From teacher to translator
Thread poster: McConnie
McConnie
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
English to Spanish
Jul 9, 2003

I need some advice on how to get started as a freelance translator in Ireland if I’m neither highly experienced in doing translations nor can I claim to be specialised in any specific field.

I’m originally from Buenos Aires where I did a four-year intensive course on English. I would be qualified as an “English Professor” if I had obtained my degree after doing a three-month, masochistic internship in a secondary school. However, I quit the internship when I was half way through it because I was doing so badly! I felt I was expected to perform as a clown and I just lacked the personality to put up an act, get over and done with it and finally get my degree. I found the whole experience very frustrating as all I received was diminishing “feedback” from my Methodology teacher.

My last employment was as a teacher in Buenos Aires giving in-house business English courses to IT and marketing managers in multinational companies. I was doing really well then, which was kind of boost for my confidence in my teaching ability; but I can hardly do the same in Ireland! Anyway, I’d rather quit teaching altogether and switch to translating, which I could do from home. I believe I have both the ability and the tools to do translations, yet how can I gain the experience that would allow me to find employment without having to do a university course? I’ve a baby now so I couldn’t really afford to go back to university and start all over again. And then it’d be more of a pastime than anything else. Just to keep learning and feel mind is still working! How should I go about it?


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Valeria Verona  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:33
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Some ideas Jul 10, 2003

Hola desde Buenos Aires!
1) A distance course
2) A workshop with a translator
3) Reading a book on translation theory
4) Reviewing your Spanish grammar.
5) Talking to a translator friend who can give you tips, introduce you into this activity, which is cerainly VERY DIFFERENT from teaching. I do both... that's why I'm telling you! It's two different worlds, two different ways of thinking.
Good luck and contact me if I can be of any help

Saludos,
Valeria


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 19:33
French to English
+ ...
Are you sure you really want to be a translator? Jul 10, 2003

... because, if you are, you ought to obtain some sort of qualifications. It's tough out there on the market and it is not because you (in the sense of "one") speak one or several other languages that you will necessarily make it as a translator. Theoretically anyone can set themselves up (and many often do!). What happens then is that, to get work, they tend to bid the lowest prices. Customers who are bottom-line conscious go for the cheapest option irrespective of quality but it means that you have to churn out industrial quantitites to eek out even a basic living. In addition, you talk about a baby. The problem here is that deadlines have to be met: is this compatible with bringing up a small child? There is much more I could say on the subject but the basic message is that "translation is not a game, so it should either be done seriously or not at all". If that message doesn't put you off, good luck!
Chris


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 19:33
French to English
+ ...
I see you don't want to post my comment Jul 10, 2003

Would it be possible to tell me why? After all, I rather think that my comments were valid. No?

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PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 23:03
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Before starting the jobs independently, go through with these suggestions! Jul 10, 2003

McConnie wrote:


I need some advice on how to get started as a freelance translator in Ireland if I’m neither highly experienced in doing translations nor can I claim to be specialised in any specific field.

I’m originally from Buenos Aires where I did a four-year intensive course on English. I would be qualified as an “English Professor” if I had obtained my degree after doing a three-month, masochistic internship in a secondary school. However, I quit the internship when I was half way through it because I was doing so badly! I felt I was expected to perform as a clown and I just lacked the personality to put up an act, get over and done with it and finally get my degree. I found the whole experience very frustrating as all I received was diminishing “feedback” from my Methodology teacher.

My last employment was as a teacher in Buenos Aires giving in-house business English courses to IT and marketing managers in multinational companies. I was doing really well then, which was kind of boost for my confidence in my teaching ability; but I can hardly do the same in Ireland! Anyway, I’d rather quit teaching altogether and switch to translating, which I could do from home. I believe I have both the ability and the tools to do translations, yet how can I gain the experience that would allow me to find employment without having to do a university course? I’ve a baby now so I couldn’t really afford to go back to university and start all over again. And then it’d be more of a pastime than anything else. Just to keep learning and feel mind is still working! How should I go about it?

Dear
Well, it is not necessary for anyone to hold Ph.D. type of a degree for starting up as a translator. I'd suggest you to buy some of the essential dictionaries in your language pairs, arrange books for learning translation skills and improve your linguistic skills as well. Being a teacher, I hope that you 'd have excellent linguistic skills as well. But for translation, you'll need proficiency in at least two languages. The more are the languages, the more is the options available for this field. You can go through with a tie-up with some reputed translator or translation agency. Join him/them as editor or proofreader, check how they perform in their field and what is their method to perform a task. This experience 'll help you when you'll start taking jobs independently.
For rest of the suggestions, contact me personally at
prakaasharmaa@epatra.com
quoting reference
PRAKAASH


