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Career in translating - with a twist
Thread poster: TomKi

TomKi
United Kingdom
TOPIC STARTER
Lot of replies! Aug 31, 2013

Wow! I'm very happy that so many of you have posted and offered me advice. As well as reading all the replies I have been doing a little research, and it does appear to be (very) unlikely that I would be able to survive on this pair.

I will still continue with my enjoyment and learning of Latin, just not in a professional way.

I do know that language has to be a (big) part of what I do with my life. The
... See more
Wow! I'm very happy that so many of you have posted and offered me advice. As well as reading all the replies I have been doing a little research, and it does appear to be (very) unlikely that I would be able to survive on this pair.

I will still continue with my enjoyment and learning of Latin, just not in a professional way.

I do know that language has to be a (big) part of what I do with my life. The other language I started learning (before I became distracted with Latin) was Welsh. Is it possible that WEL>ENG would offer me a better chance of earning a living?

Thank you for your patience,

Tom
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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 03:14
Chinese to English
Has to be the other way around Sep 1, 2013

TomKi wrote:

Is it possible that WEL>ENG would offer me a better chance of earning a living?

Thank you for your patience,

Tom

There's just not much material produced in Welsh, and even less that requires translation into English. But a lot of UK government stuff has to be translated into Welsh for statutory reasons, so that should be a reasonable market. I don't really know the situation with Welsh, but as I understand it there aren't that many native speakers, so having Welsh as a second language might not be such an obstacle to translating into it.


 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:14
German to English
Why not learn Manx? Sep 2, 2013

TomKi wrote:
Is it possible that WEL>ENG would offer me a better chance of earning a living?

Tom

That would give you a trifecta of languages with little commercial utility.


 

Sandra& Kenneth  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 21:14
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
I hope you have rich parents... Sep 2, 2013

TomKi wrote:

I will still continue with my enjoyment and learning of Latin, just not in a professional way.


Hi Tom,
You don't seem to be seriously contemplating making a living. Your experiments with Latin and Welsh (or Manx for that matter) sound like a fun way of spending time with little practical value. Considering that at some point you'll supposedly have to make a living, this sounds like a total waste of time. Don't forget that in order to keep these languages active, you have to continue using/learning them throughout your active career, or you will very quickly forget them.
In any case, these two languages are pretty useless as target languages to begin with (nobody needs stuff translated into Latin, and you are not likely to reach the proficiency level required to translate into Welsh).
Why do you want to be a translator starting from scratch at all? Do you think it's the easy and fun way?
Fun it may be, easy it isn't.
My 2 cents,


 

Whitney Maslak
United States
Local time: 12:14
German to English
The only idea I can think of... Nov 22, 2013

...is to get a job with the Vatican, which I'm sure is much easier said than done. I'm sure it's probably ridiculously competitive and they probably don't employ that many translators, but it's a thought. Whenever the Pope writes an encyclical, he writes it in his native language and in Latin, and then it's translated into all the other languages (well, maybe not ALL the languages, but you know what I mean). From what I remember learning in college, I think the translators only have about 24 hou... See more
...is to get a job with the Vatican, which I'm sure is much easier said than done. I'm sure it's probably ridiculously competitive and they probably don't employ that many translators, but it's a thought. Whenever the Pope writes an encyclical, he writes it in his native language and in Latin, and then it's translated into all the other languages (well, maybe not ALL the languages, but you know what I mean). From what I remember learning in college, I think the translators only have about 24 hours to get the entire encyclical completely translated. Depending on who the Pope is and his writing style, yikes.

The only other idea I have is to get a postgraduate degree in Latin and teach the language instead of translating it. If you really love the language, you will be happy to doing something with it, even if it's not translating.
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Oscar Rivera
Hungary
Local time: 20:14
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translation: your living or your hobby? Jan 30, 2014

After reading your answers, the first question that sprang to mind was this:


Do you want to make translation your living or your hobby?

If you want to make it your hobby, then you can stick to Latin or Welch and translate the documents that appeal to you. I don't know about Welch but I haven't heard of a continous translation workflow for Latin, but hey, that's just me and the world is a big big place.


If you want to make it a living, then the
... See more
After reading your answers, the first question that sprang to mind was this:


Do you want to make translation your living or your hobby?

If you want to make it your hobby, then you can stick to Latin or Welch and translate the documents that appeal to you. I don't know about Welch but I haven't heard of a continous translation workflow for Latin, but hey, that's just me and the world is a big big place.


If you want to make it a living, then there are some measures to be taken. Since you've learned Latin, a Romance language, to learn another one belonging to the same family perhaps appeals to you, in case your mother tongue is English and you want to pursue an Anglo Saxon one.

First of all, I would find a language that inspires you to learn it and you may use it when traveling. In case you're still lost, think about the number of translator in each pair, e.g.

EN SP 30
EN FR 20
En IT 10

Italian could be an option as there are not a lot of people who translate from English into Italian and viceversa. Again, choose a language you would enjoy learning, remember you'd be doing something you love but you have to love what you do.


Eileen Cartoon wrote:

might be even easier. I understand (but have no first hand knowledge) that this is the language closest to Latin of all. Then of course there is Italian.

Eileen


I didn't know Romanian was the most similar language to Latin. It can be a choice.


Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Except maybe in case of rare languages spoken in rich industrialised countries (Swedish, Finnish, Danish etc.) you cannot make a living in translation if you have no special knowledge in other fields like technical, law, medicine etc. Or you have to have good connections to translation service providers.
Why not start your own business rather than translating yourself? Should be easier than learning new languages.
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 20:14
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
You DO need to specialise... Jan 30, 2014

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Except maybe in case of rare languages spoken in rich industrialised countries (Swedish, Finnish, Danish etc.) you cannot make a living in translation if you have no special knowledge in other fields like technical, law, medicine etc. Or you have to have good connections to translation service providers.
Why not start your own business rather than translating yourself? Should be easier than learning new languages.


In many unusual languages, you need several specialist fields
I did not catch this the first time round, but at least with the languages mentioned there, you will find the amount of jobs you can take on will be limited without specialist subject areas.

I work with Danish to English, and not over-specialised Swedish to English, because my Swedish is not good enough. That limits the work to the level of press releases and information for the general public.

While from Danish I can translate medical texts, which make up nearly half the work I do, and on paper my qualifications in legal translation are roughly the same as State Authorized translators, so I can take on quite a lot of straightforward law.

There is a lot of technical work I do NOT take on, because that also requires a specialist.

I know of a translator who works from Danish to Italian, who modestly says he does not specialise in only one subject area, but in fact he needs to have specialist subject knowledge of several areas, simply to have enough work to live on. It was technology/mechanical engineering when I talked to him, but he reads up on the background as required for work in several other fields.

Speakers of rare languages spoken in rich industrialised countries tend to be mulitilingual
Certainly in Scandinavia, and some of my Dutch friends are phenomenal. OK, they don't speak or write like natives, but they are fluent at 'negotiation level' in English, and many speak and read German and/or French or Spanish quite well too.

Many have read their way through university in foreign languages because the periodicals and technical literature are not all translated. They even write their dissertations and theses in English, which for academic purposes is like the new Latin.

So what is left is translation from their languages into others, or proofreading at a specialised level.

While you can make quite a good living with specialised knowledge, there would not be a lot of work you could do without it. It simply does not get translated!


 
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