A little intimidated by a potential project
Thread poster: C_and_H
C_and_H
Local time: 15:14
French to English
May 17, 2008

Hello everyone! I'm new here and I have a couple of questions.

I have been approached by someone at my university to do a translation of an academic paper for a student-edited journal (French to English). My translation experience has so far been limited to short documents like CVs and birth certificates, so I'm a little intimidated by this project. It's about 7100 words and they don't need it until August, so the turn-around time isn't an issue at all. I know I'm qualified to do an _adequate_ translation since I have both a BA and an MA in French Literature, I lived in France for 2 years, and I did an internship with a translator as an undergrad. I'm just a little worried that as a recent graduate I don't yet have enough experience to provide a truly professional translation. Should I get over my lack of self-confidence and go for it? After reading some of the posts regarding the difficulty people have getting started it seems like this is a fantastic opportunity.

Also, the person who contacted me hasn't mentioned whether or not someone else will proofread the translation. Should I consider charging a little more in order to hire a proofreader myself?

Thanks in advance!

-H


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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:14
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
yes, go for it May 17, 2008

The translation will certainly be proofread, as most good journals are peer-reviewed.

However, if you feel comfortable with the subject area I would certainly go for it. That's exactly how I started. And remember to ask for a decent rate - universities normally pay very well.


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M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:14
English to Polish
Take it May 17, 2008

It is a great opportunity not only to start a career, but also to learn

If you are unsure of the result of your work, you can give your translation to proofread before turning it back to the client, even if they do hire a proofreader. If there would be something to correct - you could also learn from it, as your proofreader should return you the text with his/her corrections/comments.

And since there is a lot of time - you can brush up your translation almost "forever".

So if I was in your shoes - I'd take it

Anni


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William [Bill] Gray  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 21:14
Member (2006)
English
+ ...
Go for it... May 17, 2008

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to launch out into a new area of translation for you. I think your own sense of "hesitation" will protect you and make you extra careful in your work on this. That's good!

It's not your responsibility to hire a proof reader, but you should certainly check it very carefully (this should be normal practice for a good translator) and several times (this is not always necessary, but you may wish to do it this first time, just to increase your confidence).

Best of luck
Bill


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:14
Russian to English
+ ...
Jump at the chance May 17, 2008

If it's any consolation, I'm often a little intimidated by a new translation project -- and I've been translating for quite a while, now. But I always find that once I dig into a document, my concerns turn out to have been overblown.

You know both languages. You have an MA, so surely you've already done a fair amount of academic writing. I say go for it. If you get stuck on a turn of phrase, you can always ask for help on ProZ.


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Paul Malone  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:14
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
Why not have it proofread? May 17, 2008

In your position I would take it.

Why not see if you can arrange for a more experienced translator to proofread it for you before you submit it, as some of the other posters have already suggested?

There would be more than enough time available to do that and it would reassure you.


[Edited at 2008-05-17 17:21]

[Edited at 2008-05-17 17:22]


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C_and_H
Local time: 15:14
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! May 17, 2008

I really appreciate the encouragement.

I'm sure I will be back with more questions in the future.

-H


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Suzette Martin-Johnson
Canada
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
Go for it May 18, 2008

I agree with everyone - familiarise yourself with the subject area and take the plunge. You'd be surprised to know how valuable your experience of translating loads of fiddly birth certs has ben and may even be relieved once you sink your teeth into this larger job and get into the flow...!!

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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
It deppends on the subject May 18, 2008

If it were about quantum mechanics, for exaple, your BA and your MA in French Literature woud be useless. You should translate ideas, not words nor sentences so, you must be able to understand the concepts written in the source document, otherwise, your excelent knowlege of both languages would be of little use.

C_and_H wrote:
Should I consider charging a little more in order to hire a proofreader myself?

As others have said, it is a possibility to hire a good proofreader, but I disagree with charging more for that. You should charge as much as your client be willing to pay, regardless of your expenses. If you consider the possibility of charging more it is because you think they would be willing to pay that much; so, charge that plus regardless you hire or not a proofreader. Otherwise, if they dont want to pay that much, then you couldn't charge that plus, with or without the proofreader.


[Edited at 2008-05-18 21:05]


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NicC  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:14
German to English
Do it! May 19, 2008

After all, experience is the best teacher. Your deadline is so far off that you don't have to worry about that aspect. Lots of time to do your research and you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you are done. Bonne Chance!

[Edited at 2008-05-19 04:45]


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:14
German to English
Make sure you get a purchase order May 19, 2008

Universities are bureaucratic institutions. If a department has commissioned this translation, make sure you get a university/department- issued PO before you start. Getting paid by a US university can be a major pain. Even if you have a PO it can take months to get paid. If an individual professor has contracted this translation, make sure that it's clear that it has been commissioned privately. You could discover later that the prof. assumed the university was going to pay. Make sure you establish the terms up front. I've been through this myself.

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C_and_H
Local time: 15:14
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks for the pointers May 19, 2008

Kevin- I will be sure to take your advice and get PO. Thanks for the tip.

RNAtranslator- The subject is in the humanities and the content is nothing I can't handle. You make a good point about pricing.

Thanks.


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