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How difficult is it to get established without a degree in anything
מפרסם התגובה: RowanF

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
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Local time: 02:17
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You need passion and motivation Jun 16, 2014

Now I'm a self-made translator, I started out with nothing but my A levels, and I harnessed my natural flair for finding elegant turns of phrase and my love of the French languages to become a translator.

I did eventually apply for a Masters on the strength of my hard-earned experience, and went from no degree whatsoever to a Masters in just one year by submitting a file to show what I was capable of. They made me take a course in translation theory but no FR-EN translation courses,
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Now I'm a self-made translator, I started out with nothing but my A levels, and I harnessed my natural flair for finding elegant turns of phrase and my love of the French languages to become a translator.

I did eventually apply for a Masters on the strength of my hard-earned experience, and went from no degree whatsoever to a Masters in just one year by submitting a file to show what I was capable of. They made me take a course in translation theory but no FR-EN translation courses, so I definitely had managed to teach myself to translate properly.

If I did, so can you.

I refused to go to university out of sheer bl00dy-mindedness, I had had enough of having to toe the line in an institution. I just set out for Paris, and enjoyed the freedom of the city after being cooped up in a small town with a very small-town closed mind attitude, so much so that I'm still there and loving it. I ended up teaching English, like practically all English people drifting abroad, and from there started working for a software start-up. I just happened to be there and knew how to make myself useful, and my maverick boss warmed to my offbeat personality.

That company folded and somehow, while I was vaguely looking for another job, someone asked me to do a translation. I knew nothing of the subject matter but did a good enough job to be asked to do more, one thing led to another and I was on the road to being a translator.

My personal opinion is that I managed to do that because I'm open-minded, I'm willing to put in hard work when necessary and I'm always interested in learning new things (just not in a stifling classroom with a burnt-out professor and twenty-odd people who don't bother bringing their brain to class). If you have a passion, and a flair for writing, you can make it. Just don't expect it to be easy.
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Kay Denney  Identity Verified
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Local time: 02:17
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things are different abroad Jun 16, 2014

Woodstock wrote:

My recommendation in a nutshell: to Rowan I would recommend applying to a French university or at least spending your junior year abroad, which is where a US student usually is after 2 years, and then stay in Europe to study and become immersed in the culture and practical applications of your chosen source language. You can usually get a part-time or temporary full-time job on a student visa, if necessary. To me that is the only really meaningful way for someone in your age group to learn a language they haven't grown up with (i.e. if they weren't raised in a genuinely bilingual or multilingual family). Others may have had different experiences, of course.

Whichever path you choose to follow, RowanF, I wish you well!


This is a pretty good way to go. University is practically free in France and you can put the frustrations of the academic experience into the category "learning about other cultures".


 

Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
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UK is not far removed.... Jun 16, 2014

Woodstock wrote:
and many, many universities and colleges started being run like for-profit corporations... and the fees started rising to the current astronomical levels... Now many graduates are facing a challenging job market with huge amounts of student loan debt weighing them down, unless their parents have or had the means to pay the outlandish prices outright.


Very much the same here in the UK. You hear more and more [potential] students agonizing over whether such an astronomical cost is worth it, people dismissing the best attributes of a university education and just asking themselves 'yeah yeah, but what's my ROI" (and for £40,000+ who can blame them?) and people obsessing over whether they will get a five or six figure salary job at the end of it all to justify the debt.

It's all a bit depressing really.


 

Miguel Carmona  Identity Verified
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Local time: 17:17
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Some manage to learn to read and write Jun 16, 2014

Woodstock wrote:
For those of you not familiar with American college football, for example, it is a huge business, so recruiting talented players (on so-called athletic scholarships) and star coaches is a costly must to stay competitive:
http://money.cnn.com/2010/12/29/news/companies/college_football_dollars/ That all adds to the cost burden that must be borne by the students - a terrible development, in my opinion.


It is only fair to mention that there are rumors (albeit unconfirmed) that some of those students graced with an athletic scolarship, by the time they graduate from university, have finally managed to learn to read and write at the level of a 4th or 5th grade (elementary school) student.

If you have ever watched one of those players (now in the professional leagues) being interviewed on TV, judging by the way they express themselves, unfortunately you have no option but to question the veracity of those rumors.

The sad part is, as Woodstock said, the rest of the students had to bear the burden of financing those accidental students...


 
Same problem here; I started because most say you need skills, not a degree Jun 20, 2014

RowanF wrote:

Hi,

I'm currently two years through a university program in the United States. I've wanted to be a translator or an interpreter for a long time and most people say it is difficult to become established without a degree in something so that's why I went to college.

However, two years into it, I'm extremely frustrated. About a fourth of your classes are "general" classes that you are forced to take, which basically translates to wasted time. Another third are "major" classes. I chose history as my major because that's what interests me, but I have yet to have someone explain to me why paying thousands of dollars a quarter for a book and a teacher to stand in a lecture hall and basically read me the book is more effective than me sitting at home reading the book for the say $20 I spent for the book. In addition, I am not evaluated based on how well I learn but on if I learn the way they want me to. I could ace the test, but if I don't follow the various procedures they want me to, I won't do well.

The remaining classes are electives, which translates to time I could have spent a) honing my French skills, or b) pursuing my interests without spending thousands of dollars for it.

So, I was wondering if some of you could maybe describe to me how difficult it is to convince employers to take you seriously if you don't have a degree? Will I have to finish college or can I save $50,000?



[Edited at 2014-06-14 03:25 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-06-14 03:26 GMT]

I had the very exact problem in college as you. Biology, history and the public speaking (speech) class were waiting there for me to kill me. A difference between you and me that I see is that you like history. I was never interested or good in those subjects but they were required to be taken. I failed "public speaking" for the second time (I know I will never be able to pass that class, that's just not me), and I GAVE UP on college. I was always the best student on the rest of the subjects and the worst at the ones I mentioned. I like your argument and I'm glad to see I'm not the only one thinking that way.
Based on my big time research of whether a degree helps a translator or not, 80% say that it doesn't help translators much (which is the reason that gave me hope to become a freelance translator). I'm not working as a freelance translator myself, yet, but I know from gathering lots of information from all over the internet... another word is that internet has been my college now for a long time.


 
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