Polish/French student getting started
Thread poster: dafnay

Local time: 12:02
Polish to French
+ ...
Apr 17, 2011

Hello everyone , before getting into serious businnes I'll introduce myself :

My name is Keller Rafal , Im 21 years old and I live in Lyon , France.
As you can see from my first name , I was born in Poland and lived there until I was 8 years old.
After that I followed french school and entered at a famous "international" highschool reserved only for bilingual students.
I studied there normal french subjects and polish ones like every other student in Poland , and at the age of 18 I was able to pass the french Bachelor and the polish one in that highschool.

That experience gave me the opportunity to speak and write in polish and english at a very good level , of course lots of technical words are still unknow for me.

But still , some people talked me about trying to get into translation , and it seems Im starting here and now.

Living in France , Ive no idea which diploma I need to get , only thing Ive heard is that you need some highschool master or something like that , but with my law studies I cant do both ...

Other problem is that a lot of schools offers translating lessons from enhlish to french or vice versa , or Im looking for polish/french , and the demand dont look very high for those languages , hope I'm wrong.

Currently after some exams I'll have some free time ( even if I have small job ) and I'd like to offer my services but I just dont know where to start , maybe some free translations , but still hard to find between french and polish.

Maybe more experienced people know some websites and with their advices can make things more crystal clear for me.

PS : dont hesitate to correct my english mistakes , hope you wont find much of them.


Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:02
French to English
Where to start... Apr 17, 2011

Being bilingual is great and as you know only too well yourself, it is only part of the picture.

Your post raises an age-old debate of whether a course and qualification in tanslation are necessary to being and becoming a (good) translator and/or being able to make a living from it.

You have studied law. Having a specific skill or particular knowledge in addition to a language or two is a major asset. No one translator can translate every single type of text. Upon that many would agree. It is possible to have a number of areas in which you have special skills. By way of example, people with medical training and who have excellent language skills make for good translators of medical texts. The same is true of any domain. You need to know what you are translating and in a perfect world a translator would be able to write the text he translates. However, many excellent translators have very specific areas of knowledge within a field acquired through a variety of circumstances, often through professional and personal experience.

I cannot speak with a real authority about translation qualifications as I have none. The ISIT schools, Paris and Rennes, have a long-standing reputation as being excellent centres for training linguists.

As for how to get started, if you start doing translations for free, the day you want to have these same clients pay for the service, you will lose these clients. That is not a good idea. A professional job should be paid for. You may like to contact agencies. Agencies will provide you with work but often take quite some time to pay you. For cash-flow reasons, an agency will often propose an arrangement wherby you are paid one month after their client has paid them for the job you have done. That means waiting 8-12 weeks to be paid. Also, agencies will require you to be freelance, to have some sort of legitimate structure through which you can present invoices.

Languages. Having a language which is not that common is generally an advantage. If you have an unusual language and do good work, then you may gradually find that you have a lot of work coming your way. Unusual languages are generally paid at a higher rate too! Finally, be honest with yourself and translate only into more than one language if both languages are of excellent mother tongue standard!

Good luck,


Local time: 12:02
Polish to French
+ ...
thanks Apr 25, 2011

Thanks for anwer Nikki , but the main problem for me is to find any certification besides ISIT schools , because being at my second year of law in Lyon I cant do both ... and I want to start right now .
Trying to become a translator without any qualification sounds impossible


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