Starting out - how to get hired?
Thread poster: Mamainak

Mamainak
Local time: 01:33
English to Croatian
+ ...
Jan 21, 2013

Hi everyone,

I'm relatively new to the market of translation and localization.

I'm a Serbo-Croatian mother tongue (I lived in both countries, that's why I use that term) with a fluent English (I have a certificate to teach English to learning with English as a second language) and so far have translated some academic articles (social sciences) and I have translated FAQs and localized an UI for a social network.

I don't have much experience though; my only a
... See more
Hi everyone,

I'm relatively new to the market of translation and localization.

I'm a Serbo-Croatian mother tongue (I lived in both countries, that's why I use that term) with a fluent English (I have a certificate to teach English to learning with English as a second language) and so far have translated some academic articles (social sciences) and I have translated FAQs and localized an UI for a social network.

I don't have much experience though; my only advantage is that I'm good with the Internet and computers and have lived in the UK for 4 years, so I'm quite familiar with colloquial language and idiomatic expressions. Does my certificate to teach English mean much? Do you think I could get a proofreading or transcribing job?

How does a person like me get some work? Not to mention that my native language is not that popular.

Thank you!
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Woodstock  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 01:33
German to English
+ ...
Hello Jan 21, 2013

Best place to start is by reading the forum posts. There have been a lot of newcomers lately, asking very similar questions, so most likely you will find the answers you need are already available. If not, then you can come back and post them in the forum.

Find the line above the title of your post where it says in red:

Translation - art & business - Getting established

Clicking on the "Getting established" calls up a huge, long list of posts and discussion
... See more
Best place to start is by reading the forum posts. There have been a lot of newcomers lately, asking very similar questions, so most likely you will find the answers you need are already available. If not, then you can come back and post them in the forum.

Find the line above the title of your post where it says in red:

Translation - art & business - Getting established

Clicking on the "Getting established" calls up a huge, long list of posts and discussions on exactly that subject. I'm sure you can find most of what you need to know there.

Good luck.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:33
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Another welcome! Jan 21, 2013

Hello there,

I second Woodstock's advice to put the mountain of information here on ProZ.com to good use. You should also visit the Site Guidance Centre under the Tools tab and this page: http://www.proz.com/pages/getting_started

I can imagine there isn't the need for translations into Serbian or Croatian to the same extent as there is in my pair, but then there are far
... See more
Hello there,

I second Woodstock's advice to put the mountain of information here on ProZ.com to good use. You should also visit the Site Guidance Centre under the Tools tab and this page: http://www.proz.com/pages/getting_started

I can imagine there isn't the need for translations into Serbian or Croatian to the same extent as there is in my pair, but then there are far fewer translators, aren't there? You'd need specific advice from translators in those pairs, but I'm sure there's work out there into Serbian and/or Croatian.

In the French/English pair, translating into the native language is the only sensible thing to do, apart from in extremely specialised terminology areas - there are so many translators with each native language that it would be madness to do anything else. In your case, I imagine there is a shortageof English native speakers who are capable of understanding Serbian or Croatian texts, so there's probably a case for you to translate into English, too. However, I think it would be unwise for you to offer your services in English proofreading, as that really needs to be done by native speakers. On the other hand, I would have thought that transcription could be done by someone fluent in the language and living in an English-speaking community, so hearing the language on a daily basis.

Your CELTA is a good credential for your use of English as a source language, and as a target language for some circumstances, backed up by a native proofreader where necessary (e.g. for texts to be published).
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Mamainak
Local time: 01:33
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Something more specific... Jan 21, 2013

Hi Woodstock and Sheila, thank you for your replies.

I am currently reading other posts, but haven't found many examples that I need...most of other people's questions are either quite specific for one problem or too general. For example, many posters asking for advice already have a diploma in linguistics, which I think makes it much easier for them.
I was hoping someone would give me a reply that's more on-topic regarding my situation. Sheila, your advice helped, thank you.
... See more
Hi Woodstock and Sheila, thank you for your replies.

I am currently reading other posts, but haven't found many examples that I need...most of other people's questions are either quite specific for one problem or too general. For example, many posters asking for advice already have a diploma in linguistics, which I think makes it much easier for them.
I was hoping someone would give me a reply that's more on-topic regarding my situation. Sheila, your advice helped, thank you. True, native speakers would be best proofreaders (for English text, of course), but I've met so many English people, educated even, that asked me to spell out words for them, proofread something and help their kids with homework.

