Returning translator - advice on getting started?
Thread poster: Sidewayson

Sidewayson  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
Jun 21, 2012

I worked as a translator 15-25 years ago, and since then have been working as an editor / writer. I want to get back into translating now, but I'm virtually starting from scratch, as no samples or customers have survived! I work from Spanish, Italian and French, and worked on a range of material including technical for motor industry and chemical companies, but am open to anything. Does anyone have any tips for getting my first piece of work?

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Sarah Puchner  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:37
French to English
Local associations, further education Jun 21, 2012

I was in your shoes recently too, except in the meantime, I moved to the US.

It's a very different profession now, given the use of CAT tools. I see from your profile that you have an impressive range of software , that's good!

For me, joining the American Translators Association (ATA) and my local chapter has helped me meet other translators and keep up with industry trends. I also decided to go back to school. Having a graduate qualification in translation has helped boost my profile. As part of the course, I learnt about CAT tools and about the business aspects of being a translator. The course also included an internship, and some of my paid work has resulted from connections I made there.

If you are lucky, you may be able to get jobs via word of mouth. But to establish yourself as a serious professional, I would encourage you to add some kind of qualification or credential to your profile, either academic or from a national organization, such as the Institute of Linguists.

Good luck!


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:37
English to Russian
+ ...
I would start Jun 22, 2012

active adertising campaign in local media (newspapers, google ad system, local advertising boards, etc.)

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Jun 22, 2012

Sarah Puchner wrote:
For me, joining the American Translators Association (ATA) and my local chapter has helped me meet other translators and keep up with industry trends. I also decided to go back to school. Having a graduate qualification in translation has helped boost my profile. As part of the course, I learnt about CAT tools and about the business aspects of being a translator. The course also included an internship, and some of my paid work has resulted from connections I made there.

Exactly the steps I would have recommended in this situation. Congratulations!

Edited to add this: In the case of the UK, I would certainly recommend to attend events by the Chartered Institute of Linguists (www.iol.org.uk) and the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (www.iti.org.uk), and join these organisations if possible (they have their requirements; maybe an associateship for the time being?). The IOL has a magazine you might want to subscribe too, to better grasp the current trends.

Joining a postgraduate or MA programme in translation with a university in the UK could be a good idea too.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2012-06-22 06:24 GMT]


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Sidewayson  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
sound advice Jun 22, 2012

Thanks very much for the advice so far - there's a definite pattern there already. I'll start following it up!

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Roy OConnor
Local time: 03:37
Member (2009)
German to English
Use your assets Jun 22, 2012

To be honest you might find that it is much harder work now than you were used to. While you have been away, globalisation has taken its toll, chewing away at profit margins. But let's look on the bright side.

You don't say what you have been editing/writing about. If that was on the technical side, then it might be to your advantage to use whatever contacts you have in that direction. You have rather a barebones Proz profile, so I would beef that up and fill it out, highlighting your connection to writing. Certainly, within the PR/communications field there is lots of work for people who can write creatively, i.e. turning out translations that appeal to the reader. Many translations have to be edited extensively to make them useable - perhaps you already have experience of that from your time as an editor.

I wish you success!

Roy


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Sidewayson  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
A different angle... Jun 22, 2012

and again very useful - thanks, Roy. It certainly is a different process now - the profit margins may be tighter but it used to eat up a lot of time finding technical terms, not to mention delivering the typed manuscript by bicycle!

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Mark Cole  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:37
Polish to English
+ ...
First things first Jun 22, 2012

Begin by using a spell-checker??

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:37
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Globalisation, also good aspects to it Jun 22, 2012

Roy OConnor wrote:
To be honest you might find that it is much harder work now than you were used to. While you have been away, globalisation has taken its toll, chewing away at profit margins. But let's look on the bright side.

I think globalisation also has a positive side: you can now work for customers all over the world and are more able to choose your options and in due time get in touch with your ideal type of customer.


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