Poll: What qualifications do you have as a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:06
SITE STAFF
Aug 2, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What qualifications do you have as a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by ViktoriaG

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


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 2, 2009

Degree in Modern Languages (Russian/ French /Elementary Spanish). Twenty years living in source language country (Spain -> Castilian Spanish).
In my time I have come across several "traductores jurado/as" who not only have a degree or certificate in translation but the Spanish "official qualification". Most of them can't translate for toffee.
A degree or certificate probably helps to capture new clients or get jobs from picky agencies but I don't believe it's a guarantee of quality.
I should also add that a large proportion of my clients appear unable to draft a decent, concise and coherent text in their own language...

[Edited at 2009-08-02 13:49 GMT]


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Phillippa May Bennett
Portugal
Local time: 06:06
Member
Portuguese to English
A mixture Aug 2, 2009

A degree in Portuguese and French (including a yr abroad and a mixture of language/translation and literature papers) and the IoL Diploma in Translation.

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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:06
Italian to English
+ ...
degree plus experience Aug 2, 2009

Degree in Modern Languages (French, Italian), more than 30 years in source language country.

And everything Neilmac says about the quality of the stuff clients give us to translate applies to Italy too!


neilmac wrote:


I should also add that a large proportion of my clients appear unable to draft a decent, concise and coherent text in their own language...

[Edited at 2009-08-02 13:49 GMT]


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
experience Aug 2, 2009

I'm relieved to see that 17% of the respondents put just "experience." I have an MA in Latin American Studies, lived in Mexico for 3.5 years, now live in a community where Spanish is spoken as much if NOT MORE than English, and I took 3 out of 5 required courses for a certificate but couldn't finish because I moved to from California to Arizona.

That combination of education, situation, and experience seems to work, but still I wish I had a certificate. Does anyone know of on-line certification programs for Spanish into English translators?

Thanks!


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:06
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
a combination Aug 2, 2009

so far only four people responded...i'm interested in this poll because I assume that the majority have degrees in translation.

For me it's a BA in English and a Graduate Degree in journalism, combined with over 10 years in journalism/writing (english) and exposure to two official languages.

I had done translations occasionally over the years, because I discovered that my gud english skils and nowing how to spel were actually a bonus, plus being and english native. People not only want translation, they want someone who can write well and so something with the translation.

SO it's a combination of education, experience and exposure to two languages.


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Marjolein Verhulsdonck-Roest
Netherlands
Local time: 07:06
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
A combination... Aug 2, 2009

... of education (BA in English and German) and translation experience, but more importantly, qualifications in my field of expertise.
As a medical translator, I make extensive use of my veterinary background every single day.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:06
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Degree, cultural immersion, experience Aug 2, 2009

A university degree in English, linguistics, and classical languages (Latin and Ancient Greek).

20 years living in Europe.

Experience (language teaching, translating).


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:06
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Experience Aug 2, 2009

No degree or certification, but lots of "hands-on" experience, living in Brazil, speaking Portuguese 99% of the time, and lots of years of translating. I was also a journalist for 12 years for a top newspaper without having any degree in journalism or otherwise. I think everybody's situation is different.

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Christina Paiva  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:06
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Experience, degree and certification Aug 3, 2009

I believe the love of languages and experience are the most important qualifications.

Never lived abroad, but Pt/En at home, English at school, and English/American girl guides, tons of reading in both languages and my Portuguese teacher in 5th grade, who had me write the same composition about 'Coffee' FIVE TIMES!!! She is definitely responsible for my writing skills.

However, knowledge in a specific area helps a lot. I have a BSc in Pharmacy & Biochemistry and an MSc degree in Agriculture. Couldn't finish my PhD in Genetics due to one of the many economical crisis... The courses I took plus practical work in research labs and the need to make money to survive lead me to start translating, proofreading papers in my area professionally.

Now, I have a few clients, most of them related to the field of chemistry/ biology, who keep me pretty busy

In the meantime, while struggling to build my career as a translator, I took the Public Traslator/Interpreter test. In Brazil, fees are ruled by the Trade Board of each State - it's great! no arguments about $$. When I took the test, I was not thinking about certification. It was more like a new field of work, since the need for certified documents would certainly be a good market

All in all, what I'm trying to say is that diplomas, certification may help - but they do not substitute experience.


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:06
Member (2009)
French to English
Bachelors degrees for a start... Aug 3, 2009

I have Bachelors degrees in both my source and target languages, but I am marking time until I can apply for ATA certification by gaining experience with translation. In addition, I am planning on applying to NYU's translation certification program: http://www.scps.nyu.edu/areas-of-study/foreign-languages/professional-certificates/translation.html.

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vixen  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 08:06
Member (2002)
English to Dutch
+ ...
A combination of... Aug 3, 2009

An MA degree in English, a course on technical writing and experience as a tech writer and translator. At university, a lot of time was spent on translation (UK>NL and NL>UK) and writing skills. When I met one of my old professors while taking the course on tech writing, he said "But you already know how to write!"

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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:06
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
What is meant by "university degree"? Aug 4, 2009

Is this a degree in translation? your language? engineering?
What level of degree is indicated? Bachelor's? Master's? Doctorate? (which I will admit is quite anglocentric).

I have a PhD in (officially) Germanic Languages and Literatures.
Which actually means that I specialized in Medieval German languages, literatures, histories and cultures.
My department requires a lot of breadth, so I often introduce myself as a generalist instead, and am qualified to do so.

However, most of my translation work is technical in nature, so my university degree, while providing me with good language skills and research habits, isn't really salient to my work.
I've never asked my clients if the PhD is an added draw or not. My husband (MS engineering) *hates* working with engineering PhDs, so I do wonder what translation clients/agencies think.


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