Situation for in-house translators in Germany?
Thread poster: spilungo23

spilungo23
Switzerland
Local time: 05:09
Italian to French
+ ...
Dec 2, 2013

Hey folks, can I ask you something??? I am a newbie, straight out from college (interpreting school not language and foreign literature), graduate in Interpretation and translation. I wanted to ask you how it is going the job market in Munich and in Germany is general, are there any good job opportunities for translators and interpreters??? Can you easily get a job as an in-house translator in an agency? Which is the best way to look for that, sending CVs to all agencies on-line? And what's an average salary for an in-house translator? My language A is Italian, B English and C French. Though I'm all right in Spanish and ok in Portuguese too. I don't speak German but I'm totally willing to learn it. I've been to Switzerland (Geneva) 2 see if there where some chances to get a job close to interpretation and translation, but it's actually pretty hard due to the high competition especially if you're inexperienced (I have a bit of experience). I could have seen that many of my uni mates (LUSPIO and Gregorio VII) didn't study German and so it was in Trieste and Forlì, in fact the language combinations more practiced were Italian>SpanishFrench

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:09
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
The job market Dec 3, 2013

Congratulations on your graduation!

You could send your CV to all agencies listed in Germany. However, be prepared for either no replies or for denials. Most agencies work with freelancers because it's cheaper for them to pay on a per-project basis than to pay a monthly salary.

If you want to work in Germany, I strongly recommend that you learn the language first. At least sufficiently to get by, which, of course, excludes translations into or from German. Not everybody working with a German agency speaks English.

You can google average salaries in Germany for beginning translators and interpreters. Also, the trial period may be up to 6 or even 9 months before you can/will get hired permanently.

You need to be aware of one thing, though, it is definately not easy to find an in-house position here in Germany due to very high auxiliary costs (SS).

Good luck!icon_wink.gif


 

Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:09
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
What did you learn? Dec 3, 2013

Sorry, but I would never hire a translator claiming to be able to translate into 3 languages. And the specialties you listed in your profile Sports / Fitness / Recreation are not really interesting either.

If you want to succeed in Germany, you better learn the language, get an idea of your capabilities and your limits and try to learn something you can offer to a potential employer. Your profile is empty, do you know any CAT tools, any idea about terminology extraction or project management?

Why should I employ you as an in-house translator, is there anything you can offer?
Why do you want to work in Munich (the most expensive town in Germany) as a translator, why Germany at all, if you don't speak the language.

What kind of work do you expect to find here? Translation jobs from Italian into French? Why would any German customer be interested in this language pair?

I know, I sound harsh and I am absolutely political incorrect. But I don't believe in cuddling - it won't help you. I don't see any chance for you to earn a living in Germany as an in-house translator.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:09
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Common newbie misconception Dec 3, 2013

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:
Sorry, but I would never hire a translator claiming to be able to translate into 3 languages.

Yes, it's a common belief that if you have a qualification, then you can offer the service, and unfortunately universities do nothing to dispel it. It's true in certain cases. Interpreters will often be encouraged to work both into and out of their native language: their phrasing in their "other" language(s) may not be perfect, but it should be good enough to be understood perfectly, and using two for one job is not always practical. In-house translators, particularly those employed in end-client companies, will normally be expected to translate in both directions, but that's because the company has invested in them and will make maximum use of that investment. A client looking for a translation that will be published has the right to the very best work of a freelancer, so it stands to reason you should only offer your best, i.e. into your native language. If your pair is so rare, or your niche so specialised, that your translations out of your native language will be some of the best in the world then that's different, but there's no reason why a client can't find a good native-speaking FIGS translator. As for translating between two non-native languages, the least said about that the bettericon_smile.gif.

If you want to succeed in Germany, you better learn the language, get an idea of your capabilities and your limits and try to learn something you can offer to a potential employer.

Again, I have to agree that if you want to be an employee then you have to be able to speak the language of the employer. It IS possible to live as a freelancer in a country whose language you don't speak - I'm doing that myself - but you do have to be able to pay for help with your business administration, and it makes that side of things a lot more difficult. You can't do your own tax returns etc if you can't speak the language. You also have to deal exclusively with "foreign" clients, which increases the business risk somewhat as it's often easier to get money out of clients in your own country. I would imagine it reduces the chance of interpreting jobs to pretty near zero.

But I think every translator should be encouraged to specialise in what they're best at, Siegfried. I know this profile wouldn't interest you, as you specialise in medicine, but surely there's a role somewhere for a translator who specialises in sports and fitness.

@OP: Could you share your reasons for favouring Germany over the more obvious countries, i.e. Italy, France, UK, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland...? Is it just the impression that there's more work there, or do you really feel that there would be more work for YOU there?


