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Is it worth to have specific studies in translation?
Iniziatore argomento: Jesús Pulido Ruiz

Jesús Pulido Ruiz
India
Local time: 12:19
Membro (2016)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
Jul 10

Dear Colleagues:

I have been working as a translator and Spanish teacher for the past 5 years and honestly, since I became a father and have to spend more time at home, the translator work, which I really feel passionate about, has attracted all my attention and would like to make it my only profession.

During this time, I didn´t have the opportunity to complete a specific course in translation, but now I am thinking seriously to do a Master´s Programme online, so my question is:

- Is it really worth?

I would appreciate your experience regarding the change in the number of clients and the response to your applications for projects before and after, or yourselves when you have to choose a person to work with.

I know that this question must have been asked already, but since it is a high investment i would really appreciate your opinions.


Thank you very much for your responses.

[Edited at 2017-07-10 10:45 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-07-10 10:46 GMT]


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Michele Fauble  Identity Verified
Stati Uniti
Local time: 23:49
Membro (2006)
Da Norvegese a Inglese
+ ...
Target languages Jul 10

Studies in translation or not, your English needs to be much better if you are going to offer translation into it. Spanish>English is a very competitive pair. The odds of success are greater if you stick to what you do best.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spagna
Local time: 08:49
Membro (2005)
Da Inglese a Spagnolo
+ ...
Is is worth it! Jul 10

I began my career in translation just by chance over two decades ago, after a career in software development. Because of my workload, family, and location, I found it hard to pursue higher education in translation, but four years ago I decided to go for it once for all and can say that higher education in translation can completely transform your perception of translation work. There are so many things to know and take into account during translation that I did not have a clue of when I began my degree studies! I can't wait to be able to take on my next challenge, which is a MA in Translation. In your case, I would definitely go for it.

While I do not really plan on expanding my customer base at the moment, I do think that my customers are better served and enjoy better translations than before my studies. My newly acquired knowledge and the degree itself are bound to help me win interesting accounts in the future, whenever I need it.

When choosing an online MA, I would try to do one by a reputable university in a Spanish-speaking country, since that will help you hone your skills in translation into Spanish. Given that you have been living abroad for a long time, I would also suggest that you stay current with affairs in the Spanish-speaking world by regularly reading newspapers and watching the news from Spanish-speaking TV chains. Ideally, this should encompass countries other than Spain, since it is possible that part of your work will be used in many countries. Language evolves quickly and you need to stay up-to-date.

There are other things that can help you secure work in translation in the long run, one of them being careful attention to anything you publish online (your profiles in portals, fora, tweets, Facebook, ...) in both your source language(s) and target language. It pays to review all your information online just in case. As for the suggestion by the other colleague, I completely agree: translators generally stick to translation into their mother tongue.

Good luck!


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:49
Membro (2012)
Da Ceco a Inglese
+ ...
No Jul 10

Either you have a translator's mind and don't need it, or you haven't and it won't help you. The diploma may give you a competitive advantage, though - some clients love papers.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Danimarca
Local time: 08:49
Membro (2003)
Da Danese a Inglese
+ ...
Translation as opposed to linguistics Jul 10

Yes, if you take a text-focused, practical training in genres, where to search for terminology, and writing for different target groups. I took a diploma programme that focused on the differences between my two languages, Danish and English, and specialist literature for Law, one or two areas of technology and Medical Latin. Others concentrated on fields such as finance and Economics - and this was really valuable. It made me aware of things I knew subconsciously, and provided short cuts to solving many of the problems.

Learn to use a CAT if you don't already use one.

I read linguistics out of interest, but it is not particularly useful when translating real texts for clients.

Your grammar and style have to be perfect and appropriate for your readers. I see you are based in India. If you write Indian English, focus on the Indian market! Although often monolingual themselves, or perhaps because they are monolingual themselves, English speakers can be brutally critical when translators do not use the variety of English they expect.

Training can point you in the right direction, but you have to go there yourself through practice - good luck!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spagna
Local time: 08:49
Membro (2005)
Da Inglese a Spagnolo
+ ...
Completely disagree Jul 10

EvaVer wrote:
Either you have a translator's mind and don't need it, or you haven't and it won't help you. The diploma may give you a competitive advantage, though - some clients love papers.

Maybe four years ago when I did not have higher education in translation and was self-taught in translation I would have agreed to some extent, but today I completely disagree with this point of view. If you pay attention at what your professors have to say and take it a bit further and learn more autonomously, there is a whole lot to be learned about linguistics and translation per se which you will hardly learn by simply being an advanced user of languages. Even to successful professionals who have worked in translation for many years, university courses and degrees can mean quite a difference.

The "paper" is just a flat piece of wood fibre with some ink or toner on it, but it means something as long as it was issued by a reputable university and not bought at a diploma franchise.


