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Poll: How did you become a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:58
SITE STAFF
Oct 21, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How did you become a translator?".

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A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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Miranda Joubioux  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:58
French to English
+ ...
By chance Oct 21, 2008

I have always loved languages and my university degree in Linguistics reflected that. However, when I moved into the working world I never actually believed I would end up working with them.
I worked in many fields before entering a young company in France whose general manager spoke good English (he had travelled a lot and came from a Danish-French family). When he hired me, I think it may well have been because of my English. I had many roles in this company and one quickly took over from the rest. I translated websites for them (which was never mention in the job offer). I found out that I liked doing this, but that I was not doing it in the best conditions. After 6 years, the company went bust and I decided that I would continue doing this freelance. I have never looked back.
It has all been particularly rewarding!


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Catherine Shepherd  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Choice Oct 21, 2008

I decided I wanted to be a translator when I was 16, when someone told me that they'd studied Translation at university. I thought it was really interesting and that's where it all started!

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Alexandra Goldburt
Local time: 15:58
English to Russian
+ ...
A combination of chance and choice? Oct 21, 2008

I wish "a combination of both" were a choice among the answers.

What I mean is this: you get you very first job because somebody knows you are bilingual and needs a translator (or, in my case, an interpreter); you do it and love it so much that you start looking into the profession, researching the opportunities, taking classes, reading books and articles about translating and interpreting, etc. This way, you become a professional.

That's exactly how I became a professional interpreter.

First - pure chance; then - conscious choice. Or should we call it destiny?


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Cecilia Falk  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:58
English to Swedish
Out of necessity Oct 21, 2008

I wanted to live in Ireland for a while back before Sweden was member of the EU. As it would be difficult for me to find work, and I had been working as a proof reader for five years at a newspaper, and did freelance work as a publisher's reader for a publishing house, I decided to ask if they needed a new translator. They did and I never looked back. That was 20 years ago ...

Cecilia


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A. Petrunova
Bulgaria
Local time: 01:58
Swedish to English
+ ...
Necessity first, choice next Oct 21, 2008

For me it was sheer necessity at first (at least for the type of texts I started with, i.e. non-fiction. I had always wanted to translate fiction). And then very soon it became my profession of choice and I realized non-fiction was my thing.

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:58
Italian to English
+ ...
By chance, mainly Oct 21, 2008

But also by choice. The chance was the meeting-an-Italian-and-moving-to-Italy-and-learning-another-language bit, the choice was in deciding that it was by far my preferred option of the various alternatives available to me at a certain point in my working life here. And it was definitely the right decision

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Lalit Sati  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 04:28
Member (2010)
English to Hindi
+ ...
By choice Oct 21, 2008

Catherine Shepherd wrote:

... I thought it was really interesting and that's where it all started!


Agree!


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David Brown  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:58
Spanish to English
By chance Oct 21, 2008

I was looking for a job as a health professional in hospitals in Spain when one of the Medical Directors asked me if I could translate a paper which he wanted to publish in an English speaking journal, which had been rejected twice due to poor English (don't know who the translator was). It was accepted first time by a prestigious British medical journal and since then I have worked mainly for medical scientists and researchers by recommendation.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:58
Spanish to English
+ ...
Drifted into it ... Oct 21, 2008

... after several years doing TEFLA, when I found myself growing dissatisfied with the overall lack of visible results in teaching and increasingly enjoying translating the texts I received from my students or their acquaintances. I (very) occasionally still do some coaching or specific training, but 99% of my work now is translating or interpreting. The freedom being my own boss, with a flexible schedule and not having to drag myself out of bed on cold, wet or dark mornings to make my way through perilous traffic to some poky office makes it all worthwhile - and I earn more, and more regularly, than in TEFL.

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Marina Menendez  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 19:58
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Languages - a passion Oct 21, 2008

By option, definitely!
I don't know why (innate flair? quirk of fate? unconscious decision?) I love communication and languages. When I was about 7 I struck my father's old notebooks and books -pletoric of strange linear drawings that later proved to be Latin & French & English words. May be that early discovery, together with my grandmother's snippets of Italian interwoven in daily chats, decided my future.
Though I put this passion to test (choosing Maths & Physic orientation at secondary school), the 'language drive' was stronger. By the time I finished secondary school, I have studied English, French, and German. I wanted to be a translator and I knew a deep knowledge and command of my own mother language was an a priori requirement, so I went to university and attended both courses of study simultaneously - Translating and Spanish Philology (the latter known as 'Letras' in Argentina).
I am lucky. I make a living while indulging my romantic passion for languages.
Professionaly, I'm a polygamist

[Edited at 2008-10-21 17:54]


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Mariam Osmann
Egypt
Local time: 00:58
English to Arabic
+ ...
Mainly by chance Oct 21, 2008

During my studies at the school of science, I had one semester gap, I had to stay at home and wait for the next year. I was offered to work from home as translator of exam sheets and pratice books for elementary school student. It continued to be my work during holidays. After my graduation, I received a similar offer, but this time I started to search online to learn more about translation and translators, I discovered Proz.com which is now my main source of offers. I didn't stop to translate even after I worked as instructor at the school of science. I didn't stop also to regularly attend language and translation courses.

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Ilona Hessner  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:58
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
My first foreign language was Latin - it shaped my later decisions Oct 21, 2008

Become a translator: I now differentiate - why?
Having worked as multilingual secretary, interpreter and export officer for 15 years, then another 17 years as translator for contacts out of these years, I have joined Proz.Com in July 2008. I will have to decide at year ending whether legal entity is better than employment.

For me, a translator is independant and Proz.Com offers very efficient means to assist the translator in his/her way to achieve his/her goals.


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Hendarto Setiadi  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 05:58
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Destiny Oct 21, 2008

Both of my parents were translators - did I have choice?

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anna purna  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:58
French to English
+ ...
Exactly the same here... Oct 21, 2008

neilmac wrote:

... after several years doing TEFLA, when I found myself growing dissatisfied with the overall lack of visible results in teaching and increasingly enjoying translating the texts I received from my students or their acquaintances. I (very) occasionally still do some coaching or specific training, but 99% of my work now is translating or interpreting. The freedom being my own boss, with a flexible schedule and not having to drag myself out of bed on cold, wet or dark mornings to make my way through perilous traffic to some poky office makes it all worthwhile - and I earn more, and more regularly, than in TEFL.



And I should add, being the mother of two little girls, that the TEFL "evening classes" were becoming a logistical nightmare!


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