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Is working for Lionbridge an advisable starting point for a beginner?
Thread poster: Wendel Chaves de Jesus

Wendel Chaves de Jesus  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Jul 28, 2016

Hey there! I am Wendel, a Brazilian linguist. I graduated recently in English and then I got a graduate diploma in language teaching methodology. Currently I am pursuing a graduate diploma in English to Portuguese translation. I have read many topics about how to get started here on Proz and I decided to become a full member to pursue my dream of being a competent full-time translator. I work as an English teacher and as a volunteer translator for two websites to obtain experience. I am a beginner, so forgive me if I say something stupid. My question is simple: I have been volunteering to obtain experience and it has been good so far, but not receiving any money is not good at all. I decided to research about starting points for beginners and then I found out about Lionbridge. I read many topics here about it and most people say that Lionbridge does not pay much and some other things regarding possibly abusive practices. Still, I have been translating for free, so... would you advise me to go for it or not? I would like to thank those who answer in advance for their valuable contribution.

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liviu roth
United States
Local time: 02:55
Romanian to English
+ ...
Hi Wendel, Jul 28, 2016

I have been working with Lionbridge for more than 15 years. The pay is above the average paid by other agencies but ... I work in a very narrow field of criminal justice and for that, there is a requirement to be US citizen and have DOJ clearance.

I don't know your field of expertise and what do you want to do.

Good luck!


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
Russian to English
+ ...
It may be not bad, depending on what you want Jul 28, 2016

They need top level interpreters only, high US clearance (not the highest I think), they have quite hard exams (some quite inadequate and really badly prepared—incomprehensible source, or very low quality), and they do not pay that much. It may depend on the language, if a quite rare language, they may pay better. For Spanish probably $50/hr with 2 hr minimum and many hearings, are no more than 2 hrs.

Portuguese, I don't know, maybe they'll pay $60.

I think they mostly deal with interpreting, so you have to live in the US, be a US citizen with high clearance and a very good interpreter with provable experience. You might be better off working for regular agencies, which pay well. Not the cheapoes, of course that have nothing to do with professional translation.

[Edited at 2016-07-28 07:16 GMT]


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Wendel Chaves de Jesus  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Freelancer Translator Jul 28, 2016

liviu roth wrote:

I have been working with Lionbridge for more than 15 years. The pay is above the average paid by other agencies but ... I work in a very narrow field of criminal justice and for that, there is a requirement to be US citizen and have DOJ clearance.

I don't know your field of expertise and what do you want to do.

Good luck!


Thanks for your response! I meant work as a freelancer translator. I was invited to cooperate in a project and I accepted, but not before reading bad things about it. Hence my doubt about my choice being good or bad.


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Wendel Chaves de Jesus  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 03:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
So it depends on the country and job Jul 28, 2016

LilianNekipelov wrote:

They need top level interpreters only, high US clearance (not the highest I think), they have quite hard exams (some quite inadequate and really badly prepared—incomprehensible source, or very low quality), and they do not pay that much. It may depend on the language, if a quite rare language, they may pay better. For Spanish probably $50/hr with 2 hr minimum and many hearings, are no more than 2 hrs.

Portuguese, I don't know, maybe they'll pay $60.

I think they mostly deal with interpreting, so you have to live in the US, be a US citizen with high clearance and a very good interpreter with provable experience. You might be better off working for regular agencies, which pay well. Not the cheapoes, of course that have nothing to do with professional translation.

[Edited at 2016-07-28 07:16 GMT]


I understand, thank you. I would prefer to work for an agency, but most of those I visited demanded that freelancer translators have something between 3 and 5 years of full time translator experience and I am not a full time translator because... most full time jobs demand full time experience. I am in a catch 22. I have some volunteering experience and I spent a year in a translation research group in college, besides translating for a gaming blog and some abstracts, but none of these count as full time experience and I don't know how to get to the 3-5 full time experience range. My current plan is to go on with my volunteering for a few years and then I might have better chances. Meanwhile, I will be hunting jobs and cooperating with Liobridge, I guess.

[Edited at 2016-07-28 12:13 GMT]


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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
The wrong approach Jul 28, 2016

No-one should demand anything from a freelance translator, because they're not employees. Period and full stop.

Basically with your experience, you should be able to get going. We had only very sparse experience (and I do mean sparse) when we started but we beefed it up and we gathered a loyal client base in about 6 months. We still work with two of our very first four clients, the other two didn't pay very much.

