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Is it worth to have specific studies in translation?
Thread poster: Jesús Pulido Ruiz
LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:35
Russian to English
+ ...
Hi, if you want to do it, Jul 12

just to put to on your resume, it is not worth it--although who knows--some people go by degrees alone. If you are passionate about it, do it but a writing program may be more beneficial. It will certainly not guarantee anything by itself--translation is an art after all, even if you get paid for it. Give it more thought. Good luck.

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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:35
Member (2008)
Italian to English
The best thing Jul 12

The best thing is to make sure that you have complete command of your target language if it is not your native language. I'm afraid your command of English is not good. So instead of trying to improve your position in the busy Spanish/English marketplace by getting lots of paper qualifications, you should work on becoming 100% fluent in English. If you can. Somebody should have told you earlier. Now I'm going to be accused of being rude.

[Edited at 2017-07-12 16:27 GMT]


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Jesús Pulido Ruiz
India
Local time: 04:05
Member (2016)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Please, read full thread before answering Jul 13

Tom in London wrote:

The best thing is to make sure that you have complete command of your target language if it is not your native language. I'm afraid your command of English is not good. So instead of trying to improve your position in the busy Spanish/English marketplace by getting lots of paper qualifications, you should work on becoming 100% fluent in English. If you can. Somebody should have told you earlier. Now I'm going to be accused of being rude.

[Edited at 2017-07-12 16:27 GMT]


Hi Tom,

I don´t find rude a sincere opinion, as said already, i take it as an opportunity to get better, but please read the full thread and you will find your comment redundant because i already answered that i don´t intend to translate in English as a target language.

Although i opened this thread in English, it was to be able to reach a broader scope of colleagues, whose opinions and comments are valuable for me, the implication that i do translate in English is something not coming from the subject of this thread nor from my opinons/assertions.

Thanks for your answer anyway

[Edited at 2017-07-13 04:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-14 03:38 GMT]


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Jesús Pulido Ruiz
India
Local time: 04:05
Member (2016)
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I´ll go for it Jul 13

Mario Chavez wrote:

Jesús, the SpanishEnglish translation market is extremely crowded and highly competitive. Rates offered go as low as 1 cent of a dollar to as high as 6 cent of a dollar. That rate range does not help in a country like the United States, but it might work in other nations.

Pay no attention to the naysayers who state there's no need for diplomas or certificates. You have enough internal motivation to go after further studies, and that is a good starting point. The next step, as you have stated, is to choose where to take that motivation: an online course? A university certificate? And so on. Tomás and others have given you good practical advice in that regard.

However, studying a translation course, whether it's a master's or a BA, takes time, self-discipline and money. Good knowledge costs money, always. I did my master's in Audiovisual Translation in 2006-2008 and it cost me 4,000 euros. All online. Is it the only online MA? Not quite, there are others.

In the end, it's a matter of priorities. I would pick the online program that gives me enough flexibility to continue working as an independent translator. Good luck!


Hi Mario!

I think other people that will read this mail and not only me will find your comment very interesting, because of the broad sense of your point of view.

Thank you for the optimistic push you give me with your opinion. I am going to do it for sure and wll do it in an online course which gives knowledge in different areas like medical, technical and UE. I think in that way i will be able to learn myself and at the same time tell my prospective clients i have taken the effort to produce the best outcome from my work in these areas.

Once again, thanks for you opinion and positive attitude, something to learn from.


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:35
German to English
A little negativity Jul 13

As a complement to Mario's comments (I'm not trying to change your mind, I'm just trying to offer another point of view for other readers):

Having a translation degree or another kind of translation certification will greatly help you in terms of one specific kind of client: mostly large and mostly generalist agencies that require a degree or other certification to meet EN or ISO certification standards or simply to narrow down the effectively infinite number of available English-to-Spanish generalist translators. Here, your degree will give you access to a market with a more limited (but still huge) supply of freelancers.

Outscourcing freelancers with translation degrees probably also tend to strongly favor colleagues with translation degrees.

A degree is probably also very helpful or even essential for a lot of salaried positions or for working in a university environment, if that is what you are interested in.


Your degree will not help you with end-of-the-line agencies just looking for someone with a pulse, but it is also very unlikely that it will help you with specialized agencies and specialized outsourcing freelancers. Personally, I rarely outsource, but when I do, my primary concern is freelancers' qualifications in the subject-matter field, and I would assume that this is very typical among subject-matter specialists.
Your translation degree is also extremely unlikely to help with direct clients: Most normal people do not understand that it is even possible to study "translation studies" and they are also thoroughly unimpressed by language degrees. Direct clients generally worry most about your knowledge of their field and how well you speak their language (in my case, my source language). I have never had anyone ask me about my qualifications as a translator.

