Wanting to become a translator
Thread poster: Coreano
Coreano
United States
Korean to English
+ ...
Sep 4, 2009

I want to become a translator and had one year of college (I want to drop out because I don't enjoy school and want a manual labor job, but I would like to do some translating as well if it is fairly easy to get a translation job).

I am a native of Korea and lived in the US for over 10 years so I know both languages quite well. I don't have much experience except for my private translations.

I would like to know what I should charge to have a chance of being selected for a project without any credentials. Also what chances do I have of making this a career?

Could I get some people with credentials (such as a professor of Korean?) to write testimonial to my translation ability to aid my translation credentials?


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:09
Swedish to English
+ ...
Look elsewhere Sep 4, 2009

Coreano wrote:

I want to drop out because I don't enjoy school and want a manual labor job, but I would like to do some translating as well if it is fairly easy to get a translation job.


If you're looking for manual labour, I suggest you look elsewhere. Translation is serious brain work. Even if you have a very good command of your source and target languages (and from your posting my guess is that you do not have a very good command of your source language).

I also think you'll find that the lowest common denominator for professional translators is a love of learning. So not enjoying school and wanting "a manual labor job" doesn't really fit this profile.

Drop out of school if want to, but don't expect serious clients to come knocking on your door. You might pick up a few jobs from clients paying peanuts, but it's unlikely to pay your bills.

At the same time, I would "kill" my son if he did tried to make some extra pocket money this way. Even though he's fully bilingual, he doesn't have the terminology and research skills required for translation.


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chica nueva
Local time: 16:09
Chinese to English
Some suggestions ... Sep 4, 2009

Coreano wrote:

I want to become a translator and had one year of college (I want to drop out because I don't enjoy school and want a manual labor job, but I would like to do some translating as well if it is fairly easy to get a translation job).

I am a native of Korea and lived in the US for over 10 years so I know both languages quite well. I don't have much experience except for my private translations.

I would like to know what I should charge to have a chance of being selected for a project without any credentials. Also what chances do I have of making this a career?

Could I get some people with credentials (such as a professor of Korean?) to write testimonial to my translation ability to aid my translation credentials?


Hello Coreano

Here are some suggestions:
1 Your English is not perfect, so you would need to have someone to check it.
[ had one year of college, had -> have had; lived in the US for over 10 years, lived -> have lived ] That is quite possible. Many agencies will check your work, or perhaps you could find someone to check it.
2 You are bilingual. That is great. How about interpreting? If you would like to facilitate communication and build up your business skills, perhaps you could be a bilingual tour guide, or work as a clerk in a trade office/shipping company, or in retail sales in a souvenir shop. Perhaps you could do some marketing of yourself to those sorts of businesses. I am sure some of the peers will have started out that way.
3 Technical work. If you don't like study, using language to do things and understanding the minds of the people working in the trade are valuable skills IMO. If you do work as a labourer, I suggest try to gain technical skills, understand technical people and processes, and to read and talk about technical things in both your languages. Focus on correct and accurate language. There are many varieties of language. Slang and idiom could be useful for translating computer games for example.
4 Sure, get testimonials to boost your credentials, especially from satisfied clients or employers. If you have done some translation projects at College, then getting a teacher or professor's endorsement of your abilities sounds like a good idea.
5 There is a new Korean Forum on the ProZ site. You could post there in Korean perhaps, and get more feedback from Korean peers, and more ideas. Good luck!
6 While you are working, use your contacts in the Korean community in the US as well. If you know any Korean translators or interpreters, perhaps you could ask them for advice. Contact local Korean bilingual publications, churches etc. If you do some work for them, they might give you a reference, or valuable feedback. Quite a few translators work, and become translators later.
7 It is often a good idea to get qualifications at polytech or univerisity, but not everyone does. Do you have any experience interpreting or translating for family/friends? Perhaps you could consider doing a part-time course in the evenings in 'Community Interpreting/Liaison Interpreting' at the local polytechnic. That would give you credibility in the profession. You are a high school graduate. That might be enough to gain entry to those courses. Perhaps you can do more study later, when you have experience behind you. Study can be useful for honing writing skills, but writing in the ProZ forums, writing business correspondence etc are other ways to practise writing. Think about taking language proficiency exams like TOEFL and TOEIC which are recognised in Korea (or IELTS) to get a fix on your level of English. Are there similar tests for Korean, I wonder.
8 Perhaps you could bid for jobs on the site. There is also a directory. You could contact agencies from there perhaps, or find a mentor, or a partner to collaborate with. Check out the mentor scheme, and the student section of the site. (There are also site members to advise on using the forums etc - see the box at left.)

Lesley

[Edited at 2009-09-04 22:17 GMT]


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