Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >
Poll: Would you recommend translation as a career to future generations?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:24
SITE STAFF
Oct 19, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you recommend translation as a career to future generations?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ty Kendall. View the poll results »



Direct link Reply with quote
 
Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
4 years freelancing and... Oct 19, 2011

Not really established yet!

It's kind of awful, having 6 years' experience and 4 of them freelancing and not having an established pool of clients, as they seem to come and go as the wind blows...

Maybe there's something I am doing wrong.

On the other hand, if you have health problems the matter gets sort of more complicated still...

I would definitely not recommend it, sorry about it guys!

N.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
With one condition Oct 19, 2011

ONLY IF THEY INTEND TO TRANSLATE INTO THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE.

If they are non-natives who plan to translate into English, which is my domain, I'd rather they didn't compete. I don 't translate into other languages myself so I see it as quid pro quo.

It's actually quite hard for me to imagine what the translation workplace will be like in ten years time, though it will probably become more fragmented and specialised in general. The translation sphere is changing a lot right now mainly due to the technological side and things are becoming increasingly automated, which is nice but spreads the mistaken idea that anyone with a reasonable level can become a translator. Not even being a well-rounded native speaker makes you a good candidate, although it is a start. My own personal view is that one important prerequisite is liking language and enjoying working/playing with it.

Of course, another of my prerequisites is being able to use the apostrophe correctly in English so many of our prozian colleagues would be barred too...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Forgot to mention Oct 19, 2011

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Not really established yet!

It's kind of awful, having 6 years' experience and 4 of them freelancing and not having an established pool of clients, as they seem to come and go as the wind blows...

Maybe there's something I am doing wrong.

N.


It never occurred to me, but that is another important point - if you are looking for an easy pace, stability and a regular routine hingeing around a "normal" schedule and that elusive beast "free time" (= what some define as "having a life"), then translation is probably not really for you. Building up a base of regular direct clients is not an easy task, and it seems that the harder you try, the harder it gets. I got all mine (I have at least half a dozen, although some may only send me a couple of things a year) through luck or circumstances, and never actively sought out anything.



[Edited at 2011-10-19 08:35 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Natalia Pedrosa  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:24
English to Spanish
+ ...
Hi Neilmac Oct 19, 2011

Spot on!

I have come to realize too that the easier you take it the more in-flow of clients you get.

Maybe, like life, it's a matter of patience and good will, although this may sound as a quote from the Bible itself .

Thanks.

N.

neilmac wrote:

Natalia Pedrosa wrote:

Not really established yet!

It's kind of awful, having 6 years' experience and 4 of them freelancing and not having an established pool of clients, as they seem to come and go as the wind blows...

Maybe there's something I am doing wrong.

N.


It never occurred to me, but that is another important point - if you are looking for an easy pace, stability and a regular routine hingeing around a "normal" schedule and that elusive beast "free time" (= what some define as "having a life"), then translation is probably not really for you. Building up a base of regular direct clients is not an easy task, and it seems that the harder you try, the harder it gets. I got all mine (I have at least half a dozen, although some may only send me a couple of things a year) through luck or circumstances, and never actively sought out anything.



[Edited at 2011-10-19 08:35 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Leon Ivanihin  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:24
Member (2011)
English to Russian
Not at all Oct 19, 2011

It may sound too sad, but I believe all of us are modern dinosaurs.
Except interpreters. The world will need interpreters for a long time yet.
But (at least tecnical) translators more and more often are replaced by some technical solutions. Alas. On my opinion, the nearest 10-15 years will bring us free web-based solutions, which will be enough good for mass-using as simple translators.
I repeat: interpreters and literature translators are in safe position. For a while...


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:24
English to German
+ ...
It depends Oct 19, 2011

The usual "Oh, I love languages!!" or "I have lived in this country for [insert any random # of years] will not suffice. Because this often will be followed by remarks such as: "Why should I learn about this technology/read those high-end magazines regularly/keep myself up-to-date about IT?... ," etc. "Hey, I am bi-lingual! That's all it takes, right?"

Unfortunately not everyone is cut out for a lifelong learning process - the most critical skill for any professional translator.

I do know people, though, who are not yet proficient enough in regard to their language skills, but who would make brilliant translators in the future, due to their incessant hunger for knowledge.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 13:24
English to French
+ ...
Other Oct 19, 2011

Not just to anyone... strictly limited to people who are passionate about their mother tongue and foreign languages, open-minded and intellectually very curious, and not too much after money.

=> Natalia: took me 5 years (part time freelancing) to get a name, another 5 to get enough work to switch to full time freelancing. The hardest part IMHO is not "getting there" but "staying there"!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:24
English to French
+ ...
I don't know Oct 19, 2011

it's a difficult profession i.e. to get a regular flow of work, and most translators are not professional enough in my opinion

true - I've noticed the less I worry about getting work, the more it comes - probably because a relaxed translator gets detected by the client, and maybe offers better quality translations. I've just had a very good client coming back, and I was (ironically) one of the very few translators who did not ring the client to ask for more work (even though I could do with more work)

be patient - and keep going, and do your best to register with the translators' associations, and all the relevant authorities to be there for more work but it does take a long time to get a regular clientele but you will succeed and the fact that you are available and do your best will always stick to the client's mind when they need someone in a hurry or doing a job others have turned down, it will be a door that will open among others.