I did not understand your response to Sheila, so I'll repeat what I think she was saying:
English to Spanish is an economically difficult market to be working in. If you want to earn decent rates, you have to work very hard to find, keep and periodically supplement a group of clients who specifically want what you have to offer, who doubt that they can easily replace you and who are prepared to pay good money for a service that they consider important to their business. You have to construct a niche for yourself or you will always be working long hours just to get by. Having a translation degree is not going to help you avoid that dynamic, because it will only really help you with clients who are caught up in it themselves (unless that degree leads you to a salaried position). Having a degree and/or professional experience relevant to a field of specialization can help a ton - if you develop your business based on fully exploiting this advantage.

On the other hand:
I did not study translation, but I have read enough to agree with everyine arguing that it is certainly worthwhile and helpful if you take it seriously and make full use of the opportunities it provides. However, I do not think it is worth it in terms of direct returns on the investment of tuition/fees and lost income.
And I don't agree that price strongly correlates with value in the case of education: I could study German in Germany essentially for free and it would cost me tens of thousands of dollars in tuition per year to receive an inferior education and learn next to nothing outside the classroom while studying in the US.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:35
English to Spanish
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Studying German in Germany Jul 13

Michael Wetzel wrote:

On the other hand:
I did not study translation, but I have read enough to agree with everyine arguing that it is certainly worthwhile and helpful if you take it seriously and make full use of the opportunities it provides. However, I do not think it is worth it in terms of direct returns on the investment of tuition/fees and lost income.
And I don't agree that price strongly correlates with value in the case of education: I could study German in Germany essentially for free and it would cost me tens of thousands of dollars in tuition per year to receive an inferior education and learn next to nothing outside the classroom while studying in the US.


Question, Michael: how can you study German basically for free in Germany? I suppose physical presence is important, not to mention being a legal resident or a visa-holding student. I visited the Goethe Institut website, or some other website that recommends going to Germany to study the language. I'm curious because I started taking basic German lessons a couple of months ago and I would like to continue.

Thanks.

P.S. Sorry, Jesús, I don't mean to hijack your posting.


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Robert Rietvelt  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:35
Member (2006)
Spanish to Dutch
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Is it worth to have specific studies in translation? Jul 13

That was the question, right?

Well, my answer is yes and no.

Let's keep it simple.

During my studies I learned a lot of practical tools how to "attack" a source text and how to convert into Dutch. I am still using them. So in this case, I would say yes.

During my studies I learned nothing about CAT's, other handy online/offline tools and/or (more important) how to find clients. So I would say no.

During my studies I saw classmates who really hadn't a clue about what they were doing, but passed Cum Laude. So, I would say maybe.

So, how did I learn the trade? By collecting all my experiences and trying to make something out of it. And of course, you need a bit of luck. No matter how industrious you are, you will achieve nothing without luck.

So, is it worth to have specific studies in translation? Can come in handy, but is not a passport to success.


[Edited at 2017-07-13 21:31 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-13 23:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-13 23:25 GMT]


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Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:35
German to English
@Mario (and sorry Jesús) Jul 14

I guess I was vague: I was comparing a degree program in "German Language and Literature" at a US university with a degree program in "Germanistik" at a German university. I assumed cost of living to be equal and unavoidable in either case, which may or may not be a valid assumption. I ignored the fact that, for someone living in the US, studying in Germany would mean paying for travel to and from Germany.

My point was that there is no tuition in Germany and the semester fees (at least at my university ten years ago) included a public-transportation pass that was worth more than the total fees.

I would also give the same advice to anyone thinking about entering a translation studies program who wants to work with German and is able to relocate to a different country.

In order to get a student visa you have to pass a German test that demands a significant level of proficiency, but nothing spectacular (particularly if you take time to specifically prepare for the test). Other than that, I think it is very easy to get a student visa for people from the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and several other countries. Schengen-country citizens (roughly the EU minus the UK and Ireland and maybe still some Eastern European countries plus Switzerland and maybe a few other countries) don't need a visa. I don't know what the situation is like for people from other countries.

If you want to informally study German in Germany "for free": I found a job as an English teacher at a language school (Berlitz, in my case). They generally advertise that all teachers are native speakers and generally have experience dealing with the local administration and getting their teachers' papers taken care of. The key is to go to a town where most people don't want to go (Magdeburg, in my case, where I was actually perfectly happy), so that you will have plenty of work. Then you can go to the local library, make friends, exchange lessons with local university students, etc.

