This may be redundant.
Thread poster: Cecile Devine

Cecile Devine
United States
Local time: 21:14
English to French
+ ...
Mar 23, 2006

Hi,
I am new in this neighbourhood and have a few questions.
I am completely bilingual in French and English but never got a degree in any language. I grew up in France and went through their educational system up until my junior year in high school. i moved to the states my senior year (7 years ago).
I have a BA in Asian Studies (I learned Japanese however have not continued to do so), and am pursuing a Masters in Public Administration.
I was wondering what type of translation work I could possibly find, if at all since I do not have that much experience or any translation/language accreditation.
I have tutored French in college and also did a full time translation temp assignment for 4 months for a software company.
What are my options, and can I realistically compete in the translation market?
I believe being bilingual is very valuable and unfortunately have realised its potential all too late. I would love to be able to use such a skill to earn a living.
I am also an artist.

Sorry for the long post.


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 02:14
German to English
+ ...
... Mar 24, 2006

You need to play up your specialisations - what real world experience do you have that gives you an edge in a particular market?

The majority of volume in translation is technical in nature and FR-EN is a highly competitive pair due to the popularity of each language in the respective countries.

Bilingualism, while an asset is no guarantee of translation ability, so getting some kind of certification will definitely help.


[Edited at 2006-03-24 02:28]

[Edited at 2006-03-24 02:28]


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 20:14
Spanish to English
Why do you want to be a translator? Mar 24, 2006

No seriously, I would say that your studies in Public Administration experience in translating software would be very useful for translation work.

And I certainly don't think you have left it late, age is an asset for a translator, as far as I can see.

I won't advise you on how to break into the market, if you do a search on the forums you will find this an oft-talked about issue.

I just wanted to say there is no reason why you shouldn't.


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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:14
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
No language q's, not a problem, but what about "Bilingualism"? Mar 24, 2006

Hi Cecille,

Don't be put off by the fact you have no formal language qualifications. I think the important thing is that you write well in your target language and are williing and eager to face the whole host of linguistic challenges entailed in translation. I don't have a specialist translation qualification but I have plenty of work. It may be an ideal job for you as it would allow you to do your art work as well.

I do have a word of caution as regards "bilingualism" however. There are varying degrees of bilingualism in an individual and being brought up speaking two languages does not necessarily mean you have the same competencies in both languages. In fact it is very unusual for a bilingual person to regularly use both of their languages in all linguistic spheres (spoken vs. written, formal vs. informal, etc.), and inevitably there is some disequilibrium.

In my case, I was brought up bilingually with Italian and English, but my lack of exposure to written Italian and other formal registers means that I am much stronger translating from Spanish (I have a degree in Spanish and have lived, as an adult, in Spain for several years).

How often do you pick up a French newspaper or read a French novel? Have you ever written an academic essay, for example, in French? You may find that your command of written English, gained from your academic life in the U.S., will make you far more competent translating into English (which is definitely the case for me) rather that into French.

Good luck


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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:14
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
My thoughts and experience exactly. Mar 24, 2006

I've spoken both languages since I could speak, but English is still my dominant language when translating.
I have no trouble writing in Italian ... letters, articles or whatever, and I do translate into Italian if I'm pushed (very specific, technical English for instance, as I was technical documentation manager for an engineering company for several years), but it takes me longer and I'm never satisfied with it.
Also, I don't think age is a concern ... I know lots of people (including me) who began over in their 40s and 50s ... even 60s. They turn out excellent work as they have the maturity and acquired skills of a lifetime at their fingertips.
You really do seem to drawn to translating so go for it.
Angela




Simon Bruni wrote:

Hi Cecille,

In my case, I was brought up bilingually with Italian and English, but my lack of exposure to written Italian and other formal registers means that I am much stronger translating from Spanish (I have a degree in Spanish and have lived, as an adult, in Spain for several years).

How often do you pick up a French newspaper or read a French novel? Have you ever written an academic essay, for example, in French? You may find that your command of written English, gained from your academic life in the U.S., will make you far more competent translating into English (which is definitely the case for me) rather that into French.

Good luck


[Edited at 2006-03-24 09:52]


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Cecile Devine
United States
Local time: 21:14
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you for your replies Mar 24, 2006

Thanks. It's nice to get different perspectives.
I went to international schools in France so learned French and English side by side at pretty high levels. But yes, living in the US for 7 years now has made my English become more dominant, however I do try and keep my French from falling by the wayside.
It is difficult sometimes when you cannot hear it on a daily basis unless you make the conscious effort of listening to radio broadcasts on the web.
It's definitely a challenge, but a fascinating and enriching one at that. I like the idea of learning while you work also or when there is a cultural exchange.


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