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Poll: At what age did you start translating professionally?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:39
SITE STAFF
Oct 25, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "At what age did you start translating professionally?".

This poll was originally submitted by shweta kheria. View the poll results »



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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
Member
German to English
+ ...
Straight out of uni ... Oct 25, 2011

... with the ink on my MA still wet, at the age of 23.

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Ricardo Gouveia  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:39
English to Portuguese
+ ...
As soon as I became legally able Oct 25, 2011

I became 18 in December 2009, and was exploring many new things I could do with that age, like betting, trying to earn money on the internet, having tried freelancing as a translator and found out that was what I really liked, and gave up my BSc. in Information Systems.
I am almost 20 and working as a freelance translator for almost 2 years.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:39
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Having sworn I would have nothing to do with it at college Oct 25, 2011

I wanted to read medicine.
So what do you do when you don't get into medical school, have health problems of your own and finally, when they are sorted, you get married and end up living abroad?

I applied at an early stage for a job with a pharmaceutical company, which I did not get either, and then there was a long phase of language school, night school and unskilled jobs interspersed with unemployment.

I was nearly 50 when by sheer luck an agency advertised for an in-house translator. Normally they have a dozen good applications already on their files - I have never seen an in-house job advertised before or since.

They wanted an English native speaker, and in the first round my application dropped out because of my name! But someone looked a second time and called me in for an interview.
It was really one of the best days of my life when I got that job...


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 18:39
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
What do you mean by "professionally"? Oct 25, 2011

I'm sure that some people will fall into the trap of misconstruing "professional" with "full-time." I think a clear distinction must be made between the two here.
In my book, it takes translators with a solid linguistic background in their source (i.e. non-native) languge about five years of full-time employment experience in the translation industry to mature into "professional" translators.

Maybe someone can come up with a definitive description of what a "professional" translator is?

Any comments and discussion would be most welcome.

Happy translatiing!


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:39
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I started rather late Oct 25, 2011

in life (at 35) compared to most. Before turning to translation, I worked as a civil servant, secretary, hotel manager, account executive, public relations officer... In the long run, this rather chaotic career path served me well as I got experience in different areas and working environments.

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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:39
English to French
+ ...
26 Oct 25, 2011

qualified at 24 with MA and LLB and did 1 year as a Language Assistant then 1 year various jobs and language tutor to multinationals with Language Schools in London then moved on to full-time freelance at 26 - never regretted it ever since

my only job experience per se really started professional interpreting at 27


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Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 11:39
Turkish to English
+ ...
40 Oct 25, 2011

I twice tried to establish myself as a freelance translator: in 1984 when I was 28, and in 1989 when I was 33. However, I was unable to get any work! In 1996, when I was 40 and running my own small in-company language training company, one of my corporate clients canvassed me as to whether I would do a translation for them. I accepted and this was the first paid translation that I did in my life.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:39
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Writing for the target reader instead of just looking up in the dictionary Oct 25, 2011

JulianHolmes wrote:

I'm sure that some people will fall into the trap of misconstruing "professional" with "full-time." I think a clear distinction must be made between the two here.
In my book, it takes translators with a solid linguistic background in their source (i.e. non-native) languge about five years of full-time employment experience in the translation industry to mature into "professional" translators.

Maybe someone can come up with a definitive description of what a "professional" translator is?

Any comments and discussion would be most welcome.

Happy translatiing!


I had done a few translations before I started my in-house job, and had in fact studied languages for business and translation a little before that.

But I chose that date, because my colleagues taught me to re-write the text in English (or whatever your target language is), as oposed to simply transposing the words and looking up the ones you don't know in the dictionary. Sometimes it does not make a big difference, when the text is written for that target group and with translation in mind. However, it is always worth reading your translation again without the source, to see whether it conveys the underlying meaning, not just the words, and also SOUNDS right.

Now that is also the difference between a translator and MT...


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:39
English to German
+ ...
Age 22 Oct 25, 2011

right after finishing my studies.

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Anne Carnot  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 10:39
Member (2009)
English to French
34 Oct 25, 2011

after a few years in various HR positions, I went back to university to become an EFL teacher, worked as a teacher for another few years... and decided to change career again and study translation! I set up my business 3 years ago, and this time, I don't think I'll change job in the near future, I'm blissfully happy

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tontoon
Turkey
Local time: 12:39
German to Turkish
+ ...
With 17 at highschool Oct 25, 2011

I started at highschool, translating Bertolt Brecht. My first translations have been published when I was 19. And i was a sworn translator with 21.
One year later I gave up the college to do translating. And now I am 40. Time passes very fast.


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Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:39
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
over 35 Oct 25, 2011

I worked as a journalist since 1992, but then moved on to translation full time in 2004-5. I was fed up with journalism and had a gig as a textbook editor. I had done some translations before, but one of my colleagues told me that textbook company needed translators. However they had to be certified. But i thought that since I had experience, I could do it on my own. I began looking for agencies, for both translation and editing. I know a few journalists who have done the same! we like that there is more work, that we don't have to come up with ideas and that agencies contact US instead of vice versa.

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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:39
Spanish to English
+ ...
Slightly before mid-life. Oct 25, 2011

I was 38 when I started translating. I actually had my first clients before I even considered myself a translator. People heard the way I spoke Spanish and Catalan and the requests to translate more or less came about spontaneously. I like to say that I was "invited" into the profession. That combined with an above average working knowledge of English grammar and writing skills (my parents didn't tolerate improper grammar usage) sealed the deal for me.

This, of course, came about because I had come to Spain 14 years earlier and from day one I lived a nearly complete immersion lifestyle. I hung out very little with other foreigners (and still don't much). I've literally and figuratively married into the culture, which has allowed me to work practically non-stop for the past 12 years.


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shweta kheria  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:09
French to English
@JulianHolmes Oct 25, 2011

"Professionally" here means the time when you made this your career. The time when you starting earning from doing translations. In my case, I didn't have full-time employment experience in the translation industry to mature into a "professional" translator. I started translating at the age of 21 with no prior experience and became professional in few months itself. I started getting huge projects and clients were satisfied with my quality. Its just about your knowledge and willingness to do better each time. Of course, my educational background in my non-native language was strong. That helped me and rest I did on my own.

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