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Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
Poll: Any regrets in becoming a translator?
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 02:51
SITE STAFF
Nov 29, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Any regrets in becoming a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by KPonnan

View the poll here

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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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Quite the opposite Nov 29, 2006

My university training was in translation. Then, through a series of seemingly random events, I wound up working in information technology for 15 years. On the whole, it was a positive experience, though during that time I often wished I were doing something else.

Fortunately, I kept my hand in doing freelance translations part time. Then, three years ago, I dropped the IT work and have worked full time as a translator ever since. I love it!


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Olivia MAHÉ  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:51
English to French
+ ...
No, no regrets... Nov 29, 2006

It's hard to be a translator, but anyway I can't figure myself doing anything else...

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neilmac
Spain
Local time: 11:51
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but perhaps a better question might be Nov 29, 2006

... something along the lines of "what (sometimes) annoys you about working as a translator..."

I'm a freelancer and just found out today that a regular client has started giving their Spanish-French work to someone else without notifying me, or expressing dissatisfaction with the work done for them to date.
Disgruntled would be putting it mildly, as I work on a basis of mutual trust and understanding.

Apart from that, the benefit of being your own boss and working from home with a flexible schedule make up for any drawbacks as far as I'm concerned, although I can't answer for those working for agencies or in-house.


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Maria Diaconu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 12:51
English to Romanian
I'm having some just now Nov 29, 2006

... but my clients keep on encouraging me...

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Astrid Elke Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
I answered "occasionally" Nov 29, 2006

Actually, I am convinced that I am in the right job, but I do need to solve the problem of working non-stop, permanently, at breakneck speed, except for during short breaks for conferences or holidays. It spoils the fun a bit to permanently, day and night, be processing urgent orders, with never a chance to do anything else at all, not even ordinary things like the housework (or even sleeping or eating).

Astrid


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Silvina Dell'Isola Urdiales  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 11:51
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
Me too Ocasionally... Nov 29, 2006

As every job, being a freelancer has its 'pros and cons':
sometimes yo have no work, other you have TOO MUCH and it's very hard to deal with all this even if you might say 'why not outsourcing'... anyway if you outsource a job, you have to keep an eye on it, anyway proofread it.... and I DON'T WANT to become an agency


Well, the point is that during this period I'm actually working too much and my neck hurts, even if I try to dedicate some hours to aerobics....



All the best fro m Genova
silvin@

[Edited at 2006-11-29 22:49]


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Ania Grajek  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 12:51
German to Polish
+ ...
I agree with Astrid Nov 29, 2006


Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Actually, I am convinced that I am in the right job, but I do need to solve the problem of working non-stop, permanently, at breakneck speed, except for during short breaks for conferences or holidays. It spoils the fun a bit to permanently, day and night, be processing urgent orders, with never a chance to do anything else at all, not even ordinary things like the housework (or even sleeping or eating).

Astrid

I fully agree with you, Astrid, on that one. I am having one of those periods right now. I don't want to disappoint my clients since I really appreciate having a long-term business relationship with them, however there is a price to pay. I have a flood of work now everything is so urgent. I am soooooo tired (and hungry!!!) and frustrated that next weekend my mates go out and I will stay indoors in front of my computer.

I still would not like to do anything else. OK, except for being a rockstar.


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Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 16:51
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Not at all Nov 30, 2006

I have fallen in love with English since my elementary school. Those days, cowboy films were highly popular in Indonesia. I used to imagine what a great pleasure if I could understand and speak English well.

Moreover, while most students considered it as one of the most difficult subjects, at the junior high school (where English began to be taught), I found that the language was easy to learn. At the senior high school I started translating various reading texts (homework) for my fellow students. Of course, the reward was only "Thanks for your help." However, it is during this time that I fell in love with translation.

Furthermore, in the first two years of my university life I used to help my friends translate English texts of various fields. These are still pro bono translation services.

In the third year, I started to think - the vast majority of Indonesian people cannot speak English; most textbooks, research articles, and teaching materials are in English; many undergraduate and post-graduate students need translation services; I have sufficient knowledge of and skills in English; I can provide for translation services; then, why should I provide them for free?

