Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Looking to Get Started as a Translator
Thread poster: Alan Korn

Alan Korn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
Apr 8

I am trying to get experience as a translator. However, I don't know how I ought to go about getting this experience. I don't really care about what field of translation the work is in. I'm really more interested in simply getting experience in any capacity.

[Edited at 2019-04-08 19:39 GMT]


Jorge Payan
 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:04
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Tell us more? Apr 8

Hi Alan,

Well, you're not giving us much to go on, are you? Your profile is almost blank and your CV seems to be a couple of lines, with no explanation of where your expertise in French comes from or why you think you would make a good translator.

You say you don't care what field you translate in - well, you need to care. Translators need strong expertise in a specialist field to produce good work. You can't translate what you don't understand. But I see you have a BA
... See more
Hi Alan,

Well, you're not giving us much to go on, are you? Your profile is almost blank and your CV seems to be a couple of lines, with no explanation of where your expertise in French comes from or why you think you would make a good translator.

You say you don't care what field you translate in - well, you need to care. Translators need strong expertise in a specialist field to produce good work. You can't translate what you don't understand. But I see you have a BA in Psychology so you do have a potential specialism right there, which is more than many translators do at the start of their career.

But if you want advice, perhaps you should start by telling us a bit more about yourself. There are some very helpful people on this forum, but it's hard to know what to say without a bit more information.

Rachel
Collapse


Michele Fauble
Teresa Borges
Tom in London
Mirko Mainardi
Richard Purdom
Daniel Žídek
Olavo Nogueira
 

Alan Korn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
More about me Apr 8

I thank you for your response. I do have a B.A. in Psychology so I do have some experience with psychology (but translation jobs in mental health etc. don't seem to be very common), and I also am in the process of doing an M.A. in Liberal Studies; however my true passion is in linguistics, languages, and cultures (although I don't think that any of these traits distinguish one as a translator).

I do have some experience with translating medical bills (only a few months of experience
... See more
I thank you for your response. I do have a B.A. in Psychology so I do have some experience with psychology (but translation jobs in mental health etc. don't seem to be very common), and I also am in the process of doing an M.A. in Liberal Studies; however my true passion is in linguistics, languages, and cultures (although I don't think that any of these traits distinguish one as a translator).

I do have some experience with translating medical bills (only a few months of experience though), and would be willing to do more in this sub-area, although, it isn't for me ideal. I suppose that I said that I didn't care what area the work would be in because I felt hopeless and felt that I'll never be able to find any work--not because I don't actually care or because I think that specializing in a particular field (or fields) isn't important.

As for how I learned French; well, I don't think this will help sell me or my services: I'm self-taught. However, I'm confident in my language skills, and only wish that there was a way to demonstrate it.
Collapse


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:04
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
And tell us much more Apr 8

Alan Korn wrote:
As for how I learned French; well, I don't think this will help sell me or my services: I'm self-taught. However, I'm confident in my language skills, and only wish that there was a way to demonstrate it.

There's nothing wrong with self-taught language skills; in fact, IMO, you can't learn a language just by taking classes. But potential clients certainly need more information. Your CV doesn't even say you speak a second language, nor does it say you're a translator, and you have zero words of "About me" text. Clients won't have any interest in you until you give them some information.

So, French: You didn't take any courses at all? If not, where and how did you learn? What's your level? Have you taken the DELF, DALF or whatever the tests are called nowadays?

How about translation: Have you ever studied even the basic techniques? What makes you think you can do it well? Even being 100% bilingual doesn't mean you can translate for tuppence. Do you have experience and good feedback when writing in English?

And then there's the job of running a business. Do you know how to write an effective quote? Have you determined your T&C (Terms and Conditions aka rate(s), payment method(s), payment period(s))? Will you know how to prepare your first invoice that will be legal where you live? Do you know what's legally required locally in terms of business structure, accounting, taxes, etc?

You've invested money in the site; now you need to invest time and effort. Read everything in the Site Guidance Centre, attend the free webinar, check out the CV and Risk Management Wikis, answer KudoZ questions...

You probably have positive answers to much of the above. But keeping them to yourself won't do -- you need to convince others too.


DZiW
Boryana Yovcheva
Tanja Oresnik
Teresa Borges
Pedro Álvares
 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:04
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
French skills Apr 9

Hi again,

To be honest, I think most people looking for a translator will take a lot of convincing that your French skills are good enough, based on what you have told us. Most translators have been studying their source language for decades, they probably have a degree in the language including a year studying or working abroad. And that's just the starting point. Some of your competitors will have grown up speaking French alongside English and be near-bilingual, others may have li
... See more
Hi again,

To be honest, I think most people looking for a translator will take a lot of convincing that your French skills are good enough, based on what you have told us. Most translators have been studying their source language for decades, they probably have a degree in the language including a year studying or working abroad. And that's just the starting point. Some of your competitors will have grown up speaking French alongside English and be near-bilingual, others may have lived and worked in a French-speaking country for years.

So if your French is at an equivalent level you will need to work very hard to convince buyers of your services of this. Is getting a job in a French-speaking area for a while once you finish your MA an option for you?

