Advice on going into the field
Thread poster: tfitzg
tfitzg
French to English
Nov 28, 2004

Hi all,

This may not be the appropriate forum for question, but I would appreciate any direction you can afford me. I am a university student at a crossroads: I enjoy languages (I speak English and French and study German) and I especially want to return to Europe. I am disillusioned in my current major field of study and I'm asking myself if translation might not suit me. Would anyone have advice, or perhaps a reference I could turn to in order to know more about the field and what it entails?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
A simple way Nov 28, 2004

If you work for 1 or 2 years in a translation agency you won't earn much, but you could consider it as a kind of apprenticeship.

While learning how to handle various translation tools, you'll get experience as translator, proofreader, and project manager, so finally you'll learn everything you'll need to become independent (and what you won't learn at university).


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:10
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Accept some pro bono work. Nov 28, 2004

Everyone before has given you excellent advise. I also want to add, please accept some free work to see if you really like translating as a job. Try to get those free assignments in your areas of interest.

This is what I did:

I was studying languages at the University (Spanish and English) and have always been an avid student/reader of medical topics. I am also crazy about boats. So, fisrt I accepted a Spanish-English translation from a doctor friend about a Herpes medicine. Don't worry, he said, it is just for my knowledge and I will correct it for you. It came back full of red marks and side comments. I felt devastated, but he patiently explained things to me, guided me to courses and books in the medical library and gave me one of his old paper medical dictionaries. I still have that dictionary and I am still studying whatever medical topics I can find.

The same for boats. Along the way I picked up technical topics and I now have my major areas of expertise.

But, you'll need to look for topics that you like because you will have to spend a lot of time researching them. This is the hard work part.

The fun thing about translating is that you each time are working in another field - one day medicine, one day gas turbines, one day nuclear reactors, one day a manual for calculators, yacht specifications, etc.

Welcome to our world and good luck in your endeavours.

God Bless!
Lucinda


Direct link Reply with quote
 
tfitzg
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you all. Nov 28, 2004

Thank you all for your candour. I have taken two German-to-English translation courses thus far in my minor at uni, and I enjoyed it, but we were always tested on segments of two or three sentences, never paragraphs or page-long documents. Being an Anglo-Quebecer I've often translated texts between French and English for my professional domain (IT) as well as for family and friends (CV's, letters of intent).

How well regarded is a university diploma in the field vis-à-vis just apprenticeship? Would the latter hinder my chances at getting work abroad, i.e. Europe? Is it better that I finish my diploma in my field to then go specialize in that in translation, or should I instead study translation as a major concentration?

Again, thank you all for your time and advice.


Yours,

Tim FitzGerald

P.S.: I apologize for the fact that my personal profile page was blank earlier. Please tell me if you are able to access more complete informationabout me. Thanks.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
University diploma Nov 28, 2004

tfitzg wrote:
...How well regarded is a university diploma in the field vis-à-vis just apprenticeship? Would the latter hinder my chances at getting work abroad, i.e. Europe? Is it better that I finish my diploma in my field to then go specialize in that in translation, or should I instead study translation as a major concentration?...

A university diploma is helpful to negotiate higher rates or wages. If you work for the government, you will automatically earn about two times more than without a diploma (no matter in which field you got the diploma).
But it won't necessarily increase you chances to find work, because it will increase your income expectations, so you will be "over-qualified" for many jobs.
On the other hand, there are some jobs for which you will need a diploma, just as a privilege. In any case the selection criterion is: how well will you fit into your targeted environment?


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Advice on going into the field

Advanced search







SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search