Working as a translator in the public sector
Thread poster: eva75

eva75
English
+ ...
Oct 23, 2005

This is probably going to sound like a silly question:

I would like to work in the public sector, for example in the translation department of a government body, but my grades aren't first class, they're very good, but not excellent. Could anyone please tell me whether it is absolutely essential to have excellent grades to get a translator position in the public sector, or do they accept "second-class" graduates too?


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Momoka  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:49
Japanese to Spanish
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Missing something? Oct 23, 2005

Maybe I didn't check very well, but I couldn't find where you're from, neither in your question nor in your profile. I think it will depend on where you live, amongst other things...

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 10:49
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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You can always try... Oct 24, 2005

eva75 wrote:
Could anyone please tell me whether it is absolutely essential to have excellent grades to get a translator position in the public sector, or do they accept "second-class" graduates too?


You have a three-year arts degree and two years of translation experience. Surely that would count for something... you might as well give it a try.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:49
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Hi Eva Oct 24, 2005

I don't know what you specifically refer to as the "public sector" (where you are based, for example), but it's not that realistic to expect to get in as a translator without experience. Neither is it very well-regarded professionally to refer to colleagues (or to yourself, for that matter) as "second-class", but there is such a thing as an entry level position, depending on what outfit(s) you are targetting. Some public translation offices also have mentoring and training programs. So a lot of what you want to know really depends on where you are and the legwork you can do or have to do to maneuver yourself into a trainee slot.

The public sector is generally an equal-pay-equal-opportunities employer, which is why "second-class" doesn't go down too well as a job qualification/description. This will generally mean some testing to get in at entry level will be involved. Hope I give you a rough idea. I started in the public sector myself.


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eva75
English
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TOPIC STARTER
public sector = government Oct 25, 2005

Parrot wrote:

I don't know what you specifically refer to as the "public sector" (where you are based, for example), but it's not that realistic to expect to get in as a translator without experience. Neither is it very well-regarded professionally to refer to colleagues (or to yourself, for that matter) as "second-class", but there is such a thing as an entry level position, depending on what outfit(s) you are targetting. Some public translation offices also have mentoring and training programs. So a lot of what you want to know really depends on where you are and the legwork you can do or have to do to maneuver yourself into a trainee slot.

The public sector is generally an equal-pay-equal-opportunities employer, which is why "second-class" doesn't go down too well as a job qualification/description. This will generally mean some testing to get in at entry level will be involved. Hope I give you a rough idea. I started in the public sector myself.


By the public secotr, I meant government bodies. Sorry, I thought this term would be clear for everyone. What I was trying to get at is the following: Is it possible for a translation graduate with second class honours to get a position as a translator with a government body, or do they only choose those with better academic results over a translator that already has acquired professional experience and was't the brightest spark in the class academically?


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:49
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
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Well... Oct 25, 2005

eva75 wrote:

By the public secotr, I meant government bodies. Sorry, I thought this term would be clear for everyone. What I was trying to get at is the following: Is it possible for a translation graduate with second class honours to get a position as a translator with a government body, or do they only choose those with better academic results over a translator that already has acquired professional experience and was't the brightest spark in the class academically?



I have yet to see a government body recruiting on a competitive basis put an emphasis on marks, with particular reference to an academic transcript. Have you read anything in the selection criteria to indicate otherwise?

It is possible things have changed in other places, but when I started out, it was a fat chance anybody would specifically graduate from a translation course because there were barely any. The people I took exams with were linguistics graduates or foreign language majors. I was neither, only had several spoken languages on my side, foreign grandparents and experience living in other countries. But apparently I was trainee material. Testing and interviewing was done by the AIIC, which had been called in for the purpose.

Testing in Spain right now can call for translation graduates because they currently exist; however, I have also seen calls for graduates from law, economics or other related subjects. The European Court only accepts law graduates as candidates, for example, while the Bank of Spain prefers economics. The EC (Commission) doesn't specify translation graduates. And one of the prequalifying criteria is experience, as evidenced by tax declarations. The tests themselves determine whether the experience in question is relevant.

In my case, after a graduate course in translation (taken after my entry-level job), I was taken on by the Spanish government. When the budget line item ceased to exist, the same government agency (along with others) became my clients on a freelance basis. I still supply the public sector both nationally and transnationally, if this is what you mean, but I'm self-employed.

Hope the info helps, but other people can tell you their experience as well.


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