From the time on, I marry with freelance translation. My marriage is extremely harmonious. I work seven days a week, and my weekends are those days when I do not have any jobs.

Any regrets? Absolutely no.





[Edited at 2006-11-30 00:42]


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Kimmy
Local time: 19:51
Italian to English
+ ...
I also said occasionally Nov 30, 2006

very often fo the same reasons as Astrid......it can become all too self-involving but I find that at the end of the day, I am better off declining jobs rather than do a bad job and lose the client anyway!
Declining jobs due to overload has never caused me any grief with clients......in fact I think it makes them realise that I am not a "beck and call" girl and that I do have other commitments!

But, at the end of the day I try not to get too bogged down by the whole "have I made the right choice" scenario because if it does become too much there is nothing or noone holding a gun to my head to keep going!

This world offers so many opportunities........why spiral into despair over translating if, at the end of the day, you can turn off your computer and walk away from that career choice! (providing mortgage payments are up to date!)

Kim


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K. Ponnan  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 17:51
English to Tamil
+ ...
Glad for you, Steven Nov 30, 2006

Steven Capsuto wrote:
My university training was in translation. Then, through a series of seemingly random events, I wound up working in information technology for 15 years. ..........

Then, three years ago, I dropped the IT work and have worked full time as a translator ever since. I love it! [/quote]


Not many people would have dared to do what you have done .. drop something they have been doing for a long time (in your case 15 years) to pursue their real passion.


[Edited at 2006-11-30 04:05]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks Nov 30, 2006


KPonnan wrote:
Not many people would have dared to do what you have done .. drop something they have been doing for a long time (in your case 15 years) to pursue their real passion.


Thank you. I'm much happier doing this, though I suspect it's not as daring as it seems. Changing careers is very much part of the culture in the U.S.

I get the impression that it's much harder to change careers in Europe, and that employers are mostly looking for people who are already working in the same field. Is that the case?


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Melanie Nassar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:51
Member (2012)
German to English
+ ...
No regrets, but one thing bothers me.... Nov 30, 2006

...that I waited so long translate full-time.

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kpi  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:51
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
No regrets, but... Nov 30, 2006

I selected "no regrets" because I am very happy working as a translator - and it allowed me to be home when my kids were growing up and to "keep an eye on them" - even though I often heard "we're the only ones whose Mom is home all the time - why can't you work in an office like other people".....
The only drawback I find is that it can be a very lonely business - it's more of an effort to meet people when you are holed up at your computer. In spite of this - NO REGRETS!
Actually, I have found powwows a nice way to meet others in the same situation! I highly recommend them!


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:51
Flemish to English
+ ...
I clicked "all the time". Nov 30, 2006

Who would dare to say "all the time" on a forum for translators? I clicked "all the time”. Don’t refer me to the shrink.
Reasons:
In the real world, it is no basis for a "real" career.
When you finish a translation school, you are well versed in languages and had a lot of this and that, but you are a specialist in "nothing".
The public does not understand translation and looks down on it.
All the hassle about whether or not a word is the right word.
Looking for needles in haystacks without motivation to say that a translation is wrong and ask for a price reduction.
Payment terms: one of my acquaintances has been a freelance IT professional (VBA and Vb.net programming) for 10 years. He has always been paid on time i.e. after 30 days.
Trados required: Buy it and earn less or increase your rate. It is "professional" (?) to give a reduction for the use of CAT-tools.
The obsession with the native language only dogma, which I had never heard of before the advent of the Internet. Especially native speakers of English-both outsourcers and translators- are obsessed with it. It hinders further growth and language improvement.
I am middle-aged. So enthusiasm has worn off.
When I was in my early thirties, through a perk at a multinational of packages, I discovered that my passion was flying. Now I am too old for that. Hence, I can only try to assimilate an I.T.-package like Dreamweaver and add a service to alternate with translation.



[Edited at 2006-11-30 07:55]


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