Help me be the best freelance translator I can be!
Thread poster: David Jessop

David Jessop  Identity Verified
Spain
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 12, 2009

Hello…

I have worked as a freelance Spanish to English translator on a part time basis over the last five years. Now, after moving to Madrid, I am planning on quitting my job and beginning to work full time in the next few months. At present, I have a steady stream of work and sometimes I need to reject jobs because I am so busy…this is on top of my full time day job, however. I believe my clients are quite satisfied with my work because, well, they keep sending it to me!

However, with the intention of doing the best I can for my customers, I would like to continue improving the quality of my work. So I am wondering, with special emphasis on my language pair, what are some of the things you have done to improve along the long term?

In addition, I am specifically interested in these questions:

Is there a book that you have read that has helped the quality of your work get better? I know there are a variety of books out there on the art of translation, but wonder if there is one you just love and I should read.

I would like to see some translations that others have done to compare their style with mine. Any websites or resources out there with translations you consider high quality (or low quality to see the difference)…or any translations of your own you would like to share.

Thanks a lot for your help making me the best translator I can be.

Best,
David


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Some ideas May 12, 2009

Brave move perhaps, in the current climate, but one I'm sure you will make a success of if your enthusiasm is anything to go by.

Have you checked the website of International House? Here is something that may interest you: http://www.ihes.com/bcn/translation/ioldistance.html. You are working in a language pair with a lot of competition and this may be one way to set yourself apart from the crowd.

Feedback from tutors is invaluable, no matter how long you've been translating. I did a similar course in Dutch and Portuguese through City University in London (who also offer Spanish, incidentally) and found the practice and feedback well worth the investment because it covered areas other than my speciality (law). Here is the link: http://www.city.ac.uk/languages/courses/dt_modules_distance.html

Do you have any areas you really want to specialise in? If you are interested in law, for example, you can look at parallel texts (EN and ES) on Eurlex http://eur-lex.europa.eu/

I have a lot of books but they are nearly all geared towards legal translation, let me know if you're interested in any of those details.

I don't work from Spanish to English, but it may be worth finding a mentor to work under for the first 3 - 6 months that you go full-time -- someone who is really good in their field and is prepared to revise your work.

Best of luck
Debs

PS: I see the link for International House isn't taking you to the right page, but click on translation courses and you'll see the course I'm referring to (for IoLET).

[Edited at 2009-05-12 17:47 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:15
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
God helps those who help themselves... May 12, 2009

... and helping yourself to a copy of Oleg's book might be a good start in that direction. Have a look at Alex Eames' classic too.

It's important to remember that being the "best", i.e. the most successful, freelance translator you can be includes more than just rendering a good translation. If you don't get the business aspects right, all the linguistic skill in the world may not keep you above water. These books offer a lot of useful guidance for aspects of being a translator that are too often neglected.


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:15
Member (2004)
German to English
Alex Eames May 13, 2009

is the way to go

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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:15
English to Dutch
+ ...
Try "The Trusted Advisor" May 13, 2009

David Maister's "The Trusted Advisor" is a great for the business side as well.

Good luck!


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Max Chernov
Russian Federation
Local time: 17:15
Russian to German
+ ...
Walk and you shall reach... May 13, 2009

Simply so...when I'm starting to translate from german into russian, I had only one diploma for it. And nothing more. Today I have a computer, a unlimited internet-access, some standing clients and a lot of courage.

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Good advice May 14, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

It's important to remember that being the "best", i.e. the most successful, freelance translator you can be includes more than just rendering a good translation. If you don't get the business aspects right, all the linguistic skill in the world may not keep you above water. These books offer a lot of useful guidance for aspects of being a translator that are too often neglected.


Kevin is correct -- you can be technically as strong as the best in your field(s), but if can't market yourself and create a niché, you won't be successful.


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:15
English to German
+ ...
The wealthy freelancer May 14, 2009

David Jessop wrote:

Thanks a lot for your help making me the best translator I can be.


Additionally, I would like to recommend this website (just replace the term "freelance copywriter" with "freelance translator":

http://thewealthyfreelancer.com/category/the-mental-game/

http://thewealthyfreelancer.com/2009/04/856-billion-reasons-why-the-b2b-market-is-so-lucrative/


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