New in the translation world (seeking for suggestions)
Thread poster: _Clau_ (X)

_Clau_ (X)
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:57
English to Italian
Apr 6, 2016

Hi there,
I am a new member of this Forum and I am writing on here to try to understand a bit better the "translation world" that I particularly like.
I am a Community Interpreter in my city already, so I am registered as Self Employed in the Government web site. I am really interested on translation and therefore I am here to ask what is the best thing to start with, to be able to found a job in this field.
I know that many of you have a large experience here, and so I trust
... See more
Hi there,
I am a new member of this Forum and I am writing on here to try to understand a bit better the "translation world" that I particularly like.
I am a Community Interpreter in my city already, so I am registered as Self Employed in the Government web site. I am really interested on translation and therefore I am here to ask what is the best thing to start with, to be able to found a job in this field.
I know that many of you have a large experience here, and so I trust your suggestions.
Thank you very much for you attention.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
There's a lot of information here Apr 6, 2016

_Clau_ wrote:
I am a new member of this Forum and I am writing on here to try to understand a bit better the "translation world" that I particularly like.

Firstly, welcome!

I understand that you need information, but it's a vast business or industry (however you see it), that's subdivided into multiple sectors. So giving helpful details in a few paragraphs is an impossible job. It would be helpful for us to know more about you, preferably through your profile. Information such as whether you've had other experience outside translatiing/interpreting, whether you have qualifications, and whether there are subject areas that you're particularly interested in and/or able to translate.

Also, I'd like to suggest that you use this site to its full advantage. It's chock-full of information already, so spend some time going through the forums - particularly this one but others may be of interest too. Then there are the translation Wikis, the articles, the blog, and the area of the site designed specifically for people like you - the Site Guidance Centre - which even offers a free webinar to help get you started. You'll also find some useful tools here for setting your rates, drawing up invoices and agreements, and deciding which CAT tol to use (if any).

When you have some specific questions whose answers are proving elusive, feel free to come back here and we'll do our best to answer them. I don't mean to be unhelpful, but I think it's important that you find most out for yourself because the most important skill for any translator, second only to language skills, is that of research.


 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:57
Member (2007)
Dutch to German
+ ...
Attend a local "Powwow" in your region Apr 6, 2016

Why not attending one of the numerous informal translators meetings in your region:

http://www.proz.com/forum/powwows-920.html

Kind regards,

Matthias


 

_Clau_ (X)
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:57
English to Italian
TOPIC STARTER
ther's a lot to read as well Apr 6, 2016

Thank you Shiela for your quick reply.
Clearly I know that there is a lot to do and a lot to research and that's what I am doing, but I thought that someone a bit more experienced could point out few foundamental things to know to start with.
I am reading a lot in blogs, websites etic. and I know that it is better to get certified because that helps finding a job.
I am not certified, but- as I wrote in my older post- I am already working as a community interpreter in the city
... See more
Thank you Shiela for your quick reply.
Clearly I know that there is a lot to do and a lot to research and that's what I am doing, but I thought that someone a bit more experienced could point out few foundamental things to know to start with.
I am reading a lot in blogs, websites etic. and I know that it is better to get certified because that helps finding a job.
I am not certified, but- as I wrote in my older post- I am already working as a community interpreter in the city where I live now in the UK. I have a degree, but I dont' have specific qualifications in translation.
In my profile I've updates my interests and which topics I've already worked with.
About CAT I'm thinking about dowloading OmegaT for an easy start.
Anyway, thank you for your time and I'll keep searching.
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Did you save the changes to your profile? Apr 7, 2016

I can't see any past projects or subject areas that interest you, so maybe you didn't press thd all-imporrant button to save the updates.

I would say that in your pair it's vital to acquire specialisations. There are so many translators that you'll be a tiny fish in that enormous ocean. You will find that as a generalist you will have nothing special to give to the client, except low price, and for someone living in the UK, that really isn't going to work. As a specialist, you move
... See more
I can't see any past projects or subject areas that interest you, so maybe you didn't press thd all-imporrant button to save the updates.

I would say that in your pair it's vital to acquire specialisations. There are so many translators that you'll be a tiny fish in that enormous ocean. You will find that as a generalist you will have nothing special to give to the client, except low price, and for someone living in the UK, that really isn't going to work. As a specialist, you move to a far smaller pond where you can stand out more easily. It isn't something you can become overnight though, so expect a tough start. I don't think it's an easy pair, but of course a freelance translator only needs a few thousand words each week and a handful of regular clients, so there IS hope if you persevere. Maybe your degree and previous experience will be a good foundation.

