Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
The sorrows of the young translator...
Thread poster: La Malinche
La Malinche
Local time: 13:19
English to Italian
Oct 8, 2008

I’m a modern languages graduate, three years of experience as freelance translator, proficient in the use of CAT tools, and a very expensive master in technical translation in one of the top universities in the UK.
This is just to ask you if it’s normal that an agency offered me an internship paid £400 per month, full time, and with a six months commitment.

I’m very depressed


Direct link Reply with quote
 

ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:19
English to French
+ ...
It's normal Oct 9, 2008

Sadly, it seems that a lot of people think that translators are a dime a dozen. Even more sadly, there are translators with degrees and experience who, surprisingly, seem to think that such offers are acceptable. Until people in this industry have some pride and realize that they are professionals and not mere employees, that is, until people realize that their services are essential and not a mere luxury, offers such as the one you mention will keep being posted.

So, the fact that such offers exist is normal. The fact that there are takers for it, on the other hand, is anything but normal.

Create a marketing plan and make it an ongoing effort. Specialize. Then, tell yourself that there is always someone willing to pay for quality translations. Stick by your principles and don't let them bring you down.

All the best!


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 08:19
Spanish to English
+ ...
Arithmetic Oct 9, 2008

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/7645905.stm

£5.73/hour X 40 hours/week X 4 weeks/month = ?

(Clue: more than £900...).

'nuf zed?

MediaMatrix


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:19
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Absolutely agree Oct 9, 2008

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:
Create a marketing plan and make it an ongoing effort. Specialize. Then, tell yourself that there is always someone willing to pay for quality translations. Stick by your principles and don't let them bring you down.


I entirely agree. First try to raise the internship's compensation explaining your qualifications, experience, etc. If they are not willing to do it, you will probably be better off working as a freelancer: 400 GBP / 22 working days = 18 quid a day???? You can surely earn more as a freelancer.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:19
Dutch to English
+ ...
Unfortunately it is legal Oct 9, 2008

See the following website:
http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/nmw/
"Who can get the minimum wage?
Most adult workers who:

Are working legally in the UK
Are not genuinely self-employed
Have a written, oral or implied contract


Top

Apprentices
From pay reference periods starting on or after 1 October 2006 the special rules for apprentices will be extended to apprentices aged over 25. This will mean that:

Apprentices under age 19 will not qualify for the national minimum wage
Apprentices over age 19 and in the first 12 months of their apprenticeship will not qualify for the national minimum wage.
What are the current rates of the national minimum wage?
There are three levels of minimum wage, and the rates from 1 October 2008 are:

£5.73 per hour for workers aged 22 years and older
A development rate of £4.77 per hour for workers aged 18-21 inclusive
£3.53 per hour for all workers under the age of 18, who are no longer of compulsory school age "

I do not know where the agency is based but 400 will barely cover rent in most places.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 13:19
Italian to English
Is the agency in Italy? Oct 9, 2008

Hi La Malinche,

I see from your profile that you are based in central Italy.

Poorly paid short-term contracts for new entrants to the job market are very common in this country, and not just in translation. You may well find more satisfaction in continuing to work as a freelancer.

Your profile - which you might consider filling out a little - mentions only video games and gaming as specialisations. However much you enjoy working in these sectors, the rates tend to be very low and you might want to investigate other areas of specialisation.

Finally, remember that a degree is not a meal ticket. Think of it as a sophisticated tool that forms part - but only part - of the kit you will need to break into the market.

In bocca al lupo!

Giles


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:19
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Tomorrows of a young translator Oct 9, 2008

Hello La Malinche,

I don't understand. You have 3 years of experience as a freelance translator, but are considering agency offers of 400 pounds a month. So what happened to your previous freelancing? Whatever the answer to that one, it seems it wasn't a sufficiently positive and satisfactory experience for you to be complaining now about cheapskate alternatives.

I suggest you take a rather twisted stance, and see it as a golden opportunity. Go there and gain more valuable experience by learning to translate 6,000 words a day acceptably for rush technical jobs, both into and out of your native language (yes, out of it too, oh yes, that's how agencies save money), and dealing with customers and suppliers all day long to see the other side of the coin and learn how they think.

Use their computers for all your own stuff, and ... how can I put this? ... see how much of their information you will have retained by the time you leave.

And then go back to freelancing and whine all day about the declining status of the profession, like most translators.

Hope this helps.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Giuseppina Gatta, MA (Hons)
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Well... Oct 9, 2008

...all that the colleagues pointed out is true.

1) You live in Italy, this is what you can expect.

2) Why did you decide to go to work for an agency if you were already a freelancer?

