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A friend that thinks being a translator is easy...
Autor wątku: Maria Toresani

María C Turri  Identity Verified
Argentyna
Local time: 08:22
Członek ProZ.com
od 2019

angielski > hiszpański
Been there! Nov 16, 2020

I was in the same situation as you about 10 years ago. A friend of mine, who was studying to become an English teacher, asked me to "teach her" how to translate. I was all about helping people back then, so I went over to her house and started teaching her how to use Trados, which was the most required CAT tool at the time. She was never a cat person so that's all it took for her not wanting to pursue my carreer anymore.

Recently, I had the same experience and just pointed that pers
... See more
I was in the same situation as you about 10 years ago. A friend of mine, who was studying to become an English teacher, asked me to "teach her" how to translate. I was all about helping people back then, so I went over to her house and started teaching her how to use Trados, which was the most required CAT tool at the time. She was never a cat person so that's all it took for her not wanting to pursue my carreer anymore.

Recently, I had the same experience and just pointed that person to Proz and other well-known sites to find work. The result was the same. They both returned to their previous jobs and didn't bother me again.

You can say I'm a bit mean, but I have indeed mentioned Babelcube to a couple of persons down the road. It's really hard not to loose it when people underestimate your profession so easily.
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Teresa Borges
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Hiszpania
Local time: 12:22
hiszpański > angielski
+ ...
"It's easy for you, of course ... Nov 16, 2020

... because you're a native speaker of English / French / Arabic / Russian" etc. I've heard that a couple of times. I didn't know what to say the first time, but the second time I said, "Oh yes, it's easy for me because it's my language, ... and then last week I learned Spanish when I had a bit of time, so it all comes together nicely."

But, of course, it's not always easy: have you ever heard "What do you mean, you don't understand what they say here [hugely complicated technology,
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... because you're a native speaker of English / French / Arabic / Russian" etc. I've heard that a couple of times. I didn't know what to say the first time, but the second time I said, "Oh yes, it's easy for me because it's my language, ... and then last week I learned Spanish when I had a bit of time, so it all comes together nicely."

But, of course, it's not always easy: have you ever heard "What do you mean, you don't understand what they say here [hugely complicated technology, so new they only invented all the terms a month ago]? You're a translator, aren't you?"

Yes, but that doesn't mean I know all the words there are to know, the mysterious acronyms known to maybe ten people in the entire world, the obscure organisations and associations, the standards, the processes, the laws, the properties and characteristics of this, that and the other, the in-jokes, the blithe out-of-context subreferences etc. in the source language or even in my own. Why do you have to know how the entire world functions because you're a translator?
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Teresa Borges
Morano El-Kholy
Blandina Broesicke
Chris S
expressisverbis
Robert Rietvelt
Philippe Etienne
 

Chris S  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
szwedzki > angielski
+ ...
Devil's avocado Nov 16, 2020

Swimming against the flow here, with a bulletproof vest on, but I would counter that being a translator really isn't that hard.

Nobody would think of becoming a translator without already knowing a foreign language and being able to write their own.

So the only special quality required is an eye for detail.

There's your pizza base and tomato sauce. The rest is just extra toppings.

I started translating professionally aged 22 knowing very littl
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Swimming against the flow here, with a bulletproof vest on, but I would counter that being a translator really isn't that hard.

Nobody would think of becoming a translator without already knowing a foreign language and being able to write their own.

So the only special quality required is an eye for detail.

There's your pizza base and tomato sauce. The rest is just extra toppings.

I started translating professionally aged 22 knowing very little about anything, and my pizzas back then tasted as good as my pizzas do today. They just took longer to bake.
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expressisverbis
Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Elena Feriani
Philippe Etienne
P.L.F.Persio
Oleksandr Ivanov
Kay Denney
 

Gerard Barry
Niemcy
Local time: 12:22
niemiecki > angielski
I'm in two minds about this Nov 16, 2020

I, too, have often heard people say things to me like "Why does a German company need an in-house English translator? Aren't most Germans able to speak English?" It's annoying because they clearly don't understand how difficult the texts I translate actually are.

