Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Any point trying to work freelance in common language pair with no specialism?
Thread poster: Jessie Linardi

Jessie Linardi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dec 3, 2012

I'm just looking for some informed opinions and a little advice!

Realistically, is there any point in me attempting to set up a business as a freelance Spanish > English translator, given that the language pair is so common and I have no specialism (although I suppose I could eventually develop a one)?

I was very good at translation at university and have since worked voluntarily for a couple of organisations and done a handful of paid translations. I also have a postg
... See more
I'm just looking for some informed opinions and a little advice!

Realistically, is there any point in me attempting to set up a business as a freelance Spanish > English translator, given that the language pair is so common and I have no specialism (although I suppose I could eventually develop a one)?

I was very good at translation at university and have since worked voluntarily for a couple of organisations and done a handful of paid translations. I also have a postgraduate degree in information and library studies plus copious experience, meaning that I have specialist knowledge in this area and extremely good information-seeking skills. However, I haven't seen much demand for the translation of texts in this field.

I also speak Portuguese (European) to an intermediate level, so was considering brushing up on it and maybe offering Portuguese > English translations as well, so I don't have to rely on getting a steady supply of work in a field as oversubscribed as Spanish > Engilsh is.

My profile is empty on here because I gave up on 'marketing' myself, but if I am suddenly endowed with a new motivation to build up a freelance business, I will fill it in again.

Thank you in advance!

[Edited at 2012-12-03 11:46 GMT]
Collapse


 

Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
A quick thought Dec 3, 2012

Given your extended time at university, perhaps you could focus on a specialism in education. Having myself been a post-graduate student and subsequently lecturer, it is something I am able to offer.

 

Jessie Linardi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
good point Dec 3, 2012

That is a good point, Helen. I also work in a 'community' college library and have worked in schools, so I have a broad knowledge of education. I suppose I have been viewing education as too broad a subject area that pales in comparison to something like law or medicine.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:35
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
Interesting. Dec 3, 2012

Jessie L. wrote:
I suppose I have been viewing education as too broad a subject area that pales in comparison to something like law or medicine.


Without education there wouldn't be any law or medicine.



You already do have one heck of a tremendous field of specialism - you simply were not aware of it!

Greetings,
Nicole Schnell


 

Josephine Gardiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't be put off - there are never too many good translators Dec 3, 2012

Is there any point? I think there's every point!

Regardless of how common your language pair may be, really good translators are never that common and there's always room for more. Also if you have a good think about your experience, I think you'll find you have a lot more specialist knowledge than you imagined. You could certainly also consider developing more expertise in an area that really interests you - you'll enjoy translating more if the subject matter is intriguing. For e
... See more
Is there any point? I think there's every point!

Regardless of how common your language pair may be, really good translators are never that common and there's always room for more. Also if you have a good think about your experience, I think you'll find you have a lot more specialist knowledge than you imagined. You could certainly also consider developing more expertise in an area that really interests you - you'll enjoy translating more if the subject matter is intriguing. For example, you could take education as a broad area, your librarianship as a 'niche' specialism and choose a third subject that particularly interests you.

Another approach is to take on work in an area you don't know a huge amount about, because an awful lot of subjects become interesting once you immerse yourself in them.

Also, Spanish-English may be common, but there are around 407 million native Spanish speakers I think!

All the best...
Collapse


 

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 17:35
Italian to English
In memoriam
Go for it Dec 3, 2012

J. Gardiner wrote:

Is there any point? I think there's every point!

Regardless of how common your language pair may be, really good translators are never that common and there's always room for more.



Absolutely.



Also if you have a good think about your experience, I think you'll find you have a lot more specialist knowledge than you imagined. You could certainly also consider developing more expertise in an area that really interests you.



Excellent suggestion.

You may have areas of expertise you didn't know about. Do you ride? Sail? Play a musical instrument? Hobbies may not pay all your bills but you will know much more about them than most other translators so they can be nice little earners.



Also, Spanish-English may be common, but there are around 407 million native Spanish speakers I think!



And the number is growing.

Back when I was living in South America, there were only 300 millones.


