Non-Professional English «» French Translations?
Thread poster: Azma

Azma
Canada
Local time: 13:07
French to English
+ ...
Jul 26, 2012

Hello there!

I have been working part-time (in intervals, when I had work and time) to translate aspects of a video game from English to French for just over a year. I liked that job and the flexibility it offered. However, following a company merge, I was, let's say, forgotten, and my work fell in the void of an unused inbox for a few months. I contacted the new manager, and he hired me after seeing some of my work. However, he still hasn't given me any work.

To make a long story short, following this experience, I discovered ProZ and thought I could have a go at freelance translating, as a part-time job. But thing is, I have no translation experience apart from this one employer, and no credentials to speak of.

Indeed, I don't intend to become a professional translator, but would like to use my abilities to earn some additional revenue (I am a full-time student).

I originally thought that by stating that I am not a professional and offering lower rates, I could get by, but I looked at some job offers here, and from the looks of it, they are only aimed at professional and/or full-time translators, which I am not. And right now, I admit I feel a bit bad for taking the time to update my résumé and complete my ProZ profile and not finding any offers that would suit me.

So I would like to ask for your opinions: is it possible for me to work like this, as a non-professional, part-time translator? Would there be some job offers that would fit me, here or elsewhere? Do you, perhaps, have tips for me?

Or was I just extremely lucky to find the one job I got? After all, it was a news post on the website of the editor of an online game I play (or rather, used to play, seeing how little I play nowadays...) Not exactly a common way of finding work, eh.

EDIT: Ah, and if you'd like, could you take a look at my profile? I'm not sure it's okay / correctly completed.

[Edited at 2012-07-26 00:23 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-07-26 01:23 GMT]


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:07
Member (2008)
French to English
Try Ottiaq members Jul 26, 2012

I would suggest you become familiar with OTTIAQ, at www.ottiaq.org. If you look through the members' directory, a licensed translator may be able to give you some work to help them out. You would do better making yourself known within the Quebec translation community, I think, than trying to get odd jobs from Proz.com. For one thing, both rates and demand are much higher in Quebec than in the general global market.

You could also try placing an ad on www.pigistequebec.com. Bear in mind, though, that freelance translating is a fairly high-pressure profession - generally clients need the job done quickly, which might interfere with the rest of your life if you're not doing it full time.

Your English, by the way, is very good.

You don't say where you are in Quebec, but if you are in or near Quebec City, there is a quite large mulitnational multimedia industry there, that operates in both English and French that could possibly use your services (unless it's the company you're talking about).

[Edited at 2012-07-26 03:32 GMT]


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:07
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Your profile Jul 26, 2012

Expertise: I think you might enter web design etc.in this field.

Portfolio: Your sample would be easier to read if it were all in the same standard small font which you use for the translation, and all black and white, rather than the English being orange and in a huge font size.

Your CV is very honest about your lack of experience etc. While I would not suggest you should be dishonest, for marketing your services it is better to emphasize the positive factors and play down the negative ones.


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:07
English
+ ...
Yes. Jul 26, 2012

Jack Doughty wrote:

Your CV is very honest about your lack of experience etc. While I would not suggest you should be dishonest, for marketing your services it is better to emphasize the positive factors and play down the negative ones.




Accentuate (and elaborate) the positive:

I am a student Multimedia - visual and Web design as well as programming, with experience in translation and writing.

I am a native speaker of Canadian French.


Eliminate the negative:

It would sound more professional if you scrapped most of the rest of your profile.

Nobody needs to how fast (or slow) you work, or whether your rates will change or not.


Read some other profiles on ProZ to get an idea of how other people are presenting themselves.

John's ideas sound very useful.

Good luck!


[Edited at 2012-07-26 11:30 GMT]


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Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 19:07
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Yes you can Jul 26, 2012

... work as a parttime translator...

However you do not need to dump the price to pocket money level.

You have talent, 1 year experience (how many words?? ) and unique skills (multimedia student), which mean you will have more knowlegde of certain terminology, etc....

Many of the translators here (or anywhere else) do not have an official translation education or diploma, they are often professional in another field with a talent for language...

Your profile looks a bit apologetic, and too spread out (remove all of the blank lines, even if that makes it look really short and throw away everything that is negative...)

