Step To Starting A Top-notch Translation Career?
Thread poster: alseaesposito

alseaesposito
Italy
English to Italian
+ ...
May 13, 2014

Hi, everyone!

Hope this post finds you well.

I am an Italian student enrolled in the second year of a Master's degree in Business Administration in Italy. I am passionate about languages and I recently decided that I would like to pursue a career in translation.

Since I am a newbie and don’t know much about this field, I would like to exploit the existence of this group to ask some advice, if possible.

I am thinking about getting a Master's degree in Translation and Interpreting and I found some programs that start in September 2014. I am fluent in English and I have some experience in translating from English to Italian and vice versa, but I don't know any other language at a proficiency level. I am wondering if it would be better to take some time to refine my skills in a third language (I know some Spanish and French) and begin translation studies afterwards, or if there are real possibilities to work with just a 2-language combination in today's market worldwide. I would prefer to start my career as soon as possible, so if I could start studying this Fall I would be happier. My fear, though, is that there may not be enough demand for the Italian-English package, and investing in an education with just these 2 languages would be just a waste of money and time!

Furthermore, I need to understand if not only translation, but also interpreting, is something I have an aptitude for. What could be the best way to test my interpreting potential?

Thank you in advance for your time and for any advice/wisdom/inspirational thought you can provide me with!

All the best,

Alessia


 

Frankie JB
France
English to French
+ ...
Make sure you see clearly before taking the plunge May 30, 2014

Ciao Alessia, (scusa il ritardo...)

alseaesposito wrote:

I am an Italian student enrolled in the second year of a Master's degree in Business Administration in Italy. I am passionate about languages and I recently decided that I would like to pursue a career in translation.

Since I am a newbie and don’t know much about this field, I would like to exploit the existence of this group to ask some advice, if possible.


Don't you like what you're doing right now, i.e. your MBA? There should be opportunities for you to leverage your English fluency in this career path I think... Being passionate about languages is one thing but the good questions are: how good are you? how much better than average? Many people say they have been passionate about languages since their childhood but actually they never made the efforts required to become really competent... People have more or less natural talent but in the end it's always "no pain, no gain"...

At first, many people are elated when they picture themselves making money through translation ("it's like being paid to play a game"), but all too often they fail to realize that when you are a professional linguist you don't always do fun stuff... and that if you don't ask fair rates it can become very painful (up to feeling like a slave)... hence, the other good question is: do you realize that life will be boring, painful and stressful at times?

Another relevant question to know if you are really cut out for pro translation is: do you realize that like 90% of pro translators you'll be a freelancer and thus you'll have to fight for your living alone against a ferocious, international competition, especially in the first years? Ready for job insecurity, ready to haggle over rates, ready to go the extra mile ceaslessly?

OF COURSE, besides drawbacks, translating professionally can be also very rewarding! Here, I just wanted to show you the darker lining because you sounded somewhat overly ecstatic.


I am thinking about getting a Master's degree in Translation and Interpreting and I found some programs that start in September 2014. I am fluent in English and I have some experience in translating from English to Italian and vice versa, but I don't know any other language at a proficiency level. I am wondering if it would be better to take some time to refine my skills in a third language (I know some Spanish and French) and begin translation studies afterwards, or if there are real possibilities to work with just a 2-language combination in today's market worldwide.


Getting a MA in translation and interpreting is certainly not a bad idea (among other things because that should safeguard you a bit against job insecurity). I don't know exactly the status of demand for EN-IT but I think the market must be very competitive... Additionally, you should be aware that unless you have very compelling arguments to offer services in a non native target language, you won't be allowed to do so (at least by serious agencies and clients)... And if you are allowed to do it, that would come with rate cuts I'm afraid. I would advise personally that you develop your skills in another language so as to offer 2 pairs and not 1 if you want a sustainable living. On my own world map of the translation industry, Spanish belongs to the Third World (sorry rates, sometimes barely above India's), which is not the case of French, so I would pick the latter if I were you...

Furthermore, I need to understand if not only translation, but also interpreting, is something I have an aptitude for. What could be the best way to test my interpreting potential?


I'm not an interpreter so I can't help much. I will just say that if you do a master degree in interpreting you will be able to test yourself and find out if it's within your means (there are various forms of interpreting requiring various skills). If you want to find out before enrolling, you can try out on your own at home to get a broad idea. It will be painful for a start but through practice you'll get used.


Thank you in advance for your time and for any advice/wisdom/inspirational thought you can provide me with!


For example: "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve" (Napoleon Hill).

PS: for more info feel free to browse the forum, there must be all the material you need to make an educated decision. If nobody had replied to your post so far it's possibly because each week there are new wannabes who ask questions and make no effort to explore the forum and find answers by themselves... Don't forget that translators are Stakhanovists and for them more than others time tend to be very scarce...


 


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