Credentials for French to English translators
Thread poster: Rachel Gorney

Rachel Gorney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:34
French to English
Oct 5, 2005

I'm American and have been living in France for about 6 years. I've been working at universities and business schools, where I have had to do a lot of informal translation, though I don't have any specific tranlating credentials or training.

However, without ever having looked for work as a translator, a great project fell into my lap -- I am now translating a marketing textbook. I am being paid well by the publisher, and the project supervisors are pleased with my work.

I enjoy translating, and now have specialized knowledge in marketing and management. I'd like to become a professional translator and editor specialising in communications, marketing and management.

A few questions:
I'd like to learn some software -- which do you suggest, Trados or Wordfast?

How can I acquire a professional credential either in the US or France without doing a 2-year masters? (I already have a masters in education, and do not want to go back to school full-time.)

Right now, I only have one language pair (French to English). Would adding Spanish to English be a smart investment?

Thanks in advance....

-Rachel


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 16:34
another language Oct 5, 2005

Most newbies would kill for that kind of opportunity, you have been very lucky.

I'd actually recommend learning a less common language than Spanish. Why not create a niche for yourself by learning a "minor" language?

It's up to you what language you want to learn of course, and whether you would be willing to move there in order to be able to translate from that language in a couple of years time.

good luck!
Orla


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writeaway  Identity Verified
French to English
+ ...
It would be great if taking a few courses in a languge was all it took to be able to translate it Oct 5, 2005

rgorney wrote:


Right now, I only have one language pair (French to English). Would adding Spanish to English be a smart investment?

Thanks in advance....

-Rachel


I've noticed a number of people who think that 'learning' a new language means that that language can be listed as a 'working language' as soon as the course is finished.
That would be great. I could add at least 3 languages straight away. For instance, I lived in Italy for 3 years, I speak fluent Italian but I don't translate it professionally. Why? Because if I get a poorly written source text, I don't know the Italian language well enough to be able to deal with it properly. When I get French, German or Dutch texts with typos, mistakes in choice of words, words left out, words added by mistake, poorly phrased sentences etc. etc., I can see that immediately and make sure my translation avoids/works around the error(s) in the source text.
As a professional translator, I can't see how 'adding' a new language is going to help, unless you move to a Spanish-speaking country for a couple of years in order to get to know the real language. Text book language learning is just the start.
Imho, naturally.


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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 18:34
Member (2004)
French to English
+ ...
French-English Certification Oct 6, 2005

The ATA (American Translation Association) has regulary scheduled exams for certification, including in Europe (but not in Israel). You are not required to take a course, but the tests are difficult, or so I am told. Check with the ATA.

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Rachel Gorney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:34
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
acquiring a 3rd language Oct 6, 2005

Writaway,

Just clarify, I have studied Spanish for about 7 years. By "adding" it, I meant making the decision to invest the additional time and money in intensive immersion study (in Spain), and advanced instruction, reading, etc. to work towards a high enough level to start doing at least basic translation, perhaps in a couple years.

I know very well that that doesn't happen over night! I don't think any translator (or anyone who lives abroad, as I do) is under that the impression that languages can be aquired easily or quickly. I am QUITE aware of what it takes to be able to translate a language, which is why I take the time to research before making the investment.

-R


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Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 17:34
English to French
Credentials , VAE in France and China: an alternative way? Oct 6, 2005

Greetings,

I am a newbie in this community. I am not a professionnal translator. I wonder: can anybody make translations in France? What does French law say about translation? What about classifieds in newspapers and websites?
I respect the translation community. I know it takes more than being bilingual to translater properly, and learning by doing is so great.
I wonder if it is possible to get an accreditation without going back to university for long years (for example in France we have a process called: VAE (it means: you get a diploma that corresponds to a certain number of years of work experience)
So for example if I work freelance for some years doing English-French translation, can I ask for a diploma or certification, and do you know which ones?
To make it simple: I want to avoid studying for long years.I would take evening courses in translation techniques (do they exist in France??), which after a few years would be equivalent to a full-time degree.At the same time, I woul gain experience, money, and a good language background.



Thank you for your attention.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
German to English
+ ...
Credentials for French to English translators Oct 7, 2005

There is already an oversupply of French-to-English translators, in particular would-be French-to-English translators who are poorly qualified in the broadest sense for freelance work. That makes it difficult for a new translator to break into the market unless they have something special to offer, such as subject expertise in an area which is in demand.

Unfortunately, the same is true of Spanish to English. Fighting for scraps in two markets is no more effective or pleasant than in one.

