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How to get hired when you only had one job?
Thread poster: ressel

ressel
Local time: 04:25
English to French
Jun 27, 2011

Hello everyone,

I would like to work as a freelance translator.
I'm a French student in art and I'm quite fluent in English. My level in English is around C1, I hope you're familiar with CEFR system.It's an estimation since the last diploma in English I got is outdated and I'm way better from now on.
I'm studying other language as well, Spanish and Swedish but I can't use these language for a profesional purpose yet.
Lately, someone hired me for tranlating a Iphone
... See more
Hello everyone,

I would like to work as a freelance translator.
I'm a French student in art and I'm quite fluent in English. My level in English is around C1, I hope you're familiar with CEFR system.It's an estimation since the last diploma in English I got is outdated and I'm way better from now on.
I'm studying other language as well, Spanish and Swedish but I can't use these language for a profesional purpose yet.
Lately, someone hired me for tranlating a Iphone app into French. It was a success, and this is why I'm interested to be a translator.
I sent plenty of mails but I didn't receive any answer. I realized something was wrong.I figured out other translators'profiles are much more complete and I concluded this is why they are more likely to be hired.
I attempted to complete mine but there's no relevant information I can add.
It's a vicius circle, I can't get experiences for I don't have enough experiences.
I tried to propose something original: work as a partnership with a friend to provide better translation but it seems it didn't work.
Therefore I wonder how can I start a business in Translation?

If there's no job I can be given from the time being, what can I do to prepare this kind of business in the next years?
My level might not be enough yet. Since I use English everyday, I improve a lot everyday.
I can't attend to a language school, I'm already studdying in another field (art), which I'm really keen on as well. Tell me if there is a test I can't pass which could enable me to be hired. Should I get level C2 in English?

Many thanks in advance.
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Sara Meservey
Italy
Local time: 04:25
English to Italian
+ ...
please! qualify! Jun 27, 2011

Hi Ressel,
I'm sorry that you're my scapegoat but I'm sick and tired of non-professionals wanting to become translators and interpreters because they feel they have a good knowledge of some language.
I am a professional translator myself, I have a 3-year degree in Translation and a Master's degree in Conference Interpreting. I'm also bilingual, but that's really not the point.
I would warmly advice you, if you really are interested IN starING a career as freelance translator an
... See more
Hi Ressel,
I'm sorry that you're my scapegoat but I'm sick and tired of non-professionals wanting to become translators and interpreters because they feel they have a good knowledge of some language.
I am a professional translator myself, I have a 3-year degree in Translation and a Master's degree in Conference Interpreting. I'm also bilingual, but that's really not the point.
I would warmly advice you, if you really are interested IN starING a career as freelance translator and interpreter to get some kind of qualification. A college degree would be better (there are many schools for interpreters and translators. In France there is one of the world best schools the ETI in Paris).
After doing some kind of translation study you will certainly be more qualified than other translators, given that you already have a specialisation in art (which is also a highly requested and very difficult specialisation field).
Good luck,
bye
Sara
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ressel
Local time: 04:25
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
information Jun 27, 2011

I understand you. I didn't want to hurt anyone and I know many people ask always the same thing on this board.
I just wondered what were the posibilities to get enough qualification.
I can't spend 5 years in a Translation school, it's too much since I'm already studying in another field. During the next year, I will study seriously languages on my own.
I thought that some tests enables you if you pass it to be a translator.
I'm interested in translation for a while, I jus
... See more
I understand you. I didn't want to hurt anyone and I know many people ask always the same thing on this board.
I just wondered what were the posibilities to get enough qualification.
I can't spend 5 years in a Translation school, it's too much since I'm already studying in another field. During the next year, I will study seriously languages on my own.
I thought that some tests enables you if you pass it to be a translator.
I'm interested in translation for a while, I just want some information.
I googled ETI and got no results, are you sure it's the real name of this school?
Thank you
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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
qualifications Jun 27, 2011

I really don't think a degree is necessary. For centuries translations have been made by people who did not have degrees and still some are revered as great translators. They only had a good sense of their own language and a good sense of the other. You have to be creative in your writing, that is all there is to it. Translation theory, as far as I know, is not something that is indispensible.

However, you need to marketing well.
Why don't you put on some more expertise. I s
... See more
I really don't think a degree is necessary. For centuries translations have been made by people who did not have degrees and still some are revered as great translators. They only had a good sense of their own language and a good sense of the other. You have to be creative in your writing, that is all there is to it. Translation theory, as far as I know, is not something that is indispensible.

However, you need to marketing well.
Why don't you put on some more expertise. I suppose you could do the art-thing. Surely you know about art, but then it also depends how good you are at expressing what you feel in English into French because mostly it is not about the words, but about the idea/image in your head. Practise a bit and put some of your practice runs on here as sample translations (read by several other people specialised in the field of course). If people can't see any reference to your work, they are not likely to hire you. Would you though?

