Off topic: Which Language fits the bill?
Thread poster: Richard Huddleson

Richard Huddleson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sep 24, 2014

*Disclaimer: I would prefer input from Native English speakers since they will know best about the 'Into English' market.

I am currently looking into the possibilities of adding to my language combinations (Spanish/German/Catalan --> English and English Irish) as I've been told that having only Western European languages is limiting in this industry.

I've been thinking of adding either:

- Japanese - Modern Greek - Romanian - Bulgarian

I've been getting very stressed over this, so any advice or suggestions are more than welcome and are greatly appreciated!


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Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 14:36
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Don't sweat it Sep 25, 2014

If you're lucky, it might take you ten years to acquire adequate proficiency in a new language to translate it, by which time you would have either moved on or be sufficiently established that you don't need to care.

Your languages pick you, not the other way around.


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Michal Fabian  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:36
Member (2012)
Dutch to Slovak
+ ...
Spot on Sep 25, 2014

Lincoln Hui wrote:

If you're lucky, it might take you ten years to acquire adequate proficiency in a new language to translate it, by which time you would have either moved on or be sufficiently established that you don't need to care.

Your languages pick you, not the other way around.


What Lincoln said. Quite simply not a good investment, time-wise and energy-wise. Plus, if you only start to study a language because you want to monetize on it, not because you are passionate about the language and the culture, it will feel like a chore.

If you really want to pick one from the list, the easiest will be Romanian, as it is a Romance language which works on the same principles as French or Italian (or Spanish). The others would take years of full-time study. I hear, however, that the RO-EN market is pretty saturated with Romanians who are happy to translate into (what they think is) English.


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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 14:36
Chinese to English
Who on earth told you that? Sep 25, 2014

R_Hudd wrote:

I've been told that having only Western European languages is limiting in this industry.

Lincoln's right, but more importantly, this is absolute rubbish. Interpreters often need more than one pair, but translators are fine with just one. Each document is translated separately, and there are no documents written half in Spanish, half in Bulgarian. If you're good at what you do, there is plenty of work for you in one language pair. In fact, as you advance in your career, you'll start limiting your work to one particular niche in one or two pairs (probably).

If you want to learn another language for benefit and pleasure, though, pick the hardest. Learn Japanese - it will teach you loads about how cultural and language difference can work, and if you ever do get good enough, it's a decent market.


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Karen Stokes  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:36
Member (2003)
French to English
Agree with Phil Sep 25, 2014

Lots and lots of us run good, profitable businesses on a single language pair. What matters is the quality of the work, regardless of the number of language combinations you offer. Don't let that put you off learning another language for fun, interest etc.: I did a little bit of Romanian a while back and enjoyed it hugely - but it would be years before I could get it up to a professional level.

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Texte Style
Local time: 07:36
French to English
One good combo should be all you need Sep 25, 2014

I've been learning French for forty years and counting... no way could I get the languages I have smatterings of anywhere near that level. And anything less, I would be too afraid of missing out on a reference or nuance. I thought my French was good when I started out translating, and it was pretty good, I could already outspell 99% of native French speakers, but I shudder to think of things I may have mistranslated due to lack of understanding.

Better perhaps to consider learning all about a particular field so you can specialise, that can up your rates far more efficiently.


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