No matter your level of language proficiency, it is always important to learn new words and expressions every day. As a frequent traveler, Pedro knows this all too well. Having worked as a translator for almost 5 years now, these seemingly trivial things are vital to produce the best translation quality.
Read on to know how Pedro started his translation career.
How did you get started with your translation career? Is this a part-time or full-time job?
I sort of got started before obtaining my translation degree by translating and proofreading websites and CVs for people I know but my ‘real career’ (once I had obtained my university degree) started by contacting translation agencies, publishing houses and meeting clients through translation marketplace websites. At the beginning it was a part-time job and also worked as a Spanish teacher in New Zealand. After coming back to Spain it became a full-time job. I must say that having another job at the very beginning was completely necessary.
How did you land your first translation job? How was the experience?
My first translation job was for a translation agency from Austria. It was quite a rush job and it made me realize that the ‘real world’ was very different from the translation I was used to do at university during my translation studies. I remember that at university we stopped to debate in depth plenty of translation possibilities for each sentence and worked texts through at a much slower pace. However, don’t get me wrong, this first experience was good: this is what I like doing and what I studied for.
Since you first started in the translation industry, what are the changes you noticed?
I think that the recent emergence of MT post editing is what has grabbed my attention the most. I’m not very certain of whether it’s a good thing for translators but I feel we’ll have to adapt to it gradually – at least in fields that are quite repetitive like technical manuals and the like.
Best and worst part of your job?
In my opinion, the best part of being a freelance translator is being able to organize your time. This is something that most of the professionals in other fields are not able to do. The worst part is that you work in isolation from the rest of the world and don’t really socialize much at work.
When not translating, what do you do?
When I’m not translating or engaged in other aspects of a freelance translator’s work I like – besides obvious things that everyone likes to do like enjoying the company of your friends and family – to travel, to climb and to read. I always try to travel abroad at least once every year even though I sometimes feel that I’m not quite disconnecting from my job when I’m asked to translate things or to be the one who speaks with the staff of accommodation places, restaurants, etc. As for climbing, well, it’s my favorite sport. I don’t feel like spending my free time in front of my computer as I do during working hours and want to go outdoors and out of the city quite regularly. And, last but not least, reading is just something I hope I never stop doing.
Any advice for people starting their career in translation?
Well, I’d say that having another part-time job at the beginning in order to make ends meet is something to think seriously about. Another thing is to persevere, as people starting their career will see that their efforts pay off if they do. Also, learning an additional language that is not so widespread as English, Spanish, French, etc. – on top of knowing a couple of these main foreign languages besides their own native language – is a good idea as they will find much less competition in such translation markets and, therefore, the actual amount of work could end up being higher than for ‘bigger’ language combinations. This could be very interesting for people who want to launch their career as a translator.
What’s your motto in life?
I don’t really have a motto in life but if I had to think about one and summing everything up in it I’d say it’s something like “Do things as best as you can”. It would apply to everything, not only to work. This motto is common sense really.