Demand for Chilean Spanish to UK English ?
Thread poster: Nicholas Hale

Nicholas Hale  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:40
Member (2016)
Spanish to English
Mar 10, 2015

I am an experienced businessman who has worked in the fresh produce business for more than 20 years . I have a degree in Spanish and have travelled extensively in Spain and Latin America (in particular I lived for 7 months in Mexico, and spend around 6 weeks per year in Chile). I have passed two thirds of the Iolet Diptrans and am awaiting for the result for the full qualification. I did part of an mba a few years ago.
I may move to Chile (currently UK based) at some point and would like to have an idea if there is much demand for translation from Chilean Spanish to UK English. I would only be working part time.
Any pointers to the market and demand in this market would be appreciated. Any input appreciated. I am not looking to steal other translators clients , just an idea if I could specialize in this market or would need to broaden my scope.

Nick Hale


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:40
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Some thoughts Mar 11, 2015

Nicholas Hale wrote (snippets):
fresh produce business for more than 20 years.
degree in Spanish
travelled extensively in Spain and Latin America
passed two thirds of the Iolet Diptrans
I may move to Chile (currently UK based)

Taking that lot first, you are clearly ideally placed to have a second career in translation, even if only a part-time one. You have your language pair, your specialisation, and bags of professional experience using them, even if not actually translating.

would like to have an idea if there is much demand for translation from Chilean Spanish to UK English. I would only be working part time

I don't think you'd need to restrict yourself to Chilean Spanish - that isn't normally necessary for the source language, although variant is highly important in the target language. But you will certainly have a clear advantage over many "ordinary" Spanish>English translators in that you'll be getting cultural awareness as well as the up-to-date terms used in Chile. I don't know how many native English translators live in Chile - they will be your real competitors. But not many of them will have your specialist subject experience, I'm sure. Living in the source country will sit well with many clients, locally but also internationally.

The only thing in your post that makes me slightly dubious is the "part-time" aspect. If that's just because you're winding down, working when you want to - fine. If you're expecting to translate when you have an odd moment (e.g. in addition to a full-time job) then you'll have problems. For one thing, it takes time to build a solid client base (flipping burgers is much more lucrative in the short term), and most deadlines don't allow for work to be spread over a couple of hours per day.


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Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 23:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Précis of the first ten thousand words ... Mar 11, 2015

... that came to mind on reading Nicholas’ enquiry:

Nicholas Hale wrote:
[I] would like to have an idea if there is much demand for translation from Chilean Spanish to UK English. […]
Any pointers to the market and demand in this market would be appreciated. Any input appreciated. […] just an idea if I could specialize in this market or would need to broaden my scope.


In the 12 years or so since I came to Chile - after more than two decades working as an in-house translator in an international organisation based in Geneva - I have come to the conclusion that Chilean demand for translation services is very much a reflection of this country’s long-standing, complacent indifference towards the value of languages in all walks of life.

In the business plan I wrote three years ago when I launched my company, I said:


De hecho, hoy en día, la demanda para servicios profesionales de comunicación multilingüe y multicultural en la región de La Araucanía es virtualmente inexistente. Ni siquiera existe real reconocimiento de parte de las autoridades y de los empresarios de que existe algún problema en ésta materia; menos aún que es un problema que amenaza todo el proyecto de promover la Araucanía Andina como polo de atracción para turistas del mundo entero.

Así, aún existiendo la voluntad de expansión internacional de los mercados locales, aún teniendo a alcance de mano los servicios especializados tan necesarios faltará un trabajo significativo, no solo por su dificultad sino por su importancia e influencia sobre el éxito de las diversas iniciativas, que es el promover una reflexión negocio-cultural tendiente a reformar profundamente la manera de interactuar y hacer ‘business’ con el consumidor extranjero.

La demanda para los servicios lingüísticos de MediaMatrix, hay que inventarla, crearla, y promocionarla. Luego, satisfacerla con un profesionalismo riguroso, y en cada instante nutrirla para que dure en el tiempo.


You will need to broaden your scope, Nicholas, drawing all the synergies you can from your business experience and language skills. If you want to work in this 'market', you'll first have to build it - from the ground up! Take it from me - it's an uphill struggle.


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Robin Levey
Chile
Local time: 23:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
@Sheila Mar 11, 2015

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I don't know how many native English translators live in Chile - they will be your real competitors.


There are very few of us! Barely one in five-hundred thousand head of population.

Proz directory
Members claiming English as their exclusive native language: ZERO
Non-members claiming English as their exclusive native language: 41 (including myself)

There are 138 other people here claiming both Spanish and English as ‘native’ languages. Many of those in fact have only a very limited command of English, as can be seen in their Proz profiles and personal/professional websites.

COTICH
The (moribund?) Colegio de Traductores e Intérpretes de Chile (www.cotich.cl) lists a total of 160 members, taking all languages together (a breakdown by native language is not available on the website). There can only be a handful of true native English speakers there.

The majority of listed translators - both Proz and COTICH - are located in the most populous areas of the country (Santiago Metropolitan Region and Valparaiso Region), or in the major areas of industrial and scientific interest (mining, astronomy, etc.). In the foothills of the Southern Andes where I live, there isn’t anyone in the Proz directory who lives less than 100 miles away

So, even if, as Sheila says, other native English translators will be Nicholas’ real competitors, the fact is that there’s plenty of room for competition here. As I suggested in my earlier post, what we really need is a worthwhile market!

[Edited at 2015-03-11 17:59 GMT]


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