The only thing they are looking for when they try and demand 3 to 5 years' full-time experience is due diligence, because they don't want to get caught out with a bad beginner. Just put a portfolio together, get some references from your volunteer clients and show them you have expertise.

Just remember: for every agency that doesn't want you, there are plenty more who will and those rejecting you are just wrong.


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
The fact that you are permitted to name that company by name... Jul 28, 2016

... and not have your post removed (like most other companies that are mentioned) tells you everything you need to know.

[Edited at 2016-07-28 16:59 GMT]


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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:55
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Naming names Jul 28, 2016

I'm aware of the rule, and it does surprise me that nothing has been said about it up to now, but the comment ...

+++++
The fact that you are permitted to name that company by name... 17:42

... and not have your post removed (like most other companies that are mentioned) tells you everything you need to know.
+++++

... foxes me. What does it tell me, exactly? That the site is in cahoots with the company concerned?


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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jul 28, 2016

I would think quite the opposite.

What does it tell me, exactly? That the site is in cahoots with the company concerned?



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Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:55
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oh Jul 28, 2016

Oh

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
Russian to English
+ ...
Don't worry, most translators do not have full time experience, especially in some more rare Jul 29, 2016

language pairs. Translation is not a full time type of thing, and many agencies even do not know that. Just state where you worked and when, and you don't really have to disclose how many hours, or how many words you translated. It is the quality of translation that counts after all, not anything else.

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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:55
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Some agencies do ask that Jul 29, 2016

LilianNekipelov wrote:

language pairs. Translation is not a full time type of thing, and many agencies even do not know that. Just state where you worked and when, and you don't really have to disclose how many hours, or how many words you translated. It is the quality of translation that counts after all, not anything else.


Don't know about Lionbridge, but some agencies do ask you to specify what kind of experience you have, as in number of years, full-time/part-time, in-house/freelance. Some even asked me to give an estimate of the number of words I had translated (per pair/field).


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Kirsten Bodart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:55
Dutch to English
+ ...
I know Jul 29, 2016

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

LilianNekipelov wrote:

language pairs. Translation is not a full time type of thing, and many agencies even do not know that. Just state where you worked and when, and you don't really have to disclose how many hours, or how many words you translated. It is the quality of translation that counts after all, not anything else.


Don't know about Lionbridge, but some agencies do ask you to specify what kind of experience you have, as in number of years, full-time/part-time, in-house/freelance. Some even asked me to give an estimate of the number of words I had translated (per pair/field).


And I find it a bit... well, idiotic, really. I went through the whole shebang with one Czech agency recently, still no work... I shouldn't have been so conscientious and honest, come to think of it. And I won't next time. As if experience will really teach you how to write a proper text...
How do these people suggest our profession will survive if we can't take on any newbies 'because they don't have enough experience'?


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:55
Russian to English
+ ...
It does not matter what someone asks you—someone may even ask you what the size of your shoes is. Jul 30, 2016

All that matters is whether something is relevant. The number of words translated is totally irrelevant. It does not usually matter if someone translated 50,000 or 5 million. It may matter if someone translated 1,000 compared to 50,000. People looking for full time employment usually do not state in the resume whether they worked part time or full time, since it really does not matter that much.

Due diligence is not something that should be done with regard to freelancers and vendors. It may also save the companies some cash if they employ fewer HR people. They seem like they may be bored, and some ask you all those irrelevant questions.

[Edited at 2016-07-30 07:20 GMT]


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Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 08:55
Member
English to Italian
+ ...
Relevance Jul 30, 2016

LilianNekipelov wrote:

All that matters is whether something is relevant. The number of words translated is totally irrelevant. It does not usually matter if someone translated 50,000 or 5 million. It may matter if someone translated 1,000 compared to 50,000. People looking for full time employment usually do not state in the resume whether they worked part time or full time, since it really does not matter that much.

Due diligence is not something that should be done with regard to freelancers and vendors. It may also save the companies some cash if they employ fewer HR people. They seem like they may be bored, and some ask you all those irrelevant questions.


I was merely answering your previous post, to say that, contrary to what you wrote, in my experience some agencies do ask for such info, whether you consider them relevant or not. That is all.

That said, if you are asked X similar questions from a potential client, and you decide not to answer them because you consider them "irrelevant", that's obviously your choice.

And here I could digress, saying that a recently launched translators' platform which generated much discussion (and controversy) on the fora is basically based on the same principle, but I won't


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