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Offering pro bono translations to get started... good or bad?
Thread poster: Daniel Hill
Daniel Hill  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:29
French to English
Feb 27, 2008

When getting started, is it recommended? Or is it even done at all?

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-02-27 20:01]


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Paul Merriam  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:29
Member (2008)
Russian to English
+ ...
It's done Feb 27, 2008

Some things to keep in mind:

a. Do you support the cause for which you're doing the translations? If you don't, why associate with them?
b. Will the cause let you use their name? Most causes will under such circumstances, if for no other reason than you circulate information about them when you send it to advertise your services. If they won't let you use their name, you can't use their material to advertise yourself.
c. Establish in advance how much you're going to do (unless you want to donate all your time to this cause).


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Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:29
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
I think it is a good idea Feb 28, 2008

Just don't work for next to nothing for commercial agencies and choose organization you think needs your support and volunteer - experience is very important in this profession.

Best
S


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 06:29
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
It is a good idea Feb 28, 2008

Daniel Hill wrote:
When getting started, is it recommended [to do pro bono work]?


Yes. If you have time, do it. You'll get experience in dealing with clients and you'll get more confortable with your own translation style. Keep in mind that if you're a new translator, you should still have your translations proofread/reviewed by another translator, and that costs money. So what you might also consider is to charge a rate equal to the reviewer's rate... so the translation is pro bono, but the review is paid for.

Keep in mind that clients who do not pay for stuff, often have unrealistic expectations and may be harder on you than your paying clients. Also realise that although you're working for free, you still have a commitment to them, and you should clearly indicate how far the free service goes (for example, if they plan an entire campaign on your pro bono work, and you stop working for free in the middle of the campaign, you'd be leaving them in the lurch).

Remember, the fact that you don't get paid doesn't mean you can deliver sub-standard work, or that there is an excuse for sloppy work. Ditto if you're a student -- the fact that you're new doesn't mean standards may be lower.

Finally, the value of pro bono translations lie in getting experience, not in getting referrals. You may end up with referrals, but that is not what you should hope for.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:29
Flemish to English
+ ...
Good Feb 28, 2008

I know a person in the IT-sector who started that way. Giving MsWindows 95-training for nothing. Now he has 13 years freelance IT-experience (two years of giving Office-training and ten years of programming) under his sleeve, mostly at major banks.
For free is a way to get a foot between the door....


[Bijgewerkt op 2008-02-28 11:13]


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Daniel Hill  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:29
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Feb 28, 2008

Thank you everyone for the guidance. I'm already very impressed by the response this community can give.

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Yurena Sar
Spain
Local time: 05:29
English to Spanish
+ ...
My experience was excellent Apr 28, 2008

Daniel,

I had my doubts about offering pro bono translations when I started as well and I am so glad I decided to give it a go. I translated a weekly news feed for a Scottish NGO and a set of brochures for another NGO based in the States.
The vocabulary was demanding for me at the time (mostly legal terminology) and I felt it polished my translating skills a great deal.
Much to my surprise when I told the Scottish NGO that I could not do it any longer (I did this voluntary work for about 8 months) they offered to provide a reference and boy was it a good one...

Not only that ... the American NGO volunteered to endorse my application for any professional associations I wished to join so I felt staff in both organisations had really valued my input as a volunteer translator.

My advice is do it!!! enjoy the experience and never ever miss a deadline.
You could get more out of it than you expect! plus the personal satisfaction of contributing to a cause you really believe in and the joy of seeing your skills develop dramatically over time.

Best,

Yurena


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Daniel Hill  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:29
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Apr 28, 2008

Thanks!

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