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Should I accept interpretation jobs or not?
Thread poster: Sophie Vallery

Sophie Vallery  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
Sep 29, 2013

Hi everyone!

I am facing a dilemma: I don't know how to sell myself concerning my interpreting skills. Let me explain: my training concerned mainly written translation (technical, literary, audiovisual, etc.). I did attend a few interpreting courses, but it was very basic. So, should I still accept clients who want me to interpret, or should I consider myself as too inexperienced to risk it?

For the time being, I wrote on my website that I don't see myself as an interpreter but that I am ready to talk about it with the clients if they have needs in this area. Not very appealing, right?icon_wink.gif

Thank you in advance for your opinion on the subject!


 

Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:39
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't Sep 29, 2013

If you don't know how to do it, then by all means don't try it. If you even say yourself that you are not an interpreter, then you are not. Get some practice first until you feel competent, otherwise you can have some very bad experiences and damage your credibility a lot.

 

Sophie Vallery  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your reply Sep 29, 2013

Hi Henry,

Thanks for your advice, I think you are right, I should not do anything that could harm my reputation...Especially since I am only beginning! I shall limit my clients to the translation part, then.


 

Simon Chiassai  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
voluntary work Sep 29, 2013

You could try finding some voluntary assignments first to see how you feel about it, before deciding if you're ready to take the plunge. Otherwise, as Henry said, if you oversell yourself, you might end up in a bad spot.

 

Sophie Vallery  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Re: Voluntary work Sep 29, 2013

Hi Simon,

Yes, actually after seeing Henry's answer, I thought about all this and I think that organisations like Amnesty International (on a local, small level) would be happy to have an interpreter sometimes but they cannot always afford it, so I should propose my services to them, free of charge. It would be profitable for everyone, as I would be able to gain experience this way...

Thanks anyway!


 

Mark Thompson  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:39
Portuguese to English
Welcome to the forum! Sep 29, 2013

Hi Sophie!

Just wanted to welcome you to the forums as I see you're a new poster.

I hope you get the help and guidance you need...I can already see that you're getting some good, friendly advice from colleagues.

If you need any help with use of the forums, or indeed the site in general, please don't hesitate to contact myself or any of the other moderators - we are here to ensure that the ProZ.com workplace remains a pleasant, results-oriented environment for all.

Best wishes,

Mark


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:39
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Put yourself to a test... Sep 30, 2013

...with voluntary work. Once you feel you are experienced enough, you could give it a try in a simple paid assignment, maybe short consecutive interpreting in a non-critical situation, and grow from there if you like this side of the profession.

(This is just my totally unfounded opinion since I am not an interpreter or am not particularly interested in interpretation as part of my profession.)


 

Sophie Vallery  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Free test Sep 30, 2013

Hi Mark,

Thanks, I won't fail to contact you in case of problems. Proz seems like a very friendly environment indeed, it should be a pleasure to have this opportunity to discuss with colleagues!

Tomás, I will definitely do some voluntary work first and then, step by step, try to enter into the world of interpretation...
And your opinion, far from being unfounded, is very useful to me, so thanks!


 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
twin-town events and local associations Sep 30, 2013

You could start with local events like twin-town schemes in your area, local sport competitions or music festivals with foreign participants.

When you have a little more experience and you feel confident that you are ready, you can add a specific description regarding your interpretation experience on your website.

But please remove all mentions like "I don't see myself as an interpreter but that I am ready to talk about it with the clients if they have needs in this area" from your website. Client don't want to help you to become an interpreter. If they need an interpreter, they need a good one who can do the job.


 

Sophie Vallery  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good idea but... Sep 30, 2013

nordiste wrote:

But please remove all mentions like "I don't see myself as an interpreter but that I am ready to talk about it with the clients if they have needs in this area" from your website. Client don't want to help you to become an interpreter. If they need an interpreter, they need a good one who can do the job.


Nordiste, that is what I was saying in my first message: I tried to explain my position, but in a very clumsy way ^^ I will remove it and answer individually to each client if they need information about that.
Concerning local events, this is a very good idea, but I feel that other colleagues might be interested in doing it, and it would seem rude to do it free of charge, no matter the reason. Whereas with small organisations, it is not a problem: they would not have the money to pay an intepreter anyway, so I am not 'stealing' any job from a colleague.

Thanks anyway, things are getting clearer for me!


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:39
Russian to English
+ ...
If you know how to interpret and enjoy it, you should do it, Sep 30, 2013

regardless of your education. If you don't know if you are good at it, or if you like it, try it, in the comfort of your home. Put the TV on and start interpreting. Record it, and then listen to it, and and see if you like your job, and try to check if the interpretation was correct. In this case it might make more sense to interpret something that you have recorded -- some speeches recorded on video, movies, weather forecasts, trials -- even the ones form the movies -- most other trials are not recorded. Interpreting is very different from translation.

 

liviu roth
United States
Local time: 03:39
Romanian to English
+ ...
excellent point! Sep 30, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

regardless of your education. If you don't know if you are good at it, or if you like it, try it, in the comfort of your home. Put the TV on and start interpreting. Record it, and then listen to it, and and see if you like your job, and try to check if the interpretation was correct. In this case it might make more sense to interpret something that you have recorded -- some speeches recorded on video, movies, weather forecasts, trials -- even the ones form the movies -- most other trials are not recorded. Interpreting is very different from translation.



Before I became a court interpreter, I worked as an ultrasound technician in a large hospital.
In 1995 I tried to become a court interpreter and was given a 15-minutes test over the phone. They hired me on the spot!

If you have a gift for it, know the basic rules and enjoy it, go for it. It would be ideal to find a niche where you are comfortable with the lingo.

For the rest, Lilian said it best.

Good luck!


 

Simon Chiassai  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
any practice is good practice Sep 30, 2013

LilianBNekipelo wrote:

In this case it might make more sense to interpret something that you have recorded -- some speeches recorded on video, movies, weather forecasts, trials -- even the ones form the movies -- most other trials are not recorded.



Incidentally, I know many interpreters practice this way (me included). You can use the same speech at the beginning of your training cycle and at the end to see how much you've improved and where you still need to focus your efforts.
You could also try to "act out" an interpreting situation with 2 friends or more (business settings, where both speak, or conference, reading a speech). This is helpful for several reasons: you will get feedback from external listeners, and you will have to deal with "real" conditions: distractions, background noise, people speaking out of turn, people not making sense, not finding their words, etc. Those things play a big role in the field, and you might be the best interpreter in "lab conditions", but you also need to be able to deal with these external factors.


 

nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
volunteer work Sep 30, 2013

Sophie Vallery wrote:

Concerning local events, this is a very good idea, but I feel that other colleagues might be interested in doing it, and it would seem rude to do it free of charge, no matter the reason.

Whereas with small organisations, it is not a problem: they would not have the money to pay an intepreter anyway, so I am not 'stealing' any job from a colleague.


I was thinking of small local events with no budget which is more than often the case. When there are schools exchanges and other sports/cultural events on a very local level the teachers usually play interpreters ...


 

Sophie Vallery  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It makes sense... Oct 1, 2013

I don't have time to reply to everything that was said, but thanks everyone, all your answers make perfect sense and I should be able to find a solution to my problem nowicon_smile.gif

 
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