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Being realistic... Dec 3, 2012

I know that we should encourage young translators but it isn't so easy to get into translating nowadays.

Agencies based in Spain certainly wouldn't consider education to be a specialism; it belongs to the field of general translation.

In the UK, Spanish to English doesn't seem to be in great demand. I applied to agencies in the UK years ago and this is what they told me. They also told me that they had about another 2,000 translators on their databases with the same com
... See more
I know that we should encourage young translators but it isn't so easy to get into translating nowadays.

Agencies based in Spain certainly wouldn't consider education to be a specialism; it belongs to the field of general translation.

In the UK, Spanish to English doesn't seem to be in great demand. I applied to agencies in the UK years ago and this is what they told me. They also told me that they had about another 2,000 translators on their databases with the same combinations as me. There is however a lot of demand in Spain for Spanish to English translation, but rates are lower. And rates in South and Central America don't even bear thinking about.

What's more, you will need to be qualified. In the UK, agencies generally seem to accept the IoL qualification whereas in Spain they don't. Spanish agencies prefer to see a Master's qualification, or alternatively 3 years full-time experience.

Translating for US agencies may be an option though...

Good luck with whatever you decide.
Collapse


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:35
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
@ Tatty: I know what you mean Dec 3, 2012

Tatty wrote:

I know that we should encourage young translators but it isn't so easy to get into translating nowadays.



Especially when they claim to be beginners, yet claim six years of experience on their ProZ.com profile page...


 

Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
Unpleasant Dec 3, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Tatty wrote:

I know that we should encourage young translators but it isn't so easy to get into translating nowadays.



Especially when they claim to be beginners, yet claim six years of experience on their ProZ.com profile page...


Nicole, Jessie is not claiming to be a beginner. Her experience has been acquired as a volunteer and/or in a paid capacity, if you actually bother to read her post. I don't see the need for such sarcasm and personal attack.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:35
Spanish to English
+ ...
Working yes, but with caveats Dec 3, 2012

I would say it's quite possible to make a living translating as a freelancer, although it isn't usually easy getting established or building up clientele and you may have to live hand-to-mouth for a while, or supplement your translation income with other things, for example TEFL if you're based in a Spanish-speaking country.

As for "setting up a business", I don't know about that...


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:35
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
@ Helen Dec 3, 2012

Helen Shiner wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Tatty wrote:

I know that we should encourage young translators but it isn't so easy to get into translating nowadays.



Especially when they claim to be beginners, yet claim six years of experience on their ProZ.com profile page...


Nicole, Jessie is not claiming to be a beginner. Her experience has been acquired as a volunteer and/or in a paid capacity, if you actually bother to read her post. I don't see the need for such sarcasm and personal attack.



I replied with a previous and highly encouraging post. Please read it before you accuse me of "not reading". Please do not accuse me of sarcasm and personal attacks for no reason. I simply feel frustrated at times because of all those false claims on profile pages. I set the time range of my professional translation experience starting from the date of my first invoice for a translation agency. Not one single day earlier. Apparently making up years and decades of "experience" doesn't matter. I am an outsourcer, and being lied to can cost a lot of money.


 

Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
No reason? Dec 3, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Helen Shiner wrote:

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Tatty wrote:

I know that we should encourage young translators but it isn't so easy to get into translating nowadays.



Especially when they claim to be beginners, yet claim six years of experience on their ProZ.com profile page...


Nicole, Jessie is not claiming to be a beginner. Her experience has been acquired as a volunteer and/or in a paid capacity, if you actually bother to read her post. I don't see the need for such sarcasm and personal attack.



I replied with a previous and highly encouraging post. Please read it before you accuse me of "not reading". Please do not accuse me of sarcasm and personal attacks for no reason. I simply feel frustrated at times because of all those false claims on profile pages. I set the time range of my professional translation experience starting from the date of my first invoice for a translation agency. Not one single day earlier. Apparently making up years and decades of "experience" doesn't matter. I am an outsourcer, and being lied to can cost a lot of money.


