Novice translator in search of professional tips
Thread poster: xxxMagdalene.P
xxxMagdalene.P
Local time: 06:41
Italian to Greek
+ ...
Oct 31, 2009

I have some queries regarding how to maintain a good level of my english as I live in a country where I cannot actually practice it ! I wonder if anyone of you has had a similar experience and could give me a helping hand. What is more, even though I feel completely comfortable translating in english, I feel kind of intimidated by mother-tongue speakers …even though I appreciate that speaking three languages can be an advantage from various perspectives.

It helps to live in Italy as my italian gets better and better - I am in fact translating a little book from greek to italian (with the help of a proofreader without whom I would be doomed) but I have to fight for my english...I keep in touch with relatives and a friend in the USA but is that enough?

I wouldn't be that concerned if it wasn't for the fact that italian to greek as a language pair is not likely to give me enough work..I do get work from italian to english but I have no certificates (mean to sit diptrans next year) but I just can't be "agressive" when marketing myself with all the professionals around...even with low prices most agencies will hardly take you seriously ..but then again I don't want to make mere assumptions. What I have been aiming to do is stick to the deadline, keep prices low and demostrate flexibility.

What else?

I would so much appreciate feedback from all of you!
Thanks.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Look for a tutor Nov 1, 2009

Hello Magdalene.

You don't seem to mention which of the three languages is your mother tongue. A widespread and sensible recommendation is to translate into your mother tongue only. Just speaking a language --even if you speak it very well-- does not mean that you can translate into it with a sufficient professional quality.

If you really mean that you translate into English, honestly I would look for a paid tutor who can correct English texts you write for a while. I am not very convinced that you are currently capable of translating into English with a professional quality. I am sorry to be so blunt, but see for yourself: look for a native English translator here in Proz and pay him/her to correct your initial posting in this forum. My assessment is that you are not aware of your real level in English.

If have actually registered for the DipTrans in January, I must encourage you to take an Italian-English tutor who can give you a good dozen of tricky translation assignments and correct your tests. Any other approach will be throwing the examination fees down the drain...

Good luck!
Tomás


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Marijke Singer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:41
Dutch to English
+ ...
Subscribe to English newspapers and such Nov 1, 2009

Read an English quality paper every day. I do this for all three of my languages. This ensures you keep track of language changes such as new words and trends.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 05:41
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Read English newspapers and magazines... Nov 1, 2009

and watch TV!

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Maria Amorim  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 06:41
Swedish to Portuguese
+ ...
Some other tips Nov 1, 2009

If the point is to keep a high level of good spoken English, follow the previous advices.

You shouldn’t translate into English as it is not your mother tongue. But if you intend to translate from English to your own language, you should concentrate in:

Reading, as much as possible, good English literature, articles, etc; the internet offers great possibilities of accessing different types of high quality texts and also listening to texts;
Constructing your own glossaries;
Downloading dictionaries in your computer, like the word web, where you can also hear word pronunciation;
Doing volunteer translations so that you can gradually build up your own references;
Translate material that has already been translated ( see, for example ,The European Commission web site, the same content is written in different languages) so that you can practice and check your own quality;
Studying all the time, applying for English exams;
etc.

You shouldn’t be so worried about not speaking so well as mother-tongue speakers (even though you should have that as an aim). Even some good writers that write in a second language cannot do that... But you have to know the language and you should have very good writing qualities. Most of this you get by practising, working.

Good luck!


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xxxMagdalene.P
Local time: 06:41
Italian to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all Nov 1, 2009

Dear Tomás, I don't think you are being too blunt. I take your words as constructive criticism and in fact I do have someone who proofreads when I translate into English! So far no complaints...and customers come back..It's difficult to get NEW customers.
My issue I guess is that I use two languages to express myself and I catch myself thinking in English or wanting to use English but lack of practice can really block you.
I do agree that you should translate in your mother-tongue however.
Thank you Maria for your kind comments and the practice tips most of which I am actually following amongst others (glossary etc) but I really liked your idea of translating material already translated..Good tip.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:41
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
A question ... Nov 1, 2009

Can I just ask why you do not do the obvious and translate from English (which you obviously speak well without being a native speaker) into Greek, your native language?

Your ProZ profile says only Italian to Greek, which seems a good idea on the face of it, and Italian to English which doesn't seem a good idea as neither is your native language.


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xxxMagdalene.P
Local time: 06:41
Italian to Greek
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
for Sheila Nov 1, 2009

The only reason is because I am unable to provide sample work right now for the "most obvious" pair as I mainly work with Italian. But you are so right and thank you for pointing this out.

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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 06:41
Member
Italian to English
Samples rarely, if ever, required Nov 9, 2009

In my nine years as a translator I have only been asked for samples a few times - I can count them on one hand I really wouldn't let that put you off working in a particular language pair; you can always offer to do a short test piece if an agency wants to judge your language skills.

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Susanne Bittner  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
English to German
+ ...
Even with low prices... Nov 10, 2009

... even with low prices most agencies will hardly take you seriously .. . don't you think it might be Because of low prices?

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:41
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Nov 10, 2009

Susanne Bittner wrote:
... even with low prices most agencies will hardly take you seriously .. . don't you think it might be Because of low prices?

That's exactly what I have said so many times in the past. We should be ready, trained, and prepared to deliver great translations and a great, responsive service... but should also ask for a reasonable price.


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Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:41
German to Spanish
+ ...
Novice translator in search of professional tips Nov 10, 2009

xxxMagdalene.P wrote:

I have some queries regarding how to maintain a good level of my english as I live in a country where I cannot actually practice it ! I wonder if anyone of you has had a similar experience and could give me a helping hand. What is more, even though I feel completely comfortable translating in english, I feel kind of intimidated by mother-tongue speakers …even though I appreciate that speaking three languages can be an advantage from various perspectives.

It helps to live in Italy as my italian gets better and better - I am in fact translating a little book from greek to italian (with the help of a proofreader without whom I would be doomed) but I have to fight for my english...I keep in touch with relatives and a friend in the USA but is that enough?

I wouldn't be that concerned if it wasn't for the fact that italian to greek as a language pair is not likely to give me enough work..I do get work from italian to english but I have no certificates (mean to sit diptrans next year) but I just can't be "agressive" when marketing myself with all the professionals around...even with low prices most agencies will hardly take you seriously ..but then again I don't want to make mere assumptions. What I have been aiming to do is stick to the deadline, keep prices low and demostrate flexibility.

What else?

I would so much appreciate feedback from all of you!
Thanks.


I do not know if this is viable in your residence country. In Barcelona (Spain) there exists an English bookstore that has a bulletin board for persons who want to do cultural exchanges, sell books, rent rooms, etc. In short, everything what an english speaking foreigner could wish in Spain or a native one wants to know about countries and persons of English speech.

And there exists a big number of persons that teach English for free in exchange you to teach them Spanish as like excursionists groups where it is only allowed to speak English. I even know that they have arranged a left village for holiday-tourism, where it is only allowed to speak English too. Look at your city. Probably you will have something similar near you.


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