Spanish Translation  //  Traductor inglÚs-espa˝ol  //  Traduction franšais-espagnol

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03/15/06

Permalink 10:33:46 am, Categories: About JB Translations, For professional translators, 534 words  

An interview

So I was recently interviewed by an American senior high student for a school project dealing on the translator's profession. This is how it went:

1. How many years in school did you study in order to become a translator/ interpreter?
I got a BA in Translation and Interpretation that took me 4 years to complete. But of course, this alone doesn't make you a full-fledged translator. You must learn and train yourself continuously.

2. Do you prefer document translation or verbal interpretation more?
I prefer document translation, I don't do interpretation at all. The demands of interpretation don't match my skills in any way, while written translation matches them perfectly!

3. Would you suggest working freelance over within a company? Why?
A combination of both is usually a good choice. Starting within a company right after finishing your studies (through a period of work experience + regular employment resulting from it, for example) is a good way to get to know the translation industry and all its secrets. When you are confident and experienced, then you can establish yourself as a freelance translator. You are your own boss, you establish your own schedule, and if you have the right attitude you can end up earning more than you would translating in house.

4. On average, how long does it take you to translate a document of around 500 words?
It depends on a lot of things. If I know the subject by heart and it's common language, it can be 30 minutes. But if the subject is highly technical and I'm just starting with it, it can be 2 hours! So a rough average would be 1 hour-1 hour and a half.

5. Is there a high enough demand in the translation market for a Spanish>English translator, or do you suggest studying a different language for translation?
I think that the demand for Spanish>English translations is high enough. I wouldn't necessarily recommend a different language, but rather an additional language. French or German are common ones with a high demand, or you can take a more rare one which will make you more interesting for translation companies (such as Swedish, Russian, Greek, Arabic, or even more rare ones...) One or two common languages + a rare one seems to be a winning language combination. But of course, in order to learn those languages you need to devote efforts and time in the countries where those languages are spoken. In any case, if you are really good you can do well with just Spanish into English, but it is always a good idea not to have all your eggs in one basket.

6. Do you find it easier to translate from or into your native language? Which do you prefer?
It's easier and preferable to translate into your native language. I don't translate into English personally. Translation is an extremely demanding task and excellence is hard to attain. If you are most competent writing in a particular language, that is the one you should translate into. There are some people that are truly bilingual (who master two languages just as well), but this is somewhat rare. I am not one of those cases, so I only translate into Spanish and I do not regret it.

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