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Diploma/no diploma - is it a pre- requisite to find a job?
Thread poster: anna-alex
anna-alex
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:52
English to French
Jul 1, 2003

My request concerns the need (or not) to have a degree in translation to become a translator. Is it a pre- requisite to find a job or is it possible for somebody who has specialiased in another field (eg medical, science) to become a translator without having a degree?

[Edited at 2003-07-01 13:12]


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:22
English to Tamil
+ ...
No, it is not a pre-requisite Jul 1, 2003

I know what I am talking about. Let me quote from my example. I am a graduate electrical engineer with 23 years of Engineering experience. I learnt German and French just for fun and also to read the German/French novels in the original.
Translation was the by-product and this too I took up as a game in the beginning. I was after all earning good money as an Engineer. Then I joined a pharmaceutical firm as an Electrical Engineer cum French Translator. Right from the day one I was a big success and the absence of translation diploma was no hindrance. On the other hand my predecessor in this company was an M.A. in French of a reputed university in New Delhi, India (JNU). This lady was a miserable failure as her technical knowledge was zero and the company was interested in translating technical literatures from French into English and vice cersa. Incidentally the lady's M.A. course had a paper on translation and this degree is recognized in India and abroad. But when it actually came to the crunch only a translator like me had to come to the companY's rescue.
But one word of caution. Whatever I have written holds good only for technical literature translations.


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:52
French to English
+ ...
That depends on experience... Jul 1, 2003

Someone like me, who took the route of growing up bilingual and studying an I&T Degree, needs a qualification in Translation before being able to get any work - once the qualifications are obtained, it is easier to get translation work in more 'specific' areas. However, knowledge of a certain speciality will definitely stand by you - so a formal qualification is not necessary. So - to put it another (less complicated!!) way - it's all a question of experience - whether you gain it through practical time spent in the 'field', or through studying for a translation qualification, is a matter of choice!

Hope this helps!

Paul


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Paul Lambert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:52
French to English
+ ...
Agree with this Jul 1, 2003

But one word of caution. Whatever I have written holds good only for technical literature translations. [/quote]



Technical subject matter is fine - you are aware of the style requirements in both languages, sentence structure, etc - but you may find it more difficult to get work translating in other fields - political/sociological translations, or literary translations for example - though, given your background, it isn't very likely that you will go down that road!!

Paul


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Larisa Migachyov
United States
Local time: 03:52
Russian to English
Depends on whom you know Jul 1, 2003

Admittedly, I'm just getting started, but I am getting translation jobs without any kind of degree. My degree is in engineering. However, I'm somewhat connected to the Russian immigrant community (since I am a Russian immigrant myself), and I know some people who write books and who are convinced that I know English well enough to translate their books. I've had one grateful client who is spreading my reputation far and wide - and as a result, I just got another book to translate. All the way from New York.

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Drem
Local time: 12:52
English
+ ...
it definitely refines your language skills ... Jul 2, 2003

Hello everyone! I'm a graduate in translation now specializing in linguistics and... translation (again!). It's a passion!
I don't think we can say that you become a good translator ONLY if you have a degree or ONLY if you are bilingual (nor if you have lived abroad for many years or if you've been married for long with a foreigner...).
As a linguist and a translator graduate I have to say that getting a degree, a diploma a certificate, whatever, helps you a lot becoming language-conscious. You are required to explore aspects of language and linguistics you never thought about. It's just soooo stimulating to concentrate on "pure" language. You wake up one day and you find yourself listening to people in a different way, analizing not only what they say but how they say it: the terminology they use, the register, the syntax, the intonation, the variety of language.
Thanks to my education I have learnt sooooo much about people just listening to the way they speak or write.
Of course this is my personal passion, and I would definitely recommend some sort of educational path in language/linguistics/translation if you want to become a complete professional translator, just because it enriches you so much! After all you're dealing with language, you must know something more than what you've passively learned in growing in your country.