3) If you do, get whatever you can get out of it (if you know what the colleague means) and then start your own career.

4) Beginnings are always hard. I never decided to go and work for an agency, and I never repented it. But probably the fact that I started many years ago, when the competition was not that hard, is part of the problem.

5) Having one language combination only, with English as a source and Italian as a target, is not the best position to be in... Since you are young, try and start studying a less common language. It will take some time and effort, but it will be worth while, eventually.

6) Good luck!
Giusi


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Rebecca Lowery  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:19
French to English
In the UK we call that exploitation Oct 9, 2008

And to be quite honest, I wouldn't even consider that job offer! Let's face it, you could earn more stacking shelves at your local supermarket!

Don't worry about just having a single language combination. I also have a single language combination (French into English - how common is that!) and I'm at the point where I'm constantly turning down work. The reason for that is because I specialise in certain translations.

I'm also assuming the agency in question is based in Italy. My advice would be to target UK agencies (they pay more and at a guess, there's more of a requirement in this country for English into Italian). It can be a long marketing process but most agencies now enable you to apply to be a freelancer via their website so at least that will save you postage expenses!

And don't be too disheartened. I remember when I first started out in this industry, every one wanted experience but no body was willing to give it. Persevere and you'll get there...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:19
Spanish to English
Madness Oct 9, 2008

Mervyn says:

I suggest you take a rather twisted stance, and see it as a golden opportunity.

You would not be able to rent somewhere to live for much under your wages, so you would have to pay to do that job. That cannot possibly be a golden opportunity.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:19
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Supermarkets and madness Oct 9, 2008

Call it a wild wild guess if you like, Lesley, but perhaps La Malinche is still at home, so there's no need to rent anything. Though I did have my tongue a little in my cheek with the "golden opportunity" bit. But what does he/she want at the beginning, especially since he/she still hasn't told us what went wrong with those 3 years of freelancing? They obviously weren't so flowing with milk and honey that he/she can fret about not earning top dollar.

And as for supermarkets, I know from experience that you won't learn anything there except how to skilfully trouser Dairy Milks and wolf them down quickly in the toilet, and how to hate people who ask you where the cereals are, or if there's anything on special offer today. Stroll down to Sainsbury's this evening and watch them mindlessly stacking away there. Watch the ones who have been doing this all their life, watch the way they use the boxcutter and price stamper like they were just bodily appendages they were born with, and the ones who, although they've only just started, know they'll be doing it all their life too. Why is the comparison always with supermarket stackers?


Direct link Reply with quote
 
La Malinche
Local time: 13:19
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
A little bit of context / Un po' di contesto Oct 9, 2008

Maybe you need a little bit of context

1) The agency is in the UK.

2) I don’t live with my parents, but in a big English town.

3) I have been working for three years as translator in Italy, but only part time. The rest of the time I worked for my university. Of course, it was underpaid as well.

4) I can’t really afford to work with Italian rates here.


[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2008-10-09 20:33]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 12:19
negotiate? Oct 9, 2008

Is there no way you can negotiate a higher wage? You're overqualified for that internship.
What would you be required to do in the company?
TBH, it seems that you'd probably get more £ on social welfare. :-/


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:19
French to Spanish
+ ...
What I do know... Oct 10, 2008

...and with all respect, is that La Malinche is not at all a good name, at least in Mexico.
Do some googleing, and you'll see.
Best of lucks, though.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:19
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Days and nights of a young translator Oct 10, 2008

It's all very well to say that's terrible, and we ought to march on Downing Street to say shame, shame, shame on you Mr Brown, call yourself a socialist, but I feel not taking the job is going to be worse.

La Malinche has presumably realised that he/she won't earn enough at the moment freelancing either, otherwise there'd be no contest, so I say he/she should go for it, and do the double with the DSS as well, although I've no idea how easy that is these days.

La Malinche, you're going to have to work nights for a while. I'm pretty sure there's no supermarket stacking at night because, like all entrepreneurs, Messrs Sainsbury and Tesco prefer to work their sweating beasts into the ground during the day rather than pay the overtime, but you could try express parcel service companies, who by definition always have night shifts. They don't pay extra because they know anybody willing to do it is up against the wall and there is a constant stream of humanity outside ready to work for the price of a packet of fags.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


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


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

The sorrows of the young translator...

Advanced search







CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »
BaccS – Business Accounting Software
Modern desktop project management for freelance translators

BaccS makes it easy for translators to manage their projects, schedule tasks, create invoices, and view highly customizable reports. User-friendly, ProZ.com integration, community-driven development – a few reasons BaccS is trusted by translators!

More info »



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