There is also a student membership although I can't really direct you. Another thing to do may be indeed working together with a friend. Ideally sometone with mother tongue English, also art specialist, if that is your field of expertise. Get a reference from the app company? I don't know how big the app was and how well-known, but it could be a credential too (not sure what is required for that). Have a look. Oh, and don't under-charge. If you charge 2 cents, you'll either come across as dodgy and not worth it or you'll get hired by a cowboy agency from a far away counrty never to get paid at all. Good CV is also a must. Have a look round on people's profiles for this. Particularly the imposing ones. Although their CV might intimidate you, you will still lear how you can construct one that commercial, not a normal one like we are used to on the usual job market.

If you want something, nothing should deter you. Don't hink, however, that you'll get 20,000 words straight away.
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Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
Free webinar on "Getting started in translation" Jun 27, 2011

Hello ressel,

Perhaps you would be interested in attending the free webinar on "Getting started in translation" that will be offered next July 6:

http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/5093

This webinar will show you the requirements professional translators should meet if they want to succeed in the translation industry.

Hope
... See more
Hello ressel,

Perhaps you would be interested in attending the free webinar on "Getting started in translation" that will be offered next July 6:

http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/5093

This webinar will show you the requirements professional translators should meet if they want to succeed in the translation industry.

Hope to see you there!

Kind regards,

Lucía
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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:25
French to English
+ ...
Relevance of CEFR system Jun 27, 2011

It depends a bit on what level of projects you're trying to get.

CEFR gives a description of language competence on a scale appropriate to "casual" use of a language, e.g. a non-linguist working for a particular company that occasionally has to answer the phone to foreign clients.

But for "serious" translation projects, then realistically a translator should be completely off the scale as far as CEFR is concerned. So if you're mentioning CEFR scores, that's going to rin
... See more
It depends a bit on what level of projects you're trying to get.

CEFR gives a description of language competence on a scale appropriate to "casual" use of a language, e.g. a non-linguist working for a particular company that occasionally has to answer the phone to foreign clients.

But for "serious" translation projects, then realistically a translator should be completely off the scale as far as CEFR is concerned. So if you're mentioning CEFR scores, that's going to ring alarm bells.
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Maria Alvarez  Identity Verified
Spain
French to Spanish
+ ...
Some schools Jun 27, 2011

Hi Ressel:

Some schools for translation and interpreting:

ESIT www.univ-paris3.fr/esit
ISIT www.isit-paris.fr

ETI (Geneva) http://www.unige.ch/eti/index.html

However, l
... See more
Hi Ressel:

Some schools for translation and interpreting:

ESIT www.univ-paris3.fr/esit
ISIT www.isit-paris.fr

ETI (Geneva) http://www.unige.ch/eti/index.html

However, languages are only a starting point, the second step is a qualification, degree or specific training, and then marketing, flair, patience and experience (I'm bilingual too, yet bilinguism doesn't make me a good translator, it was just my starting point). Non-professional translators do more harm than good...

Best, ML
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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: User's request - http://www.proz.com/ticket/265676

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 04:25
English
+ ...
Volunteer Jun 27, 2011

Yes, you won't get paid.... but you will gain experience (you learn from every assignment you do), and you will then have samples to show people and possibly recommendations from the people you do the work for. Volunteer to translate something (a website, a newsletter) for an organization whose work you admire or support. That's how I began. I volunteered to translate an article about a local Dutch artist whose work I love. The reactions were so positive I decided to start marketing myself as a ... See more
Yes, you won't get paid.... but you will gain experience (you learn from every assignment you do), and you will then have samples to show people and possibly recommendations from the people you do the work for. Volunteer to translate something (a website, a newsletter) for an organization whose work you admire or support. That's how I began. I volunteered to translate an article about a local Dutch artist whose work I love. The reactions were so positive I decided to start marketing myself as a translator (by education and experience I am an editor) and began to receive assignments fairly soon.Collapse


 

Silvia Schulz
Netherlands
Local time: 04:25
Member (2010)
English to German
+ ...
Competitive industry Jun 27, 2011

Hi there,

I just had a look at your profile and it does not look very inviting to any potential client as it lacks basic information, professionalism and credibility. So, if you are looking for jobs via proz I would recommend to first put your real name, picture etc. but even then translation is a very competitive industry and if you don't know the "rules", market prices, tools (CAT tools like Trados) etc. I am afraid that you will not be able to compete with other professional tran
... See more
Hi there,

I just had a look at your profile and it does not look very inviting to any potential client as it lacks basic information, professionalism and credibility. So, if you are looking for jobs via proz I would recommend to first put your real name, picture etc. but even then translation is a very competitive industry and if you don't know the "rules", market prices, tools (CAT tools like Trados) etc. I am afraid that you will not be able to compete with other professional translators.

