1 year break working after bachelor or starting with the master straight away ?
Thread poster: Giulia Gallo

Giulia Gallo
Italy
Local time: 07:52
Dutch to Italian
+ ...
Aug 22, 2016

Hello everyone! I'm a 22-year-old girl and I'm about to get my bachelor degree in Applied interlinguistic communication from Trieste university in November. My language combination included English, French and Dutch, but I also have good knowledge of Spanish, since I have studied it for 3 years in high school and I then took it for my optional credits.

So, I'm about to sit the admission tests for the masters in Conference interpreting and Specialized translation at both the university of Trieste and Forlì and I'm thinking of possible alternatives in case they don't go well, since I would actually love to find an internship or, even better, but probably more difficult, a job in the translation field for a year, while I decide what master is more suitable for me and where it is (all the masters I had seen abroad elsewhere than Italy started this september and required a bachelor degree which I still do not hold!)
I'm aware that my question might sound confusing, because I don't have a clear mind about my future. All I know is that I've always been passionate about foreign languages and translation and that I would love to get to make the most of my Dutch proficiency, also as it's not such a usual language to learn for Italians.
I already did an internship in a translation agency in Trieste, where I was assigned mainly translations and proofreading of birth, death certificates and other red tape material, but unfortunately I wasn't taught how to use any translation program there.

I was wondering whether anyone who has more experience than me could give me a piece of advice. I'm not financially independent, unfortunately, and what scares me the most is the idea of not finding anything paid because of my lack of qualifications, since I know a bachelor degree isn't much nowadays.
I'm very motivated though and I would move anywhere if needed. I would love to improve my knowledge of the languages I'm studying and even learn one more, like German and acquire experience in the professional field.
Hopefully someone can shed a bit of light on my dilemma!
Thank you very much


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 12:52
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Learning curves Aug 23, 2016

Giulia Gallo wrote:

Hello everyone! I'm a 22-year-old girl and I'm about to get my bachelor degree in Applied interlinguistic communication from Trieste university in November. My language combination included English, French and Dutch, but I also have good knowledge of Spanish, since I have studied it for 3 years in high school and I then took it for my optional credits.

So, I'm about to sit the admission tests for the masters in Conference interpreting and Specialized translation at both the university of Trieste and Forlì and I'm thinking of possible alternatives in case they don't go well, since I would actually love to find an internship or, even better, but probably more difficult, a job in the translation field for a year, while I decide what master is more suitable for me and where it is (all the masters I had seen abroad elsewhere than Italy started this september and required a bachelor degree which I still do not hold!)
I'm aware that my question might sound confusing, because I don't have a clear mind about my future. All I know is that I've always been passionate about foreign languages and translation and that I would love to get to make the most of my Dutch proficiency, also as it's not such a usual language to learn for Italians.


In my experience, I worked when I was studying for bachelor degree. My master degree and higher confirmed my financial availability. If I were you, I will not go straightforward for higher degrees until gaining certain confident circumstances.

Soonthon L.


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Texte Style
Local time: 07:52
French to English
gap year working abroad? Aug 23, 2016

Might I suggest going to live in a country where one of your source languages is spoken? I would suggest looking for a job in a field that interests you, not necessarily in an agency or as a translator.

If you get a job in another field, that field could then become one of your specialities. For example, an intern I hired once had already worked in finance and in a pharmaceuticals firm (albeit in pretty lowly positions), and so he was put in charge of all translations in those fields. This gave the company a great boost and we had more work in those lines of business as a result.

Then there was the one who had spent most weekends during his youth tinkering with the underside of cars with his dad. He was put in charge of all translations for the automotive industry. Similarly, I had been taught dressmaking and knitting by my mother and so I already had mastered a lot of terminology when I started working in textiles, now my main field.

Fact is, people like to have the reassurance that you not only speak the languages but that you also have some working knowledge of the subject in hand.


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tinageta  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:52
English to Latvian
+ ...
Get a job Aug 23, 2016

And not necessarily in translation. Nowadays a successful translator is not a translator that can translate general texts from 5 languages reasonably well, but a translator specialising in a certain field (be it law, technology, environment, you name it). For that hands-on experience is invaluable. A translator with a BA who has worked in a TV store will be much better at translating instructions for a TV set than a lofty MA holder who does not know how to turn the TV on (my case).
Or get a degree or some other kind of training in another field, the one you plan to specialise in.
Or try to get a traineeship with the European Parliament or the Commission: that would be a great experience in real life circumstances without any of the hardships or responsibility it entails:
http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/translation/workwithus/trainee/index_en.htm
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/en/20150201PVL00047/Traineeships
They pay a grant, too, not much but sufficient to eat and have a roof above your head.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:52
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
My 2 cents Aug 23, 2016

Giulia Gallo wrote:
Hello everyone! I'm a 22-year-old girl and I'm about to get my bachelor degree in Applied interlinguistic communication from Trieste university in November. My language combination included English, French and Dutch, but I also have good knowledge of Spanish, since I have studied it for 3 years in high school and I then took it for my optional credits.