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PRAKAASH  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 23:03
Member (2007)
English to Hindi
+ ...
An excellent suggestion hereis as well! Jul 10, 2003

CMJ_Trans wrote:

... because, if you are, you ought to obtain some sort of qualifications. It's tough out there on the market and it is not because you (in the sense of "one") speak one or several other languages that you will necessarily make it as a translator. Theoretically anyone can set themselves up (and many often do!). What happens then is that, to get work, they tend to bid the lowest prices. Customers who are bottom-line conscious go for the cheapest option irrespective of quality but it means that you have to churn out industrial quantitites to eek out even a basic living. In addition, you talk about a baby. The problem here is that deadlines have to be met: is this compatible with bringing up a small child? There is much more I could say on the subject but the basic message is that "translation is not a game, so it should either be done seriously or not at all". If that message doesn't put you off, good luck!
Chris

So, before taking up the jobs independently, take these suggestions and ideas in your at first as well. I agree that translation is not a game rather it is a skill acquired after proper knowledge of languages and translation procedure. Well, I hope that after putting hard work in area of more learning you can take up the jobs as well. As far as deadlines are concerned, always clear out your problems to your job provider that you are doing jobs in such conditions. Never let him/her in a dark room and tell truth to him honestly.
I think your priority 'll obviously at your child, so deny or don't bid for a job if you think that you'll not be able to take out time for the translation, proofchecking and editing and finalisation.
PRAKAASH


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:33
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I went approximately same road Jul 10, 2003

Dear Mrs. McConnie,

Many years ago (1977)I did my practice teaching as a teacher in a middle school; it was a humbling experience. Believe me I know what you are talking about and I am not talking about the kids. My methodology professor was not supportive at all. He belittled us and generally made us feel inadequate. I did finish my internship, got my degree but felt that I was not worthy as a teacher.

After working in abauxite refinerey for about 8.5 years as a technical assistant, I decided to go to the US to study languages/ translation and further my education. On the side I worked as a freelance translator and taught Spanish at the university (my language combinations are Dutch, English and Spanish). Contrary to what my methodology teacher said ("that I would never make a good teacher"), I received many accolades as a teacher from the university.

After obtaining my degrees in 1994 I joined a management consulting firm full-time as a translator and then worked as the in-house translator for a large supermarket chain. I am now back to translating because I can do it from my home. I have rambled on.

My suggestions to you are: If possible and financially feasible, take on-line courses in translation and in Ireland offer (at first) your services as a translator probono to the Church or some other charitable organization. When you feel confident, accept paying jobs. At first, you may wish to do the job and then ask someone to proof the translation for you. Ask them to be honest with their feedback. It may cost you some money, but it will enable you to deliver professional work and be proud of your accomplishments.

Another suggestion would be why don't you offer Spanish classes from your home. Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot be a good teacher. This will enable you to be home with your child and make some money.

Good luck and welcome to ProZ!
Lucinda


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McConnie
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Gracias por tus ideas! Jul 10, 2003

Valeria Verona wrote:

Con respecto a los cursos a larga distancia, pensé en hacer algo así pero ¿Cómo estar segura de cuál va a tener validez? Las universidades de Dublin en las que yo averigué, ninguna parece dar cursos de traducción a larga distancia.
Tema libros ¿Vos podrías recomendarme alguno?
Desde ya soy consciente de que tengo que repasar la gramática española. Mi preocupación también es que ahora estoy más cerca de España y la realidad es que nuestro castellano les suena ridículo, así que no se cómo eso afectaría mi probabilidad de conseguir trabajo en Irlanda.

Hola desde Buenos Aires!
1) A distance course
2) A workshop with a translator
3) Reading a book on translation theory
4) Reviewing your Spanish grammar.
5) Talking to a translator friend who can give you tips, introduce you into this activity, which is cerainly VERY DIFFERENT from teaching. I do both... that's why I'm telling you! It's two different worlds, two different ways of thinking.
Good luck and contact me if I can be of any help

Saludos,
Valeria


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Flora Iacoponi, MCIL  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Distance course in Ireland Jul 10, 2003

Hi,
if you are considering doing a distance course in translation I can give you a couple of address. One is the Words language service school in Dublin, http://www.wls.ie, the other one is London City University http://www.city.ac.uk/languages/dt.htm. They both organize distance courses and offer the option of doing either a course for a certificate in translation or a preparation course to sit the London Institute of Linguists Diploma in translation that is a good accreditation to have. I did a distance course with WLS myself and everything went fine, I could do it at my pace and entirely from home. Please let me know if you need more information about it. Cheers,
Flora


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McConnie
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for being so straightfoward... Jul 10, 2003

CMJ_Trans wrote:

So am I! I don't really know if I want to be a translator. I won't know until I give it a try! Maybe I didn't express myself correctly and gave the wrong impression. It's not that I'm not prepared to study at all. I just can't afford to go to university because it would be both a heavy economic burden and the commuting itself would be a waste of time.

