Translator qualification
Thread poster: Roberto Popolizio

Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 02:46
English to Italian
Jan 7, 2015

Hi everybody,

I'm italian native and through the last year i had several small jobs for translating e-commerce ads, blog content, bilingual customer service.
I really liked translating and i want to try to improve my skills and get any qualification or titles that can help me to start build up a possible career.
I'm already looking at the open universities (dead expensive) cause i'm not living in Europe at the moment, but i would like to know from you who are more expert what courses should i take, what titles should i go for.

I hope this was the right section where to post, i'm completely new to this forum.

Thanks in advance to any answer.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Welcome to ProZ.com, Popoz Jan 7, 2015

You're certainly posting in the right forum, and I'm sure you'll be able to get lots of help here. In fact, you may well find that other threads in this forum have already recently addressed most of your questions so it would be worth having a good search through.

It's actually a little difficult to give personalised advice as we know so little about you. A minimum of information, here and/or in your profile, would be really useful. Things like your language pair(s), your country of residence, your current qualifications, your language background (i.e. whether learnt academically, from family members or from residence) and past experience (translation or other) - all will help us orient you to suitable training.


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 02:46
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
more info Jan 8, 2015

Thanks Sheila.

I have learnt english through my living in Australia plus another year in the Philippines (which is basically an english speaking country anyway) so i didn't have any academic training. I tried to make my improvements in the language of some use and i got some few jobs:

- Blog content translating

- Ebay advertisements translating

- Bilingual email customer service (english and italian, these are my two languages)

They have been all small experiences, but i liked the thing so far and i started to think how to get qualified and try to start a career.

At the moment i'm living in the Philippines, but i'm always on the move.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Is it just know-how that you need? Jan 8, 2015

Popoz wrote:
i started to think how to get qualified and try to start a career.

In most parts of the world, translation is totally unregulated, so you don't actually have to have any particular qualification. Of course, every translator needs know-how, even if they don't need a piece of paper to prove it. If you'd had a degree, I'd have suggested a Master's degree by distance learning, but you probably can't go that route. How about a basic course, just to give you the basic techniques? I was very satisfied with the one I did in FR>EN - details on my profile (to avoid outright advertising) - but there must be a fair choice in your pair. Once you have a fair chunk of experience, you could study for the DipTrans. I hear it's quite difficult to pass, but that makes it all the more worthwhile of course.

Don't forget that your language skills have to be absolutely top so you'll want to keep studying, especially comprehension of your source language and writing ability in your target language, plus specific terminology in both. It would also pay you to get a high-level qualification in your source language - in your case the Cambridge Proficiency would be an ideal one. You might also want to get qualifications in your selected subject areas, in one or both languages (e.g. in business, marketing...).

Finally, as a freelancer you'll be running your own business, albeit a very small one. I'm guessing you've been through portals that take care of that sort of thing up until now. Learning a few entrepreneurial skills before taking the plunge is a really good idea. You don't want to do loads of work only to find you have no idea how to invoice your client.


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 02:46
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
studies Jan 9, 2015

Very good infos and i agree with all your points.

My first idea was to get the academic IELTS, which i guess is not even comparable to the Cambridge, but it would be a worldwide recognized assessment for the pair language and is the only one available where i live at the moment.

I'm also planning to go back to my place to start study for my favorite subject (i actually enjoy translating in ll its forms, but i dream to go on more interesting areas like articles, essays or whatever connected to psychology)

Don't know if this can be a good general plan, but if you have more suggestions or just don't agree what i figured out until now then you are very welcome to give your unfiltered opinion.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
IELTS would be good Jan 9, 2015

Popoz wrote:
My first idea was to get the academic IELTS, which i guess is not even comparable to the Cambridge, but it would be a worldwide recognized assessment for the pair language and is the only one available where i live at the moment.

The IELTS would be proof of your command in English and it would certainly add weight to your profile. But it's a monolingual qualification. It doesn't say anything at all about your ability to translate from English into any other language. Not every person who speaks two languages is able to translate - far from it!


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 02:46
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
answer Jan 10, 2015

Basically you are telling me that you would rather go straightaway for a translator title, is that correct?

From your experience, can a translating qualification work better together with a language assessment or better to insist on the former only?

thank you again


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 01:46
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Both Jan 11, 2015

You could do with proof of competence in both areas. It isn't really a case of one or the other.

You can demonstrate English skills through your writing (e.g. when you quote for a job in English), so the translating qualification is perhaps more urgent. Qualifications are for you as well as your client and you'll benefit from the techniques and knowledge you learn in a translation course.


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Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:46
Member (2014)
English to German
I have been looking into the same... Jan 11, 2015

I have come from another industry and despite having completed a degree and beyond in the UK, Proz could not list English as one of my languages. That concerned me a bit because EN-DE is my main language pair and on my profile only German (my native language) and Spanish could be listed - until I managed to dig out an old IELTS certificate. So far I do not have a specific qualification in translation.

At the moment I am doing a course to prepare for the DipTrans which I find very useful, however, I do find the exam daunting (time limit and computer/no internet, this is not how I usually work). There also is a very good MA in Translation at my local university, but also I have to consider cost and the fact that I would enjoy studying in my native language for a change. Maybe something via distance learning although it would be nice to do it locally.

[Bearbeitet am 2015-01-11 10:05 GMT]


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Roberto Popolizio
Italy
Local time: 02:46
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
maybe trans course + IELTS Jan 17, 2015

Gabriele, i have been looking for open university course, but they are really expensive (at least for my budget) and my country don't offer much. I didn't even try to push on my profile considering my short experience and the competition here on Proz.

I am really thinking of undertaking the course that Sheila advised (it seem to be a very good practical one for a fair price) and later go for something that can prove my language skills. The DipTrans seem to be worth a try after i gain some considerable working experience.

I hope others will join this topic and share their experiences, for the moment thanks to everyone!


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 02:46
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Popoz Jan 17, 2015

Popoz wrote:
I really liked translating and I want to try to improve my skills and get any qualification that can help me to start build up a possible career.


A language or translation qualification has very little value in the freelance world. What matters more is your skill, how you present yourself, your reliability, and your rate. If you wish to prove your English skills, an IELTS course would certainly be a good way to do it, but I don't think it will help you get more jobs or become a better translator.

If you want to start a career in translation, then you must start contacting translation agencies (there's a list here and here), and in the mean time improve your language skills by doing practice translations and reading grammar/style books and dictionaries for both your languages.


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