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  Translation Experience

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Author Topic:   Translation Experience
Barbara Kilic

Posts: 3
Registered: Jul 2001

posted 27 July 2001 13:18     Click Here to See the Profile for Barbara Kilic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dear Alex,

I have one concern; although I have a University Degree in Norwegian and French, all agencies seem to ask for "professional translators with experience". My only experience at University was translating some newspaper articles and short stories for practice. I am new in this field and would like to know how to get more experience (even unpaid) that would be valuable to employers.

I look forward to your reply.



Senior Member

Posts: 41
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 27 July 2001 16:47     Click Here to See the Profile for Claire     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Barbara

I would suggest you try to seek an in-house position in the first instance. If however, this is not possible then try offering your services free of charge to charities or offering a test piece of x amount of words to agencies to prove your skills - not always a great thing to do as you have to be careful that you aren't taken advantage of.

An in-house position is certainly the best way to start in my opinion, as you will probably get to shadow an experienced translator who will show you the ropes, plus it then looks good on your CV later.

Good luck




Posts: 278
Registered: Oct 2000

posted 30 July 2001 08:23     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Barbara,

I agree with Claire - in-house positions are a great way to get intensive experience, good training and a documented record of your achievements.

There are loads of ideas for places to do free translations for the experience. Charities are a good start. But you could also look at doing freebies for family and friends (but make sure they know you will charge one day!! ), or ask at your college - they might have some contacts who'd be only too happy to let a "trainee" loose on some of their texts - and in some cases they'll pay you too, but probably not commercial rates...

To be honest, I'd avoid the test translation route for two reasons.

The first is that there are some unscrupulous agencies out there who'll let you do free tests and then sell them. Or worse, you'll get a reputation as someone looking for experience and you'll be asked to do loads of free test translations but you'll be overlooked for the longer (paid!) texts.

The other reason is that with a bit of practice, you can spot an inexperienced translator a mile off. It's not necessarily a problem in itself, but once an agency gets its own little notion of you, you'll be tarred with that brush for ages (maybe years!) and find it difficult to shake off. So even though you'd say in advance you're looking for experience, you might find that the agencies who give you that experience won't then give you any "proper" work. They're not all like that, of course, but I've encountered a few in my long and chequered career.

Another potential route is the project management one!! Sounds unlikely, but it's true. There are always agency project management jobs available, and getting a foot in the door in translation is the very important first step. If you get a job of this kind, you could ask your boss if you could do small, easy translations in your own time (maybe even charge a token sum for them ), thereby giving you translation experience. And most importantly, you'll get contacts: other translators, mainly, since you mustn't pinch your boss's clients! Translation is a small pond (in the UK at least!), and you need to get your name known.

I wish you every success! Let us know how you get on.

All the best





Posts: 14
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 07 August 2001 13:38     Click Here to See the Profile for Amanda     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi Barbara,

If you are looking for some experience, the agency EuroTexte in Paris is looking for translators to translate some files for MSF (Médecins sans Frontières) from French into English.

You can contact Alison Watson at EuroTexte@compuserve.com

Good luck!




Posts: 2
Registered: Aug 2001

posted 16 August 2001 20:01     Click Here to See the Profile for sandrine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

I have the same problem .

A good site to find volunteer positions as a translator is www.idealist.org

Good luck.


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