Free Training: Getting Started as a Freelance Translator

A four-week online course for beginning translators in any language combination, who want to launch and run a successful freelance business. Also for “experienced beginners” whose primary goal is to find more work.

Because a lot of people have a lot of time on their hands right now, I’m offering a free session of Getting Started as a Freelance Translator. We’ll have two live sessions per week (recordings provided if you can’t attend live) and a Slack group for discussion and questions. Participants in this session will not receive individual feedback on assignments, (you’ll still receive the assignments, but not individual feedback), but hey, it’s free! If you’ve been thinking of launching a freelance translation business, or if you’re a beginning translator looking for more or better work, come join us! Everyone welcome: all language combinations, students, anyone at all.

Instructor: Corinne McKay, CT. An ATA-certified French to English translator and Colorado-certified French court interpreter, Corinne has 16+ years of experience as a full-time freelancer and has taught the Getting Started as a Freelance Translator course since 2006. Corinne holds a Master’s degree in French Literature from Boston College, and specializes in international development, corporate communications, and non-fiction book translation. Her book How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator has sold over 12,000 copies and has become–now in its third edition–a go-to reference for the translation and interpreting professions.

Next session: March 30-April 30, 2020.

Live sessions: Video lectures at 12:30 PM New York time on Mondays (March 30, April 6, April 13, April 20), question and answer sessions on at 12:30 PM on Fridays (April 3, 10, 17, and 24). Recordings provided if you can’t attend live.

Description:This course was exactly what I needed – it offered a structured, bite-sized and realistic approach to topics every potential full-time freelancer needs to consider. Corinne’s honest and unbiased feedback helped me to focus on my goals and plan the next steps in my freelance career .”

“I was surprised and delighted at how practical this course was. Corinne is extremely generous in sharing her insights, suggestions and tips, and this was very important to me as a relatively novice translator. I always got the feeling I could ask any question, no matter what, and Corinne would provide a thoughtful and thorough answer. This course is a must for beginner translators.”

If you’re a beginning translator looking for the nuts and bolts of how to launch and run a successful freelance business, Getting Started as a Freelance Translator will get you there! You’ll create a translation-targeted resume and cover e-mail, a billable hours and rates sheet, and a marketing plan for your translation business. Most importantly, you’ll finish the course with increased confidence in your freelance business skills.

Format: This is a special, free session of this course. Everyone will have access to the weekly video lectures and question and answer sessions (recordings provided), and we’ll have a Slack group for discussion. You’ll receive a weekly homework assignment with sample answers, but you will not receive individual feedback on the assignments.

Here’s the link if you want to sign up, and we’ll go live on March 30.

New Directory of Translation/Interpreting Studies

Reposting with permission from ATA HQ

The future of our profession lies in the education we provide today.

ATA has partnered with The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) to develop an online international database of education and training programs. The Directory will be an invaluable resource to students searching for programs in translation, CAT tools, interpreting, localization, project management, computational linguistics, and more.

Take a first look at the new T&I Education and Training Directory

List your program! Education and training institutions are invited to submit a free profile for the Directory. You do not need to be a GALA or ATA member.

ATA will actively promote the Directory to language education and industry groups, such as the Modern Language Association, American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, and the Joint National Committee for Languages–creating opportunities for institutions to network and partner on specialized programs.

Create your program’s Education and Training Directory profile now

You are invited to submit a free Directory profile for your institution’s education and training program. Your institution does not need to be an ATA or GALA member to be listed.

As you create a profile for your school, you will be able to highlight particular areas of training and study. You can also include whether your program has students who are interested in internships. ATA Institutional Members will be tagged and automatically sorted to the top of Directory search results!

Your listing in the Directory has the potential to reach thousands of prospective students. Plus the Directory will also be useful to institutions and industry players who want to network or partner on specialized programs.

List your school, add your support!

Please join ATA in its goal to support T&I education! Take a few minutes to check out the Education and Training Directory and create your program’s profile.

Have questions? Contact content@gala-global.org for answers!

Study resources for translation certification

Study resources for translation certificationOur team leader Helen has been a busy bee compiling a list of resources to help translators interested in taking the ATA certification exam. Even if you are not seeking certification, we felt there are many useful resources here we would like to share with you—from exam guidelines & translation tips to English & Spanish language, technology and copyediting resources. Use them to hone your craft and please let us know if you found them useful.

This list was reblogged with permission from Gaucha Translations blog.

From the ATA Certification program

From the WA DSHS Certification program

ATA Computerized exam

What is translation?

Articles on how to approach translation

English resources

Bilingual references

  • Word Reference
  • Linguee
  • Word Magic
  • Google Translate and Proz are not approved resources for the ATA computerized exam. No interactive resource (where you can ask a live question on a forum) is approved. The resources listed above are OK.
  • Click here to see the official ATA guidelines for computerized exams.

Plain Language

English copy editing training

Canada copy editing (includes certification)

Medical copy editing (AMWA has a certification program)

Resources from other translation certification programs

Copy editing tools to produce clean documents

Other training on translation, technology and other

Readers, would you add anything to this list of resources? Have you used any of these resources and found them useful?

