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Translation/interpretation career?

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Translation/interpretation career?

Postby tydin » Mon 03.29.2010 7:28 pm

Is anyone here a professional translation/interpretation? I am trying to get an idea of what I should be planning for in my last years of high school and because I live in a rural area I have no guidance.

What steps (if any) have you taken up to this point?
Any tips for an aspiring translator?
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Re: Translation/interpretation career?

Postby spin13 » Wed 03.31.2010 1:22 am

I am not a translator or interpreter, but as one of very few native English speakers in an otherwise Japanese work environment, I occasionally get called upon to assist in translation work. Here is my take on translation, though I would bet a large portion of it applies equally well to interpretation:

Equally if not more important than L2 language skills is specialized knowledge of the field you are translating and the ability to write clearly and concisely in your L1 (native language). Understanding the source text is often the easiest part of the process, especially when working with well written source texts and with access to the author. Minimizing information loss while maintaining clarity and readability can be incredibly difficult, particularly when jargon and maintaining the proper register come into play.

In addition to exploring your field in your L2 is it important to keep well read in your L1 as well. The larger your bank of expressions and industry terms in both languages, the easier it will be to quickly and accurately translate ideas and avoid the trap of merely translating words. Knowing what a 試作品 is and knowing whether to call it a prototype, an engineering sample, or a low-rate initial production takes experience not found in dictionaries.

My guess is that freelancing is much more challenging than in-house work though the financial and personal gains in the former are much more attractive. Freelancing allows you to work remotely on an ever changing number of topics, but you will have less access to sources, less continuity, and all the risk of operating a small business. In-house positions are more stable and many jobs (intra-company memos, etc.) will require less polish, but you are often confined to 9-5 and the risk of tediously of translating the same things over and over again.

Whether you plan to attend school for translating/interpreting, the Monterrey Institute of International Studies (Monterrey, CA) and the University of Queensland (Australia) curricula provide a basic idea of the training and preparation necessary. The Japan Association of Translators (JAT) has a number of excellent resources on their website. Searching the forums at how-to-learn-any-language.com and gaijinpot.com should provide some interesting gems if you are willing to wade through the junk (particularly at the latter site).
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Re: Translation/interpretation career?

Postby AJBryant » Wed 03.31.2010 1:32 pm

I am a translator.

Something many of my fellow translators say is that it helps to specialize in one area, as you can build up the necessary industry-specific jargon and vocabulary necessary to work well. It's one reason I don't do patent, financial, or legal translations, but primarily literary and historical (and occasional PR) stuff.
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Re: Translation/interpretation career?

Postby yukamina » Wed 03.31.2010 4:19 pm

*sigh* I'd like to become a translator, but all I here about is patents and stuff like that. I love Japanese, but I don't think I love it so much that I'd spend my time on legal documents and what not. Apparently there isn't a good market for novels. What about manga, I wonder? Where do those companies get their translators?
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Re: Translation/interpretation career?

Postby Guillo » Mon 01.03.2011 10:00 am

While I'm only starting to learn Japanese, i am translator working in other languages, and you should be ready to do freelance work.
Start by finding out what are the best translator school options in your area. Navigating school will probably show which areas of translation you'll be most interested in working in.
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Re: Translation/interpretation career?

Postby maboroshi638 » Fri 11.04.2011 12:52 pm

Hi,

When I was enquirying about becoming a translator I was told that I would need to go to University and that it takes 4 - 5 years to be come a fully qualified and certified translator.

As I did not want to spend all that time at University, I actually specialized my field of translations. I specialized in translating business language; like translating business documents and articles from the business section of the financial times. But you'll have to enquire if this is possible and what options are available to you.

Just to warn you, it can be a difficult thing to study as you have to become almost an expert in the languages you are using; even your native language. You have to be able to open up your mind to new thoughts and sometimes even think abstract.
I guess you have to love the languages you are working with as it is a career where you are constantly learning new things. The learning never stops as languages are alive and contantly changing. I think this is the best side of the studies and what made me fall in love with languages in general.

I would like to recommend that you enquire at your local universities about the requirements you need in order to become a translator/interpreter and what languages they offer.

I hope this helps a little. Good luck! :up:
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Re: Translation/interpretation career?

Postby AJBryant » Fri 11.04.2011 10:00 pm

Except perhaps in certain legal areas, I've never really encountered the concept of "certified" translator -- the "certification" is your ability to work in the languages you need to work in. That is something that is proved by more and more jobs. ;)
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