 

spilungo23
Switzerland
Local time: 05:09
Italian to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
part missing Dec 4, 2013

Sorry but I was not able 2 post the rest of my speech

(really heaps of people) and Italian>French


 

spilungo23
Switzerland
Local time: 05:09
Italian to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
answers Dec 4, 2013

thx everyone 4 your feedbacks, now I'd like 2 reply:
@Siegfried Armbruster that is your opinion, so it's ok, I don't have a down on you, and of course I don't need any cuddles (especially yours).
First of all, I completed my profile randomly coz I just wanted to get as many information as possible about the job market in Germany.
Then, yes I can translate and interpret too (though I may defo need some practice) from Italian into English and vice versa, same as French and I can only translate from Spanish into Italian. Of course there are world-beaters but if an interpreter/translator can master 2 combos pretty good (from and into) it's already a lot, since I've met and seen some "interpreters" and professors that can't even master one. Moreover, many people think they know their own language too, but they actually don't.
Of course, as I wrote in my previous post I know I gotta learn German, and I'm not that dumb to go to Munich to study, I'd rather go to some relatively cheap cities such as Chemnitz, Leipzig or even Berlin, then attend a German course there and once I've picked up the language look for a job in Munich, hopefully in the interpreting and translating sector. As I've been told that is the city that may give you the best opportunities in terms of job and of course dough. I've never been there but I googled living costs and it should be just (possibly a tiny bit more) as expensive as Milan, so defo quite a lot lower than Switzerland, Norway and Denmark among the others. Once I've learnt German well I would like to interpret or translate from German into Italian and vice versa 2 (it depends on the level of my German), and after a few years (if I'll be really fluent) I could potentially translate/interpret from English or French into German, but again it will come with time. And in the meanwhile I could do some freelancing work with agencies all over (I started sending my CVs but with no replies thus far).
I don't have a specific or technical background so far, and I guess you didn't have it either, as no one when starts out is Mister know-it-all, since experience comes with time. What I did at college was pretty much general interpretation and translation about politics, economics and so on. Nothing about medicine, law, or extremely technical things. And no, I don't know how to use any CAT tools, but people that know it told me that is relatively easy 2 learn.
Then I've picked Germany as the market is pretty bad all over Europe: UK, France, Italy, Spain and so on. So I'd prefer not to work for € 500 or € 1000 a month (after taxes), and for what I've read on other posts here on proz, in-house positions are not that good in these countries such as UK, France, Spain and so on. Then Germany could potentially be a good choice but I should live there to know it, that's why I wrote this post, to have some info and advice 2. I've read here on proz that the segment English>German German>French so I guess should be the same for Italian. I wrote in my post that German was one of the languages studied the least, at both unis I attended, and in Trieste and Forli 2. So I guess that competition is lower and that might possibly give me an edge.


 

spilungo23
Switzerland
Local time: 05:09
Italian to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
I can't write the second part Dec 4, 2013

I could have seen that many of my uni mates (LUSPIO and Gregorio VII) didn't study German and so it was in Trieste and Forlì, in fact the language combinations more practiced were Italian-Spanish-Italian (really heaps of people) and Italian-French-Italian (less than Spanish), (really heaps of people) and Italian-French-Italian (less than Spanish), so I guess that completion should be a lot lower for any segment regarding German, plus Germany is the leading country in Europe and rates for interpreters and translators are definitely higher than other countries such as Italy, France and so on. Anyhow I'd like 2 ask a few questions 4 you when you have time to answer:


-Do freelancers have the right to get sick days, pension or whatever?


-Is it better to work as an in-house translator or as a freelancer?

-If you're in Sweden, Denmark, Germany or whatever do you
normally work with the local language or even with some other language combinations e.g. English/French?

-If you send some CVs abroad can you work not on the spot as well or it does not work like that?

-What's the average price for a typewritten page? Around € 40, or do you charge per word, around € 0,08? Do you have to pay taxes on that? How much? And do you have to pay taxes for your pension too?

-On average how many typewritten pages can you get per month?

-How does it work for your retirement, do you have to pay yourself National insurance contributions?

-When you first started out was it difficult to land clients? How long did it take you to get the first interpreting/translating job?

-What are Kudoz points? Does Proz work just like Ebay so with feedbacks?

-What's the average salary for an in-house translator?

-Do you normally have to negotiate your stipend with the agency? They tend to save on you as much as possible for what I've read on the web. There are no standard salaries for in-house translators?
-Do you normally have to negotiate your stipend with the agency? They tend to save on you as much as possible for what I've read on the web. There are no standard salaries for in-house translators?

-As getting clients at first (about interpreting) must be pretty hard and interpreters that work in-house are just in the EU, UN, NATO and so on, is it better to get a job as a teacher and than work as a interpreting or translating freelancer in your spare time?? Becoz if you work 40 hours a week you actually have no time to dedicate yourself to interpretation.

-Thx everybody 4 all yo tips!