I'm not just 'anyone', a chancer, who learnt a language from working in a McDonald's in a foreign country and believes she now knows it all about translating. I'm someone who learnt a language from studying hard. I'm not mediocre in anything I set out to do. Would I be here seeking advice if I was? I'm not a mediocre mother and I don't expect to be a mediocre translator either. I never said it would be a 'game' to me or that I meant to take the profession lightly. Even with a small child, I believe it's possible to do small amounts of work professionally without loading oneself with deadlines one couldn't meet. It's not my aim to be cheap and unprofessional! I'm looking for self-fulfilment. I don't really need to work at the moment.

In Buenos Aires there's an old rivalry between English teachers and translators as the latter, for some reason, are thought to be superior. Teaching seems to be an 'easy' job that doesn't need as much knowledge or preparation. Well believe me, there are hundreds of translators taking up all sorts of teaching positions because there's no market for translators. One could easily claim that they have not a clue about pedagogy, child psychology, methodology, that they're too structured.. etc..etc.. and yet who knows... I never saw them as a threat because I was professional in doing my job and was getting more and more work in spite of the economic downturn.

Your message hasn't put me off at all. It actually makes me more determined. I'm stubborn by nature!

...because, if you are, you ought to obtain some sort of qualifications. It's tough out there on the market and it is not because you (in the sense of "one") speak one or several other languages that you will necessarily make it as a translator. Theoretically anyone can set themselves up (and many often do!). What happens then is that, to get work, they tend to bid the lowest prices. Customers who are bottom-line conscious go for the cheapest option irrespective of quality but it means that you have to churn out industrial quantitites to eek out even a basic living. In addition, you talk about a baby. The problem here is that deadlines have to be met: is this compatible with bringing up a small child? There is much more I could say on the subject but the basic message is that "translation is not a game, so it should either be done seriously or not at all". If that message doesn't put you off, good luck!
Chris


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McConnie
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Hi Flora, Jul 10, 2003

This sounds just like what I need. I've heard about the London Institute of Linguists Diploma before but it seemed that DCU were the only ones offering preparatory courses. I'll certainly visit these websites and find out.

Thanks a million!
Connie.

Flora Iacoponi wrote:

Hi,
if you are considering doing a distance course in translation I can give you a couple of address. One is the Words language service school in Dublin, http://www.wls.ie, the other one is London City University http://www.city.ac.uk/languages/dt.htm. They both organize distance courses and offer the option of doing either a course for a certificate in translation or a preparation course to sit the London Institute of Linguists Diploma in translation that is a good accreditation to have. I did a distance course with WLS myself and everything went fine, I could do it at my pace and entirely from home. Please let me know if you need more information about it. Cheers,
Flora


[Edited at 2003-07-10 14:05]


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McConnie
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Glad to hear someone went through the same torture! Jul 10, 2003

Hello Lucinda,

It's reassuring to read your story. I often get very depressed when I start brooding over that internship. I've mixed feelings about it. One the one hand, I feel like an idiot because I was the first person in the history of the institution to speak her mind to the methodology teacher and sacrifice her degree; on the other hand, I feel I was true to myself.
It's very frustrating to know I didn't get my degree for just one subject! I just couldn't put up with her belittling me when I thought it was my teacher who was making unrealistic demands. She expected results she read about in methodology books written in Britain where the social and economic situation is so different. Can you take full responsibility for your students' lack of interest, motivation and misbehaviour? I'd take full responsibility for a bad translation but not for someone else's motivation. It's true that these days you have to compete with TV and all, especially when teaching adolescents, but I thought I was training to be teacher not an entertainer. How can you motivate kids in a classroom when they've no motivation outside it. I've had students who were on drugs, students who'd tell you "what's the point of studying? That won't give you a job anyway", etc, etc... I felt what was expected of me was really unfair.

I used to do translations in Buenos Aires for the Irish Dominican Sisters but I would've never quoted that as experience. I can certainly go back to them and offer to do translations for them.

With regard to teaching Spanish, I 'might' consider doing that. Honestly, I'd be very reluctant to go back to teaching.

Anyway, thanks for your advice and for sharing your experience.

Connie.

Lucinda Hollenberg wrote:

Dear Mrs. McConnie,

Many years ago (1977)I did my practice teaching as a teacher in a middle school; it was a humbling experience. Believe me I know what you are talking about and I am not talking about the kids. My methodology professor was not supportive at all. He belittled us and generally made us feel inadequate. I did finish my internship, got my degree but felt that I was not worthy as a teacher.

After working in abauxite refinerey for about 8.5 years as a technical assistant, I decided to go to the US to study languages/ translation and further my education. On the side I worked as a freelance translator and taught Spanish at the university (my language combinations are Dutch, English and Spanish). Contrary to what my methodology teacher said ("that I would never make a good teacher"), I received many accolades as a teacher from the university.

After obtaining my degrees in 1994 I joined a management consulting firm full-time as a translator and then worked as the in-house translator for a large supermarket chain. I am now back to translating because I can do it from my home. I have rambled on.

My suggestions to you are: If possible and financially feasible, take on-line courses in translation and in Ireland offer (at first) your services as a translator probono to the Church or some other charitable organization. When you feel confident, accept paying jobs. At first, you may wish to do the job and then ask someone to proof the translation for you. Ask them to be honest with their feedback. It may cost you some money, but it will enable you to deliver professional work and be proud of your accomplishments.

Another suggestion would be why don't you offer Spanish classes from your home. Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot be a good teacher. This will enable you to be home with your child and make some money.

Good luck and welcome to ProZ!
Lucinda


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xxxCMJ_Trans
Local time: 19:33
French to English
+ ...
Good luck to you then...I hope you succeed in your venture Jul 10, 2003

It looks as though you may find courses you can do from home and that should put you on the right track.
I certainly didn't want to sound presumptuous but I am not in my first youth and have seen it all before. The market is full of people who think that translation is a doddle and anyone with a bit of language knowledge can play. You only have to read the English on restaurant menus abroad to see the sort of end result you can get!!! (OK - I'm exaggerating slightly).
In the past I have lost business to people who have underbid me with my regular customers, who were naturally tempted by a cheaper option, only to have these customers coming running back with the resulting text asking me to sort out the mess! Whatever you do, don't go down that road. A nod is as good as a wink, they say....
But if you are stubborn and keen, you may be just the sort of material needed - so good on you!
Chris


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McConnie
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your advice, Jul 10, 2003

McConnie wrote:


I need some advice on how to get started as a freelance translator in Ireland if I’m neither highly experienced in doing translations nor can I claim to be specialised in any specific field.

I’m originally from Buenos Aires where I did a four-year intensive course on English. I would be qualified as an “English Professor” if I had obtained my degree after doing a three-month, masochistic internship in a secondary school. However, I quit the internship when I was half way through it because I was doing so badly! I felt I was expected to perform as a clown and I just lacked the personality to put up an act, get over and done with it and finally get my degree. I found the whole experience very frustrating as all I received was diminishing “feedback” from my Methodology teacher.

My last employment was as a teacher in Buenos Aires giving in-house business English courses to IT and marketing managers in multinational companies. I was doing really well then, which was kind of boost for my confidence in my teaching ability; but I can hardly do the same in Ireland! Anyway, I’d rather quit teaching altogether and switch to translating, which I could do from home. I believe I have both the ability and the tools to do translations, yet how can I gain the experience that would allow me to find employment without having to do a university course? I’ve a baby now so I couldn’t really afford to go back to university and start all over again. And then it’d be more of a pastime than anything else. Just to keep learning and feel mind is still working! How should I go about it?

Dear
Well, it is not necessary for anyone to hold Ph.D. type of a degree for starting up as a translator. I'd suggest you to buy some of the essential dictionaries in your language pairs, arrange books for learning translation skills and improve your linguistic skills as well. Being a teacher, I hope that you 'd have excellent linguistic skills as well. But for translation, you'll need proficiency in at least two languages. The more are the languages, the more is the options available for this field. You can go through with a tie-up with some reputed translator or translation agency. Join him/them as editor or proofreader, check how they perform in their field and what is their method to perform a task. This experience 'll help you when you'll start taking jobs independently.
For rest of the suggestions, contact me personally at
prakaasharmaa@epatra.com
quoting reference
PRAKAASH[/quote]


I have to find out about dictionaries. Just one question, how do you think I should approach agencies if I've no experience or references? What should I said? Should I bother sending a CV when all my work experience is as a teacher?


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McConnie
Ireland
Local time: 18:33
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
No hard feelings Jul 10, 2003

I understand your concern. Believe me I won't take the easy road!

CMJ_Trans wrote:

It looks as though you may find courses you can do from home and that should put you on the right track.
I certainly didn't want to sound presumptuous but I am not in my first youth and have seen it all before. The market is full of people who think that translation is a doddle and anyone with a bit of language knowledge can play. You only have to read the English on restaurant menus abroad to see the sort of end result you can get!!! (OK - I'm exaggerating slightly).
In the past I have lost business to people who have underbid me with my regular customers, who were naturally tempted by a cheaper option, only to have these customers coming running back with the resulting text asking me to sort out the mess! Whatever you do, don't go down that road. A nod is as good as a wink, they say....
But if you are stubborn and keen, you may be just the sort of material needed - so good on you!
Chris


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