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I need direction advice from an expert.
Thread poster: Markus Bleizen
Markus Bleizen
Local time: 02:25
English
+ ...
Jun 11, 2007

First and foremost, I'm not even in college yet (Actually, I'll be going in three weeks for summer school at the university). I say this to stress that I am more than new to the art of interpreting. In other words: 'keep it simple', if I may depricate my intelligence at this moment.

For about two years, I've heavily considered becoming an interpreter of English to the Japanese; Japanese is still my favorite language. The tides of economy and testimonies from learned people tell me that Japanese is not that high in demand on an international scale. Conversely...some people say that taking Japanese is a good plan.

Those who say Japanese is not in high demand state that Chinese and Arabic, indeed, are. Now, as I live in America, I'm also considering Spanish, but still, others say that Spanish is not as in high demand in the US as most would think.

My question is a two-parter, really: 1)On a global scale, is Japanese in high-enough demand to take up, or would Chinese be the better route?

2) As far as America goes, is Spanish in high enough demand, or should I still go with Japanese or Chinese?


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Paula Manrique Huarte
Spain
Local time: 08:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
that is not the only thing you should be thinking about... Jun 11, 2007

Dear Markus,

First thing you have to consider is, what languages do you already speak.

You don't mention whether you already speak Japanese or not, or what is your mother tongue.

Most interpreters work into their mother tongue. Some lucky ones are bilingual (meaning Chinese mother and British father, for example), and can work into 2 different languages.

When you think of taking up new languages, you should analyze the market you want to work for (Europe and the EU, the UN, the US...).

But most important, from my point of view, is to love the culture of the language you're trying to pick up. Otherwise learning that language will become a hydeous task.

Also, take into account that Arabic or Chinese are quite difficult languages, and it may take you many years of learning, a great deal of them abroad, to master it and use them as an interpreter.

I hope I have been of some help.

Regards,
Paula


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linguadois
Local time: 02:25
English to Spanish
+ ...
Being bilingual is not enough Jun 11, 2007

Markus, as Paula stated you don't mention what languages you already speak besides English. As an experienced SpanishEnglish court interpreter I can tell you that being bilingual is not enough to be an interpreter. It might be easier perhaps to start as a translator and then branch out as an interpreter.
To be an interpreter you really need to know your working languages very well, because you have to be able to think and speak in the target and source languages and come up with the equivalent in each one of the languages almost at the same time as the speaker. Besides that you need other skills such as concentration and a good memory, a good speaking voice to render the original message into the target language without adding, substracting or distorting it.
Also, it is important to decide what kind of interpreting you want to do, that is legal, medical, technical, etc. because each field has its own distinctive vocabulary and believe me, you need to know vocabulary! There's no time to stop and look up words in the dictionary while you are interpreting. You need to to that in advance.
You might want to take a look at the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters' web site (NAJIT.org) or the American Translators Association's web site (ATAnet.org) for more information. I hope this helps.


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Margit Enzenmuller
Local time: 07:25
English to German
+ ...
Interpreting Jun 11, 2007

Hi,

You might want to get in touch with

http://www.dajf.org.uk

Maybe there is a similar organisation in the US. If not contact Daiwa in the UK. In the long term you ought to get involved with the Japanese Society for cultural understanding and ongoings.

Regards,
Margit


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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:25
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Curious remark Jun 15, 2007

Paula Manrique wrote:
Most interpreters work into their mother tongue.


I find this remark a bit odd; if you are an interpreter, you have to be ready and able to interpret both ways. Otherwise your job opportunities would be severely restricted and you may find yourself in hot water.
After all the job of the interpreter is to enable communication between two parties (regardless of their actual number) who don't speak the other's language.

Marcus: at this stage you have to decide which language do you think you can master (eventually) to near-native level, because you love it, have a special affinity to it, or speak it already. You have to be prepared for years of study, living for a while in a country where the language is spoken and eventually to specialise to a certain extent.

For the time being, nowadays you have a better chance to shine with Japanese, Chinese or Arabic, because there are fewer interpreters for the number of people speaking those languages than say Spanish.

Good luck.
Judith


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Markus Bleizen
Local time: 02:25
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interpreting Jun 16, 2007

All very helpful and thorough replies. Thank you. If you will all forgive me for not displaying my other language; I had not officially decided what language I was going into, though as I've been studying Japanese for two years, now (not long, I know, but I don't plan on stopping), I have resolved to become fluent.
Thanks.

-Markus


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