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How to overcome the "chicken and egg" conflict when xx years of expertise are required?
Thread poster: Monika Gregan/Boenisch

Monika Gregan/Boenisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
English to German
Jul 20, 2012

How to cleverly circumvent the deep rooted problem for newbies....when you read the following:" xxxyears of experience are required to meet the qualifying criteria for this job"....:-)....because, firstly- you feel confident that "you can do" ...as you have been translating throughout your career although as not as a fully fledged translator and, secondly- you filled the gap by upgrading and updating your subject and translation knowledge base and skills to meet the latest standards.

Kind regards to all of my fellow newbies'
Monika Gregan/Boenisch


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Being honest works best Jul 20, 2012

Monika Gregan/Boenisch wrote:
"xxx years of experience are required to meet the qualifying criteria for this job"

I think that if a customer has such a requirement (or any other requirement, for that matter), you clearly cannot lie.

It is best to be honest about what you have to offer. Many customers with strict requirements give you an opportunity if they see good potential, while others have exacting requirements for a reason.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't be chicken Jul 20, 2012

If you have "been translating throughout your career"... whether or not full-time, I'd count that as experience.

I agree that honesty is the best policy, but sometimes it is better to spare the minor details that might deter potential clients. I think this kind of stipulation is usually meant to put off absolute beginners. Just apply for it and don't worry if you don't get the job - like buses, another one will come along soon.

Be lucky!


 

Monika Gregan/Boenisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
May I make a clarification Jul 20, 2012

Thanks for your reply. I am not sure if there was a misconception. I do not want to be a liar at all. I just want to get the message across that I have to offer over 10 years of bilingual work experience without having contual exposure to the framework of the industry and that I now, after one year of continued professional development,would like to get a foot in the door...:-)...and so far I couldn't close a deal yet....despite several attempts to apply to job postings on Proz.com.

Kind regards
Monika Gregan/Boenisch





Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Monika Gregan/Boenisch wrote:
"xxx years of experience are required to meet the qualifying criteria for this job"

I think that if a customer has such a requirement (or any other requirement, for that matter), you clearly cannot lie.

It is best to be honest about what you have to offer. Many customers with strict requirements give you an opportunity if they see good potential, while others have exacting requirements for a reason.


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:16
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Estimate an equivalent Jul 20, 2012

If you have spent a lot of time doing translations over a number of years, but not as a full-time activity you may be able to estimate the equivalent number of full-time hours or days, and give that as your length of experience. If you do that, it is probably advisable to state that, for example, you have three years' experience, gained in part-time work over 8 years. That could result from an average of 13 hours of translation work per week.
In my case, I spent sometimes 2, sometimes 3, days per week during most of 2003-2008 as a translator for my (engineering) employer, and I consider that to be equivalent to about 2 years of full-time translation work.
If you have kept word counts of the documents you have translated, you can estimate experience from that if you have an approximate idea of your overall average speed. Example: if you've translated 500,000 words and you think your overall average rate is 350 words per hour, that would be equivalent to 1429 hours of work, or 41 weeks full-time (weeks of 35 hours). "overall average" includes, of course, all your "administration" acitivities since they would occur for a full-time translator.

Oliver


 

Monika Gregan/Boenisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
reply to neilmac Jul 20, 2012

Thank you for your encouragement. I have just enrolled on study program for an MA in legal translation ...:-)

Kind regards
Monika

neilmac wrote:

If you have "been translating throughout your career"... whether or not full-time, I'd count that as experience.

I agree that honesty is the best policy, but sometimes it is better to spare the minor details that might deter potential clients. I think this kind of stipulation is usually meant to put off absolute beginners. Just apply for it and don't worry if you don't get the job - like buses, another one will come along soon.

Be lucky!


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Angel Jul 20, 2012

Find an angel who will love you, help you and trust you not by your experience but because your angel recognizes you have talent and will open the door for you to become successful.

There is no better way than having an angel.


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:16
Romanian to English
+ ...
Full-time equivalent? Jul 20, 2012

Oliver Walter wrote:

If you have spent a lot of time doing translations over a number of years, but not as a full-time activity you may be able to estimate the equivalent number of full-time hours or days, and give that as your length of experience.


Years are years. Not all full-time translators actually translate 8 hours/business day and even so, there is a lot of admin work a full-time translator does. Or weeks of no work before a big job comes in.
So I wouldn't count years in any other way than in the actual number of years. As neilmac said, translation throughout your career IS translation experience.
If the client only wants to hear about the years and not the pages or experience in a certain field, give him what he wants: the number of years.


 

Monika Gregan/Boenisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
to Annamaria Jul 20, 2012

I'd like to thank you Annamaria for your comment.

Best wishes
Monika
Annamaria Amik wrote:

Oliver Walter wrote:

If you have spent a lot of time doing translations over a number of years, but not as a full-time activity you may be able to estimate the equivalent number of full-time hours or days, and give that as your length of experience.


Years are years. Not all full-time translators actually translate 8 hours/business day and even so, there is a lot of admin work a full-time translator does. Or weeks of no work before a big job comes in.
So I wouldn't count years in any other way than in the actual number of years. As neilmac said, translation throughout your career IS translation experience.
If the client only wants to hear about the years and not the pages or experience in a certain field, give him what he wants: the number of years.


