Italian to English work prevalence
Thread poster: S_89
S_89
United Kingdom
Feb 27

So, I've heard conflicting reports about the prevalence of work with an Italian to English work load and was just wondering if anyone else had any insights as to this language pair.

I have the opportunity to develop my Italian to translation standard (basically, to study it to degree in translation level) and was wondering if it is worth the investment, or if I should develop another of my languages.

I've had some tell me that due to the downturn in the Italian economy and the fact that many Italian companies will take English translations from native Italian speakers that aren't necessarily the best quality but rather the lowest price, there is a lot less work, and apparently it can be more difficult to receive payment from Italian companies.

Yet I have also been told that there is enough work from Italian to English.

Any thoughts much appreciated.


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Francesca D'Asdia  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:11
English to Italian
+ ...
Choose another language Feb 28

Hi,
I'm Italian and I translate only into my mother tongue language. I chose NOT to work with Italian private customers, companies and agencies because they do not pay!
Chasing payments is exhausting and it's simply not worth my time and energy. Italians simply do not understand the importance of having an effective and well done translation. When travelling to Italy you'll see the most horrific google translated texts in every official document, on tourist information boards, trains, buses and marketing leafles of any kind and even on social media! I must admit I find it very embarrasing for my country but that's simply the truth. So my advice is "yes, choose another language if you can!"
Good luck,
Fran


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:11
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Ups and downs Feb 28

Over the last 15+ years there have been ups and downs, but translating ITA-ENG has been my main job for ages now. I get much more ITA-ENG work than ESP-ENG for example, but maybe that's just me.
There was a big slump when the crisis hit, but last year was my best ever, so I feel fairly positive about what the future will bring.
Maybe Chinese would be a good choice if you don't want to go for Italian.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
It depends Feb 28

S_89 wrote:

So, I've heard conflicting reports about the prevalence of work with an Italian to English work load and was just wondering if anyone else had any insights as to this language pair.

I have the opportunity to develop my Italian to translation standard (basically, to study it to degree in translation level) and was wondering if it is worth the investment, or if I should develop another of my languages.

I've had some tell me that due to the downturn in the Italian economy and the fact that many Italian companies will take English translations from native Italian speakers that aren't necessarily the best quality but rather the lowest price, there is a lot less work, and apparently it can be more difficult to receive payment from Italian companies.

Yet I have also been told that there is enough work from Italian to English.

Any thoughts much appreciated.


It depends on how good you are, and on your areas of specialisation.

It's a given that you need to have full command of Italian not merely as a living written and spoken language, but as many languages; in fact depending on the type of document you are translating, you will find that its author uses the language in their own way. Your Italian must be so good that you can pick up on their mistakes/quirks/idiosyncracies, as well as on the very specialised terminology used in particular fields (for example, "un messicano" in building construction does not mean "a Mexican").

Assuming that you have many years of experience working in Italian, and that you have a specialised field (mine is construction/architecture/urban planning and related fields) then you have a good chance of getting plenty of work. If, on the other hand, you don't, then you will be competing with the thousands of other "generic" ITA/ENG translators who don't do a good job, but are cheaper. You will only be able to survive by charging lower rates than anyone else.

And as has been said, the ITA/ENG field has ups and downs, for example: it tends to be very busy in July because everyone wants to get everything done before they go on their long summer holiday. August is dead because nobody is working. September can be slow because people are back at work but they haven't produced any material yet that will need to be translated.

And yes, it's true: over the last 10 years or so the small industries that used to be the backbone of the Italian manufacturing economy have been almost completely destroyed by crazy economic policies. I used to get a lot of work translating documents about machinery, building products, etc., but that has all dried up. So there's a lot less work than there used to be, although in some sectors the Italian economy is still holding up.

As Jo says:if you want to make a lot of money but only by having to work very hard for a low rate, Mandarin is probably still going to be your best bet for many years to come. But IMHO it's more important to specialise in a particular field, e.g. medical science, surgery, etc. In the ITA/ENG pair there are endless Kudoz questions about specialised medical terms from translators who are completely out of their depth!

As for not getting paid, Italy is no worse than anywhere else. The real problem is all those not particularly brilliant generic ITA/ENG translators who charge less than everyone else and are keeping the rates far lower than they are in the rest of Europe, in other language pairs. Consequently, it's quite difficult to resist the constant pressure to charge less (which should always be avoided).

[Edited at 2017-02-28 14:43 GMT]


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:11
Member
Italian to English
Ups and downs here too Feb 28

There have always been ups and downs in this job: like buses, the work tends to come all at once, then you might get a few weeks with nothing. There was a big slump last year, and I truly feared I had somehow ended up in some weird parallel universe where the flow of work, previously more or less constant, was dropping away into a big cosmic void, some errant black hole.

But this month work has literally exploded, I'm fighting it off with a sharp stick, like the zombie apocalypse.

My advice would be to go with the language you enjoy and are good at. Specialise and become that person people turn to when they need a translation, because they know they will get a good quality service. I couldn't imagine working in a language I didn't love, simply because it offered more work.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Still alive? Feb 28

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

.... this month work has literally exploded.


Wow - how did that happen? Overheated computer? I hope you're OK.


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:11
Member
Italian to English
Explosion? Pah. Feb 28

Tom in London wrote:

Wow - how did that happen? Overheated computer? I hope you're OK.


Being an advanced cyborg, an experimental combat model capable of self-repair, my body is capable of withstanding much more than a mere explosion. But thanks for your concern.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:11
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Weird that isn't it? Feb 28

Fiona Grace Peterson wrote:

There was a big slump last year, and I truly feared I had somehow ended up in some weird parallel universe where the flow of work, previously more or less constant, was dropping away into a big cosmic void, some errant black hole.

But this month work has literally exploded, I'm fighting it off with a sharp stick, like the zombie apocalypse.


Hi Fiona,
That goes to show each one of us has his/her own experience even in pretty much the same market, because last year I had a ton of work and this month is pretty slow, exactly the opposite of your experience.

Maybe we should team up to share the work around a bit.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:11
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Italian KudoZ Feb 28

Tom in London wrote:

In the ITA/ENG pair there are endless Kudoz questions about specialised medical terms from translators who are completely out of their depth!


Which explains why I have earned more KudoZ points in Italian>English than in any other pair.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:11
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Yes but Mar 1

Michele Fauble wrote:

Tom in London wrote:

In the ITA/ENG pair there are endless Kudoz questions about specialised medical terms from translators who are completely out of their depth!


Which explains why I have earned more KudoZ points in Italian>English than in any other pair.


Yes Michele, but rather than helping someone incompetent to translate those jobs, shouldn't you be getting those jobs yourself?


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Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:11
Member
Italian to English
Off topic Mar 1

Tom in London wrote:

rather than helping someone incompetent to translate those jobs, shouldn't you be getting those jobs yourself?


No thanks - I want to command higher rates than these people obviously do. And we're going off topic.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:11
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Mar 1



[Edited at 2017-03-01 21:21 GMT]


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