 

spilungo23
Switzerland
Local time: 05:09
Italian to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Sheila Wilson Dec 4, 2013

@ Sheila Wilson as I explained earlier I though about Germany as working conditions and salaries are damn low in Italy (not only in there) so possibly Germany may be a good choice. But again it's a feeling that I have, you should be live to have a full perception of the job market. That is why I'm asking for info and advice. If there are some interpreters or translators that live in Germany or know the local market, their opinion is kindly appreciated:)

 

Konstantin Stäbler  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 05:09
English to German
+ ...
Don't focus on Munich too much Jan 4, 2014

spilungo23 wrote:

@ Sheila Wilson as I explained earlier I though about Germany as working conditions and salaries are damn low in Italy (not only in there) so possibly Germany may be a good choice. But again it's a feeling that I have, you should be live to have a full perception of the job market. That is why I'm asking for info and advice. If there are some interpreters or translators that live in Germany or know the local market, their opinion is kindly appreciated:)


I don't know if you have already made a decision, but I don't think you would want to risk moving to Munich to find a job that will probably not materialize. I'm a local, I have worked in-house in Munich for 2 years and from what I could gather there are really not that many jobs for translation into German, not to mention your language combinations. Salaries are not very high either and Munich is probably the most expensive city in Germany when it comes to apartments, which in turn are scarce.


 

spilungo23
Switzerland
Local time: 05:09
Italian to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
got it Jan 5, 2014

Ok so what do you suggest doing? I want to attend a German course first and once I've picked the language look for a job, not necessarily as an in-house translator, but even as a freelancer, a teacher or employee in a firm in the HR or whatever. Can you tell me how much (roughly) is a salary after taxes in Munich for graduates straight out from university? Just to have an idea. I though about Munich as I've been told it's the best city regarding jobs, but other cities may still be ok for me. All over Europe the economy is quite down especially in Italy and possibly Germany may be the only good chance.
Thank you.


 

Richard Purdom  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 04:09
Dutch to English
+ ...
Rates in italy / Germany Jan 5, 2014

The rates an agency pays are not dependent on where an interpreter lives. If they can pay somebody living in Italy less than somebody living in Norway, they will. Living in a high-cost land is a luxury in these days of global electronic traffic.

It doesn't look like you have anything to offer as an in-house translator I'm afraid. If I were you, I would forget trying to be a jack-of-all-trades and concentrate on translating into your strongest language. Build up some experience as a freelancer, and go and live in Germany to learn the language there at the same time if you want - but that is going to have to be your own investment, don't expect others to make it for you.



[Edited at 2014-01-05 17:48 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-01-05 17:49 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:09
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
anx 2 yo ???? Jan 5, 2014

spilungo23 wrote:

-Do freelancers have the right to get sick days, pension or whatever?

Of course you can take time off when you're sick, or even when you're not, only clients won't pay for work that you're not doing

-Is it better to work as an in-house translator or as a freelancer?

Matter of opinion. Why are you looking for an in-house job?
I have worked in-house. Advantages: set salary, paid leave, retirement fund, health insurance plan, all very useful for me as a young mother, plus working with some great people, learning from each other, learning to handle topics out of my comfort zone knowing that a colleague would proofread me
Disadvantages: having a boss who discriminated systematically against mothers, not being able to juggle work around other commitments, having a boss ring me up to scream at me any time I or my children were sick and I had to stay at home, not being able to pick and choose projects

Advantage as a freelancer: I can pick and choose my projects, I set my rate and the deadline. I decide when I want to work, nobody dictates anything to me.

Disadvantages: feeling lonely (that's no longer a problem now that I work in an office with other people working in translation)
none of the perks that come with the salary
no one to proofread me (although since I don't venture out of my comfort zone that is not really a problem, I just miss the discussions)

-If you're in Sweden, Denmark, Germany or whatever do you
normally work with the local language or even with some other language combinations e.g. English/French?

Some do, although I suspect most translators work into or out of the language of the country they are in. Seems a waste not to since you're obviously exposed to it how it is spoke.

-If you send some CVs abroad can you work not on the spot as well or it does not work like that?

There's nothing to stop a translator from working the other side of the world to either their client or their boss (except if you're hired by my former boss who was incapable of trusting his employees to work from home even though of course he could keep track of everything from a distance. Just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean your employees are not out to screw you)

-What's the average price for a typewritten page? Around € 40, or do you charge per word, around € 0,08? Do you have to pay taxes on that? How much? And do you have to pay taxes for your pension too?

No idea what a typewritten page is in terms of productivity. If you earn money you pay taxes on it, that's a given in any society. As for how much, don't worry, the tax office will be happy to tell you that!

-On average how many typewritten pages can you get per month?

No idea (see above). I translate about 12000 words a week.

-How does it work for your retirement, do you have to pay yourself National insurance contributions?

