Seeking suggestions on getting established
Thread poster: rethymno19
Nov 27, 2012

Hi All,

I was wondering if someone might provide some guidance for starting off as an interpreter. I have do education associated to it and no certifications at this point. Is it required to have any of these to start? For some odd reason translating never crossed my mind as an occupation and I have been trying to do research on it but can't find a go to place for beginner translators.

I would like to start off getting some entry level translations and seeing how I like the occupation. I'm very fluent in both Greek and English. I was born and raised in the US but also lived 8 years in Greece. I continue to read and write mostly Greek on my free time even though I'm currently back in the US.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to start and get some entry level positions maybe do volunteer work or work for an agency as an entry level translator?


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 19:02
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Competence Nov 28, 2012

rethymno19 wrote:

I would like to start off getting some entry level translations and seeing how I like the occupation. I'm very fluent in both Greek and English. I was born and raised in the US but also lived 8 years in Greece. I continue to read and write mostly Greek on my free time even though I'm currently back in the US.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to start and get some entry level positions maybe do volunteer work or work for an agency as an entry level translator?


To be a good professional translator (like me ..... ha ha ha, only a joke), you need competency and aptitude on the profession.

In my case, I love reading, writing, searching, technical progress etc. I love to absorb new idea and concepts. I love document making.

I think that love makes hobby into a successful occupation.

Soonthon Lupkitaro


 

Debbie Nevo  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:02
Hebrew to English
+ ...
Getting started Nov 28, 2012

Interpreter or translator? They are two different things.

Translation: it is usually considered best to translate from your second language into your native language, not the other way round.

As far as starting out as a translator is concerned, I did a translation course (two years, one day a week), which was very useful, then applied to translation agencies. I was very lucky to find an agency which had suitable entry-level work and was prepared to take on a beginner.

You need to decide what field of translation you want to specialize in. I decided I was interested in doing academic translations so I told everyone I know that I was looking for translation work and I also advertised myself using LinkedIn (applying to academics). This brought me some work translating academic articles.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You need some idea of how it's done Nov 28, 2012

rethymno19 wrote:
Does anyone have suggestions on how to start and get some entry level positions maybe do volunteer work or work for an agency as an entry level translator?

I don't think volunteer work for a charitable cause is necessarily a good idea for complete beginners. Just because they aren't paying doesn't mean they don't have a right to quality! And they are exactly the sort of organisation that might well not have proofreading facilities. Normally, there is very little feedback (unless you cause them problems, I supposeicon_smile.gif). I know that most of the bigger NGOs require experience. On the other hand, you could always find things on the internet in Greek that interest you and offer to translate them into English. BUT, please only work free for associations and individuals: companies etc. should pay decent rates for their translations.

I get the impression you are young. If so, I'm sure you will find that translation education will pay off, as will education in subject areas for your specialisations (in both languages). More and more translation clients are asking for degree-level qualifications, particularly if you don't have several years of experience.

If you are anxious to get started right away, perhaps the mentor programme here would interest you.

Whatever you decide to do, I advise you to have a thorough read through this forum and make use of all the help the site provides for new translators.


 

rethymno19
TOPIC STARTER
Thank You Nov 28, 2012

Sheila Wilson wrote:

rethymno19 wrote:
Does anyone have suggestions on how to start and get some entry level positions maybe do volunteer work or work for an agency as an entry level translator?

I don't think volunteer work for a charitable cause is necessarily a good idea for complete beginners. Just because they aren't paying doesn't mean they don't have a right to quality! And they are exactly the sort of organisation that might well not have proofreading facilities. Normally, there is very little feedback (unless you cause them problems, I supposeicon_smile.gif). I know that most of the bigger NGOs require experience. On the other hand, you could always find things on the internet in Greek that interest you and offer to translate them into English. BUT, please only work free for associations and individuals: companies etc. should pay decent rates for their translations.

I get the impression you are young. If so, I'm sure you will find that translation education will pay off, as will education in subject areas for your specialisations (in both languages). More and more translation clients are asking for degree-level qualifications, particularly if you don't have several years of experience.

If you are anxious to get started right away, perhaps the mentor programme here would interest you.

Whatever you decide to do, I advise you to have a thorough read through this forum and make use of all the help the site provides for new translators.


Thank you Sheila. Your response was quite helpful. I will look into education opportunities and it seems the mentor program might be useful. My only fear of getting education in this field is that I want to do this part-time and maintain my current job. This job would be secondary do you believe an education is still worth it?


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:02
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Freelance translation is a career. Nov 28, 2012

rethymno19 wrote:
I will look into education opportunities and it seems the mentor program might be useful. My only fear of getting education in this field is that I want to do this part-time and maintain my current job. This job would be secondary do you believe an education is still worth it?


That's very useful information: you would like to translate part-time, as a secondary job. I understand that wish, but I'm not sure that freelancing can ever be a part-time income-supplement. Freelancing almost always starts part-time, as you build up a solid client base, but then it either succeeds, to become (at least) a full-time job, or it becomes uneconomic. Of course, as you near retirement (like me) it can be allowed to generate less than a full living income (for less effort, of course!), but I'm not sure it can ever be thought of as a "top-up" to a salaried job - not in the long term.

Freelancing means launching your own business (albeit a very small businessicon_smile.gif). Clients want you to be available when they need you. They won't wait for the weekend, and they won't want you spending 2 hours each evening (when you're tired) on their job for 2 months - they'll need it tomorrow, if not yesterday. Freelance translation is a career, a commitment. It can't be seen as a quick earner, although there are various low-paying possibilities nowadays in the form of instant on-line translations, on a 'first come first served' basis. Unless you want to go that route, you will have to invest time and effort in establishing yourself. Really, if your aim is to top up your wages then you would be well advised to look for a part-time job that demands no investment.

I think you really need to decide whether you want to embark on a career, or simply earn a few dollars/euros.


 

LucyPatterso (X)
English
Sheila is right Nov 30, 2012

I tried to fit some part-time translation in with my full-time office job to test the waters. It was NOT successful, as clients expect you to be able to work for them asap. You do not usually get weeks to work on a job - like you would for a university assignment. You need a clear day ahead of you to dedicate to incoming translation work.

I would recommend a course as they are very useful for improving skills and seeing if it's even the right job for you. Start by choosing whether you would like to be an interpreter or a translator!icon_smile.gif


 


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