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Poll: When did you start to feel 100% confident about your work?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 13:26
SITE STAFF
Oct 12, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When did you start to feel 100% confident about your work?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 21:26
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
After 10 years + I still doubt... Oct 12, 2016

After 10 years, I started feeling confident, but I have been translating full-time for over 30 years now and yet, when I deliver a text, I always feel a slight apprehension: Have I done it right? Could I have done it better? I see this as a good thing as it keeps me on my toes. Overconfidence is a killer! The more translating I do, the more I realize just how much there is to learn...

[Edited at 2016-10-12 08:31 GMT]


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same as Teresa Oct 12, 2016

Teresa Borges wrote:

After 10 years, I started feeling confident, but I have been translating full-time for over 30 years now and yet, when I deliver a text, I always feel a slight apprehension: Have I done it right? Could I have done it better? I see this as a good thing as it keeps me on my toes. Overconfidence is a killer! The more translating I do, the more I realize just how much there is to learn...


I've been translating full-time for more than 40 years and I feel the same way. Since I work for international organizations that cover a wide area of topics, many jobs contain little surprises and doubts. I am much more confident with technical translations; it's the less technical ones that are more likely to raise questions in my mind.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Still doubting after all these years... Oct 12, 2016

And I think anyone posting otherwise is deluded. I'm only ever 99,9% confident at the best of times. It's known as "margin of plausible error"...

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 22:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Another with a rising and falling curve! Oct 12, 2016

I started with a certain amount of confidence in an in-house job. I had, after all, been selected for it amongst fierce competition.

My colleagues kindly and helpfully shifted it rather than demolishing it - making me aware of what I was good at and where I seriously needed to learn more (or hand the job over to someone else). The company sponsored my post-graduate diploma before I started freelancing. Confidence took a dip there, when I had to survive without safety nets, and rose as I found more clients, dropped the less good ones, and got into my stride.

I probably peaked after about ten years confidence-wise, and I have on occasions got away with jobs that clients persuaded me to do because they could not find anyone else... I refuse if I think the result will only be a pain for some expert to proofread.

Confidence comes from experience and knowing my limitations, but I have made mistakes too. I do my utmost I catch them before delivering... but you never know 100%.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
The day I started working Oct 12, 2016

I've always been 100% confident about my work. It's not perfect, nothing is, but it's good enough.

I'd have to find another job if I weren't. There's no way I could go out there and offer people translations that are "probably OK".


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:26
French to English
I still doubt sometimes Oct 12, 2016

If I were 100% sure about the work I produced, it would lack interest. Doubt keeps the mind alive. And a good dose of humility never did anyone any harm.

[Edited at 2016-10-12 09:21 GMT]


 

njweatherdon
Canada
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
The reason I'm good is because I don't have 100% confidence Oct 12, 2016

I ask questions. Lots of them. It drives some agencies nuts, but now I have clients in the UN and World Bank. I don't like to make mistakes. I'm willing to ask a lot of dumb questions to avoid a mistake.

Yeah, people who think like "there is such a thing as a single identifiable best translation for every word and sentence in its context, and biatch, go find it for 2c", they probably find me tiresome and unprofessional.

People who need robotic translators will be replaced by robots. Think. Ask questions. Do not suffer from 100% confidence. Cultivate the ability to do so with your clients. In time, they will appreciate it. ESPECIALLY if on occasion they can just say "please rush this, no questions, just do the best you can" or something, and everything works out OK.

But seriously, if you're not a very good translator or don't know the subject very well, you'll end up asking really dumb questions and the worst of both worlds. Don't do like me unless, like me, you're highly educated in your specific area of expertise that you're doing translations in. Because when 20% of your "maybe stupid questions" get the client or author peddling backwards over their own mistakes or imperfections, they don't mind if there are some actually dumb questions here and there in the mix.

________________________

Edit - Oh, but OBVIOUSLY do your research. If you ask a question and the first Google hit gives you the precise answer and a brief explanation for why it's right, well, that's a problem because you should have found it yourself. If you can explain good reasons to see very different ways of translating something, that's obviously better than " I dunno ... it could mean different things, please clarify".

[Edited at 2016-10-12 09:57 GMT]


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:26
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Confident enough Oct 12, 2016

There will always be things I don't know and more I could learn, but my confidence level is sufficient for me to feel I am doing a reasonably competent job. From time to time, something happens to shake my confidence, such as criticism from a customer, or seeing the amazing achievements of another translator. Hopefully, though, I have enough successes behind me, and a sufficiently good track record to enable me to pick myself back up and carry on aiming for perfection.

 

Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:26
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Still have doubts sometimes Oct 12, 2016

After 63 years...

 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Just 100%? Oct 12, 2016

Donald Trump would say he's 150% confident.

icon_biggrin.gif

Seriously, when will we drop the percentages in a futile attempt at measuring unmeasurable things? We are not Mr. Spock, Data, an android, or robots.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:26
Member (2006)
German to English
Other Oct 12, 2016

I had always been translating "on the side" when I was working "normally" so that gave me enough confidence to get 100% freelancing when the time came.

 

EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:26
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
I doubt all the time Oct 12, 2016

and I also doubt that people who don't can do good work.

 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:26
Member (2012)
French to English
Other Oct 12, 2016

I can't imagine feeling 100% confident about anything.

 

Anne Schulz
Germany
Local time: 22:26
English to German
What is confidence? Oct 12, 2016

I am 100% confident about my work because I feel I can do it as good and legitimately as anyone else out there. I am never 100% confident about my work because I am never convinced it is 100% accurate and valid, the one-and-only translation of a given text.

 
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