Thursday, August 9, 2012

Translation: The Perfect Career for Writers Abroad


Guest Post by B.J. Epstein

Translation, just like writing, is a creative, challenging craft that requires excellent writing, analyzing, and editing abilities, and a love and feel for language. The major difference between translating and writing, of course, is that translators work with transferring words an author has written in one language to another language, whereas writers need only work with one language and their own thoughts and texts.

Writers are the ideal people to work as translators because they generally already have excellent writing and language skills and an enthusiasm for words, and yet not many attempt it. Writers abroad are especially well equipped to serve as translators because they usually know at least one other language. So why not put your writing, editing, and language skills to good use and add translation to your portfolio of careers?

Translation can be a lucrative option for writers abroad
The easiest way to start is to sign up with translation agencies and to join any of the many e-lists that focus on translation. Though they usually pay less, many translators like working for agencies because then they don’t have to try to market to, contact, and sell their services to direct customers and also because agencies edit all the translations before they send them to the end clients. E-lists are useful since they often have job announcements and you can also meet other translators through them; more experienced translators might have advice for new ones, and they also might be willing to subcontract assignments. Having a mentor like this can be invaluable.

For people who are more serious about translation, joining a professional organization, such as the American Translators Association, is a good credential. These associations have databases of translators where potential customers can find you, as well as newsletters with information, and conferences to attend. It’s not cheap to join them, but the investment is worthwhile.

Finally, make sure you tell your family, friends, neighbors, writing clients, and everyone else that you work as a translator. You might be surprised by how many people know someone who needs a translator and how many jobs friends or colleagues can pass on to you.

Translation is a creative and stimulating art and craft, and it can be lucrative. It isn’t that difficult to get into the field either. Many writers abroad are uniquely suited to being translators as well, so expand your writerly horizons and start translating!


Originally from Chicago, B.J. Epstein has been a writer, editor, and Swedish-to-English translator abroad for over eleven years. She lives in Norwich, England, where she also is a lecturer in literature and translation at the University of East Anglia. Visit her website at http://www.awaywithwords.se/ or her translation blog at http://brave-new-words.blogspot.com/ for more information on her or on translation.

6 comments:

  1. Wonderful to see this post. B.J. knows what she's talking about!

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  2. Yes! And I wonder how many writers abroad have already dabbled in translation-- it's a great way to refine your language skills for day-to-day interactions in your host culture. Write on!

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  3. I think most writers abroad end up doing a little of it even if they're not fluent...for example I often translate ad headlines and short copy. But I'd never attempt something more technical!

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  4. I think working as a translator is a good field where we can learn lots of new things which will help to increase our knowledge in English and writing also the same both are beneficial for our future works.

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