becoming a freelance translator-- feedback wanted
Thread poster: Luke Mersh

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:25
Spanish to English
Feb 16, 2012

Hi there.
I am looking for advice, I am a Public Service Interpreter student, preparing for my DPSI exam.
Due to a family bereavement I will be moving abroad but would like to start to do translations from home, as to not loose touch with my studies, but I would like some advice on starting out, as I am not a professional translator.
would it be wise to become a paying member on Proz ? as I am not a translator, but do have some experience in translating as I have done translations for the U.N and a NGO.

I continually translate documents at home from English to Spanish and back.

But would like some sound advice on this matter.
regards
luke

[Edited at 2012-02-16 21:51 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-17 04:05 GMT]


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 02:25
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I found it was worth it Feb 16, 2012

Hello Luke, and sorry to hear about the bereavement.

I have a few reservations about saying yes, it helps to become a paying member, but I certainly found that it did.

The advantages of being a member come when you make yourself more visible, and paying does get you higher up the list - or strictly onto a different list - in the directories.

There are other ways to make yourself visible - some of them free.
1.
Ask your NGO and if possible someone from the UN to give you a "Willing to Work Again" reference on your profile. Plus any other clients who have been satisfied with your work. Also interpreting - they are just as valid. As a poor second best, use the option on your profile to conceal the fact that you haven't any WWAs yet - it looks negative.

2.
Add more keywords to your profile.
Mention in detail which specific areas of the health services you would be prepared to take on. Cardiology? Emergency services? Orthopaedics?

List any other areas you know about - what subject area have you learnt about at the UN and the NGO?
Could you take on tourist texts? Menus, hotels, descriptions of cycle routes, walking, el Camino, Santiago, Gaudi's architecture, all the other exciting architecture in Spain... Flesh out that remark about bridging the cultural gap in areas you know about.

Mention any hobbies and side-interests you may have. Especially if you are passionate and really know all the jargon. One person's hobby is another person's lucrative international business, and needs translators!

3.
KudoZ... I enjoy it, and it certainly gets you visible, even if you don't always get the points. You may annoy some people instead if you shoot at everything that moves - the art is to give confident answers and good explanations. Difficult when although it is not supposed to be a race, the first person to post gets the credit. But questions are sent out to paying members first, so you do get a better chance if you pay... And your well-thought-out answers will be remembered, even if you do not win points.

4. Attend Powwows and network with colleagues. They may suddenly mail you with a job or recommend you to a client - if they know enough about you.

Others will tell you there are other ways to get ahead, and you don't need to pay a subscription. Some certainly succeed.

I find ProZ.com is a lifeline, and indirectly, most of my work is connected somehow with the site. Sometimes it is fairly indirect, admittedly, and it takes time to build up.

That may be a good reason for starting!

See what others have to say, and best of luck!


 

Claudia Brauer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:25
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, do it. Feb 16, 2012

I totally recommend you become a member of ProZ.com and make use of the forums and all the learning tools. There are some links that may help you to start your reading:

http://wiki.proz.com/wiki/index.php/Translator_career_path

http://www.proz.com/translation-articles/articles/584/1/Translator-Prerequisites-and-the-A-Z-of-becoming-a-Translator

http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/60644-poll:_any_regrets_in_becoming_a_translator.html

http://www.translatorscafe.com/cafe/MegaBBS/thread-view.asp?threadid=6640&messageid=90550

Good luck!


 

Daniela Slankamenac  Identity Verified
Serbia
Local time: 02:25
Member (2011)
English to Serbian
I agree Feb 17, 2012

with everything Christine has said and I would add another big advantage of being a paid Proz.com member, the access to the Blue Board. On BB you can check a certain outsourcer/agency, whether they are reliable, good payers... and what are the other colleagues' experiences with them in general. And one more thing, attend webinars, many of them are free, http://www.proz.com/translator-training/format/webinar-presentations. Start with "Meeting clients at Proz.com". It's repeated periodically.

Good luck,
Daniela


 

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:25
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
thank you Feb 17, 2012

Many thanks for all your replies, it has given me a little bit of confidence, as I thought that people would say no.
The NGO I had contacted through the UN online volunteering website and not through Proz, but I will certainly ask them, they issued me with a certificate of appreciation and a 5 star rating for my work.

In interpreting I am having to learn all medical terminology, as you never know where one maybe working next, so I am having to learn about cardiology, emergency services, orthopaedics and many more.

If you have any more ideas I would love to hear them.
regards
Luke


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
ProZ.com - a lifeline Feb 17, 2012

Christine Andersen wrote:

I find ProZ.com is a lifeline, and indirectly, most of my work is connected somehow with the site. Sometimes it is fairly indirect, admittedly, and it takes time to build up.


