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How do I get work as a Translator/Interpreter

MoSiAcMoSiAc Registered User regular
edited September 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I currently live in Japan and am certified in the Japanese language and a native English speaker. I'm just wondering if there are any translators or interpreters that check out the forums and could give me some hints as to how to get into the field.

I have visited a few places that offer online work for freelance such as proz.com, but surely there is somewhere else I can look too.

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Posts

  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Being an interpreter/translator requires deep knowledge of both languages involved, you could apply for foreign service at Embassies or Consulates, check the U.N.

    Keep in mind that some interpreters could be required to travel a lot and be in dangerous places. I have seen some of them in action and most of them are just regular office workers who do interpreter/translation roles when required.

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    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
  • TokyoRaverTokyoRaver Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    What level certification do you have? 1-kyu? Without it you can pretty much forget most serious translation services.

    Anyway, there are several forums on the internet that cater specifically to your skillset; jobsinjapan.com, maxjob, jetaa...with any luck you should be able to find something there.

    My friends who did translation (Japanese-to-English, usually for manuals and stuff like that) generally got their jobs through word of mouth and networking; if you're in Tokyo, get on it.

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    There are quite a few jobs that you can get with 2-kyu. I'm sure the jobs that require 1-kyu are much better, but it can be done.

    Otherwise, what TokyoRaver said.

    Have you done any translation? I did a bit of anime fansubbing for the practise.

    Most of the places or publications to look for translation work are Japanese-language, for obvious reasons.

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  • TokyoRaverTokyoRaver Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'm sorry, I misspoke...I meant interpreter for 1-kyu. Never heard of a job existing for a foreigner with anything less than 1-kyu for interpreting.

    Translation can often be done at 2-kyu, you're correct.

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  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Fantasma wrote: »
    Being an interpreter/translator requires deep knowledge of both languages involved, you could apply for foreign service at Embassies or Consulates, check the U.N.

    Keep in mind that some interpreters could be required to travel a lot and be in dangerous places. I have seen some of them in action and most of them are just regular office workers who do interpreter/translation roles when required.

    Another good field for interpreting is medical. My mom grew up with grandparents and parents that spoke Low-German all the time, and even though she is extremely rusty at it, Baylor (I think) hospital pays her something like 40 bucks an hour whenever they get the occasional Mexican Mennonite who only speaks Low-German in. (It happens more than you'd think.) Most of the time she just sits there and reads until a doctor or nurse comes in, but she gets paid the whole time she's there.

    I don't know how easy it'd be to find work in Japan, where the bilinguality (?) is much higher in the languages you know.

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  • MoSiAcMoSiAc Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Thanks for the info. It doesn't have to be work in Japan specifically but Japanese is the language I am most proficient in (behind English).

    I have done a little translation work already for the local government in my area just simple stuff like speeches and fliers.

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  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    TokyoRaver wrote: »
    I'm sorry, I misspoke...I meant interpreter for 1-kyu. Never heard of a job existing for a foreigner with anything less than 1-kyu for interpreting.

    Translation can often be done at 2-kyu, you're correct.

    Ah, yes, I know what you mean. I didn't notice the OP lumping the two together, otherwise I would have been more specific.

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    I figure I could take a bear.
  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    MoSiAc wrote: »
    Thanks for the info. It doesn't have to be work in Japan specifically but Japanese is the language I am most proficient in (behind English).

    I have done a little translation work already for the local government in my area just simple stuff like speeches and fliers.

    Well definitely put that on your CV. I'm trying to hook up with doujin game makers to get some practice there - I'd love to get into game localisation once I've got more qualifications.

    Do you have any idea what kind of translation you'd like to do? I know we have to be realistic and may end up translating microwave manuals for the rest of our lives (which would still make me much happier than my job now), but it can't hurt to get some experience in your preferred area.

    If you're interested in interpreting how about doing some volunteer work? I'm sure there's some kind of hospital association which needs interpreters for patients.

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    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Joe ChemoJoe Chemo Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    You can work for the American government as a Foreign Service Agent. They value bilingual employees.

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  • MoSiAcMoSiAc Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    I'll look into the Foreign Service Agent stuff a bit more. I really just like doing translations so any work I could get I would be willing to take. I recently did a couple movie scripts (local stuff for the local tv about 10 minutes each) and it was rather enjoyable.

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  • TokyoRaverTokyoRaver Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    Joe Chemo wrote: »
    You can work for the American government as a Foreign Service Agent. They value bilingual employees.

    Don't mean to be a parade-rainer, but this is one of the hardest jobs to get in the world.

    The process is long and arduous, and unless you are astonishingly proficient they'll throw you back into language training for years. Also, they like to fuck with you and will never send you to the countries you want to go to (First-world nation assignments are given out like rewards for patronage and whatnot...you have to know someone to get to a country like Japan)

    Trust me, I know. This is what I wanted to do after college (Passed Foreign Service Exam, washed out during interviews when they asked questions I should have known better than to answer honestly)

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  • TokyoRaverTokyoRaver Registered User regular
    edited September 2008
    For the past fifty years, Foreign Service Officer candidates had to take an all-day written exam. Those who passed were invited to appear for an oral assessment which is an exercise in one’s ability to use general persuasion and interpersonal skills. Since summer 2007, the all-day written exam was shortened and information on a structured resume was also considered in selecting candidates for the oral assessment. Those who pass the Foreign Service Written Exam (approximately 10%)[3] must undergo an Oral Assessment administered in person either in Washington, D.C. or a number of other cities throughout the United States. Passage rates for the Oral Assessment were 20% in 2006. The result is that with nearly 25,000 initial test-takers, only between 300 to 900 are ultimately offered an appointment as a Foreign Service Officer career candidate.

    Those persons who receive "the call" to become Foreign Service Officers must take part in a training/orientation course known as the A-100 Class.

    Foreign Service Specialist candidates are evaluated by Subject Matter Experts for proven skills and recommended to the Board of Examiners for an oral assessment of those skills. Foreign Service Specialist jobs are currently grouped into seven major categories: Administration, Construction Engineering, Information Technology, International Information and English Language Programs, Medical and Health, Office Management, and Security. [4]

    Both Officers (also called generalists) and Specialists selected for hire must pass extensive background and medical clearances. All Foreign Service personnel must agree to worldwide availability -- that is, they may be called on to serve anywhere in the world. They also agree to publicly support the policies of the United States Government.

    The popularity in joining the Foreign Service has risen in recent years. In the first half of the 20th Century, the public perspective of the Foreign Service was sometimes characterized as a bunch of Cookie Pushers although factual articles of the day were most often stark as to the duties one was expected to perform. [5] In the last decade, college graduates have had a better respect for career opportunities within State, with the Department and the Foreign Service rising to the fourth most popular employer for graduating seniors in 2007. [6]

    Trust me, save yourself the pain and anguish...unless you've got an Ivy degree and know your world history, foreign policy, and diplomatic affairs like you were born with the information (oh and are willing to no longer have your own opinion on any subject, and support policies that are in direct conflict with the interests of your host country) don't bother.

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