Rachel
Collapse


Teresa Borges
Dan Lucas
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
German to English
Watch for scams Apr 9

With the CV you present here, you're unlikely to get any serious job offers.

Tom in London
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:04
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Try harder Apr 9

Kevin Fulton wrote:

With the CV you present here, you're unlikely to get any serious job offers.


I agree. It's an almost blank page that includes

"TRANSLATION EXPERIENCE
Lotus Translation January 2019-Current
Washed dishes and performed other tasks that involve cleaning"

Come on Alan - you can do better than that!


Kevin Fulton
Dan Lucas
 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 05:04
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Career services Apr 9

You're a student. Use your school's resources.

https://www.albertus.edu/student-resources/career-services/

Set up an appointment and show them your CV. They will help you come up with something more presentable - after they have facepalmed.

[Edited at 2019-04-09 13:11 GMT]


Kevin Fulton
 

Alan Korn  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:04
Member (Mar 2019)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Willing to work for free Apr 9

I'm willing to work for free. I just need the experience. How can I find volunteer work in translating? Or will I need to have an extensive set of qualifications for that too?

 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:04
Member (2012)
French to English
Hi Alan Apr 9

I can relate to your dilemma, as I found it difficult when I started out a few years ago with a degree in French and an MA in translation.

Joining ProZ.com was a good starting point. I signed up for the mentoring scheme and was accepted by a mentor, who provided me with loads of work in a wide range of subject areas. That was a very valuable experience.

Then I spent quite a bit of time suggesting terms on Kudoz, which I think may have led to more people contacting me wi
... See more
I can relate to your dilemma, as I found it difficult when I started out a few years ago with a degree in French and an MA in translation.

Joining ProZ.com was a good starting point. I signed up for the mentoring scheme and was accepted by a mentor, who provided me with loads of work in a wide range of subject areas. That was a very valuable experience.

Then I spent quite a bit of time suggesting terms on Kudoz, which I think may have led to more people contacting me with job offers.

I also joined a Facebook site for translators, which led to finding work as a volunteer translator for Global Voices - another good experience.

Good luck!
Collapse


Pedro Álvares
 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:04
Member
English to French
+ ...
Just do it, then Apr 9

You don’t necessarily need qualifications, but you don’t need hand-holding either.

Self-learning is a life skill. So what’s holding you?

And why translation experience must only come in the form of commissioned work (be it voluntary)?

Just pick up whatever you feel like translating and do it.

The word is your oyster.

[Edited at 2019-04-09 20:52 GMT]


DZiW
Gareth Callagy
Sheila Wilson
 

Jocelin Meunier  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:04
English to French
Hello Alan Apr 22

From what I read, I would advise to take an official test in French, something that can prove on paper that you know French well enough to translate it. If I'm not mistaken, it would be the TFI for French. If you just say that you're self-taught, no matter how good you are, clients will never take your word for granted.
Once this is done, you can get some experience through volunteer work for NGOs. On the UNO website (if I remember well), you can find a volunteer portal and apply for trans
... See more
From what I read, I would advise to take an official test in French, something that can prove on paper that you know French well enough to translate it. If I'm not mistaken, it would be the TFI for French. If you just say that you're self-taught, no matter how good you are, clients will never take your word for granted.
Once this is done, you can get some experience through volunteer work for NGOs. On the UNO website (if I remember well), you can find a volunteer portal and apply for translation work. It is a good way to get experience and do some good on top of it. It doesn't pay the bills, but if you can afford it, it's a good way to start.
Collapse


Rachel Waddington
Michael Wetzel
 

Cindy v.d. Zeeuw
France
Local time: 22:04
French to Dutch
+ ...
Fairlingo Apr 23

Personally I do not have any experience with them, but you could take a look at this website :
https://www.fairlingo.com/en/
It might be a start to some translation work.
I also read about OneHourTranslation, look it up and it might be another interesting link to yet more online translation services. You will probably have to pass some test before you can start.


 

Amy Moreno
Local time: 21:04
English
+ ...
Volunteering opportunities Apr 25

You could try volunteering with Translators Without Borders.

https://translatorswithoutborders.org/volunteer/

I'm sure there are other organisations too, but this is the one I have experience volunteering for.


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:04
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
TWB Apr 26

Amy Moreno wrote:
You could try volunteering with Translators Without Borders

Volunteering for cloud-based "pro bono" translating is a great way to get some experience and learn. The TED content, for a start, would be good experience for a new translator. Others will (should) correct any mistakes.

However, TWB needs experienced translators who can work totally autonomously on texts that probably won't be proofread. It's therefore not a place to "practise". I help vet applications and I can tell you that TWB has to turn down an awful lot of applicants.


Rachel Waddington
Kay Denney
 
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 »

Looking to Get Started as a Translator

Advanced search







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 »
Anycount & Translation Office 3000
Translation Office 3000

Translation Office 3000 is an advanced accounting tool for freelance translators and small agencies. TO3000 easily and seamlessly integrates with the business life of professional freelance translators.

More info »



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