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Poll: Have you thought of becoming a translator/ interpreter for International Institutions (WTO, etc.)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:30
SITE STAFF
Jun 8, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you thought of becoming a translator/ interpreter for International Institutions (WTO, etc.)?".

This poll was originally submitted by Marcela Maidaniuc

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:30
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
WIPO Jun 8, 2009

I already subcontract to them.

 

Niraja Nanjundan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:00
German to English
Language limitations Jun 8, 2009

There was a time when I would have liked to work as a translator for the United Nations, but my source language is German, which is not a UN language. The official UN languages are Chinese, Spanish, Russian, French and English (hope I haven't missed any out). However, international organisations have their own idiosyncracies and internal politics and I'm very happy working as a German to English freelance translator now.

 

Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:30
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
LAC organization Jun 8, 2009

I am in charge of translations for a multilingual (English, Spanish, Portuguese, recently French) non-profit non-government organization that serves the LAC region (Latin America and Caribbean).
They have been one of my best customers since 2001. The work is very interesting and challenging, and I'd love to work for more organizations such as this.


 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 13:30
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I favor the private sector Jun 8, 2009

As I work for profit, I look for clients who do too. I am sure that working for one of these organizations is an interesting experience, but I prefer to have interesting experiences in my free time doing non-translation related things.

What I do recommend is studying the bilingual texts put out by these organizations and making TMs from them because the quality of the translations tends to be good and you can mine plenty of usable terminology from them.

[Edited at 2009-06-08 14:28 GMT]


 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 18:30
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Yes Jun 8, 2009

Niraja Nanjundan wrote:

The official UN languages are Chinese, Spanish, Russian, French and English (hope I haven't missed any out).
You have: Arabic.

Yes, I've considered working for the UN, I took the tests for internal positions and failed. They offer a very good pay, but plenty of other factors make me prefer to work for the private sector, including the fact that I could not possibly use German if working at the UN.


 

Karin Anna Aisicovich
Israel
Local time: 19:30
Italian to Russian
+ ...
Agree with Reed D James Jun 8, 2009

especially about learning from the sites of those organizations

 

Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 13:30
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Profit vs. non-profit Jun 8, 2009

The fact that my customer is a non-profit organization doesn't mean that they don't pay or that I do not work for profit myself.

However, I do agree that there is much to learn from these organizations.


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:30
Flemish to English
+ ...
International institutions: the translator's/interpreter's mecca. Jun 8, 2009

Why do you think that when the countries of some freelancers here present joined the E.U., they participated in the EU-competitions and that those who passed and got recruited are now working at the Commission, Council, etc...?
No longer available for the "joy" and "freedom" freelance translation brings to them.
The joy of being an international official tastes better, certainly when you are on holiday and you get paid for laying on a sunny beach, while the freelancer has to work.

A 45000 euro per annum starting salary for 11 months work and if you have kids, they go to the European School,where 21 languages can be heard. International officials don't pay taxes to the national state, but a much lower tax to the international institution, which in some cases makes quite a difference: Being a European Offical living in Brussels is not fiscally not the same as being a freelancer paying taxes to Belgium and certainly not being an in-house.
Those who have the luck being an in-house at a Belgian institution/company lose 52% of their meager income to the Belgian state. The European Officials about 20% to the European Institutions.
Being exempt of a lot of duties, travel allowance so that during the weekends Brussels is empty, a nice pension. ... For those who climb the ladder, this salary goes up to 7000 euros net per month and those who make it to head of deparment earn about 9000 per month. * (exact figures : epso website).
For people from Eastern-Europe earning an Eastern-European average income, this is like pennies from heaven.
Moreover, the multinational "corporate culture" and, learning experience/possibilities and feedback you get from it, are far more stimulating that those of "the poor lonesome translator".

For some , me included, this is thé ideal position and I consider freelance translation a preparation for it. At most (not all) international institions, "native" is not imperative. On their application forms, you will find : your mother -tongue or the language you know best.
Why do you think there are always minimum about 1000 applicants for such positions? Why do you think young people go to schools for translation and interpreting. To become a freelancer?? Most enter with the "dream" at the back of their head that they want to work for an international institution.



]

[Edited at 2009-06-09 05:57 GMT]


 

Interlangue (X)
Angola
Local time: 18:30
English to French
+ ...
Other Jun 8, 2009

I work for them as a freelancer, directly or through agencies that have a framework-contract with them.

 

Sara Senft  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:30
Spanish to English
+ ...
No, but that doesn't mean I never will consider it Jun 8, 2009

I haven't considered it.....yet. I do not feel professionally ready for it right now.

Although I am not considering it now, I might consider it some time in the future.

Interestingly, one of my neighbors imagines me working at the UN some day.


 

lexical  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:30
Portuguese to English
Do tell us how... Jun 8, 2009

Williamson wrote:

"For some , me included, this is the ideal position and I consider freelance translation a prepartion for it."

Do please tell us how you achieved this - or are you just still a bottom feeder like everybody else?


 

Mariadelpila (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Dreams, dreams, dreams Jun 8, 2009

It was my dream to work for International Institutions when I did my Translation Degree back in the late 90s; however, I somehow ended up working in Education in the UK, which I have quite enjoyed. Ten years later, I doubt I will ever fulfil that ambition - too old! But you never know what way things may turn...

 

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 11:30
Member (2005)
English to Swedish
+ ...
depends Jun 9, 2009

Depends on what sort of organization it is and what they are doing in the world. Many of them are just part of "the fascist system". I would resist accepting jobs from WTO, UN, EU, etc.

[Edited at 2009-06-09 04:37 GMT]


 

Roy OConnor (X)
Local time: 18:30
German to English
Was on EU list for a some time Jun 9, 2009

After going through a time-consuming and complicated qualification procedure some years ago I was added to the list of EU freelance translators. However, like one or two other technical translators I know here in Germany, I never received a single word to translate. After about three years I didn´t renew my application to stay on the list.

Bad requirements forecasting or bureaucracy gone mad?


 
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