Poll: Would you describe yourself as a self-taught translator or interpreter?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 00:11
SITE STAFF
Jun 14, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Would you describe yourself as a self-taught translator or interpreter?".

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:11
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Jun 14, 2015

I owe most of what I know to my teachers in language, linguistics, editing, translation theory, and the fields I've specialized in, as well as to my supervisors and senior colleagues who patiently coached me when I worked as an in-house translator for more than 20 years.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 08:11
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes and no! Jun 14, 2015

I have a degree in economics. In my day there were no translation courses available in my country and besides I don’t think that being a translator had crossed my mind by then, though I’ve always been very interested in languages and I read a lot in English and French at a very young age. So when I began translating over 40 years ago, I had to learn it all on my own. Working in-house for 20 years gave me the experience, the insight and the drive needed to start working as a freelance when I retired. Things I have learned on the job are a large part of my “stock” and fortunately there's ALWAYS something more to learn!

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ventnai  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:11
Member
German to English
+ ...
Mostly self-taught Jun 14, 2015

I studied translation and interpreting as part of my degree and have also done translation courses but most of my skills have been developed through actually translating. I'd say the tuition that I received on different courses was not very inspiring.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 09:11
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Partly Jun 14, 2015

It was my biology teacher at school who first said to me that the most important thing to learn is how to learn - because we would have to go on doing it all our lives.

I am very grateful to her and many other teachers along the way, and in this case in-house colleagues and college lecturers who sent me in the right direction.

I have learnt quite a lot too, from doing the job and getting feedback from clients when I could. Searching for better solutions when they were not entirely satisfied was very useful, or occasionally explaining why the solution I had chosen was the best I could do!


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:11
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes and no Jun 14, 2015

My English teacher in elementary school nearly lost her fits because I wasn't interested in learning Oxford English. But then in 10th grade the tide turned, leaving me with a lot of time to do something with. So I learned English the hard way: writing it down the way it sounded, then looking up the words in an old English>German dictionary. My grades improved dramatically and, after the end of my formal education, my self-taught English got me my first (and only) job with the US-Forces, lasting for nearly 20 years.

Of course, being bilingual didn't suffice, at least not in my eyes, so I studied translations for 2 years, took and passed the exam... by then, after having already been working as a technical translator for 7 or 8 years. The rest is history.


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xxxbrg
Netherlands
No Jun 14, 2015

Muriel Vasconcellos wrote:

I owe most of what I know to my teachers in language, linguistics, editing, translation theory, and the fields I've specialized in, as well as to my supervisors and senior colleagues who patiently coached me when I worked as an in-house translator for more than 20 years.


Same here. I spoke both first languages very well, but I was totally unable to say the same thing in the other language. I needed two years of intensive training at MA-level and a supervision period to achieve this.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:11
English to Spanish
+ ...
100% Self-Taught Jun 14, 2015

I must give thanks to an "angel" who fed me a very varied diet of translation work for 15 years while I was otherwise employed, and also protected me from strict deadlines, thus allowing me time to do proper research and proper translations. I already had a very good knowledge base and a thorough command of both languages, so I could go about learning that "third" language which is the whole range of eqivalencies between the two. Naturally, the effort continues as life-long learning.

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Texte Style
Local time: 09:11
French to English
self-taught Jun 15, 2015

I got into translation by way of a friend who needed a translation and thought of me.

I had zero qualifications apart from an A level in French, but had been living in France and soaking up the language for several years.

I recently obtained a Master in translation by leveraging my 15 years experience and taking a couple of dumb courses they claimed I was not up to scratch in, in EN-FR so not even in my own combo. I take that to mean that I was perfectly up to scratch as a FR-EN translator, the school apparently doesn't like to give the diploma based on nothing but experience for fear of "belittling" the diploma.


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