starting to learn to translate at home.- feedback wanted
Thread poster: Luke Mersh

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:03
Spanish to English
Feb 3, 2012

I may have asked this before in another thread.

I am currently studying Interpreting in EnglishSpanish,

but I would like to learn to become a translator as well, I understand that it is necessary to take classes, but with work and other study, I dont have the time or finance to take any more classes.

Is it possible to learn this trade at home with the right resources??

If anybody could provide me with a list of materials or have some old study books that are no longer needed.

Please help me in this matter.


Oscar Rivera
Local time: 04:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Here's my take on it Feb 4, 2012

My first answer would be for you to attend a translation course but if you want to do some self-teaching, imho, this is what you could do.

You say that you know Spanish, perhaps what you could do is to start translating for yourself previously known texts, I don't know a poem, an scientific article already translated in Spanish or English, a recipe, etc. and then compare your version to the previous translations so that you can spot the comparsions and the differences and see the common mistakes non-natives make.

I don't know what you mean by the right resources. You could also take some online clasess. The eye of a professional is always a good aid as we sometimes fail to recognize our mistakes.

I hope I have helped you or pointed you somewhere. One more thing, just stop to think which "Spanish" you'll be translating from and into. If you were schooled in Spain, I'd suggest you stick with it since Spanish from Spain and Latin America varies. I think I am more familiar with Latin American Spanish/Castillian than with the Spanish from Spain because of the distance and cultural proximity.

To illustrate what I mean, here's a video I found a couple of minutes ago from another forum:

Just for the record, in Argentina most of the objects have other names, not the ones mentioned there.


Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:03
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I know of two possibilities Feb 4, 2012

You can visit the Institute of Linguists website to read about their Diploma in Translation (DipTrans). There should also be information on who is offering online training for the diploma.

You could also volunteer in whichever field you wish to specialise. For example, there are many NGOs that need translations in the international development field. Some translations are published and this way you can compare your translation against the revised version.

Good luck!


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:03
Member (2007)
+ ...
Feedback is invaluable, IMO Feb 4, 2012

Oscar Rivera wrote:
I don't know what you mean by the right resources. You could also take some online clasess. The eye of a professional is always a good aid as we sometimes fail to recognize our mistakes.

I agree very much with that. You can read all about translating, but then who is going to tell you whether you are actually interpreting the information correctly? Only a tutor can tell you that. I don't know whether I'm allowed to mention names here, but I was very happy with my distance learning course, which I believe is available in Spanish>English. It's only a minimum certification, for minimum cost, but I felt that I gained a lot from both the material and from the personal feedback of my tutor. I did their own certification programme, but they also prepare you for the DipTrans if you like.

If you're studying interpreting, I imagine you must have a high level in your two languages, so it's not about whether you can translate the words (obviously you can) but more about the way certain things should be handled, particularly as you don't necessarily handle a legal text in the same way as a marketing text. Whether you should keep very closely to the text or go for a freer translation of the message, how to deal with acronyms and proper nouns, the use of translator's notes etc.

Note that very few of us are truly bilingual as far as writing skills are concerned, even though we might be able to speak two languages perfectly well. We can rarely produce a text in a second or foreign language that is more polished than a native speaker with good writing skills would be likely to produce. So, translators normally translate into their native language unless there is a good reason for doing the reverse (e.g. highly specialised text, few translators available in the reverse pair...).



Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:03
Spanish to English
thank you Feb 4, 2012

Thank you very much for all your suggestions.
I have just printed off some documents which I will attempted to translate.

By resources i was referring to books and old study guides you may have that you no longer use.

please keep me posted on your thoughts.

ps.- Do you think that if I took out a membership I may get work from here, or do you think thats a long shot?



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