Poll: If you had to convince someone, how many good reasons could you list for becoming a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Jul 22, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you had to convince someone, how many good reasons could you list for becoming a translator?".

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xxxIlan Rubin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:18
Russian to English
1 Jul 22, 2016

1 key reason for me: because the person is good at it. It's one of those few professions (like being a professional footballer...) where you know before you start whether you will be good at it.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:18
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Jul 22, 2016

If someone needs convincing, I’d say look somewhere else…

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:18
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Jul 22, 2016

Is this the silly season for polls, or what?
To start with, why on earth would I want to convince someone to become a translator who didn't already want to do so?
As it happens, I have occasionally suggested translation as an option to people complaining about their current job, or lack of the same, who tend to come up with things like "it's all right for you, you've got plenty of work"... and rarely take up the offer.
I also know a couple of people who have asked tentatively about doing some translation work to boost their earnings, but they usually have other commitments which mean they can't afford to spend time waiting around for work to come in or to build up a clientele, and when a job does come up that might suit them, they are usually not immediately available, because they are doing some other thing, like teaching or picking up the kids from school, etc.

Some of the reasons I like translating are:
1.- To a certain extent, I'm my own boss and can always tell clients to sod off if need be.
2.- I've always enjoyed language-related things
3.- I can work from home rather than having to go anywhere.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Snap Jul 22, 2016

neilmac wrote:

Some of the reasons I like translating are:
1.- To a certain extent, I'm my own boss and can always tell clients to sod off if need be.
2.- I've always enjoyed language-related things
3.- I can work from home rather than having to go anywhere.


4. I'm good at it
5. It pays quite well


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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:18
Member (2006)
German to English
Could not have said it better Jul 22, 2016

Teresa Borges wrote:

If someone needs convincing, I’d say look somewhere else…


If someone asked for advice, then I would follow you two above☺

[Edited at 2016-07-22 13:06 GMT]


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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:18
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Snap#2 Jul 22, 2016

Chris S wrote:

neilmac wrote:

Some of the reasons I like translating are:
1.- To a certain extent, I'm my own boss and can always tell clients to sod off if need be.
2.- I've always enjoyed language-related things
3.- I can work from home rather than having to go anywhere.


4. I'm good at it
5. It pays quite well


6. You can become a cunning linguist.

A great icebreaker at parties!


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Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 14:18
Member (2008)
English to Italian
convince? Jul 22, 2016

NONE, there are non reasons I could use to CONVINCE someone to become a translator.
I was 15 I knew I wanted to be a translator, here I am.
Do you love languages and language-related things? in this case you do not need to be convinced.

I love my job, I love translating things, I love working at home when it is cold outside with a cup of tea on my desk, I love listening to music while working if I want to... I love this job so much that I can accept the fact that not all the texts I translate are funny, interesting, fascinating....

If you want to be a translator, you do not need to be convinced
If you would like to become a translator, but you're not sure about it, you need to know all the (few) bad aspects of this profession, because it is too easy to show the nice side of the coin.

So, I would never try to convince anybody.... Need advice? ok the let's talk about it


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:18
English to Spanish
+ ...
The other way around Jul 22, 2016

I don't think it's a silly poll at all (weird, huh?)

Sometimes I've had to persuade someone not to become a translator because he/she is bad at writing.

To me, translation has less to do with languages than with writing and extensive reading. In fact, the strong inclination to read from a wide variety of sources and the powerful drive and joy derived from writing in different styles, from descriptive to narrative to succint, are what make up the foundation for a successful career as a translator.

If you are mediocre at writing, I don't care if you translate into 2 or 10 languages: you're still mediocre in my eyes. So, do something else.

Speaking of languages, some lobotomized politicians in Florida (USA) have been proposing the elimination of foreign language courses in schools and replace them with computer coding classes, “because it's the future.”

I forgot: another requirement to be a very good translator is mental discipline, or the ability to order, classify, categorize and prioritize your thoughts. It sounds cold, but good writing demands thought discipline.


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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2011)
Swedish to English
+ ...
That put a smile on my face Jul 22, 2016

Mario Chavez wrote:

I forgot ... good writing demands thought discipline.


And:

Mario Chavez wrote:

succint


Genius.

(And for once I'm not being sarky.)


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Linda Miranda  Identity Verified
Portugal
Member (2013)
French to Portuguese
+ ...
Same here! (maybe in a different order, point 2. being the first reason for me) Jul 22, 2016

neilmac wrote:


Some of the reasons I like translating are:
1.- To a certain extent, I'm my own boss and can always tell clients to sod off if need be.
2.- I've always enjoyed language-related things
3.- I can work from home rather than having to go anywhere.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 07:18
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
3 Jul 22, 2016

There could be more, but these are the top 3 reasons I found:

1.- We are a cultural bridge between 2 or more cultures.
2.- We span our information targets by being able to read and speak in several languages.
3.- We tend to develop friendship with more people abroad compared to a local worker who doesn't use Internet.


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:18
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Many, but Jul 22, 2016

I could think of many good arguments for that purpose.

However, it wouldn't be advisable to try and persuade a person to be a full-time freelancer if they are in the beginning of their carreer, not even if they have a degree in translation. The experience of working in-house, for companies, getting acquainted with the market, and all the negative aspects thereof, as well as with some specific areas you want to work with, is absolutely essential for the professional. A person who wishes to begin their carreer as a freelancer will likely go through a lot of trouble, and very unlikely succeed without other knowledge/experience.

Now, I can easily convince anyone who has the required skills to be a translator and who has worked only as a part-time translator for some years (let's say, around 10 years) to become a full-time translator and leave the standard job + working for others + fixed remuneration and working hours + abusive taxes and bosses status behind.

Nobody had to convince me. The 'standards' above made my mind. But I took too long to make that decision. I would try to convince anyone to do it a lot earlier than I did.


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