The eager newbie and the unfortunate typo. (Looking for general advice)
Thread poster: Lucas Fernandes

Lucas Fernandes
Brazil
Local time: 14:20
Member (Oct 2018)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Aug 9

Hello, I hope you are all doing well.

A bit of context; I am 23 y/o and brazilian, currently trying to build a decent ProZ profile.

I have learned english(C2, according to EFSET) by myself, through games, movies, books, etc. Now as a student of Psychology, most of my studying is done in the english language. Learning new languages and listening to all kinds of music in every language I can find is something very dear to me, I understand spanish and for the last couple of years I have been exploring german, french, italian and japanese. Last month I thought it would be great if I could mix something that i love with work; I made an account on the Translators Without Borders' site and found myself having a lot of fun revising an EN-PT translation.

Some advice would be greatly appreciated. I want to translate, I feel like I could fall in love with this job, but my brain is overloaded by the amount of information given by some of the beginners guides that I found. I particularly have a hard time understanding CATs, there are some that cost 700 euros(WAY out of my budget) while others are free. As a beginner, is there a specific CAT that I should learn to use? How much should someone without experience charge for word?

Now, to express my gratitude towards everyone who took some time out of their day to read this post I thought I should share something that might get a chuckle out of some of you.

Yesterday, after a lot of researching about the "world of translators", I found a very interesting job posted here.

"Why not give it a shot?" - I thought.

I sent an email and went to sleep.

Today I was looking through my inbox and thought I should check the email I sent yesterday, you know, just to see if I could have worded it better. Lo and behold, I missed an "s" in the word "assess"; and yes, in the second half of the word.

Whether I succeed as a translator or not, I will always remember the feeling of having written "asses" on my first job application!

Cheers!


 

Agnese Zuravska
Latvia
Local time: 18:20
English to Latvian
+ ...
CAT tools Aug 10

When speaking about CAT tools I suggest you first at least try out the free trial versions of SDL Trados and MemoQ. Trials last one month so I believe that should be enough time for you to learn these programs and help you decide whether you even want to use CAT tools.
Although I myself have not been working as a translator for long, so far I did not have the requirement to use CAT tools.
As for your first job application, do not sweat it. Rarely anyone gets accepted on their first job anyway!icon_biggrin.gif


Valérie Ourset
 

Maxi Schwarz
Local time: 10:20
German to English
+ ...
CAT tools Aug 10

Some of us have never used them, and probably never will. Do you know why you are thinking of getting one?

Teresa Borges
Kaspars Melkis
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:20
Member
Italian to English
Priorities Aug 10

You are right... there IS a lot of information out there and it can be overwhelming for someone who is new to the business.

Personally I would not be thinking about a CAT tool right now. I would also not offer translations into English if this is not your mother tongue, although your English does seem very good. However I noticed a few grammatical errors on your profile (English, Japanese, German etc. are all written with capital letters, for example), which do not do much to instill confidence into potential clients. Ask yourself in which language combinations you can truly deliver impeccable translations and concentrate on those for the moment - you can always add others later on.

So my advice to you at this moment in time is to put the issue of CAT tools aside (not saying forget about them, but it is something you can explore when you have time to spare), tighten up your profile, create a strong CV and begin applying for jobs.

Best of luck!

[Edited at 2018-08-10 11:49 GMT]


Valérie Ourset
Rachel Fell
Josephine Cassar
Viviane Marx
Teresa Borges
Nikki Scott-Despaigne
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 16:20
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Be professional Aug 10

Lucas de Carvalho wrote:
I want to translate, I feel like I could fall in love with this job, but my brain is overloaded by the amount of information given by some of the beginners guides that I found. I particularly have a hard time understanding CATs, there are some that cost 700 euros(WAY out of my budget) while others are free. As a beginner, is there a specific CAT that I should learn to use?

You're clearly bringing a great deal of enthusiasm to translation, and that has to be good. But as a beginner you need to learn how it's done. The ability to research is just about the most important skill of any translator - assuming that they have the required language skills, of course - so keep on reading and learning. As far as a CAT tool is concerned, I think it's tantamount to suicide for a young beginner translator such as yourself to have little idea about what a CAT tool is and how to use one. This is the technological era, after all! Whether you actually use one is a different matter, as often you aren't obliged to (although many of us do, to take advantage of their benefits). Buying one can wait until you can envisage a return on investment from professional translation. However, if you find yourself in a position to land a big and worthwhile job, but only if you have a paid licence for a CAT tool, then you'll need to be able to use your new purchase fully from day one. And there's quite a long learning curve to these tools.

I made an account on the Translators Without Borders' site and found myself having a lot of fun revising an EN-PT translation.

Have you done any translations at all? You haven't spoken of doing any - whether for pleasure or financial gain. Have you ever had any feedback about whether you're doing them correctly? In the absence of any sure knowledge that you know what you're doing, I have to say that I consider it extremely unwise to try to correct the work of others, who probably are experienced. Translating/revising on cloud-resourced sites such as Wikipedia and TED would be a better idea, IMHO. You need time to feel your feet, build your skills, and prove your abilities as a translator.

I think your main problem is going to be persuading potential clients that you really can provide them with the goods. How about getting a recognised certification of your level of English? That test you took really doesn't prove anything much; it's far too basic and simplistic. Something like the Cambridge Proficiency or a high score in the TOEFL would instantly give clients confidence in your ability to understand complex English texts. And how about some sort of training in translating? Some of us come into freelance translation later in life as a second or third career and can make do without too much in the way of certificates as we've had so much in the way of life experience, but you have very little to offer at the moment, apart from a good deal of motivation. There's a lot more to professional translation than just knowing two languages, so you'd be well advised to get some training in your chosen profession. I imagine you wouldn't expect to get work in psychology without training?

In short, I know you're impatient to get started, but I'd advise you to take your time and make sure you have something solid to offer clients before you start taking their money. You don't want to take the fun out of it, but you do need to see it more as a business and a profession.


Connected Trans
Viviane Marx
Teresa Borges
 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
Don't translate into English Aug 10

Lucas, I wish you luck, but your English writing skills are way too poor for you to translate into English.

Your profile starts:

Brazilian, 23 years old, fluent in english.

FYI languages are written with capitals!

Forget that, just translate into Portuguese!
As for CATs, give memoQ a shot, it's great.


 

Lucas Fernandes
Brazil
Local time: 14:20
Member (Oct 2018)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, everyone! Aug 10

Sheila,

I have translated before, for fun, but probably no more than 3000 words in total.

Sheila Wilson wrote:
The ability to research is just about the most important skill of any translator


Giving suggestions in the KudoZ section has been a lot of fun! In just a few days my research skills have increased quite a bit.

--

Thank you, Agnese Zuravska, Fiona Grace Peterson, Maxi Schwarz, Sheila Wilson and Richard Purdom, all of you have helped me a great deal! I will take the advice to heart.

[Edited at 2018-08-10 22:03 GMT]


Richard Purdom
 


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