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Poll: Freelance translators: Did you previously work in the main field in which you translate?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:01
SITE STAFF
Feb 14, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Freelance translators: Did you previously work in the main field in which you translate?".

This poll was originally submitted by Jack Doughty

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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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:01
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Thank you, Claudia Feb 14, 2007

This poll was inspired by Claudia Digel's poll on working in-house before working freelance or not. I thought this angle was worth discussion too.
I did a three-year apprenticeship in mechanical engineering (1947-1950), specializing in aircraft engines, before becoming an "in-house translator" for the RAF and BBC Monitoring. I did freelance mainly in my spare time from 1965. I started by doing only engineering work and gradually expanding out from there over the years. Knowing one field thoroughly and seeing how often the apparently obvious translation in it can be wrong makes you realise how careful you have to be to get it right in other fields.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:01
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
My field keeps evolving Feb 14, 2007

I voted No. When I first started working as an independent professional, the main field in which I worked was indeed related to my profession before localisation and translation, IT.

Today our customers expect us to be able to work in many different fields in which I had no previous working experience. I reckon this is the situation for most independent translators...


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
I translate in a lot of different fields Feb 14, 2007

I've worked in some of them, but not in others.

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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 07:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same as Steven Feb 14, 2007

I answered N/A. Like Steven, I work in several different fields and couldn't classify any single one as THE main field. I've worked in some of these fields but not all.

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:01
English to French
+ ...
Ditto Feb 14, 2007

I also worked in some of my fields, but not in others. However, I find that the fields I didn't work in before becoming a freelance translator are connected to the fields I worked in (safety and mechanics). I work on a lot of texts of an environmental flavor, and a lot of the terms used in that field are terms I have used in my regular jobs (for example, safety supplies like spill kits are used in the environmental field). So, this leading to that, I got into other fields that were more accessible because of the fields I have previously worked in.

Funnily enough, I am now much more into the fields I discovered through translation than the fields I have hands-on experience with. But I do still enjoy technical engineering - it is so broad and I keep learning new things with each new contract.


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Silvina Matheu  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 03:01
Member
English to Spanish
Yes Feb 14, 2007

Although I have always been in translation, I used to be an in-house translator in health institutions. So when I decided to become a freelancer, I have just kept on the same track because I feel comfortable in the medical field.

I certainly work on some other fields but those years have influenced on my career.


[Edited at 2007-02-14 12:44]


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 02:01
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I wish! Feb 14, 2007

I've worked since my teen years in one of my specialties, religion. But only rarely do I get a paying translation job in that field. So I had to answer "no" as religion is not my "main field" for translation. If only!

Jane


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Claudia Aguero  Identity Verified
Costa Rica
Local time: 00:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
In several different areas Feb 14, 2007

I have worked in several fields. I studied translation at the University, but also have some other degrees in fields I haven't worked yet.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:01
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes in several different areas Feb 14, 2007

(art, museums, law, IT). However, that doesn't stop clients from sending me automotives.

On the other hand, I worked in a hospital under the state health care system and I've dropped that as a translation field. (Takes too much work and time to keep up to date).

What I haven't worked at and have learned purely from practice, reading and conviction is wildlife and environment.


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James Fite  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:01
Member (2004)
Russian to English
Yes, and how! Feb 14, 2007

I concentrate primarily on military (any and all sub-fields), arms control, nuclear, diplomatic, political and legal texts as a freelancer. I actually started out in the language field in the US Navy, with much of my service spent interpreting and translating for the INF and START treaty inspections on a multitude of military bases in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. I also spent a great deal of time working in the US embassies in Kazakhstan and Belarus in the Arms Control Implementation Unit. I did humanitarian aid missions in Georgia and Armenia for the US State Department, and even got to "sneak" over 1/2 ton of highly-enriched uranium out of Kazakhstan for the Department of Energy back in 1994 (secretly, but legally and with the blessing of the involved governments, of course).

Nowadays I spend my work day translating texts for specific weapon systems, current affairs, laws relating to the military, nuclear programs, policies and facilities, among other things, almost entirely relating to the things I mentioned above.

While working my other missions back in my younger days I also made a point to visit and help out the local orphanages. Now today I recharge my spirit by helping parents adopting from Russia, churches and organizations who want to help the children's homes in Russia with aid packages, and I arrange phone calls and interpret between host parents and hosted children in Russian orphanages. I also occasionally translate short letters between the children and sponsors here in the US at no cost. This year for Christmas and New Year's my girls and I even hosted an orphan from Russia who really opened our eyes to how blessed we are. He really helped me brush up on my rusty Russian speaking skills. It was quite an education all around.

So, in both the everyday working world and in the community service area, my activities are very much intertwined with my past, pre-freelance work and community service.


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Melzie
Local time: 07:01
French to English
+ ...
yes and no Feb 14, 2007

All I ever wanted to do from when I was 13 was be a wine broker, thinking that I would be working with people with a passion, so all my studies were to that aim. When I was ready to work there was a slump in the (very cut throat) market so I never even got to first post. Now however, I teach and translate English for wine and work with the people I wanted to all along. I have also worked in the field a bit but never as a broker!

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 06:01
Dutch to English
+ ...
Yes Feb 14, 2007

And no prizes for guessing which one.

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Aurélie DANIEL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:01
English to French
+ ...
Yes Feb 14, 2007

I studied in a business school and worked in that field for five years, and the stuff I translate is often related to business in some way: marketing, internal communication, financial and activity reports, policy papers, etc. Without my education & (rather short, but was enough for me) experience, I am sure I would not understand some concepts in these documents as well as I do.

I also translate books on art, architecture, design and digital photography, and it is a part of my job that I love. But in these fields the research part takes longer, especially when it gets technical.

Another field in which my education helps me is the management of my small business. It's quite simple, really, but I don't know if I would have thought of it all myself if I hadn't actually learned it.

[Edited at 2007-02-14 19:13]


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Suzanne Blangsted  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:01
Danish to English
+ ...
yes and no Feb 14, 2007

I answered yes as I am primarily doing medical work, which is the field I worked in since 1960.

I have, however, through my many years in translation also translated text from other fields. And, no matter how much I know, I always find new words and vocabularies impacting every field of translation, so I am continually learning.

I suppose I should retire now, but I need this to keep my brain alive.


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