Future Career for a Translator
Thread poster: Alexandre Chetrite

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 18:18
English to French
Jun 19, 2009

Hello,

I was just wondering: what can Translators do as a job after being let's say 15 years as a freelance or 15 years as in-house translator?

If one such person wants to change his career, what natural choices would he be faced with?

Or does that depend on personal competencies, preferences and geographic location (thus everything is possible and there is no such "logical caree paths"?)

I would imagine that a good experienced translator could go into the Media field as Manager for Editorial Content or something like that or into Consultancy (Translation Consultancy) or why not in Tourism?

What are the real skills translators are known for in your opinion?

Good day.



[Edited at 2009-06-19 09:57 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
After 15 years in translation... Jun 19, 2009

...I can only see myself 15 years more in translation. Of course if I won the lottery and could be sure that my family will be fed, I would probably specialise in something. I have seriously considered a terminology company offering specialised terminology feeds to technical translators.

As I don't have the money to pay my bills for the 2-3 years I think it would take me to learn enough and develop the project, I keep translating!icon_smile.gif

Good luck!


 

selma dogan  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:18
Member (2011)
English to Turkish
+ ...
You may just need Jun 19, 2009

to take some courses about the operational part of exportation and importation. And you may work as an export or import specialist, if you believe that you know the specific language quite well.

 

foghorn
English to Turkish
+ ...
retirement Jun 19, 2009

i’m waiting for new technological developments. When the time comes, i'll leave this carrier or whatever it is and buy a brand new baby spine. What am i going to do with the old one? Well, it’ll be working for me while i luxuriate an unconditioned experience of human life without words.

 

CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:18
English to French
+ ...
Do translators want to change their jobs? Jun 19, 2009

Hi,
Though I understand what you mean, I'm a bit surprised.

First is "Getting established" the right place for a thread about leaving translation ? Second, I'm afraid I'm not sure that after 15 years most of us want to leave our industry.

I started translation in 1997. Not 15 years ago, but 12. I wouldn't leave the job, and certainly NOT to become an employee. I'm my own boss, I don't have somebody to tell me "you should do this and that and do it this way". Why should I get back to look for a job as an employee? What for? Money? Social prestige? Are you so unhappy to be a translator?

And what kind of job? I'm afraid that, at least in France, looking for a job in the Media industry is bound to fail, at least for the next couple of years to come.

As for the "real skills" we are known for, I'd say it depends on each translator. My understanding is that the more specialised you are (which means that you have not been through language studies only, but that you've studied finance, for a financial translator, law for a legal translator, etc.), the better!

First because you earn your life well, and you just don't feel the need to look for another job. Second, because you get famous in the industry (I mean both towards translation agencies & towards direct clients).

But when you've fought a decade to build a client portfolio, giving it up right at the moment when you're starting to make money with it and go for... a boss / a 35-hour-a-week-position / a "métro-boulot-dodo" scheme sounds a bit surprising.

Best

CFK

[Modifié le 2009-06-19 13:41 GMT]


 

Luisa Ramos, CT  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:18
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
Just the opposite Jun 19, 2009

It feels awesome to have been an employee most of your life (regardless of how high an executive you were) and then being able to leave everything behind to be what you always wanted to be: a full time language services provider.icon_smile.gif

Gone are the bosses, the fight for the corner office, the meetings, the project planning, the office politics, the backstabbers, the dressing up, etc., etc., etc.

If someone wishes to move in the other direction I cannot help but think it must be because he/she is not passionate about translating.

Cheers to 10 years of freelancing and many more to come!


 

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 18:18
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Who said you had to get back to employee position permanently? Jun 19, 2009

There must be a misunderstanding: I never said I wanted to get back to employee position permanently..Nobody said that. But one can acquire expertie in another field and get back to translation with a stronger profile...That's only one possibility...
Or what if the market gets messy and you have to get out of it? I think its more about having security nets than anything else..

Of course if one is happy with his freelance translator position he must not get back to employee status...But sometimes you have to move for several reasons (not getting paid enough or who knows what?)

[Edited at 2009-06-19 14:42 GMT]


 

Sabine Braun  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:18
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
I think I can sympathise with you.... Jun 19, 2009

I have been working as a translator for 25 years and there were certain times when I felt I needed a change (for various reasons).

When I relocated to the UK almost 10 years ago I retrained as a teacher and worked part-time in a few schools for a couple of years. I think I learned a lot during this time and some experiences were real eye-openers after my somehow sheltered life as a self-employed translator. However, I never gave up translating completely and kept some of my clients. Some time ago I returned to translating full time (I had finally got enough of moody teenagers...)icon_wink.gif

I am now training as a medical herbalist which not only helps me immensely in my work as a medical translator, but will also give me something to fall back on if times get tough for translators. But I would never stop working as a translator - I just enjoy it too much.

Depending on your personal interests and abilities, I think it would be ideal if you could find something that does not take up all your time, but gives you the chance to continue working as a translator. Something you feel passionate about whatever it is... Translating can be a lonely, solitary business, and sometimes it is good to do something new and different to avoid getting stuck in a rut.

