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Poll: If I were to write a book on "How to Be a Successful Translator", the first chapter would be on:
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:39
SITE STAFF
Jan 18, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If I were to write a book on "How to Be a Successful Translator", the first chapter would be on:".

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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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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Other Jan 18, 2008

Are YOU planning on writing one?

How about some pre-agreed royalty sharing with all of us here?

OK, OK, I suggest as a first chapter title: "Why on earth do you want to be a translator?"



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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
English to Arabic
+ ...
First chapter: "Have you got what it takes?" Jan 18, 2008

I replied Other.
My first chapter would be entitled "Have you got what it takes?" and it would be about the importance of something that comes before education and training, professional development and money matters: The love of languages, and the ability and willingness to immerse oneself in cultures very different from one's own.
If you got that, anything else can come later.

[Edited at 2008-01-18 11:59]


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 11:39
English to Russian
+ ...
Look into yourself! Jan 18, 2008

First and foremost, one should ask himself (or herself) a question: Do I really WANT this to become my chosen profession? If the answer is "Yes" chances are you WILL become a sucessfull translator even if you do not manage to become a rich person. After all, money is important but not the most important thing in the world

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MARIA MELINA
Argentina
Local time: 05:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Nice words, nesrin Jan 18, 2008

Then, in the chapter about money issues I will develop on the difficulties we encounter to be paid accordingly and on how underestimated is our profession by others.

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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 10:39
French to English
+ ...
How very weird/interesting ! Jan 18, 2008

When I opened this thread, I was about to say that the first chapter should be about motivation: why do you want to be a translator? what is in it for you? what is your career plan?

But I see others have said exactly the same thing, albeit in different words.

Part of the key to success in any field is being truly interested in what you are doing, not doing it because there is no other option or to fill in time. Nor because you have illusions about what it can bring you. Lucidity has to be the name of the game.

In a book on how to succeed in translation, it is obvious to me that you would first have to question the motivation factor.

Great minds think alike ? Or fools never differ ? Your call.


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Sandro C  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:39
English to Georgian
+ ...
other too Jan 18, 2008

Nesrin just posted what I wanted to write... yes, the first and foremost should be dedication to this profession, love of languages and willingness to learn for the rest of your life..

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Irene Schlotter, Dipl.-Übers.
Spain
Local time: 10:39
English to German
+ ...
What translation really means Jan 18, 2008

I would want to clarify common misconceptions in translation (no, you will most likely NOT become disgustingly rich and famous) and also stress that by simply reading this book one does NOT become a translator. Also, I would briefly explain the difference between translating and interpreting (which is apparently not common knowledge).

There are so many people who - simply, because they are quite comfortable with a language other than their native one - do translations which in the end do not really deserve that name. Also, I do think that formal training in translation - be it literary, general or in localization - is not an option that should generally be dismissed as something you don't need. There are lots of excellent translators without degrees who do a fabulous job, but - in my point of view - there are at least as many who should not be translating. It is the latter ones who make life miserable to the rest of us: doing translations and being a translator are two different things, at least in my point of view.
A big chapter would be dedicated to proper research and reliable sources/references. Many times questions can be answered simply by good research: Everyone knows Google, but when using search terms that are too general, filtering the results can be a very lengthy and unrewarding process. Thus, usage of techniques (such as quotation marks, Boolean operators, image searches, etc.) are a must and need to be learned. In addition, with that wealth of information at one's fingertip is it important to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. The fact of finding a term in the Internet or in Wikipedia does not mean that it is correct - either in the given context or in general. Internet does not impose restrictions as to the content provided by the 'internauts' - if you want, you can even find sites stating that horses are green (simply enter "pferde sind grün" with the double quotes). I could go on and on ... but my soon-to-be-delivered job is lurking. Have a good Friday!


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Niraja Nanjundan  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:09
German to English
Other Jan 18, 2008

My first chapter would be similar to Nesrin's, but I would probably also discuss what the day-to-day life of a freelance translator is really like, to prepare the reader for everything else that comes later!

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Chapter 1: "Are you sure about becoming a translator? Jan 18, 2008

Nesrin wrote:
I replied Other.
My first chapter would be entitled "Have you got what it takes?" and it would be about the importance of something that comes before education and training, professional development and money matters: The love of languages, and the ability and willingness to immerse oneself in cultures very different from one's own.
If you got that, anything else can come later.

[Edited at 2008-01-18 11:59]


Also replied other. Indeed the first chapter should be about whether the person is really prepared and willing to become a translator after knowing more about what it is all about, from the experience of another translator.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:39
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What They Never Taught You in Translation School Jan 18, 2008

Money matters alone would fill a book. And they never teach that.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Flemish to English
+ ...
Freelancer, UNcrat or Eurocrat Jan 18, 2008

Translations schools are mostly state-subsidized ivory towers with mostly professors who have no feeling with the outside translation jungle where it is all about money.
However, how you answer this question depends upon your situation as a translator. Working at a national institution or being a well-paid UNcrat/Eurocrat at grade XYZ makes world of difference in comparison with being a freelancer in a translation jungle.


[Edited at 2008-01-18 13:43]


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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 05:39
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Resources, of course Jan 18, 2008

Many people voted "Education". Well, agree it's #1... if you wanna be a translator. No knowledge, no translation - that's evident.
But the title of the book is "How to be a successful translator", not "how to become a translator". So... these days, with so many technological changes, a good knowledge of cyber-resources is a MUST, if a translator (an already existing one) wants to be successful as well.


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 10:39
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
What is successful? Jan 18, 2008

Is a successful translator a good translator, a translator with a lot of trade, or a translator who makes a lot of money?

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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:39
Italian to English
+ ...
Didn't vote Jan 18, 2008

because I haven't the faintest idea - it's a fascinating topic though.

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