Define ´Professional Translator´ and ´Specializing in´.
Thread poster: Tina Hart

Tina Hart  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:48
Spanish to English
Apr 25, 2011

Hi

I would like your opinions on when you can call yourself a ´professional translator´ and how much knowledge of a subject is needed to ´specialize´in it.

To give a bit of background, I live in Spain in an area with many English but very few of whom speak Spanish. I was regularly asked if I could accompany people to doctors appointments, notaries, banks etc to interpret and translate and it turned into a full time job, along with giving private English and Spanish lessons. I have lived in Spain for 7 years and my husband and children are Spanish, so I consider myself bilingual as well as bicultural.

I recently had a baby, so my work has ´morphed´ into translating from home via the internet. I´m really enjoying it but the red tape side is rather new to me and Ï need some clarification.

First of all, everyone wants to know what I ´specialize´in. Due to the diverse range of fields I have interpreted in, I feel very comfortable, for example, translating medical documents. I have no medical training, but have learnt a lot by spending so much time in hospitals, and have had extremely positive feedback from doctors and patients when interpreting. So.....could I convert this into saying that I specialize in this field?
I also spent a considerable time working for finance companies and have CeMap financial advisor qualifications, but I don´t have as much experience translating in this field (although I am more than happy to do any that come my way). So......can I say that I specialize in finance?
´Culinary´is also a very grey area. I have translated menus, I know all the vocab and I eat food, so does that make me a specialist?!

Secondly, what qualifications are necessary to be classed as ´professional´? Is a full blown 3 year uni degree the only way, or could I call myself ´professional´by doing a 3 month 300€ online course? On that note, any thoughts on the CTP course? http://translationcertification.org/. Any good online course suggestions would be appreciated.

Well, I´ve got plenty more questions but I´ll save them for another time.

Thanks in advance

Tina


 

Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:48
Flemish to English
+ ...
Finance Apr 26, 2011

Professional translator according to the standards of the internet portals=
Anybody with a computer and an internet connection, who becomes a member of this site/the translation-portals.
Specialized: a knowledge of a specialized vocabulary.

In the real world: professional... means that you were educated at an institute of higher learning i.e. a university to aquire specialised knowledge in a subject-matter and that you can be punished by law if you practise a certain profession without the necessary qualitifications. Not true in the translation world.

If I were you, I would use my qualification in mortage advice and practise and dive into finance and learn by doing and work together with one of those doctors.

Back in the beginning of the 80-ies, I translated Wild Boys from English into Spanish for my Spanish host. Does that make me a specialist in music. No.



[Edited at 2011-04-26 05:46 GMT]


 

ISAAC PRADEL LEAL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:48
Member (2011)
French to Spanish
+ ...
Well Tina... Apr 26, 2011

Don't know about your translation capabilities... but you cound certainly be "Marketing Manager" ...!!!icon_wink.gif ...
Professional by any standard = someone who gets paid for his job...


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:48
English to German
+ ...
By which standards? Apr 27, 2011

ISAAC PRADEL LEAL wrote:

Don't know about your translation capabilities... but you cound certainly be "Marketing Manager" ...!!!icon_wink.gif ...
Professional by any standard = someone who gets paid for his job...


There are people out there who went to university for a minimum of 10 semesters to be able to call themselves a Marketing Specialist. Unfortunately, this profession is not protected, same goes for translators. So, maybe we should refrain from any mockery because that is indeed the equivalent of classifying a professional translator as a person who knows some other language and who owns a computer.

Williamson provided an excellent explanation, there is nothing to add.


Tina, I do have one correction in regard to "working from home", though:

You will not work "from home", you will literally live in your office, and this can be pretty stressful because you never can escape from your work environment.

I used to have an office across town - it was beautiful. A part of an old monastery, as a matter of fact, with a spiral staircase and a 20 foot ceiling and colored windows. But the client list grew, so did the range of time zones and the working hours grew weird. After too many nights on the office-sofa away from home I gave up on having an external office and moved everything to my house. After years of having a color fax machine and copy machine literally sitting in the kitchen, we gave in and moved into a larger building with two large rooms dedicated for office space.

Don't ask me why, but the term "working from home" has the flavor of "being unemployed and stuffing envelopes or doing phone service by the hour". Not good for self-marketing. An office is an office, no matter where it is located.


 

Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:48
French to German
+ ...
Quite so... Apr 27, 2011

Nicole Schnell wrote:

(.../...)

Don't ask me why, but the term "working from home" has the flavor of "being unemployed and stuffing envelopes or doing phone service by the hour". Not good for self-marketing. An office is an office, no matter where it is located.


I also used the expression "working from home" but only once and that was when I started freelancing. The reaction of the person talking to me was enough to discard the use of such an expression.

And yes - you cannot escape from your work environment, so be prepared!


 


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