Good luck with any new ventures!icon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2009-06-19 15:32 GMT]


 

Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 18:18
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sabine Braun Jun 19, 2009

Thank you Sabine Braun! I was starting to think I had asked a taboo question or a really bad one...

 

CFK TRAD  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:18
English to French
+ ...
Would you ask the same question to an Attorney ? Jun 19, 2009

mavyalex wrote:

Or what if the market gets messy and you have to get out of it? I think its more about having security nets than anything else
t sometimes you have to move for several reasons (not getting paid enough or who knows what?)

[Edited at 2009-06-19 14:42 GMT] [/quote]

Just a question: would you ask the same question to an Attorney-at-law ?
They are freelancers too, aren't they ?

I'd like to point out that 14,000 (yes, fourteen thousand) lawyers were expelled from law firms in the US over the first week of March 2009 (and the situation is getting worse and worse for them).

Yet, I'm afraid nobody would ever ask this question to an attorney - perhaps because they're seen as earning a lot, which can be true for a few of them, and is definitely wrong for most of them.

What puzzles me a bit in your approach is that it reads as if you're considering translation as a "job" between two (or more) jobs. Translator one day, teacher (or whatever) another day, etc.

I have had other jobs (including working for the French administration) before becoming a full-time translator, and honestly, once you've found a job where you don't have to report n times a day to your manager, to lose your time with stupid meetings, and so on, why should one change?

As for the situation on the market, if everybody had to change job every time the situation is getting dire, this would be impossible to manage.

As a freelancer, you're getting to hard times, and then to great times, and so on. You never know how much you'll earn in ten months, or in six months, but you know you won't be fired at 45 because you're too old and too expensive.

You never know if the new clients (or even the older ones) will ever call back again, but you don't have to see your stupid manager's face eight hours a day, five days a week.

You may feel you're not paid enough, bu tyou're not frightened because you've heard on the radio that the company you're working for is about to close offices in your country.

And so on !

Remember that building a client portfolio takes time (maybe you've not been in the industry for enough time to understand fully what it means); leaving a freelance position means taking the risk not to find your clients waiting for you to be back again.

As for acquiring expertise in a field, it takes time too. Nobody can become an "expert" of whatever in a couple of weeks.

I'm afraid the real challenge a translator would be confronted with would be to understand that all the efforts he/she has done to build up what he/she has will vanish, and if he/she wants to get back to translation again, he/she will have to rebuild it again...

As for translating 10% of one's time, while teaching another x%, while also doing something else... that may work, maybe. But it may also be seen, by certain people (including clients...) as being somehow unprofessional. I don't mean I see it as unprofessional, but the risk not to be taken seriously and professionally by clients should not be underestimated.

Your question is not a taboo, neither are our answers.

Best

CFK


 

Sabine Braun  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:18
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Why unprofessional? Jun 19, 2009

[quote]FORMATION CFK wrote:


As for translating 10% of one's time, while teaching another x%, while also doing something else... that may work, maybe. But it may also be seen, by certain people (including clients...) as being somehow unprofessional. I don't mean I see it as unprofessional, but the risk not to be taken seriously and professionally by clients should not be underestimated.



How would my clients know what I do in my spare time? I could be writing books, looking after my children, studying for a diploma or simply be lying on the beach (which I do quite a lot in the summer, British weather permitting)icon_wink.gif. As long as I am professional as a translator and the quality of my work does not suffer, I think there is nothing wrong with dividing my time between different interests. I think the beauty of freelancing is that I can choose how much I want to work and for whom I want to work. If I decide to dedicate 50% to translating and 50% to other things what's wrong with that?

In the 25 years of my translation career nobody has ever accused me of being unprofessional and I have never lost a client because of my other interests, on the contrary - I have gained new clients....



Sorry, the above quote (FORMATION CFK) should be in a box - must have made a mistake here.

[Edited at 2009-06-19 16:59 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:18
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not unprofessional at all! Jun 19, 2009

FORMATION CFK wrote:
As for translating 10% of one's time, while teaching another x%, while also doing something else... that may work, maybe. But it may also be seen, by certain people (including clients...) as being somehow unprofessional. I don't mean I see it as unprofessional, but the risk not to be taken seriously and professionally by clients should not be underestimated.


I am an amateur farmer. All my customers know that I every now and then have to go to my little field and do farming work, maybe leaving the office a bit earlier than usual. They not only don't mind, but also feel it is a good thing that I have actual knowledge about things like tractors, farming machinery, crops, etc. Also, it is knowledge that makes me the translator of choice when that kind of work comes around. Doing other things part-time and knowing about them is very enriching for the professional translator and valued by customers!!


 

Sabine Braun  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:18
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
I could not agree more! Jun 19, 2009

You are absolutely right. Doing things outside our "day job" as translators cannot be a bad thing as it adds to our knowledge and widens our horizons.

On that note, happy farming!icon_smile.gif


 


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