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Job offers to residents of certain countries only?
Thread poster: Tell-it-como-es

Tell-it-como-es  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Spanish to English
Jul 12, 2012

I have seen on a few job offers that they specify that you be resident in the country where the target language is spoken. Why is this?

Due to financial reasons, I am thinking of returning to the UK. Would this affect my chances of securing Spanish > English translations?


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Not at all Jul 12, 2012

You'll see ES>EN is one of my language combinations. I've moved from the UK>France and back again, none of it made any difference to my clients. I haven't seen the kind of job ad you refer to - might be something to do with security clearance or bank charges (?). It's difficult to say, but I can't think of any major reason why a move would matter. If anything, I've come across agencies who will only work with you if you're living in your target language country, the logic being that it's the only way to keep it fresh and up-to-date.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:40
Russian to English
+ ...
There might be some legitimate reasons for some offers, only Jul 12, 2012

1. Interpreting jobs.
2. Legal translation strictly related to the legal system of that particular country.
3. Clearance -- for some translation jobs high-security clearance is required, but these jobs are usually not on ProZ, because they can't really.
4. the variety of English they want.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:40
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Don't let it worry you Jul 12, 2012

Tell-it-como-es wrote:
I have seen on a few job offers that they specify that you be resident in the country where the target language is spoken. Why is this?

I imagine it's because they think that's the only way your writing will be 'up-to-date'. In a certain sense that is a problem when you live away from your native language country, but it really only applies where highly colloquial slang is involved, IMO. I know that my daughter sometimes says things that sound odd: I remember the first time she referred to someone as "anal" and I had to ask her what that meant, for example. But most of us read in our native language frequently and/or have other means of keeping the language alive.

Due to financial reasons, I am thinking of returning to the UK. Would this affect my chances of securing Spanish > English translations?

I think the key word here is the "few" from your posting. Other job posts, most direct contacts through the site and, of course, those incredibly important repeat jobs from existing clients, won't be greatly affected.

My pair is French to English and when I moved to Spain a couple of months ago, I kept all but one of my clients (that one was highly xenophobic) and have found new clients who couldn't care less where I live. I imagine that if you were to move from (say) India to Germany, there might be big problems as you would be forced to raise your rates, I imagine. I suppose you may want to do that, as Spain seems a reasonably cheap place to live, but that would be a separate business decision.

Sheila


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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:40
English to German
+ ...
My opinion Jul 16, 2012

One of my clients form the US frequently sends me translations done by a German who seems to have lived outside a German speaking country for way too long. His German sounds awkward and sometimes makes me laugh.

It's probably no problem if you have established a client base, they will stick with you (for a while). But most of my clients tell their customers that they only work with native speakers that live in the "target" country.

About 20 years ago I spent 4 years in a foreign country. I kept in touch with Germany, I was already working as a translator and knew how important that was, but I didn't get to speak it every day. When I came back the language had changed. Young people were all of a sudden using the word "geil", which to my knowledge meant "horny". To them, however, it actually meant "awesome" (or something like that). I really had to get used to that. Today "Geiz ist geil" ("stingyness is awesome") is even a popular solgan for a German retail chain.

If you live away from home you probably loose track of all those developments you need to know in order to keep your language up to date, in order to have all the tools you need to produce a good translation. Reading newspapers alone won't be enough, because you won't be confronted with new developments like I mentioned above...

If you are only translating manuals this won't be a problem. But if you are into marketing texts, it will be - in my opinion.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
English to German
+ ...
Sorry - absolutely not. Jul 16, 2012

Elke Fehling wrote:
If you live away from home you probably loose track of all those developments you need to know in order to keep your language up to date, in order to have all the tools you need to produce a good translation. Reading newspapers alone won't be enough, because you won't be confronted with new developments like I mentioned above...

If you are only translating manuals this won't be a problem. But if you are into marketing texts, it will be - in my opinion.



Or the translator sucks (sorry, but true).

This is a fairy-tale often proclaimed by translators living in their home country. A translator who can not keep up with the development of his/her own language should not be a translator in the first place. In return a translator living abroad can tell precisely in which part of the country the author is located due to certain regional linguistic influences that go unnoticed by the author. More often than not, the full picture is best viewed from a distance.



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Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:40
English to German
+ ...
@Nicole Jul 17, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Or the translator sucks (sorry, but true).

This is a fairy-tale often proclaimed by translators living in their home country. A translator who can not keep up with the development of his/her own language should not be a translator in the first place. In return a translator living abroad can tell precisely in which part of the country the author is located due to certain regional linguistic influences that go unnoticed by the author. More often than not, the full picture is best viewed from a distance.



I have experienced it myself. And I don't suck And it's also clear that you have to have that opinion, you live abroad. And I have to have my opinion, I live in Germany, so we probably won't agree on a common point of view. So let's not argue but just share our opinions.