I agree - most translators should only translate into their native language, I've heard too many interpreters making mistakes in the booth, I've seen too many non-native speakers translating into another language and making mistakes. Really bilingual translators are extremely rare and are only credited when they get the work checked by peers and pass with flying colours - I've got no shame in preferring to translate into French (my native language) even though I can do it into English (I believe a native speaker will still have more flair, so I only do it when the client insists!)


Direct link Reply with quote
 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never try too hard Oct 19, 2011

[quote]Natalia Pedrosa wrote:
I have come to realize too that the easier you take it the more in-flow of clients you get.
[quote]neilmac wrote:

Yes, I always find that trying too hard often smacks of desperation, which can be off-putting. Like when I 'm looking at clothes en El Corte Ingles and salesmen keep trying to "help" me, which I always find embarrassing - perhaps because they are usually better dressed than I am. If I want help I'll ask for it.

I think the same holds in the workplace too - just try to do the best job possible every time and the good results of your efforts may bear fruit, usually by word of mouth from satisfied customers.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Andris Dinaburgskis  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 14:24
English to Latvian
+ ...
it depends Oct 19, 2011

Leon Ivanihin wrote:

But (at least tecnical) translators more and more often are replaced by some technical solutions.


I believe this will never happen because technical innovations always will grow prior to automatic translation solutions. Even the new descriptions and terms used within these new translation tools have to be translated understandably


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:24
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Couldn't agree more Oct 19, 2011

neilmac wrote:

ONLY IF THEY INTEND TO TRANSLATE INTO THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE.

If they are non-natives who plan to translate into English, which is my domain, I'd rather they didn't compete. I don 't translate into other languages myself so I see it as quid pro quo.



And this trend is compounded by the education system in European countries, which offer official qualifications for L1>L2 language pairs. In Spain (and other countries I suspect) you can become a sworn translator into English when English is your 2nd or 3rd language and win jobs that native speakers are ineligible for because there is no such qualification in the UK.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

MJ Barber  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Voted no Oct 19, 2011

Don't get me wrong - I love my profession, but in 10 years' time, Google will be doing it for free.

Well, Google already is doing it for free, just not very well yet.

I realise that this won't apply to literary translators, but it will take an awful lot of other work out of the pool - think insurance policies and the like. I'm already being asked (and refusing) to do more revision work, which I think is a consequence of both Google translation and of translation memories.

Thankfully, I am at a stage now where I am getting a lot less of the "mechanical" translations and am getting more "creative" work, but it has taken me a very long time to get here. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody starting out.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:24
Flemish to English
+ ...
No Oct 19, 2011

Leaving that native langue sh.t and English is my domain out of the equation, translation is no basis for a career.
I have xx years of experience in translation will not help you land in a well-paid job with a lot of perks. Nowadays cloud computing also makes it possible for office-workers to work outside the office or in their homes.
How free are you if you have to be available at all times to work at the lowest rates possible?



[Edited at 2011-10-19 11:32 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:24
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I certainly would Oct 19, 2011

MJ Barber wrote:

Don't get me wrong - I love my profession, but in 10 years' time, Google will be doing it for free.

Well, Google already is doing it for free, just not very well yet.



I do not think Google will come to grips with the very significant cultural differences in the foreseeable future. Even in my language pairs, which are closely related, it struggles with syntax, and absolutely acceptable English becomes gobbledegook in Danish. The other way round is not impressive either, unless VERY controlled language is used. Not enough resources have been spent on it, and I think there will be work for human translators in the less common language pairs for many years - or generations - to come.

Real language is far more complex than algorithms, because it is a creative process and not entirely rational.

I have seriously recommended translation as a career to two of my nephews. One got into Medical School after reading German for several years. He is putting his heart and soul into medicine at the moment. (Wow, I envy him, but I would never really have been a good medic...) He may end up translating yet, but he may not.

The other is training to teach EFL as an insurance policy, since his last university course foundered in the economic crisis, and he also has to make a living. He sees it as a good investment professionally, not just as a financial safety net. But he plans to pick up on his own second and third languages later, and I think he will make a very good linguist.

Come to think of it, a niece is starting out in that direction in the new year too. I wish her luck!


[Edited at 2011-10-19 11:24 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2 3] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:

Moderator(s) of this forum
Jared Tabor[Call to this topic]

You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Poll: Would you recommend translation as a career to future generations?

Advanced search






Protemos translation business management system
Create your account in minutes, and start working! 3-month trial for agencies, and free for freelancers!

The system lets you keep client/vendor database, with contacts and rates, manage projects and assign jobs to vendors, issue invoices, track payments, store and manage project files, generate business reports on turnover profit per client/manager etc.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search