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Translation work/ French /Italian tutoring

(11 Posts)
Chrysanthamum Fri 29-Aug-08 20:41:55

I'd like to start working fom home. Anyone got any ideas on how to get translation work? I've googled this but get all sorts of agencies looking for fees etc so don't know how to get started. I'd like to do private lessons but again don't know the best way of setting myself up.
Any advice?

acoady Sat 13-Sep-08 08:57:49

Hi there - I don't suppose you are in the Surrey area? If you are, I am looking for someone to give my children some Italian lessons.


mumma2cjh Mon 15-Sep-08 22:26:58

are looking for tutors - give them a call

Chrysanthamum Sat 20-Sep-08 16:54:46

Thanks I just signed up with La J.R. So far so good. Sorry I'm nowhere near Surrey. I hope you find someone

geekgirl Sat 20-Sep-08 17:06:26

do you have a translation qualification? Most agencies require one and I imagine it will be almost impossible to find translation work without a qualification. The Diploma in Translation by the Institute of Linguists is well-respected so that'd be worth going for (the IoL's website seems to be down at the moment though).
City University do a prep course for the DipTrans exam which is very good. is a community website for translators - you could have a look through the 'get started' board and find out a bit more.

Chrysanthamum Sat 20-Sep-08 17:14:08

Thanks, I've looked into that and am considering signing up next August. It sounds difficult though. Do you know anyone who did it?

geekgirl Sat 20-Sep-08 17:59:15

I did it and there's another mumsnetter who's done it. And I know a lot of other translators who've done it.

I passed first time and had done the course with City. The pass rates are very low - but tbh I think that's probably largely due to many people going into it thinking they can just waltz in there and pass the exam without any preparation just because they're good at the source language.

Other reputable qualifications/course are the MSc in Medical and Scientic Tranlation offered by Imperial and the MA in Legal Translation offered by City. I think both can be done via distance learning and what's great is that they give you a specialisation - you need a specialisation. 'General' texts are very few and far between.

Chrysanthamum Sun 21-Sep-08 19:27:04

Well done u! Do you need to be really swotty to pass? How much time do you need to devote to it to pass? (prob. a daft question) Is it possible to generate a reasonable income as a translator from home? If so which qualification do you think is best?
I teach mod langs in secondary school p/time and am really jaded. I need a change soon!
Any more info v welcome.

verybigbird Sun 21-Sep-08 19:46:37

I hear from a mate that La JR isn't that lucrative, once you've paid your franchise costs. However, I did some language teaching in nursery schools and it can pay quite well. Also lots of primary schools need language teachers, so could you just approach some and see if you could do some work as a peripatetic language tutor, or run after school clubs?

geekgirl Mon 22-Sep-08 10:23:08

I spent about 3 hours a week on the prep course, which took a year. I started when ds was a newborn so it obviously wasn't too demanding grin .
I guess what course would be best for you depends on your first degree - because I've got a degree in Law with German Law, it was easy for me establish myself as a legal translator. If your first degree doesn't offer a specialisation like that, I would go for one of the Masters I linked to. Both are well regarded and there is a lot of work for all those areas.
As for making money, it does a while to get established - it probably took me about a year to build up a client base for a reasonable amount of part-time work (I could have got more clients but don't want to work more). I don't know what the average rates for your language combinations are, although I do know that French into English is a pretty saturated market because it's the main MFL people learn at school so the rates aren't great. I would think that Italian into English would be a better bet financially. Keep an eye on the job postings on for a week or two to get an idea of the amount of work out there.
German into English is paid reasonably well and I end up making about £20-25 per hour.

There are drawbacks and to be honest I don't particularly enjoy being a freelance translator (although lots of people do so maybe it's just me hmm). The unpredictability is very stressful, quite often I'll have made plans for a particular day because the week looks free so far, and then an agency rings in the morning needing me to do 3000 words by 5pm - there go all my other plans! It's also quite a lonely job and very often you don't get any feedback whatsoever from the agencies - you can slave over a document for a week without even receiving an acknowledgment when you send the completed piece back. And there's nobody reviewing your work so I am always a bit insecure about the quality of it (probably just my personal paranoia grin). School holidays also aren't that straightforward because once you have a decent client base you don't want to lose them all over the summer holidays so you still have to work out how to fit it in with the children.
The work can also get a bit repetitive - I must have translated about 30 Terms and Conditions of Trading so far - not the most exciting thing to do really.

Chrysanthamum Mon 22-Sep-08 20:20:49

I see. There go my romantic notions! I'll look into it though as I've reached saturation point with state school teaching.
Cheers grin

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