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Tips for a 21-year old?
Thread poster: myles
myles
English to French
Nov 6, 2003

Dear friends,
I´m a 21-year old Canadian who is fluently billingual in both English and French, having grown up in a household where both languages where spoken.
I´ve been teaching English abroad for the past 2 1/2 years and feel extremely comfortable translating both ways (Eng-Fre, Fre-Eng.).

Would anyone have any tips on where to begin, seeing as how i don´t currently have any experience in this field but would like to gain it in order to become a full-fledged translator some day.

Any help would be extremely appreciated,
Sincerely,
Myles.


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
You could start with "Business Issues".. Nov 6, 2003

..you won't learn this at school

Business Issues http://www.proz.com/forum/19

Then you could continue with

Getting Established http://www.proz.com/forum/15

and
Being independent http://www.proz.com/forum/18

HTH,
Harry


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Emmanouil Tyrakis
Local time: 08:57
French to Greek
+ ...
Degree Nov 6, 2003

For the moment the best you can do is get a degree in translation. The fact that you are \"fluently billingual in both English and French\" does not make you a translator. At the university we had many students having grown up in a household where both languages where spoken and they were making the worst mistakes in their translations. So I think a degree would be the best to start with.

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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:57
German to English
+ ...
Repackage, repackage... Nov 6, 2003

Hi Myles,

Welcome to proz.com. I had a look at your profile and resume, here are my first impressions:

- Image is crucial. If you want to be taken seriously as a translator, you need to project a professional image. Emphasizing your young age and lack of experience is self-defeating in my opinion. You have a lot of things going for you: bilingualism, experience around the globe. My specific recommendation: get rid of the age on your profile and resume.

- Is it really relevant that you worked for your mom? Again, my specific recommendation: rephrase your work experience on your profile. Exactly what kind of work did you do for the daycare? Was it a bilingual daycare? Did you work as a facilitor between parents and staff? Sell yourself a bit!

- "Curriculum Vita" may be a bit of a stretch. I'd call it "resume" and limit it to one page max. You're going to have to condense a bunch of stuff, and focus it for the kinds of jobs you might want: translation? teaching?

- What coursework did you do in college? It helps if you can show broad experience; a translator with a couple of years of engineering classes, or language classes, or anything really, is more valuable than just a translator. I'd include specific information about this on your resume.

- Emphasize that teaching experience! Emphasize your knowledge of Chinese and Slovakian!

- Participate in answering kudoz questions at proz. There's nothing like matching wits with the best translators, and you can get your feet wet in translation this way in a supportive environment.

Hope that helps! I realize I'm being direct and critical, but I think you're looking for concrete suggestions. You have a lot to offer, I just think you need to "repackage" it a bit.

Michele


[Edited at 2003-11-06 09:14]


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Emmanouil Tyrakis
Local time: 08:57
French to Greek
+ ...
Degree Nov 6, 2003

The first thing you have to do is get a degree in translation. The fact that you are fluently billingual in both English and French, having grown up in a household where both languages where spoken does not make you a translator.
At the University the worst mistakes in translation projects were made by fluently billingual students.
So, I think a degree is the best advice pour le moment.


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xxxTransflux
Local time: 07:57
French to English
+ ...
supportive environment? Nov 6, 2003

- Participate in answering kudoz questions at proz. There's nothing like matching wits with the best translators, and you can get your feet wet in translation this way in a supportive environment.


Lots of good info here. Except for the "supportive environment" bit. Kudoz is not supportive, it's cut throat most of the time, bad-tempered and aggresive. Enough to put any beginner off. Still this doesn't apply to everyone. Just a warning though!


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:57
German to English
+ ...
kudoz atmosphere Nov 6, 2003

Endymion wrote:
Lots of good info here. Except for the "supportive environment" bit. Kudoz is not supportive, it's cut throat most of the time, bad-tempered and aggresive....


I knew as soon as I wrote that that someone would disagree with me.

I can only speak for the German-English subgroup, but I'd have to disagree with you. My experience is that there are a few bad apples, and tempers sometimes flare. But I do find it "supportive" to get comments and, yes, criticism, about my answers, and to read others' suggestions. I learn so much! If answers are halfway thought-out and reasonable documented/justified, I think it is a positive experience even for beginners.

I also mean supportive in the sense that myles can get feedback about his translations in a "no-risk" situation, i.e. there is no client on the other side.

[Edited at 2003-11-06 16:22]


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:57
German to English
+ ...
Yes: degree, life experience, etc. Nov 6, 2003

tyrem wrote:

For the moment the best you can do is get a degree in translation. ...


I also had this thought. Or at least a degree in general, and in the meantime hone one's translation skills.

At 21 one also hasn't had much of a chance to collect "life experience," occupational experience, etc, which I think are also crucial to being a good translator.


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myles
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks Nov 6, 2003

There are bad apples in every environment. I must express my deepest thanks to the people who took time to help me out here...i´m new to the world of translating and am extremely interested in making a name for myself; I sincerely believe I have the skills to do it, too.
I will start immediately on your tips and will definitely look into getting a translating degree.

Thanks again,
Myles.


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Susana Galilea  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:57
English to Spanish
+ ...
did you say "soccer"? Nov 6, 2003

Michele Johnson wrote:
You have a lot to offer, I just think you need to "repackage" it a bit.


