Need Opinion on Getting Started
Thread poster: Natalia López
Natalia López
Local time: 16:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 23, 2007

This is a sort of personal question; I'd like to have the opinion of translators who've surely been around more than me.

I just graduated from La Universidad del Museo Social Argentino.

I haven't had real experience in translating, just academic experience and personal documents or web pages for friends and such.

Yet, I've been recently contacted by an agency and a translator offering me translation jobs. To be honest, I'm a bit insecure about my skills. I believe I have what it takes to be a good translator, but some jobs I've seen scare me a bit. On the other hand, being a unexperienced translator, I'm not really sure if I can afford rejecting jobs, even if it's because of their difficulty.

Then there's the rates issue. I really couldn't charge the same that experienced translators charge, that I know very well, but I don't want to give myself away either. I mean, I might not have the experience but I've worked really hard to get my University Degree, for 4 years.

And finally, there's another issue concerning the reality of the country I live in. I'm only 22 years old, I still live with my parents (actually, with my mother), but I have to help her support the house. That leads me to having to get a permanent fulltime job, which takes around 9 or 10 hours of my day. That obviously doesn't leave much time for translating, and so that is a disadvantage for me too, because I can't even quote on certain jobs due to their deadline.

I definetely want to be a translator, I just love it, and I intend to continue studying and growing, but I just can't see how to start...

I'd really appreciate your opinions on this, and thanks for taking the time to read

[Edited at 2007-03-23 18:08]


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Lorenia Rincon  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 14:33
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
opinión... Mar 23, 2007

Natalia:

Entiendo los cuestionamientos que te haces, todos claros y me gusta la honestidad con que te expresas.

Mi opinión es que necesitas meterte a traducir y tener a alguien que te apoye con revisiones que te marque errores y haga comentarios, si puedes encontrar a algún mentor o mentora sería ideal, para que tu vayas viendo tus áreas débiles o donde necesitas mejorar y así vayas adquiriendo experiencia y aprendas de la experiencia de aquellos que ya han caminado más camino.

En cuanto a las tarifas, pues si.... y pues no.... el trabajo siempre debe estar bien hecho antes de entregar y si eso requiere que lo revise y "corrija" alguien más pues hazlo, creo que se debe cobrar lo justo y si tu necesitas involucrar a 2 personas más a revisar y corregir y compartir con ellas o ellos lo que cobras, pues tu cobrarás al cliente lo justo pero tu porción será un poco menos mientras vas puliéndote; pero el cliente siempre debe ver que los precios son mas o menos los mismos y no debe interesarle si lo hizo una o 3 personas, el trabajo debe entregarse siempre bien. A mi me parece horrible tanto en interpretación como en traducción que haya tarifas AAA, A y B o cosas así, yo no creo que alguien quiera contratar traductores o intérpretes mediocres, todos quieren buenos traductores e intérpretes aunque unos quieres o están dispuestos a pagar lo justo y otros no tanto....

En fin, unas cuantas locas ideas sueltas que espero te sirvan...

Saludos desde México


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Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 21:33
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Plan ahead Mar 24, 2007

Dear Natalia,

You've studied four years to get where you are and you're committed to become a full-time translator and earn your living with translations.

Be flexible. Take on any job you can get and postpone your deadlines in order to translate 500 words a day. A good translater can manage 500 horrible words a day. Don't take on anything legal, medical or very technical.

From where I stand, Spanish English is a battle field. In your first year, offer your direct clients your lowest tariff, and be prepared to seperate from them and those tariffs once you're established. Negociate with any agency that approaches you: when they say 0,6, tell them your bottom price is 0,7. Be prepared to loose them and be prepared to seperate from them and those tariffs once you're established.

Always be aware that it may take you at least five years to build a base of new, profitable direct clients and agencies. That can be hard when you have to support a family in the meantime.

After these "don't eat yellow snow" tips, for everyone still listening: download the Trados demo, download the Wordfast demo and download all ENLASO tools. Get thoroughly acquainted with all of them and join all the corresponding Yahoo groups. In the beginning you'll have all the time in the world. You'd be amazed of the percentage of established translators who can't use basic tools to translate websites and anything non-Word. You're young, surpass us technically.

Success,
Gerard


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Natalia López
Local time: 16:33
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks :) Mar 24, 2007

To all those who answered, thank you so much for your replies; you've given me new ideas and perspectives, and above all a bit more confidence about what I'm doing, and what I should or should not do and how to do it. Now I know many things that I didn't know and that will surely help me on achieving my main goal which is to become a good translator. I know it'll be hard but at least I'm beginning to get an idea of what I'm up against to and what tools I have. Thanks again

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Andres & Leticia Enjuto  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 16:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Use ProZ database Mar 24, 2007

Hello Natalia,

One more advise to the previous (excellent) ones: use ProZ.com database. There are lots of very useful information, tips, ideas, experiences and so on in the fora. There are a lot of good articles too.

"Devour" the Getting Stablish forum, make use of the Technical one, take advantage of the Money matters info and do searchs of your interest topics.

You can even make lists of important things you're learning (material, internet resources, dictionaries, experienced colleagues' profiles to have as examples, etc.) in order to have the info at hand for review.

You can use other people's business experience to improve yours. That is invaluable! This way you will not "sound" too beginner when you contact clients.

Keep working hard, doing your homework, and results will arrive sooner or later.

Good luck!

Andrés
(Rosario, Argentina)

[Edited at 2007-03-24 13:31]


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Danae Ferri  Identity Verified
Norway
Local time: 21:33
Norwegian to Greek
+ ...
estoy completamente de acuerdo Mar 24, 2007

[quote]Lorenia Rincon wrote:



En cuanto a las tarifas, pues si.... y pues no.... el trabajo siempre debe estar bien hecho antes de entregar y si eso requiere que lo revise y "corrija" alguien más pues hazlo, creo que se debe cobrar lo justo y si tu necesitas involucrar a 2 personas más a revisar y corregir y compartir con ellas o ellos lo que cobras, pues tu cobrarás al cliente lo justo pero tu porción será un poco menos mientras vas puliéndote; pero el cliente siempre debe ver que los precios son mas o menos los mismos y no debe interesarle si lo hizo una o 3 personas, el trabajo debe entregarse siempre bien.


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