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Poll: Which was the main reason why you decided to become a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 17:18
SITE STAFF
Mar 13, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which was the main reason why you decided to become a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Laura Leal

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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Frances Bryce  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
All of the above Mar 13, 2007

I think it really has to be all of the above

..... I wouldn't do it if I didn't love languages/the job and I couldn't do it if I wasn't any good at it!!!

Except for good money of course

[Edited at 2007-03-13 12:53]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Glad to see Mar 13, 2007

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who answered "It just happened". I started translating simple texts after living in Spain for 14 years because someone asked me one day, "Could you translate this for us?" The rest is history (mine at least).
I also have to admit, I do love languages and that's why I've enjoyed teaching English as a Foreign language and translating for so many years.

I agree with Frances Bramer:

..... I wouldn't do it if I didn't love languages/the job and I couldn't do it if I wasn't any good at it!!!


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Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
English to Italian
other Mar 13, 2007

It's an easy job, if you know both source and target languages well... and now with the Internet it's even easier...

G


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Saskia Steur  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:18
English to Dutch
+ ...
Convenient Mar 13, 2007

For me, becoming a translator was a convenient career switch when we decided to start a family. Up until then I was full time architect, and I really wanted to be able to stay at home for our children. My love for language was a good contributor to this decision, though, as were most of the other aspects listed in this poll.

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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:18
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Most of the above, and ... Mar 13, 2007

ProZ.com Staff wrote:

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which was the main reason why you decided to become a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Laura Leal

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


Almost all the reasons given in this poll for becoming a full-time freelancer apply to me, but this is how it actually happened.
In a previous life, I had translated from home, while also teaching French and Spanish as my main job.
Then for many years I worked in investment banking in New York and London. I became disillusioned with the lowly status of my job and increasingly hated commuting to work by tube, subway or bus - expensive, dangerous, disgusting and usually late.
A London merchant bank contacted me to see if I'd agree to be employed by them as a translator, but working from home - they'd provide all the equipment. I eagerly accepted the opportunity, but in the end it never materialised. However, I was fired up by the idea and, as both my parents had been translators and a former boyfriend was successfully working as a full-time freelancer, I decided to give it a whirl. I quit my ghastly job and started freelancing full-time, and after only a few months it proved a success. I've never regretted my decision.
Good thread
Kind regards,
Jenny.


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Joris Bogaert  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:18
Italian to Dutch
+ ...
Freedom Mar 13, 2007

It's a simply nice to be able to work from anywhere with everybody all over the world.
You can live almost anywhere, you don't need to live in a city, just need a good internet connection. If you are skilled in at least 3 languages and have a good translation feeling too, this job is rather good. You don't have a boss except your deadlines...


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:18
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I picked "other" Mar 13, 2007

I did some translating many years ago (Portuguese to English) for a religious publication, but didn't take it up again until I moved back to Brazil in 1999.

When I got here, I had just split up with my husband and had no job, income, or money stashed away. I had to figure out a way to earn a living. I started out giving piano lessons, and then English lessons, but didn't enjoy it because I'm not a very good teacher and I didn't like people parading in and out of my apartment.

That's when the idea of going back to translating came to me. It took me awhile to get it going, but once I did I could see it was the best solution for me. I love working at home, enjoy languages, am a writer and ex-journalist, so it was really a perfect fit.

Amy from Rio


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 02:18
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Magpie Mar 13, 2007

I answered "It just happened" because I´m having a truthful day - wish that didn´t sound so disorganised! But translating has taken over from other activities to become the principal one for a number of reasons, the best one from my point of view being that it gives me the opportunity to keep on learning new things. No time these days for organised study, so at least translation (together with Google!) gives my magpie instinct some stimulation!

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Having a degree in languages... Mar 13, 2007

... but not finding anything attractive, I ended up teaching EFL in Spain, which I did enjoy, but eventually became fed up with the low rate of visible achievement and the poor working conditions. Although I had friends who were translators, I never felt the urge to switch until a client asked me to translate a few texts. This led on to other things and now I am grateful to be able to work from home and, most of all, be my own boss, so the buck stops here.

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Marie-Céline GEORG  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 02:18
English to French
+ ...
Love languages AND good at translating Mar 13, 2007

Hi,
I wish I could have chosen two answers so I decided for chronological order: first I fell in love with foreign languages, then I realised that I was good at translating - it was something I started to do quite automatically.

Then, of course, I love the job - it happens to be a job but if it didn't exist as a paid job I guess that I would be translating for fun... On top of that I love being a freelancer - being my own boss is perfect for me.

So the only answer that definitely wouldn't apply to me is "it just happened", because I've had the idea of being a translator since I was 13 - which took me another 13 years to achieve!

