Is it a good idea to both teach and translate?
Thread poster: xxxDavidj
xxxDavidj  Identity Verified

Local time: 07:56
English to Irish
+ ...
Oct 23, 2012

Hello everyone,

I have an English-Irish translation and teaching website. Would it be best to just specialize in one area? Or would it be best to teach and translate?

kind regards,

David Joyce


Direct link Reply with quote
 

JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 08:56
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Different answer for different people Oct 23, 2012

I can't answer that question for you--only for myself. I consider myself a translator who teaches, not a teacher who translates, and I love it.

If you're not actively translating, I don't see where you will get the practical experience to share with your students. On the other hand, teaching improves my translating in many ways. To name just two:
1. For translation, I often simply write what "sounds best." Explaining to my students why one choice may be better than another forces me to analyze the reasons.
2. My students refresh my vocabulary and resources. They keep me up to date. When they translate a text that I've translated in the past, their version is sometimes better than mine--which opens my eyes to other options.

In my case, teaching (at a university) eats into my translating time, and doesn't pay nearly as well. But I enjoy it and am a better translator for my teaching experience. Of course, I'm talking about teaching in a physical classroom; I don't know how that would apply to your website.


Jane


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxDavidj  Identity Verified

Local time: 07:56
English to Irish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A Fine Balance Oct 23, 2012

Ah, that makes sense! I guess my fear is that it may turn off customers if I do both? I'm saying this because I notice that most translating services do not teach.

David


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:56
German to English
+ ...
I did both Oct 23, 2012

Hi, I think teaching and translating complement each other very well, and I doubt anyone looking at your website would find it objectionable in any way.

I taught Business English for a number of years, and loved it - still do - but it has to offer a genuine economic alternative for it to make sense, as it does cut into the time (and income) spent translating. Eventually the teaching led me to a big company (a Siemens firm) where I had six groups at 90 minutes each, meaning I had 2 days of 6 hours (45 minutes is a teaching unit here) - that certainly was worthwhile. When I moved away two years ago, I lost that, of course, and decided not to teach anymore since the companies around my current location are small, and would probably only offer one or two groups maximum, and to me it's not worth driving around from client to client for less money than sitting at my desk translating - not to mention car usage, gas consumption and unpaid time spent driving. On the other hand, I really enjoyed teaching, plus it was a good thing to get out and "socialize" a bit, so I am toying with the idea of doing it again on a very limited basis and for a very limited purpose: to get away from the computer for a bit and interact with people a bit more, but keeping it strictly local to cut down on driving time. I can confirm what JaneTranslates says about teaching also being a wonderful learning experience for oneself, but in the end, you have to make up your own mind.

Regarding your last point, the main reason the translating services usually don't teach is pretty much what Jane and I both indicated - you usually make a lot less money doing it, considering class preparation time and some of the things I mentioned above. If it works for you, though, go for it!

I thought my experience might give you another perspective to base your ultimate decision on. Good luck, whatever you decide!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
In your case: Yes to both. Oct 23, 2012

Dear Davidj,

After reading your profile, I think it would be a shame for Gaeilge to loose you as a teacher. I think you are in a special position and have special qualifications and motivations.

Teaching and translating compliment each other in many situations, and if I were your client for either service, I would view your activities as broadening your knowledge base.

Best wishes
lindaellen


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxDavidj  Identity Verified

Local time: 07:56
English to Irish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Oct 23, 2012

Thank you very much for the encouraging advice folks :}. A part feels that its impossible to compete against the machine based translators and language forums out there. That's why I thought teaching only would give me an advantage. But maybe I'm wrong?

[Edited at 2012-10-23 07:43 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Alireza Amini
Iran
Local time: 16:26
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
My personal experience as a teacher and translator Oct 23, 2012

Dear,
As my personal experience shows me as long as language is involved translation and teaching can reinforce each other, however keep in mind that theses are two specialized dimensions. I have a BA in translation and an MA in teaching so I am engaged in both profession. I really found it helpful, theses are really integrated. As for a company I suppose it is the same if translation and teaching services can be offered by professional staff it could be a good idea.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:56
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Teacher turned translator turned proofreader Oct 23, 2012

When I moved to France with schoolgirl French, teaching English seemed the logical way of earning a living, although it wasn't what I'd done in the UK. It wasn't until about 6 years ago that my French finally reached a level where I could qualify as a translator. From then on I did both jobs. Now, living in Spain with minimal Spanish, I logically should be going back to teaching EFL, but the rates here are abysmal (about 10€ is considered a good hourly rate - including leson preparation, marking, travel...). So, whilst continuing to translate from French (my clients are all over the world on the internet so not being in France isn't a real disadvantage), I'm now specialising in English monolingual proofreading and copy-editing. Maybe one day I'll find a way to teach at a sensible rate; maybe one day my Spanish will improve to the point where I'll be able to add that to my services; maybe...

What I'm saying here is that it's a very personal question with a very personal answer. I can't even answer it for myself!

All I can say for sure is that it was a good idea for me for many years, and it will be a good idea again if things work out that way. It is certainly feasible, and as Woodstock say, it's nice to get away from your desk and meet people, though of course there are also always conflicts: just when you're preparing for a lesson and will be away from your desk for half-a-day, an urgent translation job arrives; then the lesson gets cancelled at the last moment (in my experience, that happens very regularly) and you have no translation work to do. But urgent deadlines and scheduling work are problems inherent to translating, even without adding the teaching side.

I would say that if you're just starting out in business, it would make sense, as long as you can do both well. Neither is likely to become a full-time occupation overnight, so you will find it more profitable to do both. When trade picks up you can choose to do just one or continue with both. Just make sure that you do each job well - get good training, invest in the necessary tools etc. and be 100% dedicated to good results in each discipline.

HTH


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 19:56
English to Indonesian
+ ...
It didn't work in my case Oct 23, 2012

For some time I taught English to secondary and university students. However, I used to make a hard decision every time a prospective client asked me to translate a document.

On one hand, I have to go to school to teach my students. On the other hand, it is really hard for me to reject a translation job.

Finally, I made up my mind: focusing on translation services business.:)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Needs must Oct 23, 2012

A have a few colleagues who still do both - in fact, some are looking for more translation work right now because the funding has been cut from the lucrative grant-aided TEFL courses they were working on and they are loath to return to working for comparative peanuts in the increasingly competitive private EFL sector.

If you can afford to sit back and wait for the translation work to come in, then fair enough, but sometimes we have to turn our hand to whatever arises. If you can't make enough from translating to get by, then I don't see any problem with doing a bit of teaching. You can always call yourself a language consultant or something more trendy, as long as it sounds good.

The main problem may be in the Irish-English pair, since it's the EU's most minority language, so I imagine demand will be limited and the qualifications demanded by official EU tenders might preclude spreading yourself what might be perceived as thinly. I don't really know.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxDavidj  Identity Verified

Local time: 07:56
English to Irish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Success! Oct 24, 2012

I think I got my first client, therefore, I"m gonna stick with teaching for now :} Translations can come later on once I get a more stable foundation.

Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Is it a good idea to both teach and translate?

Advanced search







memoQ translator pro
Kilgray's memoQ is the world's fastest developing integrated localization & translation environment rendering you more productive and efficient.

With our advanced file filters, unlimited language and advanced file support, memoQ translator pro has been designed for translators and reviewers who work on their own, with other translators or in team-based translation projects.

More info »
PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search