I must also say, though, that A LOT of my graduate colleagues (with BA, MA and honors degree in translation) are... well, not very good...
A diploma can help you refining your techniques, becoming more language-conscious, can give you advanced linguistic skills.
Of course you need to know much more than that. I know people who don't have any form of education in this field (engineers, mds, economists...) who are brilliant translators.

Well, I think that one should selfjudge his work and his competences.
If you have a degree in translation you need to study other subjects to get good technical competences.
If you have excellent technical competences either you are a naturally gifted language user or you probably need some sort of education in the field.
It all depends on yourself and... I'm sure it could help for work.
In my personal experience, 80% of the jobs or traineeship I have applied for, required some kind of certificate as a pre-requisite for evaluation.

Of course we're talking about technical translation... I think that for literary translation of a certain level (publishing companies) you NEED to have a degree or at least a background in the humanities (they're sooo strict!).

Ciao!


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Drem
Local time: 12:52
English
+ ...
I forgot... Jul 2, 2003

I forgot... languages and linguistics are my field, so I'm glad to be a translator even if I feel it's not enough for me and I would be happy to go on studying to specialize further...
I wonder what you guys think... most of you have specialized in other fields. Is translation a full-time job for you? If it is, isn't it a little frustrating changing completely after your studies? I mean, if a person studies many years to become a doctor or an engineer, do you think s/he could ever be satisfied with a full-time job as a translator?
I am asking because personally, I could never think of putting my language skills apart and starting a totally different career... but it is also true that maybe it depends on how much you love your field and how much you enjoyed your studies... and how much money you make with your "totally different career"!!!!

bye!


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Valeria Verona  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 07:52
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
an advantage, not a prerequisite Jul 3, 2003

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

In neither becoming a translator nor getting jobs.
If you browse through some high profiles in Proz you will find both having diploma of translation and other disciplines.
But it would be an advantage.


I agree witht his opinion. It's a good advantage rather than a prerequisite.
I have a diploma and it proved to be useful many times, though not always. The good thing of having a diploma: you have to study to get it... and you learn!
Regards from Buenos Aires,
Valeria


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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:22
English to Tamil
+ ...
You are right upto a certain extent Jul 3, 2003

I think your posting quoted my remarks, even though I have not been named. Hence I have taken the liberty of writing these lines. You are correct in saying that I will not go for literary translations. In fact in another thread I have said as much taking the example of Harry Potter novels. But then other fields such as political or sociological I should say that I have done such translations too and the client was more than satisfied. The reason for this is that I am a voracious reader and any printed matter I cannot resist. Thus I read constantly books on various subjects. In fact, as I already mentioned, I learnt German and French mainly to read novels written in those languages. But then translating novels is out of question for me. If at all I were to do it, I would then be translating into Tamil, which is my mother tongue. And there is no well paying assignments in this connection.


Paul Lambert wrote:

But one word of caution. Whatever I have written holds good only for technical literature translations.




Technical subject matter is fine - you are aware of the style requirements in both languages, sentence structure, etc - but you may find it more difficult to get work translating in other fields - political/sociological translations, or literary translations for example - though, given your background, it isn't very likely that you will go down that road!!

Paul[/quote]


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Stéphan Goldsmith
Local time: 06:52
English to French
+ ...
in-house or freelancer ? Jul 3, 2003

If you mean finding jobs as a freelancer, then I don't think that whether you have a diploma or not will have a great impact on the number of jobs you get, unless the legislation in your country restrict the access to the freelance translation trade to those who have a such a degree.

If you are looking for an in-house position, you will find that the diploma in translation can be listed among the requirements. But even there, it is sometimes followed by the phrase "or equivalent profesional experience"

This being said, and here I agree with Drem's post, some academic training in translation will open up your eyes on some aspects of the language.

For example, translation students in Belgium will be made aware of Belgian French expressions that should be dropped and be replaced by standard French ones

Stephan


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