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Translation degree vs. other degree vs. no degree
Thread poster: Catherine Bolton

Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:16
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Jul 26, 2006

Just taking up Ian's suggestion.
http://www.proz.com/post/388970#388970
Fire away, folks.
Catherine

[Edited at 2006-07-26 16:51]


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Member (2004)
Russian to English
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the trade is not learned at academic institutions :) Jul 26, 2006

ICL wrote:
I would say that any "freelancer" of anything (nowadays also called "consultant") would face the same problems you are suggesting.

Thus the rather logical need to learn the trade first, before offering yourself as a "translator".


Hence the point I was making. To become a freelance translator you need experience. Very few people become freelancers right after finishing their degree in any profession.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Flemish to English
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An opinion..... Jul 26, 2006

Would you take an airplane piloted by a pilot without an Airline Transport Pilot Licence or go to a doctor/dentist without the proper dental/medical training or for women consult a gyneacologist without gyneacological training.

Translation seems to be the exception to the rule.
Hé, look at me: I am a (paying) member of website X, Y, Z for translators. Consequently, I am "a professional translator".
As schools for translators, they do teach you some aspects of translation, like the foreign language itself, it syntax, stylistics, study of country and people where the languages of your choice is spoken, sociolinguistics etc.. Nowadays in some schools in Europe an Erasmus year at an equivalent institute is a possibility/obligatory(?)....
Other aspects like chasing invoices, regulations about payments, how a translation office works etc, you will have to find out for yourself.
Simultaneous conference interpreting to a far lesser extend a profession which one can practise overnight without training. Self-annointed conference interpreters stand a bigger chance of falling flat on their face in comparison to those who have been trained by professional (AIIC)-interpreters.


[Edited at 2006-07-26 17:10]


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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:16
English to Spanish
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Experience + (academic) knowledge/training + talent = eureka! Jul 26, 2006

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

the trade is not learned at academic institutions



Of course not necessarily, though I have to say that a lot of translation programs have totally improved over the years, to the point that some "kids" nowadays know everything about Trados or DTP by the time they graduate from their translation programs. I know at least 2 of those "kids".

Like I said in the "other thread", there are all possible combinations of professionals in any trade/profession, but I think it is not such a bad idea to give the translation profession/studies the recognition it deserves.

I think psychologists vs. psychiatrists (and even sociologists vs. anthropologists) have had a sort of similar debate in trying to establish a proper recognition of each other's work.

[Edited at 2006-07-26 18:04]


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:16
German to English
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Suggestion to Catherine: summary for those new to the thread? Jul 26, 2006

cbolton wrote:

Just taking up Ian's suggestion.
http://www.proz.com/post/388970#388970
Fire away, folks.
Catherine

[Edited at 2006-07-26 16:51]


Catherine, great idea to start a new posting. But may I suggest you edit your original posting to briefly summarize the issue for newbies to this thread? The heading is enough for those who followed the last pages of Ian's thread, but if we want informed opinions, I think we need to expand here, not just make people click on another thread. Something along the lines of: "The issue arose of XXX. What is your opinion?".

As a "Jane" Doe, so-called "engineer become translator," I don't feel neutral enough to formulate this kind of original summary but I would gladly offer my two cents a bit later on.

Michele

[Edited at 2006-07-26 17:23]


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Mariana Quiroga
English to Spanish
+ ...
Amen to that Jul 26, 2006

Williamson wrote:

Would you take an airplane piloted by a pilot without an Airline Transport Pilot Licence or go to a doctor/dentist without the proper dental/medical training or for women consult a gyneacologist without gyneacological training.

Translation seems to be the exception to the rule.
Hé, look at me: I am a (paying) member of website X, Y, Z for translators. Consequently, I am "a professional translator".
As schools for translators, they do teach you some aspects of translation, like the foreign language itself, it syntax, stylistics, study of country and people where the languages of your choice is spoken, sociolinguistics etc.. Nowadays in some schools in Europe an Erasmus year at an equivalent institute is a possibility/obligatory(?)....
Other aspects like chasing invoices, regulations about payments, how a translation office works etc, you will have to find out for yourself.
Simultaneous conference interpreting to a far lesser extend a profession which one can practise overnight without training. Self-annointed conference interpreters stand a bigger chance of falling flat on their face in comparison to those who have been trained by professional (AIIC)-interpreters.


[Edited at 2006-07-26 17:10]


Aye.


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Stephanie Wloch  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:16
Member (2003)
Dutch to German
Compare with similar professions please Jul 26, 2006

Williamson wrote:
Would you take an airplane piloted by a pilot without an Airline Transport Pilot Licence or go to a doctor/dentist without the proper dental/medical training or for women consult a gyneacologist without gyneacological training.

Maybe it is much more difficult pretending to be a professional medic although it did happen. Remember Abagnale in "Catch me if you can".
BUT please stop comparing our profession with that of
craftsmen (particularly popular is the plumper)
natural scientists
and all the rest of it.

First of all we are dealing with language.
Comparison with professions in this field seemed to be much more appropriate, right?
Let's have a look on the licenses and trainings of
- journalists
- copywriter
- authors
- knights of the pen

Best regards
Steffi


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Flemish to English
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Interpreters Jul 26, 2006

You forget to mention interpreters.
That's a language profession too...


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xxxBAmary  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:16
English to Spanish
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That's it Jul 26, 2006

ICL wrote:

Like I said in the "other thread", there are all possible combinations of professionals in any trade/profession, but I think it is not such a bad idea to give the translation profession/studies the recognition it deserves.


That's what I say. If you have expertise in another field, great, but if you want to translate, get some training. Translation is not only about terminology.

