help becoming a translator please
Thread poster: hakanai
hakanai
Local time: 16:55
English
Aug 14, 2007

Hiya,

My situation is bit complicated but I hope someone will be able to help me.
I'm French and I have been living in England for 7 years, so I'm fluent in English. I really would like to be a translator but the problem is I don't have any degrees.
Here's where I'd like some help:

I am thinking of going back to university in 2008 and learn Japanese and linguistics. The problem is, it means I won't earn any money.
my questions are:
- Anyone knows if I can get a student grant/loan even if I'm not british?
- I saw one good uni in London(soac), but are there other good unis (in London and Kent) teaching japanese and linguistics?
- If I go to uni, would it be possible to do part-time work as a translator even if I'm not qualified? If so, how to get started in the job?
- Has anyone had the same problems as me?

Sorry for all the questions...


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Bruno Scokaert  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 17:55
English to French
+ ...
Finding work already may be possible... Aug 15, 2007

Hi Hanakai,

I will try to help you with your third question. In my opinion, you could possibly work as a part-time translator without a degree in the field. With your fluent English, and if you begin with (very) low rates to compensate your lack of degree or experience, it should be possible. It is an advantage I think if you can have a speciality, a field that you know better, but again not mandatory.

If I say that, it's because it reflects more or less my situation. Well I have a degree and experience, but in another field (Sound Engineering). I won't write my full story here, but basically I am new to the field and already have had several translations and satisfied customers in... one month! I respect the profession and take it very seriously, and am surrounded by some qualified professionals. But still, I have no degree in translation myself, and my English is even not fluent. (My main language pair is EN>FR)

One thing that could possibly be tricky for you as a student is your status. I have quickly jumped on a trade licence in order to be a freelancer and work freely. Don't know if you can or want to do that. Otherwise you could find some agencies that want to work with you as an employee...

I hope this can help and wish you good luck!


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Agua  Identity Verified
Spain
English to Spanish
+ ...
Combine Aug 15, 2007

Hello,

As for the

[ With your fluent English, and if you begin with (very) low rates to compensate your lack of degree or experience, it should be possible. ]

a better strategy would be to ask for normal rates (i.e., the ones common in the industry at the time, so that you do not dump rates) and use part of the rate to pay for a good and experienced editor/proofreader, who will in turn give you the comments. That way you:

- have satisfied customers who will come for more
- improve your translating skills and learn
- will have rates that will allow you to live on once you have some experience (I would suggest calculating your expenses and checking how much you actually translate per hour -in average- and then decide whether it is worth it for you, there are lots of different works, some where you can use your language skills even though not translating).

About scholarships, try checking at the university of your choice, they will probably have that information at hand (you can check the notice boards, too).

Best of luck,

Mar


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hakanai
Local time: 16:55
English
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Aug 19, 2007

Thank you both for your replies.
It really helped. I truely thought that no one would give me a translating job if I had no degree; but now I'm going to give it a go. We never know, I might get lucky!!!
I have a year before going hopefully to uni, so I'm confident.

Thanks a lot again


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:55
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
qualifications do matter, but Aug 20, 2007

if I was an agency, I would chose the person who can simply manage to do the job well and to do as required, and who is reliable and honest. And for me all those degrees would not matter too much - these are more like the initial stage of your image. At least in my opinion. Ironically, I would be a little bit more cautious about those "doctors" and people with several diplomas in all fields than those who have fewer or "smaller" degrees.

In my opinion, all depends on 1) your ability to do the work well and 2) the way you present yourself to the potential clients (the strategy of self-marketing). Diplomas and degrees make just a certain part of it, not EVERYTHING.



[Edited at 2007-08-20 23:13]


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:55
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
I agree Aug 20, 2007

Mar Rodríguez wrote:

Hello,

As for the

[ With your fluent English, and if you begin with (very) low rates to compensate your lack of degree or experience, it should be possible. ]

a better strategy would be to ask for normal rates (i.e., the ones common in the industry at the time, so that you do not dump rates) and use part of the rate to pay for a good and experienced editor/proofreader, who will in turn give you the comments. That way you:

- have satisfied customers who will come for more
- improve your translating skills and learn
- will have rates that will allow you to live on once you have some experience (I would suggest calculating your expenses and checking how much you actually translate per hour -in average- and then decide whether it is worth it for you, there are lots of different works, some where you can use your language skills even though not translating).

About scholarships, try checking at the university of your choice, they will probably have that information at hand (you can check the notice boards, too).

Best of luck,

Mar


Yes, I think the major mistake the beginners make (I made that too) is "I can offer the lowest rate because I have no experience". I would separate rate and experience. The rate shall be related with the level of quality you can do - and it does not matter if you are a beginner or with a 100 years of translation experience. Maybe you could do the job on the same level like the "aces" can do? Well, some discounts can be possible - just saying that "I am still gaining experience, so I am willing to learn and do my best, and I can offer this and that rate (say, 80 % from the usual rate).

[Edited at 2007-08-20 23:24]


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Alexandre Chetrite
France
Local time: 17:55
English to French
About jobs related to languages apart from translatiing Aug 24, 2007

I read all of your comments.One that gained my attention is
---------------
"there are lots of different works, some where you can use your language skills even though not translating"
------------------------
Could you give a list of potential activities linked to language skills that a beginner could do to supplement translation revenues?That means activities that do not require specific diplomas or qualifications:
For example, there is teaching, mentoring, proofreading, editing, and what else?
Thank you.