If I was a client I want to be able to read it quickly and then decide wether or not to hire you. Since your translation work is done alongside your studies and other activities, you may want to set the availability to 500 -1000 words / day if you have that option...
Maybe during vacations you can work more...

In the field of translation there are many professionals, and people with other lines of business on the side, people who work from home and peopl who take care of their elderly parents... not everybody can do 2000-3000 a day...

Ed


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:07
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Possible, but unreliable as an income source Jul 27, 2012

Hello Azma,

Welcome to ProZ.com!

Azma wrote:
Indeed, I don't intend to become a professional translator, but would like to use my abilities to earn some additional revenue (I am a full-time student).

As you've seen for yourself, it is possible, although you must have a tax status that allows you to produce legally-binding invoices. Maybe you have, I don't know, but I know that very few reputable companies will offer translations to people who don't declare the income. This profession isn't regulated in many countries, meaning you don't need specific qualifications, but all business transactions need to comply with tax legislation.

is it possible for me to work like this, as a non-professional, part-time translator? Would there be some job offers that would fit me, here or elsewhere? Do you, perhaps, have tips for me?

Or was I just extremely lucky to find the one job I got?

So, it can be done. Is it likely to bring in more money than getting an hourly-paid job in, say, a McDonald's restaurant? That's unlikely. The problems are multiple, but here are two:

- lack of availability. Businesses want their jobs done yesterday. They won't be interested in "I've got classes today and tomorrow but...". They also need you to answer their request within 30 minutes or so at the most, otherwise they'll go to the next on the list. In fact, very often they will contact several translators at the same time.

- lack of solid client base. All freelancers have problems finding regular work to begin with. This is normal for translators, programmers, website developers..., and whether they are qualified and full-time or like you. The first few months will see only very patchy work. The rest of the time should be spent on marketing - getting your name known to potential clients. New freelancers relying on translating for their income often have to get a part-time job to make ends meet during the first few months.

My advice to you would be to contact anyone who might need your services in the area you have expertise in. You might for example want to contact outsourcers and agencies located in Canada and specialising in video games. You can find some here at ProZ.com in the freelancers' and companies' directories respectively. However, I wouldn't advise you to contact freelancers who are not listed as outsourcers - many of us don't provide work for others. Heed the advice you've already received on how to present yourself in a positive way, and PLEASE don't offer cut-price services. That simply damages the industry and does nobody any good in the long run because quality is always sacrificed. Quote an average per-word rate (the ones quoted here as community rates are quite reliable for your pairs), then spend as long as necessary to do a good job. You'll get quicker with practice.

But you might want to get a part-time job in case the work doesn't come rolling in! Doing manual/unskilled work may not be your choice, but it can provide regular income at times that fit in with your studies.

Sheila


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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 13:07
Member (2008)
French to English
Not complicated, an opportunity Jul 27, 2012

Sheila Wilson wrote:

As you've seen for yourself, it is possible, although you must have a tax status that allows you to produce legally-binding invoices. Maybe you have, I don't know, but I know that very few reputable companies will offer translations to people who don't declare the income. This profession isn't regulated in many countries, meaning you don't need specific qualifications, but all business transactions need to comply with tax legislation.


In Quebec, no specific tax status is required if your annual business revenue is less than $30,000. Invoices are legally binding regardless, providing you have an agreement with your client. If you are operating under your own name (no business name), then no business registration is required. Under these circumstances, you do not charge GST or QST and you must pay any suppliers the GST and QST, without being able to use those payments as input tax credits. You still must declare your net income on your annual tax return.


So, it can be done. Is it likely to bring in more money than getting an hourly-paid job in, say, a McDonald's restaurant? That's unlikely.


I would not be that negative. The demand in Quebec is immense and rates are much higher than on the global market. The majority of Quebec translators have probably never heard of ProZ.com or the going rates on such sites, they are too busy.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:07
English to German
+ ...
I can confirm that. Jul 27, 2012

John Fossey wrote:
The demand in Quebec is immense and rates are much higher than on the global market. The majority of Quebec translators have probably never heard of ProZ.com or the going rates on such sites, they are too busy.


My Canadian clients pay excellent rates.


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