Header image credit: tookapic

Universidad de Alcalá: A Day in the Life

Cervantes AlcaláI went into my master’s program at Spain’s Universidad de Alcalá convinced I wanted to be an interpreter. A year later I was a passionate translator. Sitting on the edge of my seat in a conference booth interpreting for a Finnish researcher; sandwiched next to an African immigrant across from a Spanish social worker; carefully situated between a Spanish therapist and her American patient—all of these experiences were exhilarating. It’s just that somehow I took much greater pleasure in searching tediously for parallel texts as I translated a 50,000-word European Union bill.

The two internships I did as part of the master’s program couldn’t have been more different: half of my time was spent interpreting for a drug and alcohol abuse program through Madrid’s public health department, and the other half was spent working alongside two classmates to translate a lengthy bill for the Spanish Ministry of Justice on the exchange of criminal background data among EU member states.

Universidad de Alcalá logoInterpreting, though thrilling, made me nervous, while translating made me feel absolutely exuberant. One thing that good translators and good interpreters have in common is that both are perfectionists. I too am a perfectionist—for better or for worse. But studying translation and interpreting at the same time made me realize that I am the kind of perfectionist who cannot live with providing perfection on the spot. I’d much rather take my time finding the perfect solution—and that’s how I came to be a translator.

I began the Master’s in Intercultural Communication and Public Service Interpreting and Translation at Universidad de Alcalá (UAH) in 2013. The university, one of the oldest in Europe, is located in Alcalá de Henares, a small city in the autonomous community of Madrid. Among its claims to fame, Alcalá is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes and the location where the first polyglot Bible was printed.

The university has offered a master’s in translation and interpreting (T&I) since 2006, and the program has belonged to the prestigious European Master’s in Translation network (EMT) since 2009. The EMT vets universities based on certain standards for translator education, with the aim of improving the quality of the incoming workforce.

European Master’s in Translation logoThe master’s at UAH is geared towards students with undergraduate degrees in T&I or those who are already working as translators or interpreters, though these are not strict requirements for admission (proof of language command is!). Some of my classmates were already sworn translators or practicing interpreters, while others were medical professionals or paralegals. One was even a teacher who won a popular game show on Spanish TV and decided to spend the prize money on taking his career in a new direction. I myself had been working in education and public services (at a library in the US and later as a cultural ambassador for the Spanish Ministry of Education in Madrid) for three years leading up to my discovery of the field of translation and interpreting.

In line with the program’s goal of improving the skills of existing translators and interpreters, the curriculum is more practical than theoretical. The first half of the program consisted mostly of interpreting role plays and independent translation assignments that we reviewed together in class. Our instructors were all talented translators and interpreters whose engagement in the profession allowed them to offer us relevant insights and anecdotes, giving us a taste of the world outside the classroom.

The program is organized in cohorts based on language pair, with a considerable offering (all in combination with Spanish):

  • Arabic
  • Bulgarian
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Russian

Students with opposite A and B languages are placed together in each cohort (for example, there were native Spanish speakers as well as Americans and Brits in my cohort), and all students practice bidirectional translation. In my case, this meant translating not only from Spanish to my native English but also from English to Spanish. Translating in both directions allows students to offer better feedback and to benefit from one another’s strengths.  I found that translating into Spanish improved my Spanish writing skills and also deepened my knowledge of equivalent terms and concepts in both languages and cultures.

Some other noteworthy aspects of the program are:

  • An equal focus on translation and interpreting (T&I)
  • Separate units concentrating on the medical and legal-administrative settings, including classes on comparative law
  • Technology and research tool classes (CAT tools, corpora tools, glossaries and termbases)
  • Hands-on internships
  • A biennial conference on public service T&I with presentations by renowned researchers
  • A master’s thesis on a topic of the student’s choice
  • Visiting instructors, researchers, and trainers from other institutions: our class was lucky to host Marjory Bancroft of Cross-Cultural Communications, who gave a workshop on interpreting for trauma survivors, as well as Maribel del Pozo Triviño from Universidad de Vigo, who led sessions on interpreting for the police
  • Unique opportunities to collaborate with other university departments: we had the chance to interpret for a mock trial involving DNA evidence alongside law students
  • Optional intensive training in conference interpreting and the opportunity to interpret for the program’s biennial conference

And I could go on! But at the end of the day, one of the greatest values of the program was being humbled by my fellow students, many of whom have gone from classmates to lifelong colleagues and friends. I still collaborate with some of them on projects now that we are “real-life” translators and interpreters, even though we’re scattered across the globe!

If you live in or near Spain or have the ability to travel, I recommend checking out the university’s conference on public service T&I in early March 2017: 6th International Conference on Public Service Interpreting and Translating. The university is also hosting the 8th International Conference of the Iberian Association of Translation and Interpreting (AIETI8) that same week.

Images used with permission

What I Care About

By Helen Eby

hand-577777_1280What have I learned over the last few months?

I care about people.