On the other hand, I think it is very difficult to get a residency permit as a freelancer.

What is tuition like in Portugal?


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Josephine Cassar  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:35
Member (2012)
Italian to English
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Dear Jesús Jul 15

I agree with what Robert Rietvelt said-very practical and down-to-earth. I would like to suggest the DipTrans which is a prestigious (not just for the prestige or the initials you can put after your name though but because it is equivalent to post-graduate standard so the practice improves your translations.) It really has an extremely and 'impossibly high' standard (I agree and my tutor agrees too, hence my quotation) but you can prepare for it alone or pay for a course so you have a tutor who knows the DipTrans standards and can help you by reviewing your work according to the required standards, point out your strengths and weaknesses and make suggestions so you improve. It is like having an impartial person who would review your work not just for the sake of changes. Just a suggestion which you might not have considered. Your translations may already be good but the texts that are for practice are even more difficult than the ones we normally translate so your standard improves dramatically with practice. What would normally be considered a good translation by you or by an agency or by a client or reviewer or even by the tutor, would only manage to get a pass mark. You get used to the text types though and then can continue practising on your own before applying to sit for the exam. Think about it and good luck.

[Edited at 2017-07-15 08:20 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-15 12:22 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-17 08:24 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-17 08:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-17 08:37 GMT]


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:35
English to Spanish
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Berlitz Jul 15

Michael Wetzel wrote:

I guess I was vague: I was comparing a degree program in "German Language and Literature" at a US university with a degree program in "Germanistik" at a German university. I assumed cost of living to be equal and unavoidable in either case, which may or may not be a valid assumption. I ignored the fact that, for someone living in the US, studying in Germany would mean paying for travel to and from Germany.

My point was that there is no tuition in Germany and the semester fees (at least at my university ten years ago) included a public-transportation pass that was worth more than the total fees.

I would also give the same advice to anyone thinking about entering a translation studies program who wants to work with German and is able to relocate to a different country.

In order to get a student visa you have to pass a German test that demands a significant level of proficiency, but nothing spectacular (particularly if you take time to specifically prepare for the test). Other than that, I think it is very easy to get a student visa for people from the US, Canada, Japan, South Korea and several other countries. Schengen-country citizens (roughly the EU minus the UK and Ireland and maybe still some Eastern European countries plus Switzerland and maybe a few other countries) don't need a visa. I don't know what the situation is like for people from other countries.

If you want to informally study German in Germany "for free": I found a job as an English teacher at a language school (Berlitz, in my case). They generally advertise that all teachers are native speakers and generally have experience dealing with the local administration and getting their teachers' papers taken care of. The key is to go to a town where most people don't want to go (Magdeburg, in my case, where I was actually perfectly happy), so that you will have plenty of work. Then you can go to the local library, make friends, exchange lessons with local university students, etc.

On the other hand, I think it is very difficult to get a residency permit as a freelancer.

What is tuition like in Portugal?


Thanks, Michael, that information shows a balanced approach and, about studying German, might come in handy for me later.

Tuition in Portuguese universities is ridiculously low compared to American universities. Different American cities have different costs of living (living and studying in Boston, for instance, is at least 50% more expensive than living in Cleveland, OH). However, credit hours (the unit our universities use) for PhD programs cost about $1000 and more (tuition). To give you an idea, a 15-week course may mean 2 or 3 credit hours, depending on how many times a week the class meets. My PhD tuition, whole, the entire 4-year program, cost me 6,000 euros. Cheap by comparison.


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Nor Afizah Thalhan  Identity Verified
Malaysia
Local time: 06:35
Member (2013)
English to Malay
+ ...
My opinion Jul 15

If it makes you feel better-do it. After all this translation job can be mundane after few years if we do not learn something to grow. To clients-this is just another paper. Experience is always the King.

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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:35
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
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Spanish to English Jul 15

Jesús Pulido Ruiz wrote:


... i don´t intend to translate in English as a target language.

... the implication that i do translate in English is something not coming from the subject of this thread nor from my opinons/assertions.


The idea that you translate from Spanish to English comes from your ProZ profile, which shows Spanish to English as your primary language pair.


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Sorana_M.
Romania
Local time: 01:35
English to Romanian
+ ...
Worth Jul 17

Jesús Pulido Ruiz wrote:

- Is it really worth?



I have completed a 4-year long cycle of translation studies in my home country, Romania. I found it really helpful, but it didn't influence the number of my clients. At all.


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