I think my biggest chance lies in localization of websites, as I'm computer-savvy. I don't think I'd be able to translate official documents without a diploma.
I will try doing voluntary translation to gain some experience.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:33
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Something more specific, then Jan 22, 2013

Mamainak wrote:
For example, many posters asking for advice already have a diploma in linguistics, which I think makes it much easier for them.

It's true that having certification is important in the early stages, not just from the client's point of view but for your own confidence and quality of output. But just because you haven't got a diploma doesn't mean you can't have one. Why not try for the DipTrans? I don't know what courses are available to help you prepare, but I imagine they exist. Certainly IoL offer the DipTrans in English to Serbian or Croatian, though you may have to wait until there's demand.
True, native speakers would be best proofreaders (for English text, of course), but I've met so many English people, educated even, that asked me to spell out words for them, proofread something and help their kids with homework.

Of course that's true - there are probably millions of native English speakers who haven't really got the hang of writing correctly in their own language, let alone a foreign one. But it's a totally invalid argument for a professional translator to make, I'm afraid. How many professional native English speakers are members of this site? There are certainly thousands, and we're all perfectly capable of proofreading English texts (although many prefer not to as so many have been written/translated by non-native speakers of English and it's difficult to judge how much work will be needed to polish them).

I think my biggest chance lies in localization of websites, as I'm computer-savvy. I don't think I'd be able to translate official documents without a diploma.

You normally need more than a diploma to translate official documents (if you're talking about documents that need to bear an official stamp, for immigration purposes, etc.), you need to be on the correct government list. I've never got involved in that. There's an enormous quantity of commercial translation needing to be done, and 'all' you need to be able to do is convince the client that you can do the job. Then, to get a repeat commission, you need to satisfy them with your first translation.

Website localisation could certainly become one of your specialisations, but could you also tackle texts in education and tourism (where you've had experience), and maybe linked to your interests (e.g. photography)?

But first, if you want to use ProZ.com as your window on the professional world, you need to follow all the advice for making the most of your presence here by following the link I gave you; and you need to tighten up your CV (there's advice in the Translation Industry Wiki under the Education tab).

HTH


 

Mamainak
Local time: 01:33
English to Croatian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Jan 22, 2013

Hi Sheila,

thank you for such a long and detailed reply.

It's true that having certification is important in the early stages, not just from the client's point of view but for your own confidence and quality of output. But just because you haven't got a diploma doesn't mean you can't have one. Why not try for the DipTrans? I don't know what courses are available to help you prepare, but I imagine they exist. Certainly IoL offer the DipTrans in English to Serbian or Croatian, though you may have to wait until there's demand.


I will look into certifications, but I doubt there are any courses in translation where I live at the moment. Perhaps I find something online.

Of course that's true - there are probably millions of native English speakers who haven't really got the hang of writing correctly in their own language, let alone a foreign one. But it's a totally invalid argument for a professional translator to make, I'm afraid. How many professional native English speakers are members of this site? There are certainly thousands, and we're all perfectly capable of proofreading English texts (although many prefer not to as so many have been written/translated by non-native speakers of English and it's difficult to judge how much work will be needed to polish them).


I didn't mean to say that me knowing certain spelling better than a native speaker qualifies me as a good proofreader, I just thought it's quite ironic that a foreigner knows spelling better than a native speaker. But then again, English is a total mess when it comes to spelling.

You normally need more than a diploma to translate official documents (if you're talking about documents that need to bear an official stamp, for immigration purposes, etc.), you need to be on the correct government list. I've never got involved in that. There's an enormous quantity of commercial translation needing to be done, and 'all' you need to be able to do is convince the client that you can do the job. Then, to get a repeat commission, you need to satisfy them with your first translation.

Website localisation could certainly become one of your specialisations, but could you also tackle texts in education and tourism (where you've had experience), and maybe linked to your interests (e.g. photography)?

But first, if you want to use ProZ.com as your window on the professional world, you need to follow all the advice for making the most of your presence here by following the link I gave you; and you need to tighten up your CV (there's advice in the Translation Industry Wiki under the Education tab).


I'm trying to figure out areas where Croatian would be needed and that's where tourism comes in. But who would my clients be? Hotels, agencies? Perhaps private accommodation owners? Hmmm. Photography is my great love but there's technical lingo involved. I'm also considering subtitling as I love films.

I guess I will keep digging.

Thanks again


 


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