 ans. Je suis en train de me renseigner sur le portage salarial, cela me semble un bon moyen pour se lancer. On peut trouver des renseignements et des sociétés de portage sur le site de la Fédération Nationale du Portage Salarial (FNEPS) et de l'Union des Entreprises de Portage S. (UNEPS). Il y a aussi un site intéressant pour la création d'entreprise : www.apce.fr

Bonne chance

[Edited at 2008-03-03 18:00]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Irene McClure
Local time: 05:32
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
A few points on portage Mar 7, 2008

Hi - I am British translator living in France and have just joined a portage salariale company as a freelancer. So far it's going pretty smoothly - the basic idea is that you are taken on my a portage company as an employee, with a CDI, and from that point onwards you work as an independent translator - looking for your own clients, issuing your own invoices etc.

When payments come to you from clients, you forward them straight to the portage company who make all the necessary deductions for URSAFF, pension etc which is, unfortunately in France is just short of 50% of your bill, and return the rest of the money to you in the form of a monthly paycheck. You can also claim back tax on business expenses like internet access, paper, ink and so on through the société.

They charge something like 10% (sometimes more) to take care of all the admin for you, which is why it is a bit controversial. But the good bit is that you only pay URSAFF etc contributions on work that you have carried out - so if you go for weeks with no work (hopefully not too often!) you don't have to pay any contributions, unlike self-employed translators who have to pay monthly contributions regardless of how much work they have done.

I think most translators working en portage do so for a couple of years until they are happy they have a regular workflow and stable client base - then they go self-employed and take on the paperwork themselves, thus saving the 10% per month.

Others just prefer to stay en portage and never go self-employed because it saves a lot of paperwork.

Not for everyone, but might be interesting for you. Best of luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 


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


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

Becoming a translator in France

Advanced search


Translation news





SDL MultiTerm 2017
Guarantee a unified, consistent and high-quality translation with terminology software by the industry leaders.

SDL MultiTerm 2017 allows translators to create one central location to store and manage multilingual terminology, and with SDL MultiTerm Extract 2017 you can automatically create term lists from your existing documentation to save time.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



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