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SCANDINAVIAN STUDIES: Language combinations and chances for a career in EU organisations
Thread poster: grzzpo
grzzpo
Poland
Local time: 19:36
Polish to German
+ ...
Jul 24, 2011

Hello

My mother tongue is Polish. Recently I have decided to take up Scandinavian studies at the University of Gdańsk. The language I will be studying from October for the next 5 years may be Swedish (there are many candidates and I do not know whether I will qualify) or Danish. I have passed CAE and I want to take up the challenge of CPE in the next few years. I also speak German (B1/B2 level), which is, for the time being, not enough to translate.

Which language Swedish or Danish is more profitable? Do I have a chance with the language pairs: Swedish/Danish – Polish, English – Polish, and maybe German or French into Polish as an interpreter? Do I need to do some additional, expensive courses like EMCI (if there are for Swedish / Danish)?

Thank you for the answer


[Zmieniono 2011-07-24 13:55 GMT]


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Swedish to Polish Jul 24, 2011

I don't know the answer to your question, but ever since the fall of communism, Swedish companies have developed their links with neighbouring countries, particularly around the Baltic.

So my guess is that there is a growing need for business and EU documentation, and therefore a worthwhile market for translation and interpreting in those countries.

Both Swedish and Danish are relatively well paid – better than German or French or English.


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grzzpo
Poland
Local time: 19:36
Polish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Demand Jul 24, 2011

Tack så mycket, Peter

Why better? I have heard that there is a demand for translations of Scandinavian languages only in terms of culture - films, books, etc. and all the business documentation like contracts and agreements is prepared in English or German (this is an opinion by translators from Poland).

In Poland many people learn Norwegian and Swedish, and Danish is extremely rare (In our bookshop there is one shelf with Norwegian, another two for Swedish and only two books for Danish learners).

Swedes speak fluent English and does is make it the whole situation worse? You have got only one language pair and this must mean that there is a demand for Swedish. In Poland people who speak only English are usually not satisfied with their salaries, if they are not unemployed.


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
My replies Jul 25, 2011

grzzpo wrote:
. . . demand for translations of Scandinavian languages only in terms of culture - films, books, etc. and all the business documentation like contracts and agreements is prepared in English or German (this is an opinion by translators from Poland).

A mistaken opinion. Sure, culture is a significant market, but there is also plenty of business translation. One example – many Swedish companies find it essential to publish their annual reports and accounts in English, and for that they hire English native speakers. That alone provides a substantial volume of work every year. There is also a lot of medical and legal work.

Swedes speak fluent English and does is make it the whole situation worse?

You are right – many Swedes speak fluent English. But there is a world of difference between speaking and writing, and very few Swedes can write good English. Grammatical mistakes that do not matter in the spoken word do matter in the written word. Swedes are very prone to writing what we call "Swenglish" – sentences written in English but constructed in Swedish, with Swedish phrasing, word order, idioms, prepositions etc.

Many Swedish companies have learned the hard way that documents written in English by Swedes are bad for business. And what is bad for business is good for translators.


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grzzpo
Poland
Local time: 19:36
Polish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Native speakers Jul 25, 2011

Peter Linton wrote:
One example – many Swedish companies find it essential to publish their annual reports and accounts in English, and for that they hire English native speakers.

And I am not a native speaker, and passing even the CPE exam does not make me one.

Peter Linton wrote:
You are right – many Swedes speak fluent English. But there is a world of difference between speaking and writing, and very few Swedes can write good English. Grammatical mistakes that do not matter in the spoken word do matter in the written word. Swedes are very prone to writing what we call "Swenglish" – sentences written in English but constructed in Swedish, with Swedish phrasing, word order, idioms, prepositions etc.

Many Swedish companies have learned the hard way that documents written in English by Swedes are bad for business. And what is bad for business is good for translators.

Good for native speakers of English - but for people who translate and who were born and lived in Poland?
There are many job offers on the Polish market for call centre staff, but I can find hardly any job opportunities for translators that is why I ask translators who do not live here.

Greetings from Poland


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
A word of advice Jul 25, 2011

Hi grzzpo,

It hardly sounds promising when you say you have decided to take up Scandinavian Studies and follow that up with so many doubts! Why would you be taking it, then?

grzzpo wrote:

My mother tongue is Polish. Recently I have decided to take up Scandinavian studies at the University of Gdańsk. The language I will be studying from October for the next 5 years may be Swedish (there are many candidates and I do not know whether I will qualify) or Danish. I have passed CAE and I want to take up the challenge of CPE in the next few years. I also speak German (B1/B2 level), which is, for the time being, not enough to translate.


