What should I do right now?
Thread poster: Chilly li

Chilly li
United States
Mar 31, 2016

Don you have any helps, is there any translator certificate do not require too much? Or I must attend any school or programs?

Many thanks

[Edited at 2016-03-31 15:45 GMT]


Francisco Vare
Local time: 18:36
Polish to Spanish
+ ...
Improve your English Mar 31, 2016

I think the first thing you have to do in order to be taken seriously as a translator is improve your English. Attend some advanced courses and take an official exam. Only then should you start thinking about doing some translation course.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two books Mar 31, 2016

Chilly li wrote:
Don you have any helps, is there any translator certificate do not require too much? Or I must attend any school or programs?

For your situation I would recommend reading two books:

"How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator" by Corinne McKay ($15)

"Business Success for Freelance Translators" by Alex Eames ($40)
(previously called "How To Earn $80,000+ Per Year as a Freelance Translator")

And I would strongly recommend you polish up on your written English, even if you don't translate into it.


Ilan Rubin (X)  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:36
Russian to English
Exactly Mar 31, 2016

Francisco Vare wrote:

I think the first thing you have to do in order to be taken seriously as a translator is improve your English.

Sorry Chilly li, but your English judging by the mistakes you made in your post is light years away from enabling you to work as a serious translator. It takes years of effort to get a foreign language up to the required standard. I think you should start by reading 20-30 works of modern fiction, so that you start to learn how English is constructed.


Ricki Farn
Local time: 18:36
Member (2005)
English to German
Hey, Mar 31, 2016

Chilly li wants to translate from English. Maybe that is possible without writing perfect English.

Chilly li, can you select an English text you like (from a newspaper, a book ...), translate it into your native language, and ask a translator / language teacher / proofreader / other expert on your native language for their opinion on your current level? You might be able to take their evaluation as a starting point.


Francisco Vare
Local time: 18:36
Polish to Spanish
+ ...
I am stubborn... Mar 31, 2016

I doesn't matter if into or from English, I would never hire a person after reading a post like the one above. Of course we don't need to be perfect with every language we work with, but if we want to be treated as professionals, we need to offer professionalism.

This is just my personal opinion, of course, but I guess a lot of people would agree with me, especially those who have finished their translation studies or courses, have invested in a future, want a decent rate to be paid for their work, and are a little allergic to butting in into another people's business just because "I want to try because I am Ok with the language and why not".

I dream of being a doctor, but I cannot imagine anyone hiring me just because I have read a couple of books, have learned some vocabulary and want so badly to become a doctor.

Please don't take this personally, but come on, pleople, let's be serious. Just as being bilingual doesn't mean you are a good translator or not speaking a language fluently doesn't make you a bad translator, showing our best selves is key in this business if we want to stand out and be spotted.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:36
Member (2007)
+ ...
Some thoughts Mar 31, 2016

I would say that your English writing skills show that you need more tuition. I imagine that you're constantly exposed to English as you're living in the US, so just reading etc may not be enough. You need to sit down with the grammar books, and get feedback from a teacher so that you can improve. However, with that constant exposure in mind, I'd be reluctant to declare you unable to use English as a source language. It's just that with English being the lingua franca of the translation industry, your written level does need to be quite high if you're to be taken seriously. You're likely to need to be able to market yourself and conduct negotiations in it.

So, what do you have that WILL impress clients?

Do you have qualifications in your native language? Ones that prove that you can write clearly and correctly in it? We're all "fluent" in our native languages, but many people find it almost impossible to construct a logical paragraph, or even a logical and grammatical sentence, on paper.

Do you have other industry experience that you can bring to this career? Many of us enter the profession later in life, as a second or even third career, with minimal qualifications - particularly in translation - but loads of skills and knowledge.

If you're too young for that, do you have some knowledge from your personal life that you can bring to your clients, such as a lifelong passion for some hobby or interest that has led you to study it intensively in both your languages? It isn't really likely to be enough to sustain a career, but it might give you an entry point. Once you've got some good feedback and repeat orders from satisfied clients, you'll have something tangible to offer other potential clients.


Gabriele Demuth  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:36
Member (2014)
English to German
On the right track ... Mar 31, 2016

You say that you have an MA and are currently living in the United States, so you are in the right place to improve your English in many contexts, and if you work in your chosen profession you may develop a useful specialism for translation.

... then maybe revisit this idea in a couple of years.


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