Poll: How many times have you thought about changing your career as a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:40
Apr 7, 2012

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How many times have you thought about changing your career as a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by Hirofumi Murata. View the poll results »


Thayenga  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:40
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Never Apr 7, 2012

It would never cross my mind to turn away from translations
I love languages and translating and writing, so having the 2 careers I like the most,
why settle for something different?icon_razz.gif

Happy Easter!


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:40
Spanish to English
+ ...
Never Apr 7, 2012

I have occasionally mulled over what I might do if I ever did have to stop translating, but I don't see it as happening of my own volition. In fact, I think that even if I won the lottery or something and became independently wealthy, I'd still keep on translating part-time just to keep my hand in, perhaps doing more pro-bono work.

[Edited at 2012-04-07 08:27 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 16:40
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Never say never Apr 7, 2012

but I had a career before moving to translation and paraphrasing Sinéad O'Connor: "nothing compares 2U"!


Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:40
Hebrew to English
Thought about it? All the time! Apr 7, 2012

I think the days of "careers for life" are over for the most part.
Many people dip in and out, switch, retrain. I wouldn't be surprised if I quit translation at some point in the future and return to teaching for a while. Circumstances change, tastes change. I could always return to translation, or even have the best of both worlds and do both part time.

[Edited at 2012-04-07 12:45 GMT]


Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:40
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Basically very happy Apr 7, 2012

Yes, I am the above when I'm translating.

I'm applying what I know and using my writing skills to produce coherent and logical translations for the benefit of my customers AND I'm getting paid for it. Getting paid for something I like doing. Hmmm. That, in my books, is pretty good. icon_smile.gif

As a technical translator, primarily, I get the opportunity to learn on an ongoing basis. I get to visit factories and research facilities at times, meet dedicated and talented engineers and, more importantly, I am always at the forefront of technology and learning something new. When I'm confronted by a new project that is sometimes a subset of or slightly away my skillset, I rise to the challenge and learn more to give the customer what they want.

And, learning is fun -- I think all translators enjoy what is generally termed "continual self improvement." It's rather like bodybuilders when they are "pumping iron." We are really exercising our minds and I can feel the adrenailin flowing, especially, after successfully concluding a big project! icon_biggrin.gif

In answer to the poll question, however, I answered in the affirmative because I have toyed on a few occasions with the idea of a career shift when the market has dropped and I'm in the 2nd or 3rd month of a work drought.

After all, as translators in the real world, we all have to be practical. We all have to make a living and ideals don't really count much when lack of work means that you can't bring a lot to the table.

Fortunately, I'm in the middle of big projects right now which can keep this translator fed and bed for quite a while. icon_smile.gif

In fact, right now, I'm considering using my current skillset as a launchpad for branching out and expanding my translation and writing services.

Happy translating!


Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:40
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thinking about change can be healthy Apr 7, 2012

I have thought not exactly about changing careers but complementing my translation avocation. If I could go back to my college days in a time machine, I would probably pick a second, science-oriented career. The hard sciences, such as biology and chemistry, have always fascinated me.

In down times, sure, I have thought about having a different, more stable career, so to speak. But who hasn't? Sometimes those reflective crossroads are necessary to reassess what I'm doing at the time, turn around from some ineffectual course of action and try again. Carefully thought changes are healthy, I think.


Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:40
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Probably never Apr 7, 2012

For many years I thought about changing my career in teaching and business to become a translator. Now I have taken the plunge, I am very happy here and can't see myself ever wanting to give it up completely. If needs must, I may end up doing something else as well, but I think I will always want to translate.


Hipyan Nopri  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:40
Member (2005)
English to Indonesian
+ ...
Never but Apr 7, 2012

I tried to find another work to complement my profession as a freelance translator.

This complementary work serves to compensate for the fluctuating income from translation business.


French to English
+ ...
Not really, but I want to do other stuff too Apr 7, 2012

I'm certainly not looking for excuses to stop translating, but I certainly would like to make sure that my time stays open enough to take on other types of engaging projects as they come along. Perhaps over time other projects will become more important, which case I may eventually encourage some (or even all) clients to start looking for a new translator, but I expect that I will be quite content to translate well into the future, possibly even indefinitely.


Johanne Benoit-Gallagher  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:40
Member (2006)
English to French
Lifelong learning Apr 7, 2012

I suspect many translators enjoy the ongoing learning that comes with translating. That is certainly true for me and this aspect keeps me interested in the art and business of translation.

I have always had other pursuits, wanting to develop other skills, and certainly would consider sharing my time between art and translation, for example, or simply exploring other opportunities as they come along.

At this point, I think translation will always be part of my career mix. After studying, putting in years of effort in translation and thinking of business development, it would be difficult to leave the occupation altogether.

And if the 10,000 hours of practice rule is true, then the best is yet to come.


Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:40
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
Other Apr 7, 2012

Because I'm not sure how I should understand the question: I've never seriously considered quitting translation. But I believe that god-knows-what-working-as-a-translator-will-look-like-in-30-years, so I keep in mind that I may change job someday if the working conditions should become too bad, and there's a couple of things that would probably make me as happy as translation.
But as long as translating is fine, no way I quit!

Other Apr 7, 2012

I am a writer authored and published half a dozen of books. Problem is I cannot pay the bills by doing so. Translation does. If you tell me I have to chose one, I would gladly chose the title "writer" rather than "translator".icon_cool.gif


Miroslav Jeftic  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:40
English to Serbian
+ ...
Sometimes Apr 7, 2012

Sometimes, yes. Can't imagine starting from scratch in another line of work though, probably too late for thaticon_biggrin.gif


Mami Yamaguchi  Identity Verified
Member (2008)
Japanese to English
+ ...
I would like to put the same question to the person who originally submitted this poll. Apr 8, 2012

I can imagine such a question drifts through his mind at times.
In fact, I always think about it ,and sometimes I help ex-coworkers.
The reason why I continue this career is that I always can be near my family, and that I can work with not only nearby clients but others all over the world.
We have many chances to meet with people all over the world. Also sometimes you may get job offer from those who are looking for someone like you with some conditions they require. Still, translation is a difficult and challenging task, I think. And it is true that there are many other good jobs. So it's no wonder that some translators change (quit) their careers.

[Edited at 2012-04-08 22:44 GMT]


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Poll: How many times have you thought about changing your career as a translator?

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