I am sure you CAN keep up with language developments when you live abroad, but it takes an extra effort. You are of course right, you do know more about the source language than somebody living in his native country, and that is a big advantage. I have to make that extra effort to keep up with the language developments in the "source language countries". The question is, what is more important?


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
English to German
+ ...
Either way will work fine for a translator Jul 17, 2012

Elke Fehling wrote:
I am sure you CAN keep up with language developments when you live abroad, but it takes an extra effort. You are of course right, you do know more about the source language than somebody living in his native country, and that is a big advantage. I have to make that extra effort to keep up with the language developments in the "source language countries". The question is, what is more important?


It depends a lot on the clientele you are writing for. I am 50. I write marketing texts and I train managers. I chiefly write for world market leaders. Yet I do know what a Pornobalken is or an Arschfax. I am aware of Kiezdeutsch and even 25 years earlier I would have kicked butt if anyone would have talked to me in terms of "guckst du hier". It's that easy.

Some people lose the feel for their language, some don't - because some people are used to work, communicate and to operate all over the planet. It depends on the personality, so everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I have crossed the Atlantic 19 times. I yet have to figure out how any stay in Germany might possibly enhance my linguistic quality as a translator.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 04:40
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I'm with Nicole Jul 17, 2012

In these days of the Internet and global electronic communications, it is up to the translator to keep up with both languages, and it is not at all impossible.

I find it an enormous advantage to live in my source language country - I catch some of the corresponding changes in the source language. And surely that is just as important? How can you possibly translate a text you don't fully understand?

It does depend on what kind of text you translate. I know my age shows when presented with some of the things the younger generations say and read... So I turn down jobs where that is critical.

Most subject areas don't change that fast linguistically. If you keep up with the professional literature and developments in your specialist areas, your language will probably keep up quite well. Conversely, in some fields I can still use terminology I learnt over 30 years ago!

If you go in for buzzwords and B*llsh*t Bingo, then you may have to make more effort... but you still have to keep up with the source language too.

Keep up with your specialities, know your limitations, and you should be fine. And within the EU, visiting other countries regularly is affordable - so make sure you do.

I lost one client after working happily with the Danish office for several years, because their HQ in Belgium decided they would only work with translators who lived in the country where their target language was spoken.

But guess what, one of the PMs I worked with left them at about that time, and joined a new agency. I was actually headhunted, and the new client pays better.


[Edited at 2012-07-17 10:48 GMT]


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XXXphxxx  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Depends on your specialisation Jul 17, 2012

I agree there should be no hard-and-fast rule about living in your target or source country and I doubt I would have achieved the standards of proficiency in my source languages if it hadn't been for extended periods of residence in these countries. Yes, language changes and develops and a few years in a non-English speaking country might have meant that I missed the exact moment when "chav" or "bling" were coined. However, for most translations it's standard English that the clients are after. I would have thought that one of the few areas where your target language needs to be bang up-to-date would be advertising and promotional material, which is your field isn't it Nicole?

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:40
English to German
+ ...
Aahh, the special vocabulary. :-) Jul 17, 2012

Elke Fehling wrote:
Young people were all of a sudden using the word "geil", which to my knowledge meant "horny". To them, however, it actually meant "awesome" (or something like that). I really had to get used to that. Today "Geiz ist geil" ("stingyness is awesome") is even a popular solgan for a German retail chain.


I am the godmother of my sister's awful brat, she is now 19, and we love each other to death. She keeps me up-to-date with the most recent German colorful terms and phrases before such interesting terms make their way into the media or the dictionaries. It is part of our regular, good-natured exchange. In return I teach her many, many cool and equally interesting American terms before they make their way into the media or dictionaries. Now, who is out of touch?


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Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Unedited since a week
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Unedited since a week

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Because--- Jul 17, 2012

Tell-it-como-es wrote:

I have seen on a few job offers that they specify that you be resident in the country where the target language is spoken. Why is this?


It's because languages are evolving and changing very fast, all the time.

There was a period in my life when I didn't speak, write, or hear any English for several years. Then I made a brief visit to London and was amazed at the expressions people were using, the intonation, etc.

Conversely, I know of expats who *think* they are speaking up-to-date English but which is about 10 years out of date. It sounds quaint.

That's why some outsourcers specify that you be resident in the country where the target language is spoken.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:40
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Quite the opposite Jul 17, 2012

Tell-it-como-es wrote:

Due to financial reasons, I am thinking of returning to the UK. Would this affect my chances of securing Spanish > English translations?


Quite the opposite. It will *improve* the quality of your English translations, especially if you are translating hot-off-the-press newspaper articles, magazines, conversations, contemporary fiction etc. but also academic papers and other things. Your English will have a freshness it probably lost because you were living in Spain, talking mainly to Spanish people in Spanish, reading Spanish texts, watching Spanish TV etc.

[Edited at 2012-07-17 12:48 GMT]


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