Taking the plunge. How to prepare?
Thread poster: Bruna De Luca

Bruna De Luca
Local time: 00:09
Italian to English
Oct 7, 2005

For many years I've toyed with the idea of becoming a full-time, freelance translator but I've always been a bit sketchy about how to go about it and had generally let my plans fall by the wayside.
From feedback, I was led to believe a language degree wouldn't suffice as there are so many other professional qualifications that would outshine it.
Reading of experiences in PROZ forums, however, has been such an eye-opener. It has enabled me to see many diverse backgrounds. It has made me sit up and look at what I've achieved to date and question my skills, experience and capabilities with a view to achieving my goal.

It's the first time I've felt a real drive for a career alogside a certain degree of confidence that I would be good at it...I've even found myself reading CAT software manuals with enthusiasm and interest. Ok, maybe that's taking things too far but I love (even the frustration of) all kinds of word games/puzzles/language problems and have been known to bore people into the wee hours with such matters. I also feel culturally "in tune" with my source language.

My question is, to those of you previously in other full-time employment, what factors convinced you to take the plunge and set-up on your own? Did you already have a client base? Did you already have some business sense or did you learn through trial and error?

I have a degree in my source language, this also included 2 years of English language and Linguistics. I've been living and working in Italy for 4 years using my language pair on a daily basis but I'm not a member of any guild or association and I don't have any accreditations. I have done a fair few translation jobs but these were quite casually attained.

What should I be doing to grow professionally and strengthen my foundations? I'm prepared to be very patient and invest time, effort and money into this.

Apologies in advance, I know the forums are already choc-full of info but, overwhelmed, I though I'd go for some direct feedback and then sift through accordingly.

If you got this far, thank you for reading. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Bruna


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:09
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Keep trying! Oct 7, 2005

After many years of doing this and that, I won the jackpot and was employed by an agency. It's all useful experience...

Finding an in-house job is not easy, but if you try, you might succeed. I don't know what the market is like in your area. Keep applying for any good jobs that you can do well. Sooner or later your CV will match what clients are looking for, but not if it is right at the bottom of the pile.

Some project managers translate part time, so a PM job might be a way of getting in, though it depends on many factors whether you get time to translate and whether this is viable for you.

Don't sell yourself too cheap. It signals 'amateur'. Serious clients and agencies won't overpay you, but at least they appreciate that quality takes time and costs money. They also stick with good translators instead of just going for the cheapest bid.

Don't sell yourself on being fast. If you do too many rushed jobs it is all too easy to develop sloppy habits, or not have the patience to proof read properly etc. When you're starting out you need time to do things properly. (You always do, but with routine you get a little faster as you go.)

Keep reading, keep your finger on the pulse.
Believe in yourself - it gives the right impression when you apply for jobs...

Best of luck!


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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
Taking the plunge... Oct 8, 2005

I'm in a similar situation as you...looking at FINALLY taking the plunge and trying to get everything in order.

I too have been reading CAT tool manuals, although I can't say I do it with enthusiasm. More confusion than enthusiasm, really.


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Bruna De Luca
Local time: 00:09
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
try, try and try again Oct 9, 2005

Christine,

Thank you for the valuable pointers and suggestions...it seems to be a bit of a minefield out there but hopefully with a bit of careful negotiation...

I'll keep wading through the posts and focus on gaining as much experience as I possibly can. Practice makes..erm..practiced, I suppose.

Thanks again,

Bruna


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Bruna De Luca
Local time: 00:09
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
CAT-astrophe tools Oct 9, 2005

Hi Cidália,

If I ever have to read the manual to try and find out how I managed to press 'explode', I'm sure my enthusiasm will be dampened too.

best of luck on getting started,

Bruna


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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
CAT-ATONIC Oct 10, 2005

Bruna De Luca wrote:

Hi Cidália,

If I ever have to read the manual to try and find out how I managed to press 'explode', I'm sure my enthusiasm will be dampened too.

best of luck on getting started,

Bruna


Catatonic best describes how I feel (and how my face must look) when I read a confusing section of the manual.

Your 'explode' comment was quite funny. Thanks for the laugh. I suppose a bit of humor goes a long way in easing the difficulties.

Best of luck to you too,

Cidalia (who is too lazy to put an accent on her name right now).


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