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remy1005
Local time: 16:55
Japanese to English
Pretty similar to me.. Oct 5, 2007

hakanai wrote:
I am thinking of going back to university in 2008 and learn Japanese and linguistics. The problem is, it means I won't earn any money.
my questions are:
- Anyone knows if I can get a student grant/loan even if I'm not british?
- I saw one good uni in London(soac), but are there other good unis (in London and Kent) teaching japanese and linguistics?
- If I go to uni, would it be possible to do part-time work as a translator even if I'm not qualified? If so, how to get started in the job?
- Has anyone had the same problems as me?

Sorry for all the questions...


Ah, I just finished my Japanese diploma course at SOAS!

While I'm not sure about student loans and such, I can tell you that SOAS would be the best choice for learning Japanese in regards to universities (disregarding tailor made courses at language centres, such as the ALPHA institute).

I don't have a degree, nor was my language diploma specifically 'translation' orientated. However, I'm hoping to start translating work as of this year, and continue whilst picking up my studies at SOAS come September 2008!

So, I'm using this year out to focus on different aspects of translation (building up a client base, polishing up my translation skills/vocabulary), so when I go back to university it will serve as my 'part time job'.

Seeing as translation workload would possibly be coming into force after one year, same time as my studies starting, I have pondered it to be a possible disaster. However, I see it as them both going hand-in-hand. after all, I still view translation as learning (language-wise), as opposed to a job. Bearing that in mind, possibly you could consider doing the same thing? Seeing as you wish to study Japanese and translate from Japanese. I'm sure as a freelance translator, you could work as much as you like seeing as you have control over your workload.


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Soledad Azcona  Identity Verified
Brazil
English to Spanish
+ ...
Try the student forum Oct 6, 2007

hakanai wrote:

I am thinking of going back to university in 2008 and learn Japanese and linguistics. The problem is, it means I won't earn any money.
my questions are:
- Anyone knows if I can get a student grant/loan even if I'm not british?
- I saw one good uni in London(soac), but are there other good unis (in London and Kent) teaching japanese and linguistics?


Hi hakanai,

Why don't you try the student forum? http://www.proz.com/forum/356
There you may get some advice from students at many universities in England, and also get some first hand information on student grants or loans.
I also suggest that you use the student search tool to contact students from the universities you are interested in. Check this link to learn more about this tool: http://www.proz.com/topic/85450.

See you around!

Sole.


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hakanai
Local time: 16:55
English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Oct 7, 2007

remy1005 wrote:

Ah, I just finished my Japanese diploma course at SOAS!

While I'm not sure about student loans and such, I can tell you that SOAS would be the best choice for learning Japanese in regards to universities (disregarding tailor made courses at language centres, such as the ALPHA institute).

I don't have a degree, nor was my language diploma specifically 'translation' orientated. However, I'm hoping to start translating work as of this year, and continue whilst picking up my studies at SOAS come September 2008!

So, I'm using this year out to focus on different aspects of translation (building up a client base, polishing up my translation skills/vocabulary), so when I go back to university it will serve as my 'part time job'.

Seeing as translation workload would possibly be coming into force after one year, same time as my studies starting, I have pondered it to be a possible disaster. However, I see it as them both going hand-in-hand. after all, I still view translation as learning (language-wise), as opposed to a job. Bearing that in mind, possibly you could consider doing the same thing? Seeing as you wish to study Japanese and translate from Japanese. I'm sure as a freelance translator, you could work as much as you like seeing as you have control over your workload.


I'm so glad I'm not the only one in this situation LOL

After applying to the uni, I am going to really try working as a freelance translator. I know it's going to be hard but if I don't try I don't get.

Could you please tell me what you thought of SOAS? I have the prospectus and the uni looks really good but I would like the opinion of someone who actually studied there.

I am going to submit my application really soon... hope they'll accept me...

Good luck as well.


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hakanai
Local time: 16:55
English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 7, 2007

SoleProz wrote:

hakanai wrote:

I am thinking of going back to university in 2008 and learn Japanese and linguistics. The problem is, it means I won't earn any money.
my questions are:
- Anyone knows if I can get a student grant/loan even if I'm not british?
- I saw one good uni in London(soac), but are there other good unis (in London and Kent) teaching japanese and linguistics?


Hi hakanai,

Why don't you try the student forum? http://www.proz.com/forum/356
There you may get some advice from students at many universities in England, and also get some first hand information on student grants or loans.
I also suggest that you use the student search tool to contact students from the universities you are interested in. Check this link to learn more about this tool: http://www.proz.com/topic/85450.

See you around!

Sole.





Thanks! I had never thought of asking students.

I'll have a look at the student forum and see if I find anything interesting.


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remy1005
Local time: 16:55
Japanese to English
sure thing Oct 9, 2007

hakanai wrote:

I'm so glad I'm not the only one in this situation LOL

After applying to the uni, I am going to really try working as a freelance translator. I know it's going to be hard but if I don't try I don't get.

Could you please tell me what you thought of SOAS? I have the prospectus and the uni looks really good but I would like the opinion of someone who actually studied there.

I am going to submit my application really soon... hope they'll accept me...

Good luck as well.


About SOAS, I'll send you an email just in case (maybe it's a bit off-topic in this thread).

Good luck with it!

[Edited at 2007-10-09 20:52]


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Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:55
Portuguese to English
+ ...
on loans Nov 10, 2007

Hi there,
thought it might help you if you visit www.ucas.com.
It has info on all the universities by course and location. Here you can also find the links to EU Student Finance which you should qualify for as an EU resident.

Hope it helps;)


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