Where to start as an Arabic to English translator? - interested in legal translation
מפרסם התגובה: Fayrouz Omar

Fayrouz Omar
בחריין
Local time: 06:17
מערבית לאנגלית
Nov 25, 2019

Hello everyone!

I am new to the translation scene and would very much welcome some advice and constructive criticism of my profile.

I am looking to become an Arabic to English translator and specifically hoping to specialize in legal translations. I'm a native English speaker with a bachelors degree in Law (British law from a UK University). I'm fluent in Arabic as I was raised bilingual, I regularly visit Egypt and I have been resident in Bahrain for the past 3 years.
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Hello everyone!

I am new to the translation scene and would very much welcome some advice and constructive criticism of my profile.

I am looking to become an Arabic to English translator and specifically hoping to specialize in legal translations. I'm a native English speaker with a bachelors degree in Law (British law from a UK University). I'm fluent in Arabic as I was raised bilingual, I regularly visit Egypt and I have been resident in Bahrain for the past 3 years. I am also married to a native Arabic speaker.

In terms of my work history, I worked in a UK government department for 4 years in the safeguarding field. I was a decision maker, writing long judgments of a legal nature, so I have ample experience in writing and proofreading.

My problem is lack of experience in translation! I have applied to two volunteer translation organisations but need advice as to how to get a job with an agency as I believe this might be the best route for me to start? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Is the Arabic to English language combination over-saturated by translators?

Fayrouz
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Abdulrhim Ahmed
 

Phyllis Elago  Identity Verified
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 04:17
מצרפתית לאנגלית
+ ...
Start by raising awareness Nov 25, 2019

Hi Fayrouz,

I am a legal translator too for French, German and Russian into English.

Although I don't have the Arabic-English combination, I cannot imagine that it is over-saturated with highly qualified translators who have a degree in law.

Since you are based in Bahrain (where I used to live as a child), if I were you, to get interesting legal work, I would network in Bahrain and other plac
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Hi Fayrouz,

I am a legal translator too for French, German and Russian into English.

Although I don't have the Arabic-English combination, I cannot imagine that it is over-saturated with highly qualified translators who have a degree in law.

Since you are based in Bahrain (where I used to live as a child), if I were you, to get interesting legal work, I would network in Bahrain and other places in the Gulf and raise awareness about yourself and your services so as many people as possible know what you offer. Bahrain often has international events going on, I think? At the beginning, I would focus more simply on expanding your personal network in a strategic way. Talk to lots of people and make friends. You could also travel to events in other places in the Gulf. I follow the CIArb and I think they had an event in the UAE recently. This is a very slow, long-term process but the sooner you start, the better.

In the more short term, agencies can be a good source of steady income because they are ready to buy right now. It will not always be legal work but I find that exposure to many types of commercial translation is actually very helpful for legal work. I have also had some very good legal opportunities through agencies.

As for actually getting work from agencies, in my experience, it is best if you make it very easy for them to find you, whether on ProZ, LinkedIn, etc. You can also try writing to project managers personally on LinkedIn. When it comes to agencies, your relationship with the project managers is what counts.

Hope that helps and good luck!

[Edited at 2019-11-25 12:18 GMT]
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Fayrouz Omar
 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
מצרים
Local time: 05:17
חבר (2011)
מאנגלית לערבית
+ ...
Focus first on completing your profile :) Nov 25, 2019

Dear Fayrouz,

Welcome to our professional translation community!

I have checked your profile. I liked your photo very much.

Here's my numbered advice for you right now:

1- Focus on completing your profile here on Proz.

Make it your priority right now.

2- Discover Proz and browse through its multiple fantastic forums.

3- Build a strong C.V./Resume.

4- Be patient and do not stop chasing your
... See more
Dear Fayrouz,

Welcome to our professional translation community!

I have checked your profile. I liked your photo very much.

Here's my numbered advice for you right now:

1- Focus on completing your profile here on Proz.

Make it your priority right now.

2- Discover Proz and browse through its multiple fantastic forums.

3- Build a strong C.V./Resume.

