Steps to establish reputation before getting started in translation career
Thread poster: dwilikers
dwilikers
United States
Local time: 03:10
Sep 3, 2016

A quick backstory: 10 years ago, I attempted to be a translator in a different source language than the one I'm asking about for a few months. I was very young and made a lot of mistakes, and after 6 months, and some serious evaluation on my skillset and what I was willing to do to improve in my source language, I stopped, got a career in IT, and I have been doing that since.

Later, I decided to learn Portuguese (BR), and thanks to the job I had when I started learning, I've had some real world opportunities to read and translate (for fun). Now, I am working for a large company with a very global presence. My job isn't related to translating and interpreting, but through some of the opportunities offered through my job, I've been writing daily, reading daily, and speaking almost daily in Portuguese, and I have been teaching English to my Lusophone colleagues.

I think I have a lot more to offer now that I have actual work experience, but due to my issues from before, I'm wondering what are other things I could do to show demonstrated experience with Portuguese as my source language (other than living in Brazil).

Here's my question, particularly for those that didn't have "credentials": what are some things I can do to continue building credibility? The only caveat I have is that I just recently was awarded an MSc. (not in translation), so I bristle at the idea of spending more time in school, especially with a family. Is the pro bono work I've been doing in my role a good way to make up for the missing pedigree? And are there ways to establish the reputation I have with Portuguese at work outside the company before making that leap again to freelancing?

[Edited at 2016-09-03 05:50 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 16:10
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Credentials Sep 4, 2016

dwilikers wrote:

Here's my question, particularly for those that didn't have "credentials": what are some things I can do to continue building credibility? The only caveat I have is that I just recently was awarded an MSc. (not in translation), so I bristle at the idea of spending more time in school, especially with a family. Is the pro bono work I've been doing in my role a good way to make up for the missing pedigree? And are there ways to establish the reputation I have with Portuguese at work outside the company before making that leap again to freelancing?

[Edited at 2016-09-03 05:50 GMT]


Credentials are cumulative and you need years to achieve. My best policy is do my best everyday to collect experiences as well as mistakes for better jobs in the future. Credentials can come in a number of manners, pro bono work, volunteer, paid job, trial translation, replying to translation forum etc.

Soonthon L.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:10
English to German
+ ...
Some thoughts Sep 4, 2016

dwilikers wrote:

...
Here's my question, particularly for those that didn't have "credentials": what are some things I can do to continue building credibility? The only caveat I have is that I just recently was awarded an MSc. (not in translation), so I bristle at the idea of spending more time in school, especially with a family. Is the pro bono work I've been doing in my role a good way to make up for the missing pedigree? And are there ways to establish the reputation I have with Portuguese at work outside the company before making that leap again to freelancing?

[Edited at 2016-09-03 05:50 GMT]


It seems you have a good job. Is it because you would rather be a translator that you are thinking of leaving it?
As far as your credentials are concerned, years of experience living in Brazil, speaking and writing the language on a daily basis in a specific field of expertise (IT, yes?) seem more than adequate experience in order to translate from it into English. But I wouldn't just give up my job and try to be a translator again - it will take a while until you can build up a client base and until then, you face uncertain financial times. Maybe there are opportunities even at your company where you can act as a translator without compromising your current career and pay?

[Edited at 2016-09-04 02:13 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:10
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Only way to improve is to translate Sep 4, 2016

dwilikers wrote:
And are there ways to establish the reputation I have with Portuguese at work outside the company before making that leap again to freelancing?

I don't want to be a downer, but I think the only thing that matters to clients is your ability to translate, and you can only prove that by turning in solid translations in a professional setting. Your experience in IT should count as "reputation" in that specific field and help you get a foot in the door for IT-related work, but if the translations are not competitive that won't help you longer term.

As Bernhard says, if you just leave your current job, you will face considerable uncertainty. Even if you are successful immediately it is highly unlikely that, as a freelancer, you will be able to immediately match your current income, because it takes time to accumulate the multiple clients that are needed. (Unless you work for just one huge client, but in that case you might as well be employed by the client, because you'll be totally dependent on them anyway.)

On the other hand, if you start by doing some freelancing in your own time (and does your contract allow that?) then you will inevitably be spending fewer hours with your family because some of your time outside your day job will be spent translating. Are you okay with that?

If you're successful in your part-time translation, you can win more and better clients, who will start to offer you more work and bigger projects. You can turn them down, but where do you go from there? Stop translating and regain time with family? Move to translating full time and accept some short-term loss of income until you build up the business? Continue doing some translation on the side and sacrifice time with family?

You need to work out what your goals are for 2, 5, 10 years from now and how translation fits in with that. Is it a potential full-time career, a job on the side, or a hobby?

Dan


[Edited at 2016-09-04 17:01 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
dwilikers
United States
Local time: 03:10
TOPIC STARTER
Response Sep 7, 2016

Thanks for your feedback everyone. Just to clarify, I'm not looking to quit my job any time soon, but to that point, there were plenty of suggestions here that I've started taking a look into to help me improve in translating and interpreting in and outside of my current job.

Outside of my job, I know that you can volunteer with the UN, and Duolingo is, more or less, a place to keep translating. I don't entirely remember where I found my paid engagements before, but I have seen some one-off requests pop up here and there in my local Brazilian community's mailing list.

Inside work, I've also been involved in some "extracurricular" activities lately at work with my Brazilian colleagues. I think I'll start asking them if they need some help with translations and interpretations.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Steps to establish reputation before getting started in translation career

Advanced search







PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search