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Poll: Before working in translation I worked in...
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 22:17
Aug 20, 2009

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Before working in translation I worked in...".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
TEFL Aug 20, 2009

I did like teaching but as a freelancer there was a lot of travelling involved and the lack of positive feedback from agencies/schools/students eventually led to disillusionment.
Visible results, good feedback and home-based working made translation a much more inviting option and I've never looked back, although may occasionally be coaxed out of my TEFLA "retirement" to do a bit of coaching if the price/client/job is right...


Parrot  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 20, 2009

Being both Art and Teaching. (I mean, get real. You can't teach what you don't practise. And that also came with 3-6 research credits a year).


Dusan Rabrenovic  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
German to Slovenian
+ ...
Interesting Aug 20, 2009

Interesting to see only about a quarter actually set out as translators from the get-go. Myself, I've never had any doubt since high school that this is what I'll be doing for a living.

Which prompts the question: are the majority of translators flotsam, capsized from the ships of previous employers? Or are more of us a sort of jetsam, having cast themselves knowingly, at one point, into the cold icy waters of this soon-to-be-doomed business?


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Aug 20, 2009

Hey, where is engineering?


Local time: 07:17
English to French
+ ...
There was a time before... Aug 20, 2009

Dusan Rabrenovic wrote:

Interesting to see only about a quarter actually set out as translators from the get-go. Myself, I've never had any doubt since high school that this is what I'll be doing for a living.

I had no doubts either about what I wanted to do but had to earn a livingicon_smile.gif Times were different, freelancing was the exception and in house jobs were not that frequent, means of communication were totally different (no Internet, no fax, no modem). ["Je vous parle d'un temps que les moins de 20 ans ne peuvent pas connaître"]


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:17
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
i guess it would be 'arts' Aug 20, 2009

but i was a journalist...i did editing as well and translation occasionally.
I even had a book published about electronic commerce!


Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:17
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I used to... Aug 20, 2009

I used to program in C++ and fix some Unix programs but I was not happy.

Now, I'm happy.


David Russi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 23:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Long road Aug 20, 2009

flipped hamburgers at McDonalds and several other fine establishments
Pizza Hut delivery
gopher in an auto mechanic shop
framing carpenter / roofer
drug user/dealer
reseller at flea markets
carpet installer
prep cook
chef's assistant
security guard
starving college student
teaching assistant

I learned a lot in all of those "jobs" (and others that I cannot recall off hand), and it still amazes me how the different types of knowledge I acquired came in handy in the profession I eventually chose.


M. Laut  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:17
English to Indonesian
+ ...
In factory Aug 20, 2009

As factory engineer.


jccantrell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:17
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Engineering Aug 20, 2009

I did not see that on the list of choices. Is it Business? or Science? So I chose Other.

And, in fact, I am STILL working in engineering, I do my translating to relax. icon_smile.gif


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Checkered career... Aug 20, 2009

French at school was fun but not a way of life - far too literary. Anyway, I wanted to read Medicine at the time.

Working as a teacher's assistant convinced me I was not made for teaching; and as a printer's proof reader I was bored to death, but learned about patents!

Then I went to library school and trained in technical librarianship with German. This was the real thing - business and technical German, text analysis, target groups (from schoolchildren to industrialists, undergraduates to professors...) I still find a lot of it highly relevant even now.

Libraries were the places people went to look up or ask what they needed to know, and librarians had to find the answers in the stacks or wherever. There was not always a computer, and the Internet was beyond our dreams! It was a completely different world.

I worked at a semi-government Research Association for a while, and then married a Dane. In Denmark it took me a long time to get past language school, janitoring, child minding, factory work, the home care services and the tourist business, with language study and a little translation (recipes, archaeology, this and that for friends) to fill periods of unemployment.

I was nearly 50 when I found an in-house job with a translation agency... and it saved my sanity! By then I really appreciated the postgraduate diploma with comparative law, technical terminology, Internet and all the rest. Five years later I went free-lance, and still cannot believe my luck.

It takes all sorts - so happy translating, folks, however you came to it!


Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:17
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Engineering is definitely missing as a category Aug 20, 2009

Many technicial translators come from the field...


Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:17
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Many "careers" Aug 20, 2009

seamstress and hat maker
teddy bear maker
artist's model
short order cook
security guard
Head Start teacher
copy kid
music teacher
English teacher
chamber maid
musician/composer/arranger (still)

I guess that's about it.icon_biggrin.gif


Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:17
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
A rambling wreck from the Halton Tech and a hell of an engineer Aug 20, 2009

I also started with a three-year engineering apprenticeship and worked for two years in that line of work before becoming a translator.

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