Off topic: Is it adviseable for interpreters to work as translators as well?
Thread poster: Marie Safarovic

Marie Safarovic
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:03
Russian to German
+ ...
Feb 27, 2010

Dear colleages,

I am about to finish my studies in Conference Interpreting and am wondering about how to get started in the profession and whether or not I should consider working as a translator as well.

Unlike the vast majority of my fellow students, I have not studied Translating beforehand as Interpreting has simply always interested me more. I realise however, that the disciplines are related and that a lot of interpreters work as translators as well.

While I feel that I already have the necessary linguistic skills required by translating, I wonder if it would be worth my while acquiring the essential other skills (translation softwares, tools, etc) by applying for an internship. I have already found said internship -which does obviously not mean that they will take me- but as I have plans of aquiring one or two other languages and don't want to neglect my interpreting skills either, which would be the case if I got accepted on this 6 month programme, I am not entirely sure if it would be the right thing to do.

What do you think?
And how about yourselves; do you interpret and translate and do you have degrees in both professions?

Many thanks for your advice

Regards,
Marie


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Feb 27, 2010

I have always done both from the very beginning, and I have no formal studies in either, for none were available to me back when I was in school. I just had to learn on my own. But yes, the body of knowledge required is exactly the same. Only the setting and the techniques are different, and to some extent they suit different personalities.

But by doing both interpreting and translation, you are taking best advantage of your investment.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:03
Flemish to English
+ ...
Overnight translators. Feb 27, 2010

Yes, sure. Why not. There are so many overnight translators.
But try to evolve in the direction of conference interpreting.
This is a more "select" club with more straightforeward rates and payment dates.
No discussion about reductions if you have to repeat a word 10 or a 1000 times and no haggling about rates.

Isn't being a freelance interpreter a good preparation for accreditation tests at the EU and for open competitions?
Isn't interpreting about having the words in your head, whereas translation is about having CATs can translate no need for linguistic knowledge?
The vocabulary of languages is so vast that you can always add a word or an idiom to your vocabulary. Don't forget to go through a style-guide?

When the interpreting season is slack, is translation not a welcome alternative and vice-versa?




[Edited at 2010-02-27 10:25 GMT]


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Evgeny Sinelschikov  Identity Verified
United Arab Emirates
Local time: 09:03
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
absolutely Feb 27, 2010

This is what i have been doing thoughout my career and i love it. Translation and interpretation are by no means mutually exclusive. On the contrary, combining both makes your language experience - and knowledge - much richer.

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Pablo Grosschmid  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:03
English to Spanish
+ ...
ABSOLUTELY !! Feb 27, 2010

Dear Marie,

Interpreting and translating are very different, but complementary.
Those who do both do both better:

Interpreting, which often means rendering what you understood the speaker wanted to convey (not what he/she actually said) helps to tanslate better (people not always draft clearly); and translating, where you have time for thinking and researching, helps interpreters to find "on the fly" the best equivalents for "tricky" or "untranslatable" expressions.

Degrees, internships and formal courses are nice, but no guarantee at all. In your case, I would recommend to search for one or two experienced translators in your best language combination (possibly English to German) as mentors, and start slowly, after going at your pace through books on translation or a free web-based course.

Good luck !


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Christina Courtright  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
nicely complementary Feb 27, 2010

Pablo Grosschmid wrote:
Interpreting, which often means rendering what you understood the speaker wanted to convey (not what he/she actually said) helps to tanslate better (people not always draft clearly); and translating, where you have time for thinking and researching, helps interpreters to find "on the fly" the best equivalents for "tricky" or "untranslatable" expressions.


My experience precisely. The two sides of my work feed each other. However, not everyone is cut out for both. You may not need formal translation studies, as you can develop yourself like Pablo suggested, and you already have a solid basis in interpreter training that will also serve you well for translating. Just be sure you are a very good writer in your target language - have some erudite colleagues look over sample translations and give you some sincere feedback. I hope you will be pleasantly rewarded.


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Marie Safarovic
Russian Federation
Local time: 08:03
Russian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
*advisable Feb 27, 2010

Hello again,

thank you very much for all your replies, what a warm welcome and useful advice!

All the posts seem to suggest that the two techniques complement one another nicely, and that is what I was expecting.

I think I will apply for that internship as half a year of mentored practise in combination with a little pay sounds like a worthwhile investment. Even more so, as I am somewhat technophobic and do not think I could teach myself how to use translation software (Trados seems to be the most widely used one?).
The internship I found provides you not only with that but you will be guided by a personal mentor.


Maybe it is not essential to do it but I think it cannot harm either, plus it should look good on my CV. The only downside is that I am not allowed to seek additional employment whilst working for them, and part of me is thinking that I should aim to get interpreting experience outside the classroom as soon as possible.
But you cannot have it all.


The point made about personality is a valid one, too- I have in fact read about that in many different sources.

I find interpreting more fascinating than translating as it involves active communication and as I consider the topics of conferences to be more interesting; whereas I am under the impression that a great deal of translation work is done in the area of instruction manuals. Am I right?

yet I have a passion for the written word (and an MA in German and English Linguistics and Literature) so I think translating could be a nice complement, especially in the beginning when I might not get enough work as interpreter.

So I am basically just doing it "the other way around", as most people seem to start with translating before considering a career in interpreting. But why not

I try to do a translation from a newspaper as often as possible as it helps me finding the right words in German and expanding my Spanish vocabulary- and that is how I started thinking about translating.

Dear Williamson: It is indeed my plan to evolve in the direction of Conference Interpreting, which is why I am currently studying towards the European Masters in Conference Interpreting. It is very demanding but also inspiring and what I really want to do. What is your field of expertise?

Once again thanks to all of you, your replies are much appreciated and help me making a decision.

Regards from Tenerife,
Marie.


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