Career change -help needed
Thread poster: Gregory Lassale

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:27
English to French
+ ...
Feb 10, 2015

Hello to all,

After working in the medical-legal industry for the last 12 years, I am looking to making a career change into the translation industry and would need guidance on how to get started from established translators. My language pair is English-French. Here is a little background.

I am 39 years old and have been living in the US for 15 years. I was born in France and graduated there with a BA in English. Before that I received a 2 years degree in Applied Foreign Languages (English/Spanish) but I haven't spoken Spanish since college and as a result it is nowhere near good enough for me to translate to or from it.

At this point, I am doing research to a list of accreditation, certification and proficiency tests I need to gain/take in order to bolster my resume. What are the must-have credentials? I am thinking ATA certification for one, but are there others? The University of Minnesota/s College of Continuing Education offers a program in translation and Interpreting.

http://cce.umn.edu/program-in-translation-and-interpreting

Would you recommend this type of non-degree certificate or should I focus on other types of certifications? (ATA, others?).

I am basically trying to come up with a clear plan and map of what I need to do so I have a clear idea of the steps I need to take to make it happen. I am still working full time and knowing exactly what I need to do would greatly help me navigate as efficiently as possible.

Thanks in advance for any help and guidance you can provide.

Best,

Greg


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sarah Puchner  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:27
French to English
Check ATA exam eligibility requirements Feb 10, 2015

Hi Greg,
I was in a similar situation a few years ago.

First, make sure you are familiar with the eligibility requirements to even take the ATA exam. This will help you make sure that any course you invest in is approved by the ATA and leads to eligibility for the exam.

When I was trying to figure out my own roadmap, I joined the ATA and looked at all the possible options for launching a translation career, with the goal of becoming ATA certified down the road. I decided to take a 2-year graduate-level certificate at UW-Milwaukee. http://www4.uwm.edu/letsci/translation/certificate/
It is my local university but these days everything can be done online so location is not an issue. The course included an internship, a course on running your own business, etc. and I was very well prepared to start out as a freelancer. It was significant investment but there is no doubt that it has paid off.

To decide what’s best for you, I suggest joining the ATA if you haven’t already done so and making use of all the resources available to members (email discussion groups, mentoring program, savvy newcomers blog, local chapters, conferences, etc.). However, you don’t have to be an ATA member to take a practice exam (extra fee) and as of Jan 2016 the exam itself will be open to non-members too (eligibility requirements will still apply).

Edited to add: I just realized that you work into French, so it may be a bit harder for you to find courses in your language pair. The UWM course for example does not offer En to Fr.

Good luck

Sarah


[Edited at 2015-02-10 19:35 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:27
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Welcome. Now start translating. Feb 10, 2015

Gregory Lassale wrote:
After working in the medical-legal industry for the last 12 years, I am looking to making a career change into the translation industry and would need guidance on how to get started from established translators.

Do you really need guidance?

Let's recap. You have native-speaker French, apparently flawless English and you have specialised knowledge in the medical-legal field. Okay, translation is a skill, a craft or a sullen art, but you can only learn by doing. So the key issue is to start doing.

Join ProZ as a paid member, write a CV highlighting your industry experience, then start bidding on jobs. With your background you should start picking up projects pretty quickly.

You don't need to spend months grinding away to get an ATA qualification. Sure, get the qualification by all means, but don't allow it to put you off from starting real work, right now. Or perhaps tomorrow.

Oh, I would also get a photo portrait done by a pro and think about setting up a little website of your own.

Regards
Dan


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Website Feb 11, 2015

Dan Lucas wrote:
... Oh, I would also get a photo portrait done by a pro and think about setting up a little website of your own.

Regards
Dan


I have some free resources that can be very helpful if you decide to build that website. It can be a huge help in finding projects.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:27
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You've clearly got a head start over other "newbies" Feb 11, 2015

My advice would be to opt for at least a minimum of training, while accepting straightforward jobs to get some "hands-on" experience. Maybe you have some personal contacts who would be more than happy to have some translations done for a moderate fee.

Your English is clearly up to the job; how about your French? I have no doubt you speak it perfectlyicon_smile.gif but your writing/translation skills may not be tip-top at the moment. Do you have all the jargon terminology of your chosen subjects at your fingertips in French, as well as English? If you've been leading an English monolingual life lately you will probably need to do lot of research of French medical/legal terms (bearing in mind the enormous differences between the legal systems in the countries where your languages are spoken).

Getting a bit of paper to say you're qualified is going to help you to some extent; and ATA membership will surely be worthwhile. But don't expect future training to make a vast difference in future income. Most clients will be happy to see your background. Most are looking for our expertise rather than our credentials. So do whatever you feel would benefit you most, not your CV. If you're confident about being able to deliver, you're well on the way to getting the job.

The course mentioned above sounds perfect. If it's in your subject areas you could study in your reverse pair - you'd be presented with loads of French terms to translate. You would also learn the techniques (which are reversible, I'm sure), plus you would find out about the business side of the job.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:27
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Paper Feb 11, 2015

Gregory Lassale wrote:

Hello to all,

After working in the medical-legal industry for the last 12 years, I am looking to making a career change into the translation industry and would need guidance on how to get started from established translators. My language pair is English-French. Here is a little background.

I am 39 years old and have been living in the US for 15 years. I was born in France and graduated there with a BA in English. Before that I received a 2 years degree in Applied Foreign Languages (English/Spanish) but I haven't spoken Spanish since college and as a result it is nowhere near good enough for me to translate to or from it.

At this point, I am doing research to a list of accreditation, certification and proficiency tests I need to gain/take in order to bolster my resume. What are the must-have credentials? I am thinking ATA certification for one, but are there others? The University of Minnesota/s College of Continuing Education offers a program in translation and Interpreting.

http://cce.umn.edu/program-in-translation-and-interpreting

Would you recommend this type of non-degree certificate or should I focus on other types of certifications? (ATA, others?).

I am basically trying to come up with a clear plan and map of what I need to do so I have a clear idea of the steps I need to take to make it happen. I am still working full time and knowing exactly what I need to do would greatly help me navigate as efficiently as possible.

Thanks in advance for any help and guidance you can provide.

Best,

Greg


This is all about bits of paper. I would be more interested to learn about your practical experience working as a translator. For how long have you been translating from English to French? If you haven't done any at all, it won't help to get paper qualifications. Your time would be better spent on actually doing translations, for money, and convincing clients that you can do it. That's what matters.

[Edited at 2015-02-11 10:14 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:27
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the input. It is much appreciated. Feb 11, 2015

Good morning and thanks to all for the input so far. To get right to the point, I have been working for the last 12 years in the medical legal industry in a sales capacity but the job doesn't involve any translation work. I haven’t done any serious technical translating in quite a long time, which is why I thought going back to school might help me ease back into it. I would also need to take a CAT software class as I have basically no experience working with that type of program. Sheila is correct, I have been leading a mostly English monolingual life in recent years and there are many medical-legal terms I do not know in French off-hand. Regardless, I understand that it is more about experience than degrees and Dan and Tom’s emphasis on doing vs paper degrees. I think a mix of joining Proz and the ATA, working on small projects for now (since I still have a full time job at the moment anyway) while taking a course to a) get back into the groove of things and b) learn how to use CAT tools may be best for me at this point. I am not going to worry about ATA accreditation until much later down the road. Thoughts?

Thanks again for the input. It is much appreciated.

Greg


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 »

Career change -help needed

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 »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



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