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Starting a Career in Translation
Thread poster: pravepad
Apr 15, 2010

Hi Experts,

Currently am working as a Senior Engineer and i am quite interested in starting a career on Translation.

Please let me know hot to start with this career. Which language do you think i need to start with so that i can move out as a techinical translator for the corporate companies.

Please advise. I feel an eagerness to move to a new area altogether.


 

Patricia Fierro, M. Sc.  Identity Verified
Ecuador
Local time: 05:46
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Getting Established forum Apr 15, 2010

Hi Pravepad,

There is a lot of information in the Getting Established forum. I would recommend that you read all of the postings.

Regarding your language pair, I think that you should translate into your mother tongue. Maybe English might be your source language.

I think that there is a lot of work for engineers who translate well. I am a software engineer and have participated in many software localization projects.

The important thing is to always deliver your work on time. It might be a good idea to join your local translators association.

Good luck,
Patricia


 

Edward Vreeburg  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 12:46
Member (2008)
English to Dutch
+ ...
don't quit your dayjob Apr 15, 2010

With offers in India at around 0.50 INR / source word (0,01123 USD) a "Carreer" in Translation is something you might want to get a second opinion on.
Unless you develop a magical mindreading machine translation with crystal ball, I suppose Senior Engineer is not a bad place to be...

.. You can start in translation if you want...
In which case I can only suggest you translate TO YOUR MOTHER TONGUE and leave the rest to other native speakers....

If you want to make lots of money with no effort at all, just start offering ALL LANGUAGES in ALL SUBJECT MATTERS and join the many Indian translation agencies in the hunt for "qualified translators" willing to work for the tariffs you can afford and still make some profit on...
In which care you should be aware that a professional translator will probably want to make somewhere over 0.10 USD / source word.

Ed


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:46
Flemish to English
+ ...
In and out of translation. Apr 16, 2010

As a techinical translator, you will not be able to make a living.
As a technical translator, you might be able to eke out a living.
If I use "eke out", it is because that is exactly what you will be doing given Indian rates, ranging from 0.01-0.04$ per word.
Out of translation : Beter stay an engineer and try to make a career in your field.



[Edited at 2010-04-16 07:24 GMT]


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:46
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Guys Apr 16, 2010

Don't you think a senior engineer would know how to assess the rates he might be given with respect to what he receives in his profession?

Pravepad, you might want to use the rates calculator: http://www.proz.com/translator-rates-calculator/


 

George Hopkins
Local time: 12:46
Swedish to English
Don't Apr 16, 2010

If you are qualified in your present position, don't even think of starting a career in translation. Give it a try part-time perhaps, in addition to the occupation for which you are qualified.

 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:46
German to Spanish
+ ...
Starting a Career in Translation Apr 16, 2010

Williamson wrote:

As a techinical translator, you will not be able to make a living.
As a technical translator, you might be able to eke out a living.
If I use "eke out", it is because that is exactly what you will be doing given Indian rates, ranging from 0.01-0.04$ per word.
Out of translation : Beter stay an engineer and try to make a career in your field.



[Edited at 2010-04-16 07:24 GMT]


Agree. Translation markets are currently worldwide over-saturated. If you are not firmly established since many years ago, or you are willing to work for misery prices, you can only dedicate yourself to it as something complementary.


 

Jocelyne S  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:46
Member
French to English
+ ...
Insulting Apr 16, 2010

I find the general tone of this thread rather insulting and disrespectful towards serious professional translators in India. That some agencies (not only in India, BTW) offer rock-bottom prices has nothing to do with qualified, professional linguists. Let's not lose sight of the fact that there's plenty of work at decent rates, you just need to find your sector and your niche.

Like Parrot, I imagine that the OP has good reasons for wanting to become a translator.

Pravepad, Patricia's advice is sound. I would also suggest doing a lot of research before starting out, identifying your market and marketing yourself accordingly. You might also consider taking a translation course before getting started.