That sums up the way I feel about the site, too. I don't rely on it for work, and I certainly don't spend much time applying for posted jobs, but I can link back most of my work to ProZ.com in one way or another, even if it's only that I refer prospective clients to my profile here: they like what they see and hire me.

Just as an example, last week an end-client needing a translator found the site from a Google search, registered as a basic user, searched the directory and sent me a personal email. Hey presto, a new client with immediate work and the promise of more to come.

So, I believe that paid membership is worth every cent. But only if you participate in the site and make yourself visible as a professional. Membership with no presence probably won't be very worthwhile, though you will have the benefits of the Blue Board.

As Christine said, work on that profile, Luke and make sure that everything is 100% positive (you might find it worthwhile to review your samples and at least spell-check them).icon_wink.gif

Good luck,

Sheila


 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:25
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Short comment Feb 17, 2012

I won't go into details, because others have given you excellent advice about membership, Kudoz points, etc. I agree with all these comments.

The only point I wanted to make is that error-free writing is essential when you translate. I recommend reading widely to improve your style. Read anything that is well written: medical articles in the Lancet and the BMJ, and also The Economist, the BBC website, New Scientist articles.
Apart from a polished style, there is no excuse for typos, grammar mistakes and the like in your work.

I hope you take this comment in a positive light.
Good luck!


 

matt robinson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:25
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Pairs Feb 17, 2012

I would take off English to Spanish as a language pair. Although your Spanish may be excellent you describe yourself as an English native speaker on your profile page, and I personally would be suspicious of anyone claiming to be able to work in both directions. I have lived and worked in Spain for 20 years but wouldn't dream of attempting a professional translation into Spanish.

 

Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:25
English
+ ...
As long as we are critiquing your profile, Feb 17, 2012

I would remove the last line about wanting to become a freelance. You are presenting yourself here as a professional, not a wannabe.

I would also remove ""My language pair is Spanish> English." That's obvious from your working languages under your photo. And I agree with Matt about translating only into your mother tongue.

And I would change "I am specializing in HealthCare " to "I specialize in Health Care" and move it higher up in your profile, just under "I am fluent/bilingual in English and Spanish." I might even say, "I specialize in Health Care.

The majority of my experience has been in translating for NGOs."



Leave out anything about voluntary....


As Emma said, I hope you take these comments in a positive light.

[Edited at 2012-02-17 11:18 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-02-17 11:22 GMT]


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:25
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Interpreter versus translator Feb 17, 2012

matt robinson wrote:

I would take off English to Spanish as a language pair. Although your Spanish may be excellent you describe yourself as an English native speaker on your profile page, and I personally would be suspicious of anyone claiming to be able to work in both directions. I have lived and worked in Spain for 20 years but wouldn't dream of attempting a professional translation into Spanish.


I agree with you Matt. Interpreters very often work both ways, but it isn't normally a good idea for a translator to do that, unless they truly are "native equivalent".

The problem is that when you're interpreting, the message is what counts. You need to be accurate, of course, but slightly odd formulations can pass without even being noticed - they are understood and that's what counts. But a translation is written down in black and white and examined at leisure. Any error, whether it's a slip like a typo or a slightly odd formulation due to intrusion from your native language, will be there looming out at the reader. Those readers who are native in that language will notice it and it will reflect badly on you.

And if that reader happens to be a potential client, well, they'll draw their own conclusions, so every time we write anything in our native language on a professional site (e.g. ProZ.com), we have to make sure it's perfect. At least until we become sufficiently well-known for readers to have already formed their opinions. (Just covering myself in case this posting is full of typos!icon_smile.gif)

Regarding translating out of your native language, I would advise you to reserve it for cases where you really believe that you could do a better job than an experienced native-speaking translator. So, if it's a highly technical text and you are a real expert in the terminology, go for it - but have it proofread by a native speaker if it's going to be published.

Sheila


 

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:25
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
feedback Feb 17, 2012

I have started to make the changes suggested by yourselves, I just need to change the sample texts and some of the personalization.

 

Susanna Garcia  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:25
Italian to English
+ ...
samples Feb 18, 2012

Luke,

As mentioned in previous posts, you need to revisit your sample translations as they contain a significant number of errors.
Your post also contains errors - this is a very public forum and people notice these things.

Luke, please act on the advice. These points have been raised before and were made to help you but no action has been taken.

Good luck.

Suzi


 

Luke Mersh  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:25
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
feedback Feb 22, 2012

@ Suzi.

Thank you Suzi for your replies.
I am concerned with these errors and corrections and do want to do the right thing.
I have changed the samples and will have another look at my profile and the posts.

I am not sure that i can edit previous post though.
Once again thank you for your support.


 


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