María Díaz. Wow! She was one of my students in a class in Woodburn. She was a nurse in Mexico, and came to the US because her son needed medical treatment. She knew no English when she came, but she had been managing five clinics in Mexico. She went from being in charge of the medical treatment of many people to having no understanding of the world around her while her son was in and out of doctor appointments. However, she never gave up. Almost thirty years later, she showed up in my medical interpreting class. She had worked in the kitchen at a restaurant and at a paintbrush factory, had taken ESL, and was now a case manager at a clinic. Read her story here: http://blog.gauchati.com/story-of-immigrant-interpreter/

Emerlinda. She grew up in rural Mexico. Her parents only let her go to school up until 6th grade. She was working at a childcare center, and I was using space in the center to teach interpreters how to write better. She jumped in and joined us, despite the fact that she hadn’t written anything for a class in over 40 years. In my class, I teach people by getting them to read good literature and write paragraphs based on what they think about the readings, and then we discuss grammar topics based on what they’ve written. Before I knew it, Emerlinda was explaining to the class what her “Teacher Chola” had told her in 4th grade, and was telling one of the other students how to understand stories by Cortázar, one of the great Argentine authors. Dictionaries don’t really help us understand certain things. Emerlinda had the cultural background to understand this, which John was lacking. I would have loved to take her into a college Spanish literature class to explain this story! In a few months, she had improved her writing significantly based on what we were doing. She was telling others how important it was to read. When her husband made it difficult for her to attend our sessions, I left a suitcase full of books at the center so she could read during lunch breaks. Nothing could stop Emerlinda once she had been bitten by the reading bug!

Emily. She just got back from getting her Masters in Interpreting in Spain and she signed up for my medical interpreting class in Woodburn. By the luck of the draw, she also asked the ATA for a mentor, and they assigned her to me! Wow! She’s awesome. We are working on how to help her to launch. Just helping her connect with local people, local needs and opportunities, and having lunch for a few hours once in a while is a privilege. And it sure is weird to teach someone else a class about what I learned by experience, while she studied it in a Master’s program, and one of her professors is the author of the book I’m teaching from! Emily and I have become friends. She wrote a document based on her Master’s research for a group of members of the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters (OSTI) to take to Washington DC in April (read more here).

Cynthia. She just graduated from college. She has a major in Linguistics and a minor in Spanish. She has so much to offer, and I have so much to learn from her! She’s my daughter, and I want to support her as she starts on her own path – it’s her path. She is already starting to tell me what I should be doing better… and she is right, almost all the time.

The Savvy Newcomer team. This team is amazing. I’m not going to go down the list (except for Cynthia), but each person is truly amazing and has taught me something special. Together, we work together and make great things come together for the benefit of others.

There is always something special in everyone around us. Every job we do is for someone who deserves our respect. If we do our jobs with that in mind, thinking of María and of Emerlinda, who still remembers what Teacher Chola taught her, we will do our jobs differently.

And then… I did something totally insane.

This summer, I organized a Training of Trainers for The Community® International here in Oregon. Twenty highly qualified interpreters came, fifteen of them from Oregon. After that, I walked with a lighter step. Now, if anything happens, I rest assured in the knowledge that we can work as partners and we can work together to solve problems. If a health issue comes up, one of my colleagues can teach my class. As a trainer, that is a huge relief! Knowing that others also care about training interpreters in Oregon is wonderful, too.

This training event would never have happened without support. It was, again, a team effort. Who helped out?

  • Western Oregon University. They wanted to reach out, and help ASL interpreters and spoken language interpreters to reach out to medical interpreters in Oregon together.
  • An organization that coordinates quite a few healthcare providers scattered throughout Oregon contacted me to offer support. The medical providers told us they needed us to be available to train staff and interpreters throughout Oregon, and Western Oregon University gave us a significant break in the cost of the space.

It seemed impossible. But with these partners, the impossible happened. We brought the training down to a cost that interpreters could afford, and they came to a retreat. It was awesome, and now we have a team that cares about others. We’ll see where it goes from here: http://blog.gauchati.com/tcitot-agenda/

Interpreting is teamwork. Even when we interpret, we are a team with the person we interpret for. When I say, “The interpreter requests a clarification,” it means, “I need your help to get your message across clearly. You and I are on the same team.” In simultaneous interpreting, of course, we have a partner in the booth who is tremendously supportive. We also are a team with the person who helps set up the project.

Translation is teamwork. I usually send a list of queries to my client: “Where you said this, I thought you should have said this, and translated it this way for now. Is that OK, or should I change it to something else? Please let me know. And you have a typo here. Please clarify.” The clients love it. Of course, there is also the reviser – a translator who is just as qualified as I am and who can tell me, “Helen, this is a better way to say it.” Or, “Helen, your translation is too literal; I think you’ve traveling into Calque-Land here. You may want to travel back to the land of good writing.”

We don’t ever work alone. We are a team. But, back to the original issue: people matter. The people I work with and work for really matter. When I train interpreters, blog about my work, and lead The Savvy Newcomer, I keep people in mind and I do it all with their support.