My guess is that you have an underlying interest you are not telling us about, but which has been sufficient to fuel such a conclusive decision. Actually, you are already describing a good foundation on which to build a future language services career. Even if your Scandinavian market were to be slow picking up, English and German are pretty good fallback options.

Which language Swedish or Danish is more profitable? Do I have a chance with the language pairs: Swedish/Danish – Polish, English – Polish, and maybe German or French into Polish as an interpreter? Do I need to do some additional, expensive courses like EMCI (if there are for Swedish / Danish)?


Why don't you canvass the Scandinavian-Polish Chamber of Commerce? They're listed to be at:
02-520 Warszawa
40B Wiśniowa Str.,apt. 9
Tel: +48 22 849 74 14
http://www.spcc.pl

And yes, last time I looked there was a Danish university in the EMCI programme (although participants may change from year to year, depending on circumstances). And if EMCI is expensive, bear in mind it also offers financing facilities.


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grzzpo
Poland
Local time: 19:36
Polish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Parrot :) Jul 25, 2011

Parrot wrote:
Hi grzzpo,

It hardly sounds promising when you say you have decided to take up Scandinavian Studies and follow that up with so many doubts! Why would you be taking it, then?


This is because there are many people without job who work in popular language pairs (like English - Polish or French - Polish) in Poland and it is not an easy decision. I can learn a lot, I can conform to the demand for language pairs, but the fact is that there is something bad going on on the Polish market or maybe something unsure about my future.

My guess is that you have an underlying interest you are not telling us about, but which has been sufficient to fuel such a conclusive decision. Actually, you are already describing a good foundation on which to build a future language services career. Even if your Scandinavian market were to be slow picking up, English and German are pretty good fallback options.

Underlying interest? Yes, I love languages
But paradoxically I was admitted to the Scandinavian studies because of a really high result of my school-leaving exam in maths. I am not good in physics, and that is why I have not chosen a career in engineering etc. However I can also begin some additional studies in maths for economics after one year (dean and/or money permit!).


And yes, last time I looked there was a Danish university in the EMCI programme (although participants may change from year to year, depending on circumstances). And if EMCI is expensive, bear in mind it also offers financing facilities.

In Warsaw there is EMCI, but only for languages like English, German, Spanish... So another challenge? Why not.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 19:36
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Courses open and close based on numbers Jul 25, 2011

i.e., there has to be a certain number of students to make the programme feasible. That it's the majority languages that predominate should come as no surprise.

But the industry is need-based. So imagine, if you're the only one with a Scandinavian combination...? We've already seen this scenario with respect to Malta.


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:36
Flemish to English
+ ...
Quants. Jul 25, 2011



I was admitted to the Scandinavian studies, because of a really high result of my school-leaving exam in maths. I am not good in physics, and that is why I have not chosen a career in engineering etc. However I can also begin some additional studies in maths for economics after one year (dean and/or money permit!).




Don't underestimate the value of maths.
What if your main studies were to be (applied) economics, a degree which opens a lot of possibilities, both at companies as well as at international institutions (they don't recruit linguists only).

Maths and Stats are the basics of business studies which in the last years of a master offer different possibilities of study according to personal interest: f.e. Finance, management, operations management and logistics. Quants working in the financial sector (Frankfurt,London) can earn a decent living, far more than any translator/interpreter can make.

Math is also the basis of computer programming.
Freelance computer programming pays well.

If you focus on the E.U., the needs vary from year to year.
Now there are competitions with Czech, Maltese, Latvian, Spanish with at least 100 days of C.I.-experience, Swedish. Last year, it was French, German, Dutch and English. Next year, it may be another series of languages, such as Croatian (new E.U.-member in 2013) and when Iceland joins, Icelandic as main language. The last competition with Polish as main language was in 2009.

Did not know that the EMCI was so expensive.
It varies from school to school, from 625 euros to 7000 euros.





[Edited at 2011-07-25 14:13 GMT]


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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Polish to English Jul 25, 2011

Peter Linton wrote:
Many Swedish companies have learned the hard way that documents written in English by Swedes are bad for business. And what is bad for business is good for translators.

grzzpo wrote:
Good for native speakers of English - but for people who translate and who were born and lived in Poland?

