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I am new to translation and I need experience. Where do I find it?
Thread poster: Birder365
Birder365  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:20
English to Spanish
Jan 27, 2005

I am studying Spanish at Arizona State University, and I want to become a translator and/or an interpreter. I need experience, but it is not easy to find it without lying. Where do I go?

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Anuja Trehan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:50
Spanish to English
+ ...
Have patience Jan 27, 2005

Hello Monica,
In the field of translation/Interpretation initially its really difficult to get work and I think that happens with other fields as well not only translation.
Seeing it from the company point of view I think they believe that their business will be at stake if they give work to inexperienced people.


I feel its a very good idea to highlight ur qualifications related to the language also try including instances in your resume which gives the outsources a belief that YES YOU CAN DO IT DESPITE NOT BEING EXPERIENCED.

I am a freelance translator with 8yrs experience, I come from India and in India generally you charge less (perhaps to the height of getting exploited ) to get experience.I don know where u from and how it works in ur county.

In case of any doubt you can always contact me at

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Nema  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:20
English to Spanish
+ ...
Try NGO's Jan 27, 2005


I am also finishing my studies and 3 years ago I started to work for an NGO doing both, translation and interpretation. I must say that I was very lucky because this NGO has a special department for translations and I really had the opportunity to get involved in the translation of interesting topics, documents etc. Some of these organizations pay, some don't, but anyway, it will give you the opportunity to start "being in business" and also enhances your CV.

Good luck.

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United Kingdom
Local time: 20:20
English to Italian
+ ...
Try internships Jan 27, 2005

Try to find internships in bilingual companies, translation agencies or the local administration.

Also, experience in companies operating in the fields you want to specialize in (not necessarily translation jobs) will look good on your CV.

Good luck

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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:20
German to English
+ ...
Various options Jan 27, 2005

You have various options:

- Find someone willing to employ you as a translator (this is how many translators gained experience in the past before working for themselves)
- Gain experience by working as a volunteer
- Begin working as a freelance but find an experienced colleague who is willing to check all your work, for a fee
- Begin by checking the work of a more experienced colleague (and charging for it); this is a good way to build up experience
- Just do it - put up a sign and learn as you go along. This is what a lot of people will advise you to do, and it's quite possible to do it, provided you don't mind your customers paying for your training in the form of substandard work.

However you decide to go about it, I recommend that you join a professional association.


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Tina Vonhof  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:20
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Some suggestions Jan 27, 2005

Birder365 wrote:

I am studying Spanish at Arizona State University, and I want to become a translator and/or an interpreter. I need experience, but it is not easy to find it without lying. Where do I go?

Be honest about being a beginner and charge modest rates.
- Join a professional translators organization - they may offer courses, you may be able to work with a mentor, and you will have to write exams to become certified.
- Since you are a university student, could you maybe find a senior student who is willing (for a fee) to correct an assignment for you, say once a month? Or even a faculty member?
- If you feel confident enough, you could advertise in a campus newspaper that you will do simple translation work, such as letters and diplomas.
- If all else fails, just translate a piece on a regular basis for practice and then read it over again a week later. You will find it challenging and you will learn from it - never mind whether anyone corrects it or pays you for it.
- Participate in the KudoZ questions - I have learned tons from it.
- Spruce up your ProZ page, make it look a bit more professional - right now your native language is not indicated, your working language is indicated as English-Spanish but in your description you mention French, Italian, and Portuguese as well (it would make a big difference if you are more experienced in these languages). Your personal website is inaccessible. I would suggest not saying that you have no specialty, but instead say that you will translate "general topics of a non-technical nature". Just give a range of rates, e.g., "8-12 cents depending on length and difficulty." Personally, I have never understood the rationale for charging different rates for different languages and I wouldn't advertise that fact.
- Good luck! If you are determined, you will make it.

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