A more effective strategy would be for you to carve out a niche for yourself in French, by adding subject-area expertise or targeting an area in which you already have such expertise. There are plenty of translators who make a good living translating from one language, but in Western Europe at least, few are successful at being jacks of all trades in several languages.

Marc


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:34
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Oversupply of French-to-English translators Oct 7, 2005

MarcPrior wrote:

There is already an oversupply of French-to-English translators ...

Unfortunately, the same is true of Spanish to English.

Marc



If there is an oversupply of translators in certain language pairs, then I think it is in the interest of those wanting to become translators in those pairs to be made aware of this. Maybe working translators themselves should do more to dissuade beginning translators from choosing overcrowded language pairs.

It would be interesting to hear other points of view about which language pairs do, and do not, have an oversupply of translators.


Maybe somewhat off-topic, but MarcPrior made a good point.


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Sara Freitas
France
Local time: 17:34
French to English
Oversupply? Oct 7, 2005

I turn down almost as much work as I take on (and I work at "respectable" rates).

There might be an oversupply of Fr-Eng translators in general but I doubt there's an oversupply of Fr-Eng translators who are professional, reliable, flexible, have a keen understanding of the source language and culture, write well in the target language, don't miss deadlines, etc.

That's my experience. I love what I do, make more money than I could ever dream of making working for someone else in this country (France), and have definitely not felt that there was an oversupply of qualified people doing what I do.

My 2 cents.

Sara


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xxxdf49f
France
Local time: 17:34
add-on to Sara's comments Oct 8, 2005

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:

There might be an oversupply of Fr-Eng translators in general but I doubt there's an oversupply of Fr-Eng translators who are professional, reliable, flexible, have a keen understanding of the source language and culture, write well in the target language, don't miss deadlines, etc.

Sara


In France, there is indeed an oversupply of Fr->Engl AND Engl>Fr translators. An oversupply, that is, of mediocre, wannabe, never-will-be, self-proclaimed, ignorant, incompetent persons of all walks of life (would you believe, some of them are even Platinum members on this site...!) Since there are no legal requirements to hold any kind of diploma/certification/accreditation, ANYbody can get business cards printed, fill out the URSSAF triplicate form (or not...) and advertise as a translator... English midwives marrying a French journalist and turned "medical specialist" translator, American students deciding to stay in Gai Paris after the term's over to stay with their French girl-friend, high-school teachers who top up their civil servant salary with undeclared work, secretaries tired of their boss (after all they've been translating business memos...), even graduates of translation schools who believe that the diploma automatically gives them the skills...

There is however (in line with Sara's comment) a shortage of good to very good translators in all areas (and diplomas/accredition are not the issue).

...my own 2 eurocents
dominique


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:34
German to English
+ ...
Credentials for French to English translators Oct 9, 2005

Sara Freitas-Maltaverne wrote:

There might be an oversupply of Fr-Eng translators in general but I doubt there's an oversupply of Fr-Eng translators who are professional, reliable, flexible, have a keen understanding of the source language and culture, write well in the target language, don't miss deadlines, etc.


That was exactly my point. However, it's worth bearing in mind that most translation work is specialized in some way or other (a survey conducted some ten years ago by the BdÜ found that around 70% was "technical", and most of the remainder could be classified as legal, medical or commercial). So, your list of criteria must also include either subject knowledge, or excellent research skills, or both.

Marc


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Adel Ramdane  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:34
French to English
+ ...
Further education is not such a good idea ! Oct 15, 2005

Rachel Gorney wrote:

I'm American and have been living in France for about 6 years. I've been working at universities and business schools, where I have had to do a lot of informal translation, though I don't have any specific tranlating credentials or training.

However, without ever having looked for work as a translator, a great project fell into my lap -- I am now translating a marketing textbook. I am being paid well by the publisher, and the project supervisors are pleased with my work.

I enjoy translating, and now have specialized knowledge in marketing and management. I'd like to become a professional translator and editor specialising in communications, marketing and management.

A few questions:
I'd like to learn some software -- which do you suggest, Trados or Wordfast?

How can I acquire a professional credential either in the US or France without doing a 2-year masters? (I already have a masters in education, and do not want to go back to school full-time.)

Right now, I only have one language pair (French to English). Would adding Spanish to English be a smart investment?

Thanks in advance....

-Rachel

Adding a new language is always a good investment. Further education on the other hand is a waste time. I was hired by several companies without being asked to provide any qualification whatsoever so...
now I added up a masters in interpreting to my long list of qualifications and guess what ! it did not make a diffrence !!!
Go figure !


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Credentials for French to English translators

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