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Jesús Pulido Ruiz
India
Local time: 12:19
Membro (2016)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
I get it Jul 10

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT wrote:

I began my career in translation just by chance over two decades ago, after a career in software development. Because of my workload, family, and location, I found it hard to pursue higher education in translation, but four years ago I decided to go for it once for all and can say that higher education in translation can completely transform your perception of translation work. There are so many things to know and take into account during translation that I did not have a clue of when I began my degree studies! I can't wait to be able to take on my next challenge, which is a MA in Translation. In your case, I would definitely go for it.

While I do not really plan on expanding my customer base at the moment, I do think that my customers are better served and enjoy better translations than before my studies. My newly acquired knowledge and the degree itself are bound to help me win interesting accounts in the future, whenever I need it.

When choosing an online MA, I would try to do one by a reputable university in a Spanish-speaking country, since that will help you hone your skills in translation into Spanish. Given that you have been living abroad for a long time, I would also suggest that you stay current with affairs in the Spanish-speaking world by regularly reading newspapers and watching the news from Spanish-speaking TV chains. Ideally, this should encompass countries other than Spain, since it is possible that part of your work will be used in many countries. Language evolves quickly and you need to stay up-to-date.

There are other things that can help you secure work in translation in the long run, one of them being careful attention to anything you publish online (your profiles in portals, fora, tweets, Facebook, ...) in both your source language(s) and target language. It pays to review all your information online just in case. As for the suggestion by the other colleague, I completely agree: translators generally stick to translation into their mother tongue.

Good luck!



Tomás, thank you for your answer, it has given me the information i was looking for. I get your point that the reward is not only the projection on a possible increase of customers, but also in the satisfaction on your own work... and the improved quality that one can achieve.

These are strong reasons to add up to the financial ones and pursue further studies.

I appreciate also your advice regarding the language i use in public, because language is our profession and represents the "business card" we offer, whether we are aware or not. I´ll be careful from now and in the future.

And finally, regarding the target language, of course i intend to do a Master´s in Spanish medium, which is my natural target language with few exceptions. I wrote this post in English due to the fact that in my normal live i use English and Spanish equally and when i started to write this post was the first language that came up to my mind.

Once again, i appreciate your answer, it is very informative and valuable.


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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spagna
Local time: 07:49
Membro (2007)
Inglese
+ ...
The wrong reasons Jul 10

Jesús Pulido Ruiz wrote:
I would appreciate your experience regarding the change in the number of clients and the response to your applications for projects before and after, or yourselves when you have to choose a person to work with.

I think that at least in the short term you're likely to see very little change. In fact, if you're often unavailable due to study commitments then you'll probably lose some clients and fail to land jobs that you would have otherwise have got. You would probably get better ROI from a short course on running a small business, including marketing and negotiating.

What would clearly be beneficial in the long run though would be some in-depth knowledge of a subject area. Specialisation is the way to go in the English to Spanish pair. There are just too many of you for it to be possible to stand out as a generalist. If you, with your finance and accounting background, could do a Master's in Translation that specialised in that subject area, then you could drop the pharmaceuticals, general medical and engineering "specialisations" and concentrate on being the go-to person for EN>ES finance translations.

(Jesús, nobody is criticising you using English in this forum - it was the best language to use as you get the most feedback in English, and you communicated fine. What we see as a negative is having ES>EN stated as a language pair, and in your case as your primary pair. You may well accept the occasional job, using a proofreader to polish your translations, but it doesn't pay for you to advertise the fact.)

[Edited at 2017-07-10 10:50 GMT]


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Jesús Pulido Ruiz
India
Local time: 12:19
Membro (2016)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Thanks Jul 10

Michele Fauble wrote:

Studies in translation or not, your English needs to be much better if you are going to offer translation into it. Spanish>English is a very competitive pair. The odds of success are greater if you stick to what you do best.



Hi Michelle, i also appreciate your answer because i extract from your assertion that the main focus is to master the target language in which we translate to, no matter the level of studies. I will consider this.

Regarding your opinion about my English, however unrequested it was, i accept it in order to help me to improve.

Thanks.


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Jesús Pulido Ruiz
India
Local time: 12:19
Membro (2016)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
I agree Jul 10

Christine Andersen wrote:

Yes, if you take a text-focused, practical training in genres, where to search for terminology, and writing for different target groups. I took a diploma programme that focused on the differences between my two languages, Danish and English, and specialist literature for Law, one or two areas of technology and Medical Latin. Others concentrated on fields such as finance and Economics - and this was really valuable. It made me aware of things I knew subconsciously, and provided short cuts to solving many of the problems.

Learn to use a CAT if you don't already use one.

I read linguistics out of interest, but it is not particularly useful when translating real texts for clients.

Your grammar and style have to be perfect and appropriate for your readers. I see you are based in India. If you write Indian English, focus on the Indian market! Although often monolingual themselves, or perhaps because they are monolingual themselves, English speakers can be brutally critical when translators do not use the variety of English they expect.

Training can point you in the right direction, but you have to go there yourself through practice - good luck!