Old translators never retire, we just keep going until we die, our fingers frozen to the keyboard.
Are you talking about freelancing here? because there's no such thing as a free lunch, if you don't have a portion of your salary syphoned off into a pension fund then you have to pay into one yourself to get anything more than the minimum pension that just about prevents you from curling up to die in the gutter.


-When you first started out was it difficult to land clients? How long did it take you to get the first interpreting/translating job?

I happened to be given my first job when I was vaguely wondering how to convert from a teacher giving night classes to somebody working from home. Most of my work came from friends in the right places (people working in international organisations)

-What are Kudoz points? Does Proz work just like Ebay so with feedbacks?

Why don't you look at the Kudoz section to see how it works? I'm pretty sure there must be a FAQ section somewhere. And no Proz is not Ebay with feedbacks. Why not take a little time to browse the site to get the hang of it?

-What's the average salary for an in-house translator?

Not much

-Do you normally have to negotiate your stipend with the agency? They tend to save on you as much as possible for what I've read on the web. There are no standard salaries for in-house translators?

Anyone going through a hiring process will have to discuss salary and it's a free world, you can negotiate whatever you like. And in the capitalist world everybody tries to save money everywhere. Given that there are practically no in-house translators anywhere I doubt very much that there is a standard salary. If there is one, it's not fair because it should depend on the kind of work you do.

-Do you normally have to negotiate your stipend with the agency? They tend to save on you as much as possible for what I've read on the web. There are no standard salaries for in-house translators?

Anyone going through a hiring process will have to discuss salary and it's a free world, you can negotiate whatever you like. And in the capitalist world everybody tries to save money everywhere. Given that there are practically no in-house translators anywhere I doubt very much that there is a standard salary. If there is one, it's not fair because it should depend on the kind of work you do.


-As getting clients at first (about interpreting) must be pretty hard and interpreters that work in-house are just in the EU, UN, NATO and so on, is it better to get a job as a teacher and than work as a interpreting or translating freelancer in your spare time?? Becoz if you work 40 hours a week you actually have no time to dedicate yourself to interpretation.

What spare time? It might be hard to convince the organisers of a conference to schedule it after six so you have time to get there after class. And school holidays are not the high point in the year for international conferences.

-Thx everybody 4 all yo tips!



 

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Any more questions? Jan 5, 2014

spilungo23 wrote:

-Do freelancers have the right to get sick days, pension or whatever?


-Is it better to work as an in-house translator or as a freelancer?

-If you're in Sweden, Denmark, Germany or whatever do you
normally work with the local language or even with some other language combinations e.g. English/French?

-If you send some CVs abroad can you work not on the spot as well or it does not work like that?

-What's the average price for a typewritten page? Around € 40, or do you charge per word, around € 0,08? Do you have to pay taxes on that? How much? And do you have to pay taxes for your pension too?

-On average how many typewritten pages can you get per month?

-How does it work for your retirement, do you have to pay yourself National insurance contributions?

-When you first started out was it difficult to land clients? How long did it take you to get the first interpreting/translating job?

-What are Kudoz points? Does Proz work just like Ebay so with feedbacks?

-What's the average salary for an in-house translator?

-Do you normally have to negotiate your stipend with the agency? They tend to save on you as much as possible for what I've read on the web. There are no standard salaries for in-house translators?
-Do you normally have to negotiate your stipend with the agency? They tend to save on you as much as possible for what I've read on the web. There are no standard salaries for in-house translators?

-As getting clients at first (about interpreting) must be pretty hard and interpreters that work in-house are just in the EU, UN, NATO and so on, is it better to get a job as a teacher and than work as a interpreting or translating freelancer in your spare time?? Becoz if you work 40 hours a week you actually have no time to dedicate yourself to interpretation.

-Thx everybody 4 all yo tips!


I'm afraid we are not a job center here:-)


 

Rob Prior
Germany
Local time: 05:09
German to English
I am one Jan 13, 2014

In my experience, German translation companies tend to employ more in-house translators than elsewhere (I happen to be one). Just don't bother looking for in-house jobs at agencies and large we-do-everything LSP's. The in-house jobs tend to be in smaller, highly specialised or "boutique" translation companies, or in medium-to-large companies in a particular sector (i.e. chemical firms, carmakers, etc.).

It is worth looking as long as you are flexible geographically. You can practice honing your translation skills whilst receiving a steady salary, meaning you don't have to take every crappy job offered to you because you need the money, whilst at the same time learning about a particular field and building contacts. You can also use the time to prepare for freelancing (as I am doing this year). Hope that helps!


 

spilungo23
Switzerland
Local time: 05:09
Italian to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Jan 28, 2014

Thanks for your reply Rob Prior! Now I'm going to Germany to attend a German course and once my German will be at least OK, I'll start looking around for a job. Cheers for your answer dude!

 


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