We don't know much more than that about you, so there may be important information missing that would change the game. But from the above, it looks likely that you've learnt your languages in a classroom, rather than in a "live" situation. Certainly three years of high school Spanish isn't enough to provide you with the level required by a freelance translator. You need to have a really deep knowledge of the language and the culture before using it as a source language. I would forget about acquiring more languages. Concentrate instead on increasing your knowledge of the current ones, even maybe dropping Spanish for professional purposes, at least for the moment. A proliferation of languages looks great on an international tourism CV but it can be quite negative on a translator's one, unless there are solid reasons for it. I know two children whose parents speak different languages and who live in a country where a third language is spoken - both trilingual by the end of their first school year and no doubt they'll pick up other (source) languages in time. Without that justification though, you risk coming over as a generalist not to be trusted with "heavyweight" material.

What would really benefit you the most, in my personal opinion, would be a year living in one of the countries where they speak one or more of your source languages, not necessarily in a job where you're classed as a translator, but in one where you'd make daily use of your languages. A customer relations job in a hotel, tourist office, import/export company... Maybe Belgium would be a good idea? Of course, it will be Flemish rather than Dutch, but that shouldn't be a negative factor if your level of Dutch is high enough for you to be able to distinguish the differences. In Brussels and other major cities I would imagine you'll find work using all your languages. You would also gain invaluable experience in a specific sector (e.g. hospitality, tourism or import/export business in the examples given above). In the more common pairs it's essential to specialise, to become a bigger fish in a smaller pond. I don't know whether that's true in all of your pairs but it certainly applies in EN>IT.


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Kelly Neudorfer  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 07:52
German to English
Agree Aug 24, 2016

I agree with the others that you should look to gain experience in something *other* than translating to really increase your market value, and ideally you would do that in a country that speaks one of your source languages.

My best-paying, biggest jobs are all ones I got because of my experience outside of translation. Clients trust my language proficiency because English is my native language and my German clients can hear/read how well I speak/write German, but they notice me in the first place and then give me the jobs because they know that I have spent years working in the subject field (in my case political science and universities).

I therefore second Sheila's suggestion to go abroad for a year or even a few years, get a job in an area in which you'd like to translate in the future (business, marketing, legal, etc.), and then really get proficient in the language and culture. I'm not saying that you should go get a job as an HR director or a lawyer, but just by working in those kinds of environments in an assistant position will immerse you in the jargon and help you to understand the context of the translations you will later do. You will never get that kind of practical experience in an MA/MSc program.


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Elizabeth Faracini  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:52
Member (2010)
Italian to English
+ ...
Take a break from school Aug 24, 2016

I agree that it would be a good idea to live in one or more of your source language countries for a certain period of time and work in a non-translation field.

I believe that taking time off from school and spending some time outside academia can really help to clarify your ideas about what you want to do in the future. Personally, I had a six-year gap between my BA and MA. During that time, I lived in a few different countries, did a lot of travelling and had a number of different jobs. Compared to other students in my MA course who had just completed a BA, I believe that I was more focused on what I wanted to get out of my studies. Spending some time in the "real world" really helps to gain some perspective.

You mentioned that you aren't financially independent. Perhaps you could look for a job in a different country teaching Italian in a language school. Then at least you'd have income right away when you arrive, and you could always seek out another job later on. Or maybe you could check out the Erasmus program, which seems to offer traineeship programs for recent graduates.
https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/erasmus-plus/opportunities-for-individuals/trainees/students_it


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:52
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Keep going! Aug 24, 2016

The market is extremely competitive and any competitive edge you can get will do wonders in the long run.

Studying for your MA would not keep you from investing time marketing your services, honing your translation skills, trying your luck with agencies, etc. Personally I would keep going while you begin to market your abilities.

Edited to add this: Seeing other people's comments, I do agree that it would be useful to you to increase your knowledge in some area of your interest other than translation itself. Let me ask you this: So, how about a MA in some other trade you are interested in (and I mean genuinely and personally interested, even if it is moose breeding techniques in Southern Mongolia)? This way, you will continue your academic career with all options to begin a PhD programme (even in Translation) later on, but you would gain a good competitive edge.

[Edited at 2016-08-24 14:09 GMT]


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1 year break working after bachelor or starting with the master straight away ?

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