I just finished taking the first of four courses required for the Graham School’s translation certificate, which I hope to complete during the next two years. Each course is comprised of a three-day seminar, followed by an eight-week practicum in one language pair. Since I have one of the more common language pairs (Spanish to English), I’ve been wondering exactly what kinds of clients are “out there” with Spanish to English translation needs. I’ve asked a few people this question and mostly what I am hearing is medical (medical reports, journal articles) and financial (banking). It will be interesting, as I move forward with this, how I end up specializing. I’m really not attracted to legal translation at this point. Website localization might be interesting. We’ll see…
But I did learn some excellent points at this seminar:
- how to detect the reading level of a passage in English,
- some of the subtle differences between reading difficulty and translation difficulty,
- that the first year in the market can be brutal, because until you have experience and a specialty, you have to take what comes,
- how important it is to properly name your documents for clients,
- this book by Douglas Robinson is really a great intro to the field (I wish I would have read it earlier),
- I’ll need to work hard to drum up a consistent volume of business,
- eventually, I’m going to need to invest hundreds of dollars in style guides and other such books to have all the tools I need at hand, and most importantly,
- I think I can be a good translator.
This last point was rather critical for me, because I wasn’t sure going in if I had the ability to actually complete a good translation. Honestly, I’m still a bit afraid of the more technical assignments to come. But all in all, I think I have what it takes. This is one of those career paths I’m just going to pursue until I feel like I shouldn’t anymore… nothing like trying.