4- Be patient and do not stop chasing your dreams.

My kind wishes to you
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Fayrouz Omar
Abdulrhim Ahmed
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
ספרד
Local time: 04:17
חבר (2007)
אנגלית
+ ...
Speaking generally Nov 25, 2019

Fayrouz Omar wrote:
I am looking to become an Arabic to English translator and specifically hoping to specialize in legal translations. I'm a native English speaker with a bachelors degree in Law (British law from a UK University). I'm fluent in Arabic as I was raised bilingual, I regularly visit Egypt and I have been resident in Bahrain for the past 3 years. I am also married to a native Arabic speaker.

In terms of my work history, I worked in a UK government department for 4 years in the safeguarding field. I was a decision maker, writing long judgments of a legal nature, so I have ample experience in writing and proofreading.

My problem is lack of experience in translation! I have applied to two volunteer translation organisations but need advice as to how to get a job with an agency as I believe this might be the best route for me to start? Any advice would be much appreciated.

You've certainly got an encouraging background, so you should definitely forge ahead. I know little about either your pair or your proposed specialisation. However, FWIW:
1. I imagine one gap to plug will be your lack of knowledge of the law in the various Arabic-speaking countries. You can only translate if you understand both systems. So maybe some training courses are needed in that area? Some research may be enough.
2. Then there's your lack of translation techniques. There are many online courses available, some offered by private translation companies and others by universities -- Google for them. Some may provide you with a recognised qualification, e.g. DipTrans, MA... Others won't but if they're any good they should give you the self-confidence that will give potential clients confidence in your abilities. Once experienced, a translation qualification will be less important.
3. If your chosen course doesn't address the technical side of translation, you may need separate training in CAT tools, although young people seem to be able to fathom them out.
4. Maybe you'd benefit from some training in running a very small business, and operating legally in your country. Negotiating with agencies and direct clients, invoicing, payment chasing, book-keeping, marketing, etc. may not come naturally to you. Remember that unlike most sole traders, we're often involved -- from the very first invoice -- in international multi-currency dealings.

OTOH, if you have an entrepreneurial mindset and can research as you go, there's nothing to stop you accepting straightforward, general translations right now. A good agency will give feedback so you can learn on the job.

Is the Arabic to English language combination over-saturated by translators?

Not all translators need to be be your direct competitors. For example, there will be many Arabic native speakers whose written English is no way near as good as yours. Then there will be people doing legal translations who have little background in law. And yet others will really have no right doing the job at all, but they need the money, they "can English" and anyway, they have access to Google Translate . Price your services according to your qualifications and abilities. Your per-word rate should be around the average for the pair (See the community rates tool here on ProZ.com) even though you have no experience. Your per-hour rate will be low to start with as you spend extra time researching etc., but you should only deliver quality work -- and expect to be paid for it.

I am new to the translation scene and would very much welcome some advice and constructive criticism of my profile.

The text part of your profile is shaping up well, but you need to try to flesh out the other part as it's used in filters. If you want to actually meet clients here, there's a lot you should be doing. Check out the Site Guidance Centre and attend the free Meeting Clients webinar to start with.


By the way, I started on this reply earlier and then went for lunch. Apologies for going over some of the same points as previous posters .


Fayrouz Omar
James Heppe-Smith
 

Morano El-Kholy  Identity Verified
מצרים
Local time: 05:17
חבר (2011)
מאנגלית לערבית
+ ...
No need for any apology! Nov 25, 2019

Sheila Wrote:

Apologies for going over some of the same points as previous posters


Sheila dear, In fact, you are among my favorite colleagues whom I enjoy reading their comments regularly here on Proz.

No need for an apology


Fayrouz Omar
Abdulrhim Ahmed
 

Fayrouz Omar
בחריין
Local time: 06:17
מערבית לאנגלית
TOPIC STARTER
Many thanks Nov 25, 2019

Many thanks for all your detailed responses. I wasn't expecting so much detail so I really appreciate it. I guess I'll start with my profile on Proz

Morano El-Kholy
Abdulrhim Ahmed
 


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