Not good for native speakers of Polish, because they should not be translating into English anyway.

Although I was brought up bilingually in Swedish and English, I translate only Swedish to English – never English to Swedish. The same rule applies, I am afraid, to Poles.


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grzzpo
Poland
Local time: 19:36
Polish to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Maths Jul 25, 2011

Williamson wrote:
Don't underestimate the value of maths.


[Edited at 2011-07-25 14:13 GMT]

I do not underestimate maths, but neither technical subjects nor IT would be good for me, therefore I want all the analytical skills to be used in languages, somehow.

I would say, being multi-educated would be an advantage and mathematics is another subject I really like.


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Alexandra Lindqvist
Local time: 20:36
English to Swedish
+ ...
Dont look in Poland Jul 25, 2011

Now there are competitions with Czech, Maltese, Latvian, Spanish with at least 100 days of C.I.-experience, Swedish. Last year, it was French, German, Dutch and English. Next year, it may be another series of languages, such as Croatian (new E.U.-member in 2013) and when Iceland joins, Icelandic as main language. The last competition with Polish as main language was in 2009.


Really is there not according to this link (http://europa.eu/epso/apply/news/news107_en.htm) seems to me there's Polish this year

As far as money goes for translations from Swedish to Polish don’t look in Poland there’s lots of Polish people there look after Swedish companies who also probably have more money.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:36
Swedish to English
+ ...
The most important question is: Jul 25, 2011

Which Scandinavian country would you prefer to live in for at least 1-2 years?

In order to translate or interpret from language B to language A at a professional level you need a very good command of language B (as well as native command of language A). A "very good command" involves not only being able to read texts in language B - with the occasional help of a dictionary. You also need an understanding of the relevant culture - yes, even when translating technical manuals and particularly when translating texts with legal implications (EU documentation, for example).

Spending 1-2 years living and working or studying in your source language's country is, in my view, the minimum required for professional translation.

PS. On a personal level, I've spent just under 1 year living in Italy and speak and write Italian more or less fluently, however I still don't feel confident adding Italian as a source language.


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:36
Member (2006)
Norwegian to English
+ ...
Scandinavian language choice Jul 25, 2011

Norwegian is the Scandinavian language I speak fluently, and I translate from Norwegian, Swedish and Danish. I get regular work in all three, but I get more work in Swedish. When someone asks me which Scandinavian language I would recommend learning, I usually suggest Swedish because of the lack of standardization of Norwegian and the difficulty of Danish pronunciation. Swedish also has the largest number of speakers.





[Edited at 2011-07-25 23:11 GMT]


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 19:36
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
There are several other things to consider Jul 25, 2011

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:

Which Scandinavian country would you prefer to live in for at least 1-2 years?



Another thing to consider is a subject area. Now some Swedes have had their say, you might like to think about Denmark too. With a population of around 5.5 million as opposed to something like 9.3 million in Sweden, there are areas of industry that you will not find in Denmark.

While Denmark is strong on medicines and pharmaceuticals, agriculture and wind power, among other things, there is no car industry. Sweden has Saab and Volvo...

Think about a specialist area that interests you, because as a translator you will spend a lot of time on terminology research and background reading about your specialist subject. If you do not care for the subject you are working on, it will soon get boring, while it can really add to the enjoyment of translation if you can read up on a subject that you like.

Sometimes 'dull' or 'dry' subjects become interesting as you learn more about them, but not always. I know a couple of colleagues who became quite fascinated with law when they had to learn the basics as part of their training. Others scrape through the exam and never touch it again!

Your subject area might influence your choice of language.
______________________________

Another point is that there is increasing trade between Denmark and Poland and probably Sweden and Poland too. I believe the need for translation will grow.

I have occasionally translated contracts and other texts into English, which I really felt should be translated into Polish. English is a second language for both parties, and it would be best if they both had the text in their own languages. (The Danes have the Danish source text after all.)

On other occasions, for instance when I translate consumer information, declarations of contents (of food products or cosmetics) and instructions for use, my English versions are sent on to other translators who cannot read Scandinavian languages - sometimes including Polish translators. Agencies would be very happy to work with someone who could translate directly into Polish, but there are not many who are really qualified.

I hope you enjoy your studies, and wish you the very best of luck!



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