Being a freelancer is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. My first job as a freelance started at school. A friend of mine needed a translation of an article for homework. The article was not very extensive. I did not receive any money for it though.
Everything gets better… with time
Everything gets better… with time. I did not understand everything in the article at first. It was quite specialised text, a kind of chemical-related article. After this experience, I realised that I needed to read more about everything and not just things I like. So, I started reading not just about games, but science articles as well.
Everything is related to experience and by doing you get expertise. At some point, I had to translate a contract. Even though I had practised translating some legal-related texts such as contracts, agreements and birth certificates at university, when facing this by myself it was quite difficult. This text was a contract for PEMEX and it was inverse translation. It was a titanic work as it was inverse translation. Of course I had some help from my partner who had work with some contract in her former job.
It’s not easy yet it’s not impossible either
Nowadays I feel very confident when translating contracts. It is true, it actually gets better with time. Many things in the legal argot are there in forums and glossaries on internet. So, be brave translation is not easy, but it is not impossible either.
In the foreseeable future I will translate from -and to- other languages
In the foreseeable future I will be able to translate not only from English-Spanish but also from and to French. Nowadays even though I am able to communicate in French I do not feel confidence to translate anything in French, I do not rule out the possibility of doing it in the nearest future. Furthermore, I am learning Japanese do that I will be able to translate from it as well!
When you start teaching you may think all the students are going to pay attention to everything you say. Thus, you prepare yourself to show the best of you. Although, not all the students are the way we think they are. This week, I have ‘taught’ some English lesson, based on the guidelines she told me are required to pass an exam. In case she fail the exam, she won’t be able to continue studying. So, I prepare the first topic that was related to conditionals; I have to say that I’ve got some experience in teaching this topic, as this is one of the most difficult for the students I’ve taught so far.
The previous night, I prepared my ‘class’ and I printed some sheets with explanation and exercises. I gave the extra mile to give the best of me. Nevertheless, when I arrived at her home she wasn’t there. Apparently, she forgot the class and arrived late. We couldn’t have a proper class at that day, so I had to leave. The following days, when I started giving an explanation about a topic she stopped me saying: No! No! I just want to know how do I have to use this structure and why. I calmly replied that it was as important to know the structure, but also as important to have a comprehension of each sentence; so that we had to have some basis. She wasn’t convinced at all and she didn’t pay much attention to my explanations.
The following class I started to use her own examples that were wrong in the exam she showed me. The first part wasn’t that complicated at all. She only had to change small things in the sentences. In most of the cases the answer could be obviated. Nevertheless, I realise that her poor performance in the exam wasn’t linked to her lack of knowledge, confidence or understanding. Every time I asked her for some grammatical structure she could answer, but when I wanted to explain something based on the structure she got upset. I figured out she didn’t like to receive commands or extra explanations. She found all this relevant information as useless and pointless to be reviewed.
As I said, some students may not be open to learn as we think. This girl, for example, thought she had to learn just the structures, but not the sentences. In other words, she wanted to apply a magical structure/rule covering every situation in her exam. Of course, there are many rules that can be applied for specific situations, but what would happen if the evaluator changes the order of the question? Or put some tricky questions? Today I prepared all the information in Spanish (let’s see if this works) with the explanation just focused on the topics she wants to review with some extra exercises.
At the end, I hope she passes her exam. What do you think? Have you ever had a difficult student? How did you handle the situation?
photo: Erik Tjallinks
CAT tools are not animals with hardware. It refers to particular software that helps a translator to make translations faster. CAT or Computer-assisted translation is often called computer-aided translation too. I started to use CAT tools at school when I was taught translation studies. As I do not have too much money to buy professional CAT tools such as TRADOS, I started to use OmegaT. Continue reading
As soon as I finished my BA I decided to get a job. So, the first thing I did as look for something on the internet. It was not a surprise to find that all the works needed a resume or curriculum. Continue reading
Photo: University of Nottingham
One year has passed and now I have finished my English BA at the University of Veracruz. I spend most of the time looking for a job that involves translation or localization. I worked a few months as an English teacher but I didn’t feel comfortable in that post I guess because it wasn’t well paid and because they want too much for me and I didn’t receive a good wage from them for doing it.
Today I received an email from WordPress. It said that I should focus on a topic. I have to be sincere, when I started to write on this blog I did it with no idea about what to write. I know that this is very important in order to get to a particular audience. So, now I am thinking about what will be my topic. I promise that next time I write I will have my topic.
So last night I was surfing on the internet. I was looking for a job to do while I am on summer holidays. I find many, many jobs, but guess what! I could not apply for any. First of all I haven’t graduated, and I don’t have any experience. Some of the jobs were for women and some of them were hiring sellers or something like that. So I decided to give up and spend the rest of the day doing something else. Then, As always happens to me I remember something that one of my teachers told me. ‘The first job you may find as a translator is as freelancer’ that was it! I started to look for web pages related to freelancers and some tutorials and tips. I have to say I couldn’t find a job yet, but a think I’m getting closer. So guys if some of you know who wants to translate from English to Spanish or vice versa please let me know. Continue reading