Best,
Jocelyne


 

smorales30  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
Step by step Apr 16, 2010

Hi,

My grain of salt:

1) Check if you are qualified to translate (Do you have a good command of the target language? Do you know what techniques are involved in translating? Are you specialized in any field of knowledge?)
2) Take advantage of your assets: your current career, your experience, your natural abilities
3) Study the market you would like to enter into

Review all these factors and make a decisionicon_wink.gif Maybe it's wiser to start on a part-time basis and see if this is right up your alley!

And do not get discouraged by people/colleagues if translation is what you would like to do!

Best wished,
Silvia
http://inglesparaprofesionales.wordpress.com/


 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:46
German to Spanish
+ ...
Starting a Career in Translation Apr 16, 2010

Jocelyne S wrote:

I find the general tone of this thread rather insulting and disrespectful towards serious professional translators in India. That some agencies (not only in India, BTW) offer rock-bottom prices has nothing to do with qualified, professional linguists. Let's not lose sight of the fact that there's plenty of work at decent rates, you just need to find your sector and your niche.

Like Parrot, I imagine that the OP has good reasons for wanting to become a translator.

Pravepad, Patricia's advice is sound. I would also suggest doing a lot of research before starting out, identifying your market and marketing yourself accordingly. You might also consider taking a translation course before getting started.

Best,
Jocelyne


I do not think that telling the truth is in no way insulting. I think it would be and is much more insulting to mask the current translation market reality. I am myself an engineer (although I have never bragged about it in any forum until now) with over thirty years experience in technical translation and given the current reality I'm thinking seriously to return to my field.

How can I encourage someone to do something that I am not convinced myself? Imho, to do this really would be insulting and dishonest and not to tell the truth, no matter how crude it may be. Of course, to take last decision belongs to the topic starter.

[Editado a las 2010-04-16 11:05 GMT]


 

pravepad
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Apr 16, 2010

Thanks for all your suggestions.

But after all your responses, i am really confused as to what step i should take. To work out, i have decided not to quit my ongoing job.icon_eek.gif(


 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:46
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
It takes time to get a business going Apr 16, 2010

I didn't go fully freelance until I was earning more with translation.

 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:46
German to Spanish
+ ...
Starting a Career in Translation Apr 16, 2010

Parrot wrote:

I didn't go fully freelance until I was earning more with translation.


Agree. Take the steps to become a translator, if this is what you will really want to do. But, have ever an ace up your sleeve, just in case.


 

Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:46
Spanish to English
IMHO Apr 16, 2010

I honestly don't understand all the negative comments here.

I recommend Patricia's comments highly and would also second Parrot's comment that you should keep your day job while you are establishing yourself as a translator.

I obviously don't know anything about the Indian market but it probably doesn't resemble the European market in any way. Each market is different. Here in Mexico you would earn more as a translator than as an engineer.


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:46
Flemish to English
+ ...
Your choice Apr 16, 2010

pravepad wrote:

Thanks for all your suggestions.

But after all your responses, i am really confused as to what step i should take. To work out, i have decided not to quit my ongoing job.icon_eek.gif(


Leaving a job as senior engineer (in what) to start making a living with translation?
What is the plus-value of a senior engineer to the major competitor of your current employer, meaning that if you change of company, you could get a higher salary.
What would be the plus-value of having been a technical translator if you decide to get back into engineering? Right, none whatsoever in the eyes of a regular employer.
The reality of translation is that you would still be considered an Indian translator by Western agencies and that they would be willing to pay you rates somewhat higher than Indian agencies, but below the rates of your colleagues in the West. That is the reality called globalization, it works both ways.

Some here equate the importance of the job of translator to the job of president of the US. Companies view translation as a necessary nuissance. Something they can't do without. When I started, back in 1988 rates in Europe were 0.08 p.w. eurocents. Do you think that they have gone up taken into account the use of Computer Assisted Translation. What would be your source-language?
Because I try to finish a management programme, where they teach you to calculate, I put translation in the fridge. I'll get it out of the fridge again only to try to evolve back into interpreting again. People confuse both, but they are two totally different worlds.
The one a complete jungle, the other an oligopoly with good rates and timely payments.

However, it is your choice if you want to give up a fixed income and wade through the translation jungle.

[Edited at 2010-04-16 17:21 GMT]


 
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