Having said that, many translators have extremely elitist tendencies and seem to want to exclude all beginners. But the fact is translation is not a protected profession in the same way medicine or law are, for example. Thi
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I, too, have often heard people say things to me like "Why does a German company need an in-house English translator? Aren't most Germans able to speak English?" It's annoying because they clearly don't understand how difficult the texts I translate actually are.

Having said that, many translators have extremely elitist tendencies and seem to want to exclude all beginners. But the fact is translation is not a protected profession in the same way medicine or law are, for example. This means that, in a free market, anyone can try their luck. Ultimately, it's the clients who'll decide if the translator is good enough or not.
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yam2u
Philippe Etienne
Becca Resnik
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
Niemcy
Local time: 12:22
Członek ProZ.com
od 2016

angielski > niemiecki
It's like playing chess Nov 16, 2020

I am not sure why this upsets people so much. As an established translator you don't need to feel threatened by newbies. It's like playing chess, there are several levels of mastery, and a chess grandmaster can show the ropes and explain the rules to newbies without feeling any stress about it. Most will quit soon, and only few will have the talent and the determination to make it to a professional level.

Morano El-Kholy
Matthias Brombach
expressisverbis
Rachel Waddington
Chris S
Oleksandr Ivanov
Philippe Etienne
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 11:22
Członek ProZ.com
od 2014

japoński > angielski
Define "knowing" and "write" Nov 16, 2020

Chris S wrote:
Nobody would think of becoming a translator without already knowing a foreign language and being able to write their own.

Really? In particular, I think a lot of people overestimate their ability to write well in their own language, let along their ability to understand a foreign language. While the Dunning-Kruger hypothesis has its critics, it strikes a chord with me. And if you want to play in the big leagues of translation surely the extent of your knowledge and writing ability is relevant?

My knowledge of Japanese at the age of 23 was nothing like as broad or as nuanced as it had become by the age of 43, because by the latter point I had spent two decades living in the country, immersed in that culture, and using the language in a professional capacity every working day. At the age of 23 there was still a hell of a lot that I just did not know about the language and how it was used in daily life. So much is not captured by newspapers or television.

As I may have remarked before, it's when you have to fill in a tax form, or decipher the instructions left by the local government for segregating garbage into different bins at different times of the month, or contact a call centre to explain that your electric fan is working only intermittently, that your weaknesses in the language are exposed. Being able to deal efficiently with this sort of thing is a linguistic ability conferred only by experience. It's not an innate competence, but it matters. If I tried to translate that kind of material at the age of 23, I wouldn't just have been slow - I'd have made a very poor job of it.

My writing also improved a great deal over that period. I think I was always considered a "decent" writer by teachers and peers, but I shed a lot of bad and self-indulgent habits when I was forced to write for a living. I still have a few, no doubt, but the point is that people with a growth mindset continue to learn and improve. Most people will be better at 43 than at 23.

I suspect that really talented translators can often make intuitive leaps to find the right phrase in their target languages, and that this is what separates them from the merely competent. But you can get along fine without that extra level of ability. Experience, as you point out, makes one more efficient.

Regards,
Dan


Rachel Waddington
Chris S
expressisverbis
Philippe Etienne
Johannah Morrison
Zibow Retailleau
P.L.F.Persio
 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
Wielka Brytania
Local time: 11:22
Członek ProZ.com
od 2004

angielski > włoski
It is easy... Nov 16, 2020

what's difficult is being a good translator.

Chris S
expressisverbis
Dan Lucas
Rachel Fell
ahartje
Philippe Etienne
Rachel Waddington
 

IrinaN
USA
Local time: 05:22
angielski > rosyjski
+ ...
Nothing devilish, Chris:-) Nov 16, 2020

Chris S wrote:

Swimming against the flow here, with a bulletproof vest on, but I would counter that being a translator really isn't that hard.



