Interpretation through an agency
Thread poster: Man Cunian
Man Cunian
Local time: 22:10
English to French
+ ...
Oct 15, 2005

I understand that, in the UK anyway, it is extremely hard to make it in the Interpretation field if you're not 'chaperonned' or sponsored by a fellow professional early on (is that correct ?). However, how feasible is it, without much experience and a professional fellow mentor, to find good quality, resaonably-paid Interpretation work through agencies ? I understand they pay much less, but still that would be ideal to have a foot in the door. Has anybody tried this approach before ?

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sokolniki  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:10
English to Russian
+ ...
My US experience Oct 15, 2005

I don't know about the UK, but this is what I would recommend based on my experience in the US. Pass some certification exam so that there is no question if you are certified or not once somebody has a job for you. Join the local translators and interpreters association, better as many as possible, go to their meetings and seminars (pay this small fee) - bring your business cards, place your profile/CV on the association website - this is how your potential clients will find you on the Internet AVOIDING the agencies. Email your CV to the translation agencies in the area, not all of them will discard it. Be brave to approach some other interpreters at the association's event, talk to them, ask them how - they have been there and will gladly share the experience and knowledge. Try to find those working in your language pair, they might refer you work or invite you to work in a team, or at least advise on the specific language demand and rates.

Good luck,
Bella


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:10
English to Spanish
+ ...
Support from an Agency Oct 15, 2005

My only experience in interpreting is in the U.S. and Mexico, but I can provide some comments on the subject from that viewpoint.

While translating is an ideal occupation to practice independently because one person can be autonomous, interpreting is a different ball game. With interpreting you often need the support that only an agency can provide, which can include organization, equipment, techncial support and finding and scheduling a team of interpreters to handle an assignment.

Some interpreting can be done independently, such as legal depositions, small groups and training sessions, but even then some equipment will be needed except for the first case. Equipment is expensive and troublesome, easily lost, and once purchased it needs to be used with a fair degree of frequency in order to justify the investment. One of the big limitations in interpreting as a solo practitioner involves scheduling conflicts that start to come up immediately. The problem of being scheduled then canceled is not the least of these, because you can book a job, turn down a conflicting one and then the first one is canceled leaving you with nothing.

And you can forget about cancellation fees, for the most part they won't pay.

Sometimes an agency can be avoided if you can set up relationships with other colleagues and resources that can supply equipment and technical support. Then you can form your own "group" for different jobs.

It has been my experience generally that agencies will pay you well. What's needed there is to "get your foot in the door" and I think good networking is the key.


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chaplin
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:10
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
agencies pay in UK Oct 31, 2005

[quote]Man Cunian wrote:

I understand that, in the UK anyway, it is extremely hard to make it in the Interpretation field if you're not 'chaperonned' or sponsored by a fellow professional early on (is that correct ?). However, how feasible is it, without much experience and a professional fellow mentor, to find good quality, resaonably-paid Interpretation work through agencies ? I understand they pay much less, but still that would be ideal to have a foot in the door. Has anybody tried this approach before ?[ I have been working as an interpreter in the UK for the past eight years. I have always worked for agencies and have been paid better than for translations. I send mails to various agencies once a month. Then I contact them again by telephone a few weeks later. >ork depends a lot on where you live. The agencies will always employ interpreters close to the job so that they do not have to pay for huge travel expenses. I would advise you to specialise in one field and then to get a diploma in public service interpreting. Contact the Institute of Linguists online and you will find courses and conferences which will make you meet other interpreters? Good LUck!
Bye for now
Regards
Ségolène/quote]


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Man Cunian
Local time: 22:10
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting posts, thanks Nov 4, 2005

Thanks for everybody's input. Ségolène, I'm interested in yr experience as you obviously know the interp. UK market well. What I had in mind originally was a Conf. Interp. M.A but, in truth, I'm not sure I'd want to fork out close to £10K (inc. living expenses) to then find out that the Interpreting market is practically close to inexperienced interpreters with limited contacts. Yr suggestion to do a DPSI is fine, but, in truth do Agencies employ inexperienced Interpreters who only have a DPSI to their names ? (say in Law)

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