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How to prepare for a career in translation
Thread poster: sholey17

sholey17
United States
Local time: 17:09
Spanish to English
Feb 26, 2008

Hello everybody,

I'm currently in school getting a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Spanish and Professional Writing. I would like to be a text translator after I graduate, and I was just wondering how most people get started, both freelance and otherwise.

I thought about doing some translations on here for free, just to get a portfolio established and gain some experience, but is that really practical? Will anybody really want to contract a student, even if it's for free?

I would greatly appreciate any input!

Thanks,

Ashley


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 06:09
English to Indonesian
+ ...
pro bono Feb 26, 2008

if you're ready to provide your service free of charge, maybe you can start with pro bono works. i informally started by giving free translation for friends when i was in high school and college.

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Armorel Young  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:09
Member (2004)
German to English
My twopenn'orth Feb 26, 2008

Hi Ashley,

Welcome, and good luck with your career.

What you really need when you are starting out is feedback - otherwise you won't know how good your work really is and won't receive tips on things that might be improved or done differently. (I say this partly because I am not sure whether your course includes instruction specifically in translating or whether it is a general language course. )

If you do work for free you are unlikely to get any feedback on it - people will think that because you did it "as a favour" they are not entitled to comment on the results. A better way forward, if you can make it happen, might be to find an established translator who is prepared to pass some work on to you (for a payment, I would suggest, but less than the translator's usual rate) and to give you feedback on the results. You would learn much faster that way. Who knows, it might be possible to find someone through this site who would work with you in that way - Prozians are on the whole a helpful bunch!


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:09
English to Spanish
+ ...
Number One Feb 27, 2008

Make sure you have a faultless command of your languages before even starting. I do not know which is your native language, but do not take it for granted either. However, certainly make sure that your command of your second language is just about the same, well balanced in all areas and in your head as though you were born with it.

That's basic preparation, and you would be surprised how many people do not give it a second thought.

That is why they have problems, and you do not want to have problems.


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Monika Košťálová
Local time: 00:09
German to Czech
+ ...
Do I have a chance ? Feb 27, 2008

Can you someone tell me if I have a chance to became a translator without having an university degree ?
I am prepared to try it (czech-native, german). I used to do translation some years at work, but an official translator I am on my real start. I use german every day as I am working in german firm and I study german hard.
The question is if there is a chance ? If I won´t be succesfull I can minimum say I tried.
And I am really pleased with this web page ....as it brings many information to me.


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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 00:09
Italian to English
+ ...
Great chance Feb 27, 2008

Monika Košťálová wrote:

Can you someone tell me if I have a chance to became a translator without having an university degree ?
I am prepared to try it (czech-native, german). I used to do translation some years at work, but an official translator I am on my real start. I use german every day as I am working in german firm and I study german hard.
The question is if there is a chance ? If I won´t be succesfull I can minimum say I tried.
And I am really pleased with this web page ....as it brings many information to me.


Skills and experience beat any university degree hands down every day of the week.

On top of that, you may have a head start in a specialization depending on what sector your German company is in.

But again, as Henry writes above, the other crucial factor is command of both languages. Then, of course, writing skills in your native language.

In addition, you should also be able to learn most of the so-called CAT tools on your own, or with a little help from your friends.

Good luck!


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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:09
Spanish to English
+ ...
hijacking! Feb 27, 2008

Monika Košťálová wrote:

Can you someone tell me if I have a chance to became a translator without having an university degree ?
I am prepared to try it (czech-native, german). I used to do translation some years at work, but an official translator I am on my real start. I use german every day as I am working in german firm and I study german hard.
The question is if there is a chance ? If I won´t be succesfull I can minimum say I tried.
And I am really pleased with this web page ....as it brings many information to me.


You seem to have hijacked the forum initiated by Sholey, I think answerers should address Sholey's queries, and if you have doubts of your own, to post them in a forum posting initiated by you.


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