Journalism Translation
Thread poster: Michael Purvis

Michael Purvis  Identity Verified
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 12, 2016

Hello everyone,

I have been working part time as a translator for the last four years. So far, the work I have been getting has been very varied and not necessarily the kind of work I want to be doing. I am now about to start translating full time, and I am hoping to exert greater control over the kinds of jobs I receive. I have an undergraduate degree in Journalism and have just completed a PhD in Latin American studies (cinema specifically) and I would like to translate texts that relate to this. Ideally, I would love to make a living translating journalistic texts about Latin America.

I have no idea whether this is realistic, or how I should go about establishing myself as this kind of a translator. When I got started, my approach was just to respond to jobs on proz until I had enough regular clients sending me various things to keep me going. I am not sure how to go about changing my situation, and I hope you all will be able to give me some useful advice!

My translation pairs are Spanish - English and Swedish - English. I am working on adding Portuguese and Danish to this mix as well.

Thanks!

[Edited at 2016-12-12 13:27 GMT]


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Be proactive and you can get there Dec 12, 2016

Michael Purvis wrote:
I have an undergraduate degree in Journalism and have just completed a PhD in Latin American studies (cinema specifically) and I would like to translate texts that relate to this. Ideally, I would love to make a living translating journalistic texts about Latin America.

I have no idea whether this is realistic

It sounds perfectly realistic. Maybe you'd be wise to accept working with texts about Spain too, and non-journalistic texts about the culture etc. But I don't see why you shouldn't be able to carve yourself a niche and forget about technical manuals, contracts and birth certificates. Being a specialist is most definitely the future, and IMHO it's absolutely essential in the FIGS pairs. The low rates that a generalist can demand can be doubled if you specialise (and don't underestimate the negative message that a too-low rate can give).

how I should go about establishing myself as this kind of a translator. When I got started, my approach was just to respond to jobs on proz until I had enough regular clients sending me various things to keep me going.

Well, it's good to see that you've been able to fill your time like that, but I think you need to be far more pro-active in the future with it being your sole source of income. You need to select and target your potential clientele, not just sit back and wait for them to post jobs. Well over half the jobs awarded through this site never get advertised! Clients contact translators whose profiles appear to be a good match, but they'll only look at the first page or two of the directory. So, if you want to find work here you first have to follow all the 'rules': a 100% complete profile, paying membership, lots of KudoZ points, specialisations very clearly stressed, including in keywords, etc. Check out the Site Guidance Centre and get yourself a place on the free "Meeting Clients" webinar.

I don't really have many ideas about who to approach, but I would definitely advise you to target clients other than translation agencies. Maybe publishing houses (books and periodicals), trade associations, universities...

My translation pairs are Spanish - English and Swedish - English. I am working on adding Portuguese and Danish to this mix as well.

That's up to you, of course. But make sure you don't water down your message as a specialist. Are you a real expert in those languages? If not, it may be better to stick to doing what you do best.

Good luck!


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Christian Nielsen-Palacios  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:01
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
FIGS Dec 12, 2016

[quote]Sheila Wilson wrote:

"Being a specialist is most definitely the future, and IMHO it's absolutely essential in the FIGS pairs"

FIGS = French Italian German Spanish? Never heard the acronym before.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:01
Member (2008)
Italian to English
NHI Dec 12, 2016

NHI

= neither have I.

YCPAIANIYWT



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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:01
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Simple questions Dec 12, 2016

Michael Purvis wrote:
Ideally, I would love to make a living translating journalistic texts about Latin America.

What is your perception of the way journalism has changed over the past 10-15 years, how do you expect it to change over the next 20 years and how do you foresee it being funded?

Dan


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:01
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
:) Dec 12, 2016

Christian Nielsen-Palacios wrote:
Sheila Wilson wrote:
"Being a specialist is most definitely the future, and IMHO it's absolutely essential in the FIGS pairs"

FIGS = French Italian German Spanish? Never heard the acronym before.

Yes, sorry. Those, plus Portuguese (they changed it to include that but I can't remember how - it ruined it for me), into and out of English.

Go on then, Tom. Please share what on earth YCPAIANIYWT stands for. You can...? You can't...?

[Edited at 2016-12-12 17:46 GMT]


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