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:16
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
When is a year not a year Jul 20, 2012

Annamaria Amik wrote:
Oliver Walter wrote:
If you have spent a lot of time doing translations over a number of years, but not as a full-time activity you may be able to estimate the equivalent number of full-time hours or days, and give that as your length of experience.

My post also stated
"overall average" includes, of course, all your "administration" acitivities since they would occur for a full-time translator.

I admit, I wasn't thinking that
weeks of no work before a big job comes in
was of great significance. It implies that, for example, waiting for three weeks and then receiving a one-week job is a month of experience. I doubt whether a client would agree.
I assume that when a (potential) client asks "How many years of translation experience do you have?" the real intended meaning is something like "How many times 1500 hours have you spent on translation work, including administration?" and would not like you to include significant periods of waiting with no translation work.
To avoid a possible misunderstanding, the translator could add "full-time translation equivalent" when stating a number of years (if this is significantly different from the elapsed calendar time).

Oliver


 

Annamaria Amik  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:16
Romanian to English
+ ...
Years and pages Jul 20, 2012

If I were a client, the only reason why I would want a translator with "years" of experience (instead of x pages of experience) is that the years somehow reflect stability. An amateur translator could land a huge job (let's say 1000 pages) pro bono or at low rates, and never be contacted again. But if you *keep* translating over the years, even if the jobs are small, that shows clients come back to you.
Having years of translation on your resume also shows you are good enough not to give up on it/be forced to give up on it.
On the other hand, I still think 10 years of (regular) part-time translation sounds more impressive than 3 years of full-time translation.


 

Monika Gregan/Boenisch  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:16
English to German
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jul 21, 2012

I would like to say thanks to all of you for submitting your points of view. I really enjoyed the discussion. I think to actively participating in a forum like this, is firstly interesting and secondly it facilitates and elaborates yourl overall understanding of the business and the people engaged within....I won't give in

Kind regards
Monika Gregan


 

Elke Fehling  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:16
Member (2005)
English to German
+ ...
Difference of full time/part time Jul 21, 2012

I think being a full time translator for so and so many years doesn't only show stability but also the capacity to go with the market, acquire new clients, and so on.

I used to have a friend who worked as a part time translator, but she only did odd jobs every now and then when somebody asked her to do them. She had no understanding of the translating industry, she didn't know about translation tools and so on... She didn't even know how to do research on the internet because she didn't use her computer much.

Somebody who works as a full time translator usually is dependent on this work. He/she needs to show a certain stability, he needs to keep up to date with the industry and the developing translating standards etc.

If I had the choice I would rather employ a translator that has worked full time for - let's say - 2 years than somebody who has worked part time for 6 years.


 

Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:16
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
The wrong criterion Jul 21, 2012

Elke Fehling wrote:
I think being a full time translator for so and so many years doesn't only show stability but also the capacity to go with the market, acquire new clients, and so on.

I used to have a friend who worked as a part time translator, but she only did odd jobs every now and then when somebody asked her to do them. She had no understanding of the translating industry, she didn't know about translation tools and so on... She didn't even know how to do research on the internet because she didn't use her computer much.

Not necessarily a typical part-time translator. Part-time working is not the same as not understanding the translation industry, not knowing about CAT tools, not knowing how to use the internet for research. It is possible to do a university degree in translation and then use CAT tools and be skilled in using the internet for research, do translation work part-time (e.g. 600 hours per year) and still find that existing clients (private and agencies) keep on returning with more jobs. I should know - that describes me! Look at my KudoZ answers if you have the inclination and the time; most of them made some use of, or even relied on, internet research.
Somebody who works as a full time translator usually is dependent on this work.

True but not necessarily relevant.
He/she needs to show a certain stability, he needs to keep up to date with the industry and the developing translating standards etc.

Somebody working as a part-time translator and producing 400 translations (nearly 2 million words) over 8 years, being an active member of a local translators' group, ProZ, and the Chartered Institute of Linguists seem to me to meet the criteria of stability and keeping up to date. (Guess who that is!)
If I had the choice I would rather employ a translator that has worked full time for - let's say - 2 years than somebody who has worked part time for 6 years.

Then you might cut yourself off from somebody who is in fact able to do the work very well.

Oliver


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:16
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
About minor details Jul 21, 2012

neilmac wrote:
I agree that honesty is the best policy, but sometimes it is better to spare the minor details that might deter potential clients.

I don't quite understand this. Sounds like it is OK to sell a lemon: well, the crakshaft is cracker, and the brakes are leaking, but those are details that might deter a potential buyer, so let's keep that for ourselves?

When talking about 5 years of experience as a translator, any sensible person would understand 5 years of full time professional work, not 5 years doing occasional translations for your employer or pro bono... The difference between the two situations is astronomical, not a minor detail.

If I had specifically asked for 5 years of experience, someone said that they had it, and I hired that person to later find that the information lacked some "minor details"... I would be fully, utterly disappointed about it and that person would be for ever scrapped from my list. A person who however came to me with an honest answer, but who is able to produce what I need, is definitely my kind of fish.


 
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