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Specialisation - one of my clients has agreed to train me. Advice?
Thread poster: Ritu Bhanot

Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
Aug 20, 2007

Hi,

I need the advice of those who have already specialised in a domain. Suggestions from others are also welcome.

One of my direct clients has agreed to train me so that I can specialize in their work-area. I'm quite happy about it as I enjoy working with this organisation. At present, I don't do much work for them but they have recently signed an agreement with an Indian organization and would require my help in future.

Could you please answer the following questions:

1. How do I prepare for this training?

2. What should be the optimum length of training?

3. What sort of information should I be looking at?

4. What should be my focus during this training?

5. How can I help the organization that is going to train me?

It is the first time I'll be trained like this. So I don't know what to expect.

I'll appreciate any help that will help me focus on this training and get maximum benefit from this opportunity.

Thanks in advance for all your inputs.

Regards,

Ritu Bhanot



[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2007-08-20 10:36]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Interesting... Aug 20, 2007

Ritu Bhanot wrote:
It is the first time I'll be trained like this. So I don't know what to expect.


I have no idea either. If they have inhouse translators, you're in for a treat, because you'll have your own personal editors to refine your translations. If, however, you are the only translator there, then I suspect their training will be mostly in the subject itself, and they're hoping that that would be sufficient for you to do proper translation in the field.


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:23
German to English
+ ...
Read what the experts read Aug 20, 2007

I would suggest that you find out what monolingual periodicals the experts read in the countries where your languages are spoken. Perhaps you could then take out a subscription to such periodicals for a time, or at least look around the publishers' websites.

Perhaps there are monolingual reference books in the field that you can buy. And possibly there are general websites you could look at, and newsletters or mailing lists that you could subscribe to.

Basically, you need to understand the monolingual experts in both/all of your languages when they talk about their work, and to absorb the way they speak and write so thoroughly that you can talk/write like that yourself. If your client can help/train you in this process, so much the better. But it is good to do your own research, too.


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Deschant
Local time: 20:23
Reply Aug 20, 2007

Not that I've ever been in this situation, but the first thing I would try to clarify is what would they expect of me in terms of commitment. Would the training take place at the customer's premises or would it be some kind of distance learning? If so, can you decide which and how many hours will you devote per day? I assume you will continue being a freelance and will need time to meet other clients' needs, or if not I would expect this customer to pay you during your training a salary which compensates your possible financial loss for not being able to accept other translation projects.

Regards,
Eva


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John Di Rico  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
French to English
Free courses at MIT Aug 20, 2007

Hi Ritu,

You should check this out: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/index.htm

Free courses from MIT. A great resource center, hopefully they have a course in your field.

Best regards,
John


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Training Location Aug 20, 2007

emoreda wrote:

Not that I've ever been in this situation, but the first thing I would try to clarify is what would they expect of me in terms of commitment. Would the training take place at the customer's premises or would it be some kind of distance learning? If so, can you decide which and how many hours will you devote per day? I assume you will continue being a freelance and will need time to meet other clients' needs, or if not I would expect this customer to pay you during your training a salary which compensates your possible financial loss for not being able to accept other translation projects.

Regards,
Eva


Well, I know that training will take place at client location, no distance learning.

Of course, I'll continue working for my existing clients and I don't expect them to pay me while they train me.


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks John Aug 20, 2007

John Di Rico wrote:

Hi Ritu,

You should check this out: http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/index.htm

Free courses from MIT. A great resource center, hopefully they have a course in your field.

Best regards,
John


Hi John,

Thanks for the link. I'll go through it.

Of course, I've some training in translation. Translation was one of the subjects that I studied during my Masters degree.

I've also received translation training from All India Radio (along with systems training), New Delhi.

But this is completely different. At least as far as the domain is concerned.

Do you think if I take a free course at MIT then I should just refuse the training that has been offered by the client?

Regards,

Ritu

P.S.:
MIT does not have courses in that field.

[Edited at 2007-08-20 11:01]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 18:23
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Training objectives, please! Aug 20, 2007

Considering that I double as translator and training consultant, my other half suggests that you should clearly define your learning objective(s) before getting started. Simply put, a training objective is what you'll be able to do and how afterwards, which you weren't at the outset.

I can empasthize with the situation, since my translating career began as one of my assignments in an engineering internship. So I think it's safe to assume that the objective for this training of yours is to enable you to translate for that client as if you were one of their employees - viz. living in their organizational culture and values - and with as little technical help as someone there would normally need.