I agree with Michele wholeheartedly, and her suggestions are excellent ones. Your resume ought to highlight what makes you stand out from the rest, and I agree with Michelle your knowledge of the Slovak language is one of those things. I would suggest your insider's knowledge of soccer is another.

You have a background as a soccer player at the international level almost as long as your age. If I were you, I'd research publications and media that might have a need for such expert knowledge. Knowing a sport inside and out, in terms of its rules and concrete terminology, constitutes a field of specialization. You might just get away with combining all the passions in your life. I'll toast to that

Oh, and regarding the Kudoz arena...if you come across the occasional nasty attitude (and chances are you will), my advice to you would be to be smart. Find it in yourself to respond in a manner that is curteous, firm, professional. Doing so is an exercise in self-restraint and creativity that does not go unnoticed by the kinds of colleagues ultimately worth getting to know. In my experience, the benefits of the Kudoz system far outweigh any passing frustrations.

Best luck to you, and let us know what develops.

Cheers,

Susana Galilea
Accredited Translator, EUTI
sgalilea@ispwest.com
www.accentonspanish.com


[Edited at 2003-11-06 16:47]


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myles
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Nov 6, 2003

Dear Susana,
Thank you for having taken the time to help me out. I never expected this kind of outreach and support towards a \"newbie\" per se.

In any case, your advice has already been taken into effect as I have begun to search the net for soccer-related translation opportunities.

Hope we can keep in touch,
Sincerely,
Myles.


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ecuatraddesign
United States
Local time: 01:57
Spanish to English
+ ...
Some tips from another young translator Nov 6, 2003

Hi,

Here are some more tips from someone who is also in his 20s. I got started in this business by translating stuff for my parents' friends and other people who knew I spoke two languages. I'd always get comments like "Hey, you speak Spanish, why don't you translate this for me? I need to present this to so and so tomorrow." This was before I knew that translation was a real profession for which some people actually go to school, and I didn't realize the disservice I was doing to other people who have gone to school. Thank goodness I never had to translate anything too complicated back then.

Before you plunge into the world of translation on a full-time basis, one thing you should do is read a lot of books on translation, and also spend some time browsing through (and reading) the postings in the forums on this site. You really do learn a lot. It's a great way to learn from the mistakes of others so you can avoid the same traps later on.

Read, read, read. It is very important to specialize in this profession, so read a lot of books and magazines in both your languages, preferably material that deals with your specialization.

It also really pays to specialize, especially when dealing with languages such as Spanish or French. In these languages, translators seem to be a dime a dozen (a dime is 10 cents in the US, just in case someone does not know that), but like my mother always told me, only the good ones succeed. Remember, you can't be all things to all people.

I suggest you spend a year or two (or more) learning about translation, going to school and educating yourself before you decide to start working as a translator. You might also want to find a translation-related job such as at a translation agency, or a job that requires knowledge of more than one language. At such jobs, you will likely be called upon to translate something at some point.

It's also a good idea to translate texts on your own. Find a reasonably difficult text and translate it, and have a translator make comments and suggestions. Try finding something other than what you can find in a newspaper or magazine, since this kind of stuff is generally too easy. Most of the stuff you see as a professional translator is pretty complicated, and the client invariably needs it NOW, preferably yesterday.

Once you start working, I suggest you don't advertise your age. Don't volunteer information such as when you graduated from college unless they specifically ask you for it. This is one business where being young does not work to your advantage. Serious clients look for training and most of all, experience, since they believe experience is commesurate with ability. Advertise instead the experience you do have, and most importantly, don't bite off more than you can chew.

Hope this helps!

Paul


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Gareth McMillan  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:57
German to English
+ ...
DEGREE??????????? Nov 6, 2003

People with a degree will tell you to get a degree (why?). Don't know. But I believe that a degree in translation per se won't bring you much further.
I have an engineering related degree but no translation degree and I have earned a lot of money sorting out technical translation disasters written by highly qualified translators. Their problem was lack of "real" experience in a particular technical field. How can you translate a technical manual for a chemical storage plant if you have no experience of chemical storage?
You can only translate what you know about!
Just replacing the words is not only naive- it can be downright dangerous.
Concentrate and build on what you know already (you probably know more than you realise)from work, hobbies, special interests- that is your foundation. And stop apologising for yourself (your profile is suicidal). Remember that customers who are prepared to give someone their first chance are extremely rare and most of those only wan't something on the cheap.
I am also new to this site (haven't even done my profile yet) but I can already see the richness in the mix of people who contribute to it- have a go, why not, but be prepared to take the knocks you will innevitably receive.
You will be O.K. you are honest.
Good luck!


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myles
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Nov 7, 2003

Thanks to you both, that information was most appreciated...i am looking forward to delving into this profession as far as I can.

Many thanks,
Myles


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:57
Think about joining professional organizations too! Nov 13, 2003

Hi Myles,
I have translated in Mexico, Canada and the US, and, by far, the Canadian clientele seems to me to be the most demanding. Probably because they are used to dealing with two "official" languages, clients always expect "professionalism". Also, competition is fierce, so a degree is always a good thing to have. Another option to consider would be obtaining certification from one (or more) of the provincial translation organizations. For instance, the Ordre de Traducteurs, Terminologues et Interpretes du Quebec (OTTIAQ) has a sort of tutorial program, in which "rookie" translators get coaching or assistance from more seasoned and certified ones, as preparation for their own certification.
So there are many paths to follow! Good luck!


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