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Poll: How did you become interested in translating?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 15:07
SITE STAFF
Apr 6, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How did you become interested in translating?".

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Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
A few of the symptoms Apr 6, 2010

Family addiction to cryptic crosswords.
Opportunity to study Latin and Greek at an early age and the teacher getting me hooked on etymology.
Fascination with etymology of placenames and surnames.
Unable to study language of choice (Spanish) until sixth form, so extremely keen to get going.
Wonderful teachers (thank you Mrs W-H and Mrs D.).
Lucky enough to get place in good department at university.
Great teachers and very exacting Spanish language teacher (thank you Teresa, Lorna, Liz, Alison, etc).
Etc.
icon_wink.gif


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 01:07
Turkish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 6, 2010

The need to earn money.

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Melanie Wittwer  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 10:07
English to German
+ ...
Other Apr 6, 2010

Getting married to an English speaker and moving to another country. Getting bored with 9 to 5 job in new country. Translation just seemed the obvious choice. Turned out to have been a good choice, too.

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Bea Geenen  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
English to Dutch
+ ...
Other Apr 6, 2010

After 20 years of doing jobs just because they paid the mortgage, I decided it was time to do something just because I liked it.

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:07
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Other Apr 6, 2010

Doing a boring job in the RAF as an engine fitter, failed aircrew medical, saw appeal for volunteers to go on a Russian course & took it. That was in 1952, and I've been involved with translating ever since.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
By invitation Apr 6, 2010

I was sort of invited into the profession. I had been giving English as a foreign language classes in businesses and schools since 1988, but was tired of the lackadaisical attitude of the adult students and fed up with snot-nosed, mouthy kids. People heard me speaking Catalan and asked if I could translate things for them. One job led to another and I jumped on the translation bandwagon without giving it a second thought. How I became interested is simply that it looked like a good job opportunity in comparison to teaching. I’ve now been working happily and non-stop as a translator for the last 12 years.

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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:07
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Work experience for me Apr 6, 2010

... but I'm certainly curious about "it just happened"icon_biggrin.gif

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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:07
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Work experience Apr 6, 2010

I studied Spanish at university and then went to live in Spain. Although my degree did include translation assignments, it was not the main focus of the course (which included a lot of linguistics, literature, cultural studies, etc...) and it never really occurred to me that I could become a translator!

When I moved to Spain I got a job as an exports administrator, but my role involved a lot of translation and interpreting, and it was then that I realised that I could make a career out of it. I began looking into out, discovered that translators existed (!) and could work as freelancers, and started trying to get some experience. Then I moved back to the UK and did a master's course to get some translator training.

I can't imagine doing anything else now, to be honest.


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:07
Member (2006)
German to English
work experience Apr 6, 2010

Being the only English speaking person in the department, I was always "asked" to translate the text in drawings, etc.
After a few years, started doing it on the side until it started getting tooo much and as I was enjoying more than my actual profession, "it just happend:-)"


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:07
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Several of the above... Apr 6, 2010

When I was a child in Bombay - now Mumbai - and Pune there were languages all around. Among many other things, my father translated.

I enjoyed French at school but did not get on with the Latin teacher, try as I might. I was determined to read medicine... and of course did not make medical school. Studied some German along the way to technical librarianship and ended up married to a Dane and living in Denmark. By this stage translating was definitely an ambition, but not easy to start out in. After studying more French and German and a long, chequered career doing this and that, including the odd translation, I applied for a more permanent job... that looked a lot more exciting than so many others. And just for a change, I got it!

It was in-house with a translation agency, and suddenly I had landed on the right shelf as the Danes put it. The company sent me on a postgraduate diploma course (Danish open university), and my colleagues taught me a lot more as work experience.

I went freelance after staff cutbacks, and here I am...



[Edited at 2010-04-07 08:01 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:07
Spanish to English
+ ...
School/Uni Apr 6, 2010

I always liked the translation components of my language classes (Russian, French and German) at school and found translating into my native language easy, and therefore motivating. Inverse translation was fascinating too, because it was so much harder. I eventually went on to study a BA degree in French and Russian, with a final year component of elementary Spanish (the main language I now translate from). There were no specific technical "translation" elements in the course, just translating texts with pen and paper.
Like John, I ended up drifting into TEFL and after a few years got fed up with it for the same reasons he mentions. The rest of my story is similar, people started asking me to translate things and it built up slowly from there. Working from home is a big plus, with no stressful to-ing and fro-ing between classes. I wouldn't change it for the world...


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 00:07
German to English
+ ...
Drifted in, sort of Apr 6, 2010

I was working as a TEFL instructor in Munich and our part-time secretary worked with an institute that published a law jounral consisting of material translated from German. They were short of a free-lance translator and the secretary knew that I had a degree in law ... and as my hours in the TEFL business declined, my work in translation increased.

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oxygen4u
Portugal
Local time: 23:07
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I was born a translator... Apr 6, 2010

I know it seems strange, but ever since I can remember (even before I could read), I've always wanted to speak foreign languages and make other people understand what "the people who speak funny" where saying...

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Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 17:07
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
General interest Apr 6, 2010

I was (am still) interested in plenty of subjects. I already knew well Spanish, English and French before deciding my university career, so I thought that by studying translation I could read about many other subjects I was interested in.

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