To Catherine: I'm not looking down on anyone, and I'm very sorry if you felt I was looking down on you. I'm just giving my opinion. For me a professional translator should have translation training, and then specialize him/herself in any other field. It can also be done the other way round, no problem, but you NEED the language training (any language training, as you well said, not necessarily a degree in Translation).

To Juvera: The example you give is a good one, if we make the mistake to think that all professionals in other fields write well, but I could give you back ten bad ones for the good one you give. And they have all been written by notaries public, attorneys, etc. Texts with terrible punctuation or with punctuation in the wrong place, missing accents, and even spelling mistakes, paragraphs where you need to guess what they are trying to say. And the authors are all professionals. So what I'm trying to say here is that of course a translator must be specialized to be able to understand a highly technical text like the one you give in your example, but it's also true that if you don't have translation/language training, you are more prone to make language mistakes.

As regards your question "who are you talking to?": I was not talking about anyone in particular because I made it very clear that I knew there were some people without degrees who have a lot of experience and talent for the written word (and if I made a comment about Dusty is because I've been around and I know the kind of answers he gives and he helped me in several occasions). But I have noticed that there are so many translators without degrees in this community that I'm starting to wonder why the rest of us bothered... Many of those people I'm talking about give terrible answers too.

And last, the fact that I think how I think and say it doesn't mean I'm attacking anyone. I am expressing my ideas and contributing what I think could improve the level of our profession.


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Nadia-Anastasia Fahmi  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 04:16
English to Greek
+ ...
My two cents... Jul 26, 2006

(Carried over from the other topic... and I hope someone deletes it from there...)



Ian Winick wrote:

Much as I resent having my thread hi-jacked (count the number of off-tangent postings here, guys!), I must agree with Catherine. I spent two and a half years managing the freelance English department of a translation agency, and there was a healthy mix of "trained translators" on the one hand and musicians, actors and other bohemian types on the other and there was little to choose between them. And the best translators I know did not take the most conventional routes there.

Qualifications should not be confused with ability, and at the end of the day, it's ability that counts.



I am 53 y.o., I have worked in translation (both as an employee in various very large multinational and Greek companies and as a freelancer for the last 8 years) since my early 20s (being fully bilingual and coming from a mixed and multilingual family).

In all these years, no one has every complained of the quality of my work (except for a few stylistic changes) and many of my suggestions were accepted "sight unseen" by my clients.

I hold an English Proficiency Degree and a Greek High School Diploma. I never attended any translation classes and my college education was "English Executive Secretary / Personal Assistant). But, my love for words and my very strong desire to convey (mind you not just translate) the meaning and intent of any original text, is what makes me a successful translator with many repeat clients (some of them very large translation agencies, which many dream of working with - but don't). Many times I had to edit / proof a "professional translator's" work and the result was frustration and anger at the total disrespect of the original text, lack of knowledge of idioms and other subtle factors which should be taken into consideration when translating any text.

So, Ian and Catherine, you could not have said it better "Qualifications should not be confused with ability, and at the end of the day, it's ability that counts.", and I would also add "and knowing your limits" (for example, I DO NOT translate medical or technical texts, because I am not able to do so, nor do I like these fields which means I am totally ignorant and unread on such fields).

My two cents, and I think they go a long way if I am to be taken as an example.


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xxxGlossarist
English to Bengali
Exactly! Jul 26, 2006

John Keats had a degree in Creative Writing, didn't he? Many of us would not even recognise him as a poet without such a degree, would we? From where did he learn the "techniques and crafts" of poetry, I wonder!

Why waste words on a non-issue?

Unfortunately, Keats was trained as a doctor. That indeed makes me smile!

[Edited at 2006-07-26 18:01]


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Flemish to English
+ ...
Working together... Jul 26, 2006

Nowadays at a some schools for translators you can learn not so common languages such as Chinese, Hungarian, Polish as one of your two foreign languages. At the end of your training you should be able to translate from your languages of choice, say Chinese/Spanish into your mother-tongue (according to the adepts of the mother-tongue only).
I know that for Chinese, there is an exchange program of a year at a Chinese university.
So, you do learn something to start with during translator training.
Some people continue to get a postgrad and attend say a biz.education. Should they work in a sector of the economy for a couple of years and after that decide to become a translator specialised in business, they at least know what they are talking about.
My 2 cents : A combination of languages+specialisation or working together with a specialist will produce the best results.

[Edited at 2006-07-26 18:18]


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Member (2004)
Russian to English
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I know people studying languages/translation at University Jul 26, 2006

The people studying languages get 2X1hour tutorials a week (10-15 people in the class) of actually speaking the languages.

Translators-to-be get 40 hours of language training a year.

This is at Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt, both highly reputable institutions.

Learn a language? Yeah right.


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xxxBAmary  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Basically Jul 26, 2006

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

The people studying languages get 2X1hour tutorials a week (10-15 people in the class) of actually speaking the languages.

Translators-to-be get 40 hours of language training a year.

This is at Edinburgh University and Heriot-Watt, both highly reputable institutions.

Learn a language? Yeah right.


So you're basically saying it's not necessary to study to become a translator... too bad I didn't meet you twelve years ago...


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:16
Member (2004)
Russian to English
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not quite Jul 26, 2006

What I said was that I doubt it's possible to learn a language at University to the point of fluency. Of course, a determined and talented student will take private lessons, go to countries where the language is spoken etc but generally I don't see it as a good way of learning a language. I also didn't say anything about 12 years ago...things can change with time.

In general, degrees are becoming increasingly a piece of paper to wave about. During my non-linguistic studies (Economics & Politics) this was certainly my impression and that of my fellow students.


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