This probably means that they'll give you access to their internal and external publications, some product awareness courses if available, the new-employee indoctrination session for sure, and so on. After you are familiarized with the environment, they'll probably have you start translating without researching about anything you don't know: you'll mark those things and ask about them to some expert in the company, which may be always the same or not. This is the best way for them to find out what you don't know, so that person will give you - instead of "the specific answer" - an explanation or reference material about that and some other closely related things.

You'll have to adjust the above process to your situation. I went through similar cases with different clients, but within a few months you'll be able to provide them with in-house-flavored translations, and they'll have a dependable translator to do things the way they want, right on the first time.

This usually leads to a solid and long-lasting mutually rewarding business relationship. You'll know that you've got there when they send you jobs without any instructions, and you know exactly what they want and how they want it done. Most of all, you know exactly how to do it that way.

Good luck!


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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:23
French to English
It would help to know what kind of domain ... Aug 20, 2007

I have no idea what domain you will be training in, but if it is anything related to manufacturing or something technical, then my experience may be of use to you. Here are things that I have done/continue to do in my specialization :


1. How do I prepare for this training?

- request all product catalogues, brochures, instructions, etc. in whatever languages they already have available. Read through them and note any questions you may have prior to training.
- research similar companies on the web, and obtain their catalogues as well

2. What should be the optimum length of training?

- hard to say, depends on the domain, the scope of products ... I would say anywhere from 3 days to a few weeks ?

3. What sort of information should I be looking at?

- if possible, try to get some hands-on experience, see how their products work, visit their factory, set up question/answer sessions with their engineers and product managers ...

4. What should be my focus during this training?

- understanding their domain, gathering relevant documents from which you can create glossaries

5. How can I help the organization that is going to train me?

- provide some customer education, for example, the ATA brochure here http://www.atanet.org/publications/getting_it_right.php

HTH


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Martin Wenzel
Germany
Local time: 21:23
English to German
+ ...
Is this free training they will provide? Aug 21, 2007

I don't even want to think that you will have to pay for this training, will you?

Beware of tricksters, where you have to pay for your own training...


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Ritu Bhanot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:23
Member (2006)
French to Hindi
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Free training Aug 21, 2007

Yes, it is a free training.

They are my direct clients... no agencies involved.

I've been working with them for over an year now.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:23
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
You've got to be kidding! Sep 6, 2008

Ritu Bhanot wrote:
... I don't expect them to pay me while they train me.


I'd be careful with that. Remember that this is for their benefit as well, and time spent here is money not earned doing other work. I would define the objectives and training program in such a way that "deliverables" (translations, terminologies, style guides, whatever) are produced which provide indisputable justification for payment. Years ago my partner was doing translations for crane builders and other industrial companies and took plant tours and engaged in other efforts to become "specialized" and get to know that area much better. These were PAID. Why shouldn't your efforts be paid as well? Make a reasonable case for it with a clear expression of the value for the customer.

In general I think this sounds like a wonderful opportunity. Make the most of it.

[Edited at 2008-09-06 10:30]


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Sushan Harshe
India
Local time: 01:53
English to Hindi
+ ...
Maybe; you are welcome in the new generation of translation! Sep 8, 2008

Hi Ritu,
Normally for translators, when they are asked to take training, it means the company wants them to be trained with a particular application. You have not mentioned the expertise field; so it is difficult to guess what kind of training you might be getting. I think you might be freelancing for a company which is using MT's or other JAVA applications in translation/localization or proposing for it; which you may not be familiar with. I am sure in any case no company will plane any language training for its freelancer. Don’t be upset or worried. Get prepared for second step in translation. Maybe; you are welcome in the new generation of translation!


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:23
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some points Sep 8, 2008

I just see two possible points of conflict.

1. "Training", where organized (classes and in-house apprenticeship), should either be a concept with a defined length of time, or with a checklist of verifiable objectives. I don't mean to sound like I'm putting the idea down, but how else would you know you've made the grade?

2. I was trained, but paid for it, by an organization specialized in language services. Our day rate was 10% of a simultaneous interpreter's day rate (USD 35 a day in 1983, which wasn't bad for beginners). Today, some organizations offer training stipends that are programmed into the budget (the organization says something like, "we'll have a trainee for 3 months" and calculates on that basis). But I'd probably find "free training" acceptable in a concentrated form for 2 days to 1 week. Hence, I find your approach in this matter rather too open-ended. If you can't tell when you've made the grade, how can you be protected from abuse?

Wish you all the best.


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