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What made you become a translator in the first place ?
Thread poster: Maria-Letitia Chiculita

Maria-Letitia Chiculita  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 01:43
Romanian to English
+ ...
Aug 5, 2009

Is there anything in particular that made you choose this profession ? Has anyone or anything inspired you in this respect ? Tell us your story !

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foghorn
English to Turkish
+ ...
circumstances Aug 5, 2009

Just a victim of materializing conjecture of circumstances. i feel reluctant to elaborate any further

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xxxLatin_Hellas
United States
Local time: 00:43
Italian to English
+ ...
De Facto Success Aug 5, 2009

I was looking for a way to generate income in between "career" jobs. It became the career as a result of de facto success, based on a combination of good preparation, practical experience, and some business acumen: in the event, there proved to be no better alternatives in terms of return on investment as measured by money, energy and time, and years later this is still the case.

Probably the biggest inspiration is running my own business based on a combination of natural and acquired talents, plus the possibility of working from home, wherever I may choose home to be from time to time, which in my case spans three continents.


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:43
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
It was that or a restaurant... Aug 5, 2009

... I was fed up with Informatics..
I was living near Paris and I was continually speaking French, German, English and Dutch, so it was either opening an international cuisine restaurant, and hiring a cook and working ungodly hours, or setting up shop in my living room and starting as a freelance translator...

Translation won!

===
Ed


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Stéphanie Soudais  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:43
Member (2006)
English to French
Kind of vocation Aug 5, 2009

I decided I would become a translator when I was 15-16. I loved French (my mother tongue) and English classes, and I loved writing; so it became obvious that I had to become a translator in order to combine my passions in my job.

Stéphanie


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Kay Barbara
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:43
Member (2008)
English to German
+ ...
Love of English and appalling video games localisations ... Aug 5, 2009

were my two main inspirations to take up this profession (only after a while I fully realised those other lovely perks mentioned in the above posts).

Having played numerous lousy German game localisations (after which I decided to play those games in English and build my language skills in the process), I decided that it would be a sensible approach to have them translated by proper translators (as in every other field, really). This was a neat way for me to turn my gaming addiction in something that is both lucrative and enjoyable. But the gaming sector has still got a looooong way to go, so there is a lot of opportunity to put my idealism to good use


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avsie  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:43
English to French
+ ...
A career reorientation Aug 5, 2009

I needed a job to 'survive' the months leading to my move to the Netherlands. A technical writer needed a team of translators to work on a large translation project in-house. I had no experience, but I armed with my determination to learn, my love for languages and I guess some sort of natural affinity with the trade, I quickly made my way up to being the team leader.

When I actually moved to the Netherlands, I was looking for something new: I didn't want to work as a nurse anymore, so anything else was welcomed. One fine day, almost out of nowhere, I got a call from a recruitment agency. Apparently, I had applied for an in-house translation job. I say apparently, because to this day I still can't recall ever applying! But a couple of interview rounds later, I was hired. And this is when my life changed I felt totally at home the minute I started working there, it was one of those 'ah ha!' moments. I guess I didn't find translation, but translation found me!


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Anita Cassidy  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
English to German
calling Aug 5, 2009

Languages (and people who can speak more than one) had always fascinated me, even when I was as young as 4 or 5. Then, when it came to learning foreign languages at school, I was always top of my class, so that it was an obvious choice for me to "do something with languages".
At the time, I dreamed of being an interpreter for the UN or EU, but soon realised that I'm better suited to translation.
I love being a translator (despite the occasional lack of recognition from others).


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:43
Flemish to English
+ ...
Ignorance Aug 5, 2009

Ignorance. When I was in my 20-ies, I did not know what to study. It had to be a subject without math (shame on me), so I had the choice between law and languages. A slick-talking director of one of Belgium's 7 state-subsidized institutes for Translators and Interpreters lured me into his school with the promise of a career next door. After all, the more students, the more grants. Next door being the E.U.-offices.

