Translating into native language(s)
Thread poster: Cidália Martins
Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
Dec 9, 2002

I know that the general consensus is that one should only translate into his/her native or \"mother\" tongue. This, of course, makes perfect sense: you want a finished translation to read well. I have a couple of questions however:



Firstly, can a freelancer make a decent living as a translator if he/she lives in the country of his/her native language? In my situation, I would be translating into English and living in Canada.



Secondly, although I consider English to be my native language (born and raised in Canada), Portuguese is also my mother tongue (born to Portuguese immigrants - learned Portuguese first, then English). I can speak, read and write Portuguese as well as the average native speaker - just not at \"university level\" (heck, most of the Portuguese immigrants I know don\'t speak it at a university level either). Should I consider polishing my skills in that language and eventually offering it as a target language?


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Arnaud HERVE  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 19:48
English to French
+ ...
choice Dec 9, 2002

It is a difficult choice to make:



First, although I admit you can be good at both, indicating in your profile that you translate into two languages can give the possible employer the impression that you belong to the category of those who propose many things and are good at none. See some profiles on Proz.



Second, I advise to study Portuguese at the University level, because that is the level of many translations. Ideally, a translator should not only be good at languages, but also have a degree in all university fields. Ideally


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Terry Thatcher Waltz, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:48
Chinese to English
+ ...
Work on it, but be realistic... Dec 9, 2002

I completely agree -- avoid at all costs positioning yourself as a casual translator who claims he can do everything (i.e., works into two, three or four languages). The proportion of people who truly have two, educated-level native languages is very, very small indeed, but you seem to realize that already, so no use telling you!!



You\'ll have a great strength in Portuguese with your home use, but as the previous poster said, you\'ll need to strengthen your grip on university-level terminology and usage. Read a lot, and lots of different things. Interpreter trainers sometimes say \"read a daily a day, a weekly a week and a monthly a month\" in your target language(s). Also, broad background knowledge and a strong set of Internet search skills will get you a long way, too.



Perhaps you could try to find some sort of \"strategic partnership\" with a native Portuguese speaker who might have work into English to exchange, too...?


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Move to Portugal and bear the rates for awhile Dec 10, 2002

in the name of self-improvement. It shouldn\'t be difficult for you to update and upgrade your Portuguese to a useful native level, but offering it on the basis of second-generation knowledge may lead to mayhem. You\'ll also find your translation into English will acquire more profound dimensions.

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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the input... Dec 10, 2002

...I guess I\'ll stick with my original plans to translate into English only. Of course, working on upgrading my abilities in Portuguese can only help in my career endeavours even if it\'s \"just\" a source language in my work.



Of course, I understand that I\'ll need a grasp of my target languages at a university level and, I can read and understand most material written at that level -- I just can\'t write at that level except in English.



Good points. I don\'t want to come across as mediocre at many things but good at nothing in particular.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Alternative 2 Dec 10, 2002

I\'m serious about an investment in Portuguese if your goal is to widen your job possibilities. While text to be translated is often written on the register of the university level, spoken language is considered proficient at between grades 8 and 9. This will mean that, in order to acquire a good level of oral comprehension, the effort will not be too excessive (considering it was the first language you learned). This will make you available for a limited amount of interpretation jobs to and from Portuguese, with clear possibilities for obtaining credentials in the social work area, if that\'s interesting to you.

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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:48
German to English
+ ...
Live in USA, translate into English Dec 10, 2002

I live in the USA and translate into English. However, all of my clients except one are in Europe. I have not had any luck at all with US agencies (haven\'t tried direct clients here), but have no problem getting work from Europe. I like working with the time difference - my clients get someone who can handle quick jobs at the end of their day (which they can have back on their desks in their morning), and I get all of my phone calls and faxes done by about 11:00am. I haven\'t had any serious problems with this arrangement yet.

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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interpreting Dec 10, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-12-10 11:59, Parrot wrote:

I\'m serious about an investment in Portuguese if your goal is to widen your job possibilities. While text to be translated is often written on the register of the university level, spoken language is considered proficient at between grades 8 and 9. This will mean that, in order to acquire a good level of oral comprehension, the effort will not be too excessive (considering it was the first language you learned). This will make you available for a limited amount of interpretation jobs to and from Portuguese, with clear possibilities for obtaining credentials in the social work area, if that\'s interesting to you.





I have done some interpreting work in the past in Portuguese and English (doctor appointments, legal aid clinic lawyer/client meetings, public health nurse home visits, etc.). It was a good experience. I had to quit because, at the time, the sporadic nature of the job didn\'t mesh well with finding last-minute childcare for my son (he was a baby at the time). My employer really didn\'t want to let me go. I would certainly consider taking the odd interpreting job in the future. It\'s a little extra income and a good way to sharpen one\'s skills as one must think on their feet when interpreting

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