Poll: Do you think clients consider your educational background when deciding to work with you?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 16:44
SITE STAFF
Oct 4, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think clients consider your educational background when deciding to work with you?".

This poll was originally submitted by Verlow Woglo Junior. View the poll results »



Direct link Reply with quote
 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 08:44
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Nope Oct 4, 2014

Never even been asked

Educational background never even enters into the equation. All they think about is getting decent quality translations, quickly and cheaply.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 02:44
Turkish to English
+ ...
I don't know Oct 4, 2014

I never question clients as to why they have selected me - I just get on with the job. On the other hand, I know that most of the serious work offers I receive come through my listing at the Chartered Institute of Linguists' web site, and I am a member of the Institute on the basis of having passed its Diploma in Translation examination, so, if that achievement can be considered part of my educational background, then - yes.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Verlow Junior, MITI
Brazil
Local time: 20:44
Member (2014)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Some clients do Oct 4, 2014

I have recently shifted from working with just business and legal literature to working with scientific and medical papers and manuscripts, and these are not from corporate clients - they are from individuals who are very suspicious, it seems, of the background of professionals who translate and edit their work.

So, as of late, something that I was not used to doing in almost 14 years in this trade has been to submit proof of extension courses I have taken, copy of diplomas, and even published work! It is not enough to say one is a qualified or certified translator anymore.

As a translator, I should be responsible enough to work with only the areas in which I have very good knowledge of, and never venture into anything outside of my scope. Therefore, when I agree to translate a medical, legal or scientific paper, for example, it is my reputation on the line, and the risk of not getting paid should I fail to deliver to the client’s satisfaction.

However, a translator’s word has lost its credibility, it seems. Perhaps because there are so many people today offering translation services - many not really qualified to do so – just because they speak a second language. I will not go into the merits of who is qualified and who is not, but for any job to be well done, you need a qualified and trained professional.

So I can´t really blame clients if they don’t take my word for it when I say I am familiar with medical or legal terminology. They just want to see proof of academic or technical knowledge.

But something has changed, though.

They have come to realize, finally, that people do not go to med school or law school to become translators - so demanding that a physician or a lawyer translate their work would be too much.

A translator who is also a paralegal or legal secretary, pharmacy technician, or who has taken specific translator courses in the areas of interest, well, that would be more realistic.

Yet, there are people who still cling to the belief that they are best served if an equally graduated, degree-holding, specialized professional translate their work.

Is there anyone more specialized than a professional or technical translator?

Or should I say as broadly qualified?

Translators have to research terminology, study different fields of knowledge, and over the years acquire general knowledge and expertise in several areas.

Those with degrees in other areas become specialists in their areas, but it is unfair to say that one who has no college degree in a given area cannot become, by experience, an expert in that area.

Translators are, by the nature of their work and experience, linguists, technicians, researchers, scientists, writers, consultants and scholars - with or without formal training.

So, if clients want a super qualified translator, they should also know that it does not come cheap. College and continuing education are expensive, and translators, by experience alone, are sometimes as qualified as any diploma bearing technician, college graduate or expert of any given field of knowledge or trade.

Therefore, if you want to stand out in the market, but you don’t have that college degree or diploma in the client’s field of interest, make sure you have a portfolio with sample translations, published works, and clients who are willing to recommend you.

Or, just go back to college. Any college. Study that field. The fact that you are taking a course in biomedicine, for example, should score points with the client, even if it is through edX or coursera.

And it is never too late to go back to school, you know!


[Editada em 2014-10-04 15:24 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good points, Verlow Oct 4, 2014

Let me add some of mine:

A college or university education (not the same here in the United States —see reasons below) is at least a hint for the customer that the translator in question can write at a university level.

Here in America we have high school graduates that don't know how to put together a paragraph, let alone write a short essay. So, even if they achieve a college certificate or university degree, their writing betrays their real skill level for translation.

College education and university education are sometimes used synonymously here in the United States, but they are not the same. You can get a 1-year or 2-year associate's degree in a field at your local community college, but that doesn't even begin to approach a 4-year bachelor's degree level at most universities, domestic or foreign.

I do use my educational level to sell my services. One of my selling points is that I write far better than most of the self-proclaimed translators in America, especially in technical fields. You should see what passes for Spanish at informed consents (for clinical trials) sometimes here, which I have to review and improve on. It's not just the medical terminology, which can be pretty technical, but the phrasing, knowing how to write in a concise, simple, elegant and unequivocal manner for Americans whose first language is Spanish.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:44
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Colleges and universities Oct 4, 2014

Mario Chavez wrote:

College education and university education are sometimes used synonymously here in the United States, but they are not the same.


Universities and four-year colleges are equivalent. They both award bachelor's degrees. Community colleges award certificates and two-year associate's degrees.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Squaring the circle Oct 4, 2014

Michele Fauble wrote:

Mario Chavez wrote:

College education and university education are sometimes used synonymously here in the United States, but they are not the same.


Universities and four-year colleges are equivalent. They both award bachelor's degrees. Community colleges award certificates and two-year associate's degrees.


The fact that only a 4-year college may grant 4-year degrees (as in BAs or BSs) further proves my point. For the less informed layman, college and university may mean the same thing as in I went to college in Brussels or in North Dakota but the difference is in the degrees given. I didn't go to college; I attended a university.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:44
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Universities/colleges vs community colleges Oct 4, 2014

Mario Chavez wrote:

For the less informed layman, college and university may mean the same thing as in I went to college in Brussels or in North Dakota but the difference is in the degrees given.


There is no difference in the degrees. You are confusing universities/colleges and community colleges (formerly known as junior colleges).

A degree from Vasssar College or Dartmouth College or Middlebury College and many other colleges is more prestigious than a degree from many universities.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Clarification Oct 5, 2014

Michele Fauble wrote:

Mario Chavez wrote:

For the less informed layman, college and university may mean the same thing as in I went to college in Brussels or in North Dakota but the difference is in the degrees given.


There is no difference in the degrees. You are confusing universities/colleges and community colleges (formerly known as junior colleges).

A degree from Vasssar College or Dartmouth College or Middlebury College and many other colleges is more prestigious than a degree from many universities.



It all boils down to the field the degree is for. I believe many of those prestigious colleges you mentioned are called colleges because of size. Since the degrees that matter for me as a translator come from universities, I stand by my original observation.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

njweatherdon
Canada
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Of course! But then again a lot of the stuff I work with is academic Oct 5, 2014

If you have a degree from an institution which teaches in the target language, then presumably you can write.

If the degree is in a particular subject, then probably you can write about that subject.

If you can write about the subject, then presumably you can translate about it if you have remotely decent knowledge of the source language.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:44
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Unfortunately, some do Oct 5, 2014

Unfortunately, because I am self-taught, I have no formal education. And especially for any EU projects, a university degree is required (European meaning of the word). Fortunately, there are also private clients who consider actual quality, not paperwork. I have seen a lot of people with degrees making horrible grammatical mistakes, not to speak of any ability to translate.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Don't know Oct 5, 2014

I don't know why clients originally select/selected me - I imagine many factors probably play a role.
I think that for return clients the quality of the previous job is probably the deciding factor though.


Direct link Reply with quote
 


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: Do you think clients consider your educational background when deciding to work with you?

Advanced search






SDL Trados Studio 2017 Freelance
The leading translation software used by over 250,000 translators.

SDL Trados Studio 2017 helps translators increase translation productivity whilst ensuring quality. Combining translation memory, terminology management and machine translation in one simple and easy-to-use environment.

More info »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



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