With what I know now, I would never have set foot in this institute and should I have chosen translation, I would have chosen French as A-language. In Belgium you have 4 schools with Dutch as "A"-language and 3 with French as "A"-language. Actually, I wanted to become an interpreter, but in the old system, teachers decided haphazardly who was allowed into the booth.

An experience at a fledged US-multinational of packages taught me that languages as such are no basis for a traditional career due to the lack of business skills (statistics, marketing, hrm, finance, accounting, ops.management...) taught at business schools.

Meanwhile, I try to remedy that. But at age 50 and given that many young Turks are available on the job-market, I guess I am too old for the traditional business world or let alone an ATPL (not for a ppl), which is where my real "love of" lies.

Although the public does hold the profession in high esteem, I can see the benefits of freelance translation, i.e.. that you can practise the profession in the most advantageous fiscal system there is and if you make a work-flow process of translation, you can earn well.


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Anna Yemelina  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:43
Greek to Russian
+ ...
the art of translating Aug 5, 2009

The art of transference is a fascinating task. I love languages and creative writing. It is a very inspiring job and money is not so bad.

[Edited at 2009-08-05 13:13 GMT]


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
First job Aug 5, 2009

The first job I landed, which was totally unrelated to my course (Fine Arts). I simply got it on the basis of having been born into a family with a choice of 3 mother languages in a bilingual environment and having studied French and learned German on the side.

The bosses were inspiring, and somehow hooked me despite a series of other jobs. But the business really took off when I was writing my PhD thesis - there seemed to be no time for any other activity, and the discovery that not undertaking any other activity could earn more money because I devoted more time to working with languages did the rest.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:43
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Practicality Aug 5, 2009

My career has always been music, and even though I've had to take other jobs from time to time to support myself (and my daughters when they were kids), I often made a good living at it and I still consider it my career. Some time during the 1980s I got fed up with all the piano bar gigs I had to do to make ends meet, so I put together my 10-piece band. Not a good move money-wise, but I made the decision that I wanted to do something artistic, so I went ahead and found other things to do to earn money. One of them was translating.

When I moved to Brazil in the early 90s, I had to decide whether I would teach music, English, or continue translating. I decided to translate, because I liked working at home, and I didn't like having music or English students parading in and out of my apartment. So I stuck with the translating, and I can't say I'm sorry, although unlike some others here, I could never say it was my calling or my true passion in life. Nevertheless, it's a decent job, and can be fun sometimes, too, because I enjoy working with words and languages.


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Michael Mestre
France
Local time: 00:43
English to French
+ ...
Chance sometimes becomes luck (and fortune) Aug 5, 2009

A well-known Chinese language teacher from France (who is now an author or co-author of half of the lecture books on the subject) once told me the following story, half seriously :

After graduating from high school, lacking any recognized skills in academic disciplines, he decided to study languages. On registration day, seeing that the line for Russian (this was in the 1970's) extended too far, he joined the one for Chinese which was virtually empty. Yes, who wanted to study the language of a scary and dictatorial country which was virtually closed to the outside world ?
At the time, Chinese was almost taught as an extinct language, spoken by a distant but moderately populated island (Taiwan) and in chinatowns around the world.
The narrator happened to be a very keen student, immersing himself in the Chinese culture and language. A few years later, he took part in one of the first foreign student trips to mainland China, and discovered a brand new world.

No need to tell you how successful this gentleman is now. He is not a translator, but I have similar stories from his friends who now run translation agencies specialized in Chinese and Asian languages, and all earn a high income.
In all these cases, the love of the language and culture (and all the hard work) came way before they started to earn anything.


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Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:43
Portuguese to English
+ ...
My career changes Aug 5, 2009

In my case, I started off as a Mathematics teacher but I could not cope with the horrible brats so thought, well, I'll use my English skills (I was born in the UK and grew up in an English family) and teach English as a foreign language, as at least my students would then be adults, who usually want to learn, not to mention that the groups are smaller. Then, with the advent of the Internet, I became acquainted with translation as a business. Gradually I phased out the English classes at schools (too much travel involved and poor pay) and dedicated myself more to translations. I still have a couple of English students, but they are both private students and personal friends.

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