Yes, i agree that the multidisciplinary approach given in translation studies is very useful. In my opinion, it broads our minds and also helps us at the time to face market, because whether we are specialized in one field or not, we cannot always turn down clients offering a job that is not exactly our specialization area.

And about English varieties, yes, i find your opinion totally true. I learned English in the UK and years later moved to India, where i live today. You cannot imagine how hard was to fit my British style learned English into the indian listeners... and now that i have lived here so many years and adopted an "Indian accent", how difficult is to do in the other way round!

This has given to me plenty of funny stories to tell.

Thanks for your reply


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Jesús Pulido Ruiz
India
Local time: 12:19
Membro (2016)
Da Spagnolo a Inglese
+ ...
AVVIO ARGOMENTO
Focus only in finance is not feasible Jul 10

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Jesús Pulido Ruiz wrote:
I would appreciate your experience regarding the change in the number of clients and the response to your applications for projects before and after, or yourselves when you have to choose a person to work with.

I think that at least in the short term you're likely to see very little change. In fact, if you're often unavailable due to study commitments then you'll probably lose some clients and fail to land jobs that you would have otherwise have got. You would probably get better ROI from a short course on running a small business, including marketing and negotiating.

What would clearly be beneficial in the long run though would be some in-depth knowledge of a subject area. Specialisation is the way to go in the English to Spanish pair. There are just too many of you for it to be possible to stand out as a generalist. If you, with your finance and accounting background, could do a Master's in Translation that specialised in that subject area, then you could drop the pharmaceuticals, general medical and engineering "specialisations" and concentrate on being the go-to person for EN>ES finance translations.


Hi Sheila!

Thanks for your reply, i find it very valuable:

How i would like to focus only in finance/economics you don´t know!

But once again, since English to Spanish is so much crowded if i only focus there, the competence is still so high to make a decent income. And since i have learned the inners of translation the hard way (by obligation, asked to translate no matter the language field), and finally came up loving this job, i intend to put on paper the experience that i have acquired in different aspects like engineering, technical, pharmaceutical, etc... with studies that can stand behind me.


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writeaway  Identity Verified

Local time: 08:49
Partial member (2003)
Da Francese a Inglese
+ ...
Agree -it's definitely a matter of mindset Jul 10

EvaVer wrote:

Either you have a translator's mind and don't need it, or you haven't and it won't help you. The diploma may give you a competitive advantage, though - some clients love papers.


Studying and collecting diplomas, degrees, certificates, etc. etc. is fine. But translation requires a certain mindset and if that's not there before all the studies, it won't be there afterwards either.


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ALPTranslations
Argentina
Local time: 03:49
Membro (May 2017)
Da Inglese a Spagnolo
+ ...
Further your studies Jul 10

We (ALP Translations) completed a 5-year undergraduate course of translation studies, and I can definitely say that there is a lot to be learned. There's no such thing as a "mindset". Yes, you might be innately good at it but that does not mean you should not further your studies; never settle. It's not about collecting diplomas, the diploma is the award you get after a long learning process that will definitely help you become a much better and professional translator, whether that creates more job opportunities for you is a different story, and good for you if it does.

I wish you the best in your career.

Mariano Saab
Founder - ALP Translations


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:49
Da Inglese a Spagnolo
+ ...
All subjective criteria Jul 10

writeaway wrote:

EvaVer wrote:

Either you have a translator's mind and don't need it, or you haven't and it won't help you. The diploma may give you a competitive advantage, though - some clients love papers.


Studying and collecting diplomas, degrees, certificates, etc. etc. is fine. But translation requires a certain mindset and if that's not there before all the studies, it won't be there afterwards either.


What do you mean by “translator's mindset”? That's an unhelpful recommendation.
One thing is to have embraced translation as a profession coming from another field of work and without any translation or linguistics diploma or training. If that has worked for you, great. Just don't make the mistake of fashioning your particular case into some universal advice.


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Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:49
Da Inglese a Spagnolo
+ ...
A matter of priorities, I think Jul 10

Jesús, the SpanishEnglish translation market is extremely crowded and highly competitive. Rates offered go as low as 1 cent of a dollar to as high as 6 cent of a dollar. That rate range does not help in a country like the United States, but it might work in other nations.

Pay no attention to the naysayers who state there's no need for diplomas or certificates. You have enough internal motivation to go after further studies, and that is a good starting point. The next step, as you have stated, is to choose where to take that motivation: an online course? A university certificate? And so on. Tomás and others have given you good practical advice in that regard.

However, studying a translation course, whether it's a master's or a BA, takes time, self-discipline and money. Good knowledge costs money, always. I did my master's in Audiovisual Translation in 2006-2008 and it cost me 4,000 euros. All online. Is it the only online MA? Not quite, there are others.

In the end, it's a matter of priorities. I would pick the online program that gives me enough flexibility to continue working as an independent translator. Good luck!


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