As for pieces of paper, they are important to young translators who have little else to offer, and the fact of having studied the techniques and received feedback helps you, the translator, to feel confident. You absolutely have to exude confidence to the client. In your case, a Master would be the best thing as it will give you a really solid start, but you could also do a minimal certification like the one I did (see my profile) if you're impatient or short of funds.
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Camille Beaupin
Peru
Spanish to French
+ ...
Advice Apr 7, 2016

Some advice:
- Gain experience as a translator in order to have some samples ready (some agencies will ask for samples of your work)
- Do some translations in order to have an idea of the number of words you can handle per day (many agencies will ask you this and it is important for you too, in order to set your rate, and to avoid accepting projects you can not deliver on time)
- Set your rates (Proz has a "rate calculator"), have a look at other translators' rates (with the sa
... See more
Some advice:
- Gain experience as a translator in order to have some samples ready (some agencies will ask for samples of your work)
- Do some translations in order to have an idea of the number of words you can handle per day (many agencies will ask you this and it is important for you too, in order to set your rate, and to avoid accepting projects you can not deliver on time)
- Set your rates (Proz has a "rate calculator"), have a look at other translators' rates (with the same linguistic pair as you)
- Write a CV and fill out your profile in Proz in Italian and in English. If you can, ask an English native speaker to review your CV and profile
- Think about your fields of expertise and the filetypes you can handle
- Some people will tell you you can work without CAT tools, which is true. However, I can tell you that my first order required the use of Trados, and my husband's first order too! Almost all my clients require the use of a CAT tool (Wordfast and Trados). If you can't afford buying one (I wouldn't recommend doing it before you have found clients) I think you should download a free trial version in order to get familiar with one of them. Wordfast (Pro) might be a good option because you can keep the trial version as long as you wish.
- Get some practical information about tax payments and invoicing.
- Start quoting on Proz offers (you will need a paid account for this).
- Start sending some CVs to translation agencies (and filling out their online forms)
- Before accepting a job from an agency, check the reliability of the translation agency via the Blue Board
- If you can, look for direct clients too
- Be patient, getting clients takes time
Good luck!
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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 03:57
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Just to add one thing Apr 7, 2016

Camille Beaupin wrote:
- Before accepting a job from an agency, check the reliability of the translation agency via the Blue Board

That's an important thing to do, and not just the score but also the comments left by translators, which can sometimes be very revealing with a bit of between-the-lines reading. Unfortunately, some agencies are so unscrupulous that they will expect translators to edit a poor numeric rating in exchange for being paid. Unethical and well against ProZ.com rules, but it does happen. So, you can put some trust in a poor score, but you can't totally trust a glowing record. Nor does not having a BB record mean they're untrustworthy.

There are many other forms of risk management that should be considered before accepting any job. The extent of your checks will depend on many things. Personally, I rarely accept large jobs from new clients - I like to see the colour of their money before risking too much. But having said that, I have risked a lot in the past with no problems. You need to develop a sense of smell to be able to separate the outright scammers from the businesses operating on a frayed shoestring (who can be as bad, effectively) and from those with solid business practices that enable them to take an occasional loss and still have money in the bank to pay you.

Check out the Risk Management Wiki on this site. Here are some ideas that may or may not be covered there:
- Check the Companies Register of their country, if possible. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_company_registers
- Consult their website for addresses, telephone numbers etc. and check them against Google Earth etc
- Ring them
- Google for "scam" together with the company name, with the contact email address and with the contact's name. Also, if they're on ProZ.com, send them a message through their profile. These serve to identify identity theft.
- Sign up to groups such as the Naming and Shaming one on LinkedIn
- Consult the Scam Centre here on ProZ.com and sign up for notifications of new scams


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:57
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Three suggestions Apr 7, 2016

_Clau_ wrote:

Hi there,
I am a new member of this Forum and I am writing on here to try to understand a bit better the "translation world" that I particularly like.
I am a Community Interpreter in my city already, so I am registered as Self Employed in the Government web site. I am really interested on translation and therefore I am here to ask what is the best thing to start with, to be able to found a job in this field.
I know that many of you have a large experience here, and so I trust your suggestions.
Thank you very much for you attention.


1. Don't be tempted to translate into English. Translating out of one's mother tongue into another language can be very slow and tiresome, and is never quite right no matter how fluent you are in the other language,

2. Specialise in just one field, and its associated fields. Paradoxical though it may seem, you'll get more work by specialising in a subject area or discipline in which not many other translators specialise in your language pair (which should be English to Italian). It may take longer to develop a portfolio of clients but they will be regular clients with whom you'll be able to establish a trusting relationship.

3. Be patient.It takes time to become established: as with any new business of any kind, give yourself 2-3 years to break even. In the meantime you will need a second source of income.

[Edited at 2016-04-07 14:51 GMT]


 


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