Finding Translation Agencies without a Degree
Thread poster: jertrud
jertrud
United States
Local time: 10:47
Spanish to English
Apr 17, 2016

I'm new to the business and looking for translation agencies to give my information. The few I've contacted have yet to get back to me, or don't offer work in my pair.

What kind of agencies accept translators with no degree nor certification? I heard that there are some that give tests to people without these things, but I can't find any. The agencies registered with the ATA mostly seem to want certs.

Should I mainly be applying to agencies in source language countries, i.e. Spanish-speaking countries? I feel like they would have more demand for SP>EN.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 16:47
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
You're on the way Apr 18, 2016

Everything counts in translation, especially the fact that you are studying and almost have a language qualification.
It is not strictly necessary, but in practice you will be expected to have a qualification of some kind.

You say you already have a Bachelor of Science (spelt like that, no 's ) in Commerce and Business Administration, and that will be very useful, so highlight it. Lots of translations come precisely in that field. It may even be more useful in practice than a lot of philology and linguistics - it depends a lot what kind of language degree you are taking.

Don't undersell yourself - every bit of experience from the University of Life may turn up in a translation. Your hobbies are probably someone else's lucrative international business - and may need translations. Write on your profile any special knowledge you may have, whatever kind it is.

Check out other people's profiles - don't copy them, but note the surprising little things they mention, and see what you can add to your own. The best jobs come from clients who find you, but they must be able to see what you have to offer.

Check out advice to others in the 'getting started' forum - and good luck!


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Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:47
English to Russian
+ ...
Degree doesn't really mean much Apr 18, 2016

In 31 years of my translation career, only once or twice have I been told I had to have a degree. Here on ProZ, one can occasionally see ads requiring it, but they are rarely from agencies having anything serious to offer. Generally, the stricter are purely formal requirements of an agency (degrees, certificates, letters of recommendation, huge questionnaires to fill, etc., as opposed to test translations or samples of your past work), the less it is likely to offer serious work.

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philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
One of the great things about this job... Apr 18, 2016

... is that you don't need a relevant degree, or even a degree at all. All that counts is your ability to translate.

Can I just offer one comment on your profile? I always think it sounds slightly odd when people write about themselves in the third person.


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jertrud
United States
Local time: 10:47
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 18, 2016

Christine Andersen wrote:

Everything counts in translation, especially the fact that you are studying and almost have a language qualification.
It is not strictly necessary, but in practice you will be expected to have a qualification of some kind.

You say you already have a Bachelor of Science (spelt like that, no 's ) in Commerce and Business Administration, and that will be very useful, so highlight it. Lots of translations come precisely in that field. It may even be more useful in practice than a lot of philology and linguistics - it depends a lot what kind of language degree you are taking.

Don't undersell yourself - every bit of experience from the University of Life may turn up in a translation. Your hobbies are probably someone else's lucrative international business - and may need translations. Write on your profile any special knowledge you may have, whatever kind it is.

Check out other people's profiles - don't copy them, but note the surprising little things they mention, and see what you can add to your own. The best jobs come from clients who find you, but they must be able to see what you have to offer.

Check out advice to others in the 'getting started' forum - and good luck!


Thank you for your advice, especially the degree spelling! I'll definitely do that.

I wish I could say that I almost have a language qualification, but at the moment I've just years of Spanish experience. I want to take the CELU in a few months, but I'm not sure if I should take an American test instead since that's my country, or maybe even the DELE (but since I mainly deal with Latin American Spanish, I'm not sure if I'd be able to achieve C2 level).

Anton Konashenok wrote:

In 31 years of my translation career, only once or twice have I been told I had to have a degree. Here on ProZ, one can occasionally see ads requiring it, but they are rarely from agencies having anything serious to offer. Generally, the stricter are purely formal requirements of an agency (degrees, certificates, letters of recommendation, huge questionnaires to fill, etc., as opposed to test translations or samples of your past work), the less it is likely to offer serious work.

That's not too surprising to hear, it seems some agencies really want to treat us like employees, even though we're contractors.

philgoddard wrote:

... is that you don't need a relevant degree, or even a degree at all. All that counts is your ability to translate.

Can I just offer one comment on your profile? I always think it sounds slightly odd when people write about themselves in the third person.

I had always been told in school that the third person is more professional, but I never particularly liked it. Thanks for the second opinion.

[Edited at 2016-04-18 23:51 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:47
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
You have to convince your clients that you're the woman for the job Apr 19, 2016

That can be done in very many ways.
- Qualifications that show you've been taught how to do it
- Experience that shows you've done it for others
- Skills that show that you know how to do it
- Motivation that shows you have a strong will to do it.

None is obligatory but you have to have something, particularly in a pair as flooded with professional translators as Spanish to English. Why should they choose you? If you have none of the above, then price is your only hope - and that isn't a good way to get anywhere in this business as Google Translate is free!


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