Best regards
Marie-Céline


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:18
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Not just love of languages really, more of the spoken and written word! Mar 13, 2007

My husband has always joked that if there wasn't anything else in the house, I'd read the phone book from cover to cover! A bit extreme, of course, but I can see his point.

When I'm translating I have to be really self-disciplined - if I'm not careful, I'll open a dictionary, get side-tracked, and still be there an hour later with no work done. I love all dictionaries (uni- and bi-lingual, subject specific, ...) and encyclopedias and cookery books and crosswords and word-searches and hangman etc etc. You can imagine how hard I find it to relinquish my hold on the Internet each evening!

I wonder how many like-minded souls there are out there? Does anybody know of a word for us on the '-holic' lines? I'm not sure I'm "suffering" from anything but neither am I sure my husband would always agree.


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 20:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other, without a doubt! Mar 13, 2007

Do I love languages?
NO - They are just an essential part of life - like bread and water. And I'm not particularly fond of bread and water either!

Do I love the job?
NO - I do it for money, not love.

Did it just happen?
NO - My move from full-time engineering to full-time translation was a carefully thought-out career shift at a time when IT and digital telecoms were beginning to make major in-roads into the sector of engineering in which I had specialized, provoking huge redundancies in the industry.

Was/Am I good at it?
Well, YES, of course! I'm one of the best! Anyone here care to disagree? But that's certainly not why I do it.

Other?
YES. In brief, I was living and working in Central London as an engineer with the BBC. I wanted to move to Brussels for personal reasons, so I started looking for job opportunities in Belgium. Although on the day I attended interviews I had only the barest notion of French, I got a job as a full-time in-house fre/eng translator with the European public-service broadcasters' umbrella organization, the EBU/Eurovision. I then learnt French and the art and science of technical translation, practiced this trade for around ten years, and eventually moved on to head the organization's technical publications service.

Is it good money?
NO - although it was good money when I started! Going from being an engineer in London to a translator in Brussels in 1978 I more than doubled my salary overnight! I'm pretty sure that wouldn't happen today...

N/A?
Errr ... N/A!

MediaMatrix


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:18
Flemish to English
+ ...
Other Mar 13, 2007

Do I love languages?
NO - I find them practical and means to enhance my world-view, but nothing more and nothing less. If you don't know a language, it is rather difficult to get around a country where an English teacher at a language school in an ancient city answers : "Eigo wakarimas" if you as him if he speaks English.

Do I love the job?
NO - Just as everything else in the world, it is all about the money. I don't like sitting behind a computer screen 12 hours per day. I am disillusioned with the lowly status of translation. It is something you do when you got nothing better to do. However, it has the advantage that you can put up shop where it suits you best in the world, i.e. in a sunny place with a good (fiscal) climate.

Did it just happen?
NO - In 1979 I was rather Japanese-minded. But back then the world was not globalised, there was no internet and Japan was far away. A flight to Japan was expensive and studying oriental languages seemed useless.
My only other two choices were law and translator/interpreter.
A smoothie of a director of a second-hand (from a point of view of quality and being-well known) state-subsidized schools for translators lured me into his school pointing at the E.U.-buildings next door and promised a well-paid career around the corner (E.U.). I never intended to become a translator. If my father had not been such a scrooge, I would have studied law.

Was/Am I good at it?
I guess so. However, I hate working against artificial deadlines. 3 minutes or a couple of hours past your deadline and it is the end of the world.

Is it good money?
NO - in comparison with what one of my acquaintances earns as a freelance IT-er on a daily basis working 9-5 at a big bank 4 days a week + giving software-training on his own premises, it is peanuts. To earn that amount, you should ask 0.20 eurocents per word.

With an apology to Mediamatrix for having copied his rhethorical questions and some sentences, but on some of these issues I share his opinion.




[Edited at 2007-03-13 19:29]


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Francisco Pavez  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
Serendipidy Mar 13, 2007

This one time (at band camp) I was working as a purchaser in Mexico and most of our suppliers were in Northamerica and Europe, so there was much to be translated. I hated it.

Some time later I found myself poor and unmotivated, so I picked something "easy" to do. After awhile I found that I was actually pretty good (I like being good) and getting better, the money wasn't bad and getting less bad.

One day I just realised (a revelation from on high, just without the trumpets) that I actually liked what I was doing, that I was good and that there was money in it. What elese could I ask for? Just to go back home.

So I'm back home in Canada, happy and fat, working on my certifications, and getting ready to go back to school in the fall.

All in all I'd say it was serendipidy.

[Edited at 2007-03-13 19:50]


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