If you are really interested in this profession without obtaining a translation degree, I would recommend to look for a related position once you graduate from university, like working as a project manager/translation coordinator for a translation agency. In this way you would be able to learn the basics of this industry and only after several years of experience you might be able to join the pool of freelancers and make a living out of it. Actually, that is how I became a freelance translator and as I have seen many many CVs of translators (when I worked as a PM) I can assure you that a lot of them used to work at translation agencies before they started out as freelancers.

Good luck,

Silvia
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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:25
Dutch to English
+ ...
CEFR Jun 27, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:

It depends a bit on what level of projects you're trying to get.

CEFR gives a description of language competence on a scale appropriate to "casual" use of a language, e.g. a non-linguist working for a particular company that occasionally has to answer the phone to foreign clients.

But for "serious" translation projects, then realistically a translator should be completely off the scale as far as CEFR is concerned. So if you're mentioning CEFR scores, that's going to ring alarm bells.


I do not agree with that statement. That system is a standardised system in order to be able to judge someone's ability in spoken and written language as well as their reading skills. Where A1 is total beginner and C2 is more than excellent. Of course there is no perfection and that is not what is implied in C2, but it tells the customer (or should anyway) that that person can hold a pretty deep conversation on serious issues without having problems of expressing himself, can also discuss things on paper in an adequate way and read proper texts without missing nuances. Not that he cannot learn anything more, we can all learn still, but it says that that person is proficient in that language. Regardless of him being a linguist or not.

It is clear that one cannot translate with a level A1 or 2, but seriously, I woudln't be alarmed if I saw someone list his levels in language that way. It gives me more of a point of reference.


 

ressel
Local time: 04:25
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jun 27, 2011

Thanks everyone for you answers! It's really useful
I will volunteer first and after I get enough experience I may consider to work as a freelancer. I'm not ready yet, but I don't give up
I might try to work for C2, it's not impossible in my opinion. I read somewhere you need at least C1 and C2 prefered to be able to translate.


 

Lindsay Spratt  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:25
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
IOL DipTrans exam Jun 27, 2011

Hi Ressel,

I agree with the other posters that if you are serious about getting into translation you should get a qualifcation. The option that I chose was the Institue of Linguists Diploma in Translation. They hold exams once a year in January and you can take the exams in English to French. It's a good diploma to have but will not take 3 years to complete like a degree. Here is the site:

See more
Hi Ressel,

I agree with the other posters that if you are serious about getting into translation you should get a qualifcation. The option that I chose was the Institue of Linguists Diploma in Translation. They hold exams once a year in January and you can take the exams in English to French. It's a good diploma to have but will not take 3 years to complete like a degree. Here is the site:

http://www.iol.org.uk/qualifications/exams_diptrans.asp

You would have to study for this yourself and taking a study course is a good idea too. I did one with Suzanne James.

I hope you will look into the exam! You might not be ready to take it next January but it might be useful in the future!

Good luck!
Lindsay.
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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: User's request - http://www.proz.com/ticket/265676

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Master in translation, perhaps? Jun 27, 2011

Hello,

You don't say what qualification you are studying for, but if it's a "licence" i.e. Bachelor-level degree, then you could do a Master in translation studies afterwards - this would only be two years.

We keep having this discussion about the need for qualifications and I would say that people who have an awful lot of other things to offer don't necessarily need much in the way of translation-specific qualifications, although a basic study of the techniques is a "m
... See more
Hello,

You don't say what qualification you are studying for, but if it's a "licence" i.e. Bachelor-level degree, then you could do a Master in translation studies afterwards - this would only be two years.

We keep having this discussion about the need for qualifications and I would say that people who have an awful lot of other things to offer don't necessarily need much in the way of translation-specific qualifications, although a basic study of the techniques is a "must". But we're talking there of people who have already had a career in the area they are now specialising in (doctor, lawyer etc), have a very good level of comprehension in their source language(s), a proven writing ability in their native or target language and enough general life experience to be able to market their services and deal with running a small company.

If you're just starting out, you don't have much to offer, as you say. So, you need qualifications or you need to embark on a different career (in your case that would logically be in art), then come back to translating later.

You clearly already have adequate skills in written English, though it wouldn't harm you to keep studying general English, especially the comprehension skills. But what about the jargon of art etc in English? Perhaps studying art in English would be worthwhile? Also, you will be translating texts that were written with the English-speaking world in mind, so some knowledge of the culture and way of life would be useful, and that means spending some time abroad, using the language with native speakers.

Carrying on with Swedish would make you a big fish in a small pond and you might find rates higher in that pair. If you were to join ProZ.com as a paying member and specialize in art, then you would immediately be in the top 16 in the directory (you can simulate your ranking using the "my directory ranking" option here: http://www.proz.com/jobs/?sp_mode=about&pg=my_ranking ). I don't know how much work is on offer, but it could come to you!

Keep battling! It's worth it if it really is your dream job.

Sheila
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