Nicole, I have read the entire thread. You are claiming that Jessie is lying and I am afraid that that is an unwarranted personal attack in my book. Many people, myself included, translate for many years at the highest levels before needing to turn to an agency for work or even set themselves up as a freelance translator. Of course, we are all frustrated by false claims on other profile pages, but there are better places to voice this.

[Edited at 2012-12-03 18:04 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:35
English to German
+ ...
In memoriam
Not sure what is up with you today, Helen. Dec 3, 2012

Helen Shiner wrote:

I replied with a previous and highly encouraging post. Please read it before you accuse me of "not reading". Please do not accuse me of sarcasm and personal attacks for no reason. I simply feel frustrated at times because of all those false claims on profile pages. I set the time range of my professional translation experience starting from the date of my first invoice for a translation agency. Not one single day earlier. Apparently making up years and decades of "experience" doesn't matter. I am an outsourcer, and being lied to can cost a lot of money.


Nicole, I have read the entire thread. You are claiming that Jessie is lying and I am afraid that that is an unwarranted personal attack in my book. Many people, myself included, translate for many years at the highest levels before needing to turn to an agency for work or even set themselves up as a freelance translator. Of course, we are all frustrated by false claims on other profile pages, but there are better places to voice this.[/quote]


You are a highly respected colleague of mine. I have been translating for many years myself as a copywriter in international advertising agencies, yet I didn't call myself a translator. Being a translator is a different profession. I went to university for a second time and for an additional university degree in my life (New York University) before I dared to declare myself a translator.
Please keep your mood to yourself. Also, translators do not need to "turn to an agency for work". They are being contacted and asked for services because of their expertise. Talk to you next time when you feel better.

Greetings,
Nicole


 

Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
No, Nicole Dec 3, 2012

Nicole Schnell wrote:

Helen Shiner wrote:

I replied with a previous and highly encouraging post. Please read it before you accuse me of "not reading". Please do not accuse me of sarcasm and personal attacks for no reason. I simply feel frustrated at times because of all those false claims on profile pages. I set the time range of my professional translation experience starting from the date of my first invoice for a translation agency. Not one single day earlier. Apparently making up years and decades of "experience" doesn't matter. I am an outsourcer, and being lied to can cost a lot of money.


Nicole, I have read the entire thread. You are claiming that Jessie is lying and I am afraid that that is an unwarranted personal attack in my book. Many people, myself included, translate for many years at the highest levels before needing to turn to an agency for work or even set themselves up as a freelance translator. Of course, we are all frustrated by false claims on other profile pages, but there are better places to voice this.



You are a highly respected colleague of mine. I have been translating for many years myself as a copywriter in international advertising agencies, yet I didn't call myself a translator. Being a translator is a different profession. I went to university for a second time and for an additional university degree in my life (New York University) before I dared to declare myself a translator.
Please keep your mood to yourself. Also, translators do not need to "turn to an agency for work". They are being contacted and asked for services because of their expertise. Talk to you next time when you feel better.

Greetings,
Nicole [/quote]

Do not seek to pass on your frustration to others. Your comments in respect of me are also utterly unwarranted, but happily reflect on you rather than me.


 

Helen Shiner  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:35
Member (2008)
German to English
+ ...
@Jessie Dec 3, 2012

I found I was approached by many academics to translate articles for publication or lectures to be given abroad. They had often become tired of dealing with translators unable to respond to their areas of expertise or academic conventions. I was able to fund my part-time postgraduate studies in this way and thus build on the translation skills I had acquired in my first Modern Languages degree. Marketing yourself in this way may be a beneficial way of building your business.

 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Any point trying to work freelance in common language pair with no specialism?

Advanced search







Wordfast Pro
Translation Memory Software for Any Platform

Exclusive discount for ProZ.com users! Save over 13% when purchasing Wordfast Pro through ProZ.com. Wordfast is the world's #1 provider of platform-independent Translation Memory software. Consistently ranked the most user-friendly and highest value

More info »
SDL Trados Business Manager Lite
Create customer quotes and invoices from within SDL Trados Studio

SDL Trados Business Manager Lite helps to simplify and speed up some of the daily tasks, such as invoicing and reporting, associated with running your freelance translation business.

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search