But would it be too daring and presumptuous of me to suggest that you were an avid reader, a literary debutant, even if in deep, deep secret, and more inclined to humanitarian rather than technical disciplines? I hate pathos but some love or at least curiosity about other languages and cultures stemming from the books... I was all that almost since I can remember myself. So, it wasn't quite out of the blue, right? You had a strong skeleton to grow meat on:-).

A lot in our profession is about being natural. I loved to write essays and compositions and to be a speaker for various causes at school and university, never had crowd fever, loved to be a tour guide. One day I sat in the booth and started doing simo just like that:-) Still do. Next to brilliant and formally trained and educated colleagues.

In other words, there is always a reason and a justification for success, when you look deeper.

Who the heck do you need a defense from when you are so successful:-) You can send any pedants packing. So can I, regardless of how far apart navigation systems and my formal degree are.

Cheers,
Irina


Chris S
P.L.F.Persio
yam2u
Mervyn Henderson
 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Francja
Local time: 12:22
Członek ProZ.com
od 2018

francuski > angielski
. Nov 17, 2020

I'm not afraid of competition from newbies. I do resent them implying that just anyone can do what I do.

A young lad I know, who passes exams in all subjects like others pass water, got himself a summer job as a translator. I was fully prepared to help him out, giving him a few tips, but his attitude was so breezily condescending about it, I didn't speak up.
We saw him again a year later, and in the course of a conversation about his future he said, "oh no, not translation.
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I'm not afraid of competition from newbies. I do resent them implying that just anyone can do what I do.

A young lad I know, who passes exams in all subjects like others pass water, got himself a summer job as a translator. I was fully prepared to help him out, giving him a few tips, but his attitude was so breezily condescending about it, I didn't speak up.
We saw him again a year later, and in the course of a conversation about his future he said, "oh no, not translation. Translation is HARD". What I found hard was suppressing a smug giggle.


... People really do have no idea how hard. I was telling friends that I wasn't getting much work because the industries I'm specialised in are precisely those which are at a complete standstill due to covid. One asked why I didn't move into other industries and mentioned that she could ask her colleague whether they needed translations. She works in bleeding-edge high tech, so I said I couldn't possibly translate for her firm, in that I wasn't capable of understanding what she did. Eyes wide, she asked "what, you mean you have to actually understand the words you're translating?"
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P.L.F.Persio
Chris S
Zibow Retailleau
Angie Garbarino
Sarah Maidstone
Becca Resnik
Rachel Waddington
 

Matthias Brombach  Identity Verified
Niemcy
Local time: 12:22
Członek ProZ.com
od 2007

niderlandzki > niemiecki
+ ...
Bully that friend! Nov 25, 2020

Maria Toresani wrote:

Hello,

My parents have a friend who saw I am doing well as a translator, so, he took an online course and in one week...TA DA! He became a """translator""" himself and now wants me to tell him where do I get jobs...


Recommend that friend to an agency that asks you for a recommendation. Simultaneously offer that agency to proofread the first piece of work, then savage it and let it know indirectly to him, that it was you, who reviewed his work, i.e. by putting your name into the title of your review report. Let the report forward to that friend by the agency, who mostly isn´t able to check, whether you are right or wrong with your judgment because they generally don´t master the languages involved. At least this happened to me four years ago by one of the highest-ranking English to German fellow translators here at Proz. And he was an earlier classmate of me (one of the bored already retired servicemen; for names please ask me via private mail). I protested massively, the agency finally let it proofread again and everything miraculously was okay then. But the effect is impressive and could make your friend give up his plans already in an earlier stage of his career.

[Bearbeitet am 2020-11-25 08:37 GMT]


Mervyn Henderson
expressisverbis
 
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