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Poll: How old were you when you decided to become a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:27
SITE STAFF
Dec 1, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How old were you when you decided to become a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nathalie Reis. View the poll results »



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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:27
Member (2008)
English to Italian
15 Dec 1, 2010

I remember I was 15, and I had a picture of myself sitting at a computer and translating, at that time the picture included a loto of paper dictionaries

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JaneD  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 22:27
Member (2009)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Decide?! Dec 1, 2010

I never actually decided to become a translator, I just found myself being one!

In some ways I wish I'd planned to do it earlier, but at the same time I'm glad I've built up experience in different industries first, as I feel that this has made me a better translator.

That said, I think spending hours looking up words in French, German and Spanish dictionaries at about the age of 8 probably should have given me a clue!

[Edited at 2010-12-01 09:56 GMT]


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Chun Un  Identity Verified
Macau
Member (2007)
English to Chinese
+ ...
>30 Dec 1, 2010

After spending a few years sitting at the lab bench (research), I realized it was not for me. And I took part in a translation project just to help my uncle and it turned out to be a lot of fun playing with words. This experience re-kindled my relationship with language. One thing led to another. I ended up earning an MA in translation and instead of sitting at the lab bench I am now sitting at the computer (for over 10 hours daily), worrying about carpal tunnel syndrome (caused by repetitive motion of the wrist).



[Edited at 2010-12-01 10:31 GMT]


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Adnan Özdemir  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 00:27
Member (2007)
German to Turkish
+ ...
7 Dec 1, 2010

7

Gora Euskadi

[Edited at 2010-12-01 15:12 GMT]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another drifter Dec 1, 2010

Janed wrote:

I never actually decided to become a translator, I just found myself being one!

In some ways I wish I'd planned to do it earlier, but at the same time I'm glad I've built up experience in different industries first, as I feel that this has made me a better translator.


I started translating in 1998 when I was 37. I sort of drifted into it too, but not without a 12-year "training period" prior to starting.

The training took place while I was teaching English as a foreign language. The great majority of my students (children and adults) were too lazy to look up translations of words in dictionaries so I (rightly or wrongly so) did it for them. It was a type of unwitting practice at the research methods that are an integral part of translating.


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Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:27
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
(Maybe) 16-17 Dec 1, 2010

When I started travelling abroad (above all the U.S.A. journey, when I was 16) I also started to be fascinated by the magic world of words.

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Andrej Fric  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 22:27
Member (2011)
German to Slovenian
+ ...
43 or 25? Dec 1, 2010

All my working years as engineer/CAD designer, entrepreneur and project leader etc. I have been working with customers abroad and translated many technical and business documents for my colleagues and partners. Now I decided to work independently and solo. I rather work for less money than before, just to have less worries about my workers salaries. I plan to abandon my current company (with 5 employees) in 3 Years and do only translations.

[Edited at 2010-12-01 09:53 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 1, 2010

I had notions of becoming a translator when I graduated in Russian and French in the eighties, but in those days the only jobs on offer in near my area were with the government, which did not interest me because of the obligation to sign the UK's official secrets act, which I was not keen on. I eventually gave up the the idea and went into TEFL and only really started translating as a sideline, when people, mostly students or their friends, asked me. I was pushing 40 by then, and in the past decade or so gradually came to concentrate more on translating, occasionally interpreting and very occasionally doing what is now known variously training, coaching or consulting etc...
I often wish I'd set out as a translator sooner, but perhaps I would have become bored after a while, and to get into it late may have simply been fate. Nowadays I enjoy my work more than ever. Apart from being able to see a result of your efforts, which is somehow more often satisfying then teaching usually was in my experinece, the absence of bosses and commuting etc really make it worthwhile...


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 22:27
English
+ ...
Me too.... Dec 1, 2010

John Cutler wrote:

Janed wrote:

I never actually decided to become a translator, I just found myself being one!



.... I sort of drifted into it too....



After living here in the Netherlands for about 15 years, I volunteered to translate a website about a local artist. The positive reactions to my efforts encouraged me to take on more jobs... I'd worked for years as a freelance English editor/writer/proofreader so it seemed a natural progression to add translation as one of my skills.

[Edited at 2010-12-01 23:12 GMT]


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Szymon Metkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 22:27
Member (2006)
German to Polish
+ ...
about 15 Dec 1, 2010

I have started to translate my father's business letters as he was to lazy to write in German. Then his collegues asked me to translate their webpages and then I got some serious texts from my mentor (and former German teacher).

[Zmieniono 2010-12-01 10:11 GMT]


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Paul Stevens  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:27
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
44 Dec 1, 2010

After graduating, I worked for about 20 years working in international insurance broking in the City of London, travelling abroad on business on a number of occasions and using my languages to a fair degree (including translating quite a lot of insurance documentation), I finally got tired of the office politics at the age of 44 and decided to take the plunge into freelance translating. Although it took a while to build up a decent client base, I feel much more fulfilled as a freelancer and, in hindsight, despite the valuable "life" and business experience that I gained in insurance, I just wish that I'd made the move a few years earlier!

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Charles Rothwell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:27
Member (2007)
German to English
Ancient! Dec 1, 2010

I was all of 52 or so when I decided to become a full-time freelance translator! I had done odd bits of translation before but then decided, after 30+ years of teaching, it was time for something new and translation fitted the bill extremely well. I know translators who are still working full-time in their mid-80s, so I hope I still have some years in front of me!

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Ghislaine van der Burgt  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:27
Dutch to English
+ ...
Only 10 years old! Dec 1, 2010

...and sitting with an extremely kind primary school teacher after everyone else had gone, so she could teach me English, because I was bored at school and needed more challenges. I remember being completely in awe of the whole process of learning a new language and the possibilities and difficulties different languages pose to each other.
Although my life's route has not been one of single-mindedly pursuing a language heaven, I managed to attain a moderate level of English, German, French and Russian and I would never want to do anything else but translate!


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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:27
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
19 Dec 1, 2010

I was in the RAF, an engine fitter, having completed a three-year apprenticeship in the trade. I had recently failed an aircrew medical and didn't really enjoy what I was doing, so I was looking for a way out. A notice appeared in Orders calling for volunteers to learn Russian or Chinese. I had done well at French at school, so I went for it. It worked out well after a shaky start when after the course, I was sent with five other people to Hongkong, and the officer in charge there asked whether we had learned Mandarin or Cantonese. But that was sorted out eventually. After the RAF I was at BBC Monitoring. The combination of Russian with an engineering background has worked out well for me as a freelance translator.

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