Learning to translate?

Does anyone have any tips on getting started with translation? Good resources, good activities to try, ways to check your progress, charities needing the services amateur (and beginner) translators, anything of that sort?

I don’t have any tips for you but I’ve recently started to study translation (English - German) at a private university and as your main target language seems to be German, we might be able to help each other.

I certainly would be thinking primarily of translating German - English. I’m open to any suggestions you might have, Daniela!

curso de ingles gratis- para todo quien me lo pida por correo. yo lo hice;

I’m not a translator but I’ve translated parts of the LingQ interface and some articles into German.

First you have to think about which kind of translation you want to offer.

  • A word by word translation?
  • A translation close to the original text?
  • A translation that sounds really natural in the target language?
  • A translation that imitates the style of the original text?

It depends on what the intention of the translation is.

I found often translations that are too close to the original and sound strange in German. The German LingQ 101 course was translated by someone who obviously doesn’t know LingQ. Therefore the translations missed sometimes the point.

Making a living from translations is difficult. It is not really well paid only when it comes to very specific subjects. Well paid are for example translations of laws, contracts and so forth but then often special knowledge is required.


I don’t have much time this and next week but perhaps we can arrange a Skype conversation later on. When I lived in Brazil in the 1990’s I worked at a translation agency which specialized in German - Portuguese / Portuguese - German translations. My job consisted in proofreading and correcting the texts which had been translated into German by Brazilians.

I’m currently studying German grammar and sentence structure as part of my translation course, the next module will simply be English C2. Then there will be two modules about regional studies, Germany and United Kingdom/US, and afterwards I’ll start with translation techniques and translation theory, things like that. As far as vocabulary is concerned, the course concentrates on general English and Economics. Professionally, I work in the medical field and might be able to specialize in such translations. On the other hand, my approach is different. It’s my main goal to leave Germany as soon as my daughter has moved out. Or we might go to England together for a year just to improve our English. However, I’d eventually like to live in the Czech Republic or other East European countries, teaching German and English, do some translations and just earn enough to pay for the necessities of life and that’s it. I’ve led quite of a nomadic life before I had my children and would like to get back to it. And, most importantly, I’d like to work with languages and learn new languages.

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Helen, feel free to get in touch with me for more information about translation and translators.

Thank you Michele! I expect I have a long way to go yet before I could consider myself any sort of translator, but it’s a new skill that I would like to learn.

curso de ingles gratis; eleazaramigo@hotmail. se lo paso gratis a todo mundo aquien me lo pida por correo
son 10 capitulos y tiene un examen de titulacion de ingles. todo el curso lo hice yo.


No escribas en español aquí, por favor, es un foro donde deberías escribir en inglés. Y cómo ofreces un curso de inglés, supongo que hablas el idioma. Además, hablamos sobre traducción aquí.

Please don’t write in Spanish here, please, it’s a forum where you should write in English. And as you’re offering an English course, I suppose, you speak the language. Apart from that, we’re talking about translation here.

Beginners can start their careers in the translation industry by volunteering at a non-profit as you mentioned. You may try those that offer services to immigrants. Translation companies usually do not take beginners mainly because they are competing with experienced translators who have proven expertise in the translation industry. For example, we at California Center for Translation & Interpretation (www.cacfti.com) consider the skills and the experience of applicants before accepting their application for document translation and in-person interpretation projects. We receive many applications for translators who offer services for German and other major languages. It is easy for us to filter applicants who have no (or very little) experience. Although we understand that our selection process “works against” those who are looking to get their foot in the door, we have to be concerned about quality. Experienced translators often offer high-quality translations that beginners can rarely deliver. One you have enough experience to list on your resume and compete with experienced colleagues you can apply to translation companies in your area. Best of luck!

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Go for Skype calls and have conversations with the respective native speakers, it’s one of the best activity to strengthen your language skills. There are some people in this forum who provides language exchange programs who beginners.

Hello, guys! I’m excited to read all your answer in this post, it’s good to see everyone commenting on this topic (which is one of my favorites). I’ve graduated in Japanese language with a minor in translation studies, but I am not a specialist on the subject.

First and probably more important thing I can say is that translating is an exercise, which means that you need to practice it a lot before becoming good at it. It’s like jogging, cycling or any other exercise. Reading about it can help you, but if you don’t get started you will never be good at it. So, as soon as you can, you could do as LingEng said and start translating for free, as a matter of practicing and helping people or spreading knowledge. One thing I suggest is volunteering for TED to translate some of their videos. They have amazing lectures in different languages, so you can exercise your techniques and at the same time help spreading a good content to more people. (https://www.ted.com/participate/translate)

Second thing could be that practicing is important but reading about it is also important. Just to get started, I recommend a book called “The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation”, from Lawrence VENUTI. (The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation - Lawrence Venuti - Google Livros)

As I said before, I’m no specialist, but if you want more tips, please get in touch with me! :slight_smile: