The BEST Guide to POLAND
Unanswered [9]  |  Archives [1] 
 
User: Guest

Work  100% width78 posts«« 1 - page 2 of 3

Polish Canadian ESL job/student advice


DominicB - | 2,627    
13 Feb 2018  #31
But why would you choose to get a masters in English at a Polish university?

Indeed. If your goal is to make a career in translating, you don't need a degree in English, or any other language. You just need to know both languages very well, and, more importantly, be rather well versed in the subject matter to be translated.

The best paying jobs go to experienced native-English speakers who have a background in a specialty field like science, medicine, law, finance or technology, or have tons of experience in writing for the marketing and advertising industries. In any case, you need to be experienced in writing publish-ready copy for academic journals and grant proposals. Other types of translating do not pay well at all.

I'm a pathologist and clinical research scientist, with a background in industrial and environmental biology. During my time in Poland, I translated over 500 scientific articles and 10 scientific books from Polish to English, mostly in agriculture, botany and medicine. I had practically no competition. If you don't have a specialty field, then the best jobs are beyond your reach.

I often advise engineers that, if they want to make decent money and have a fun and exciting career, they should go where R&D dollars flow in wide rivers. The same with translating. Become proficient in the language of the well-heeled sectors of the economy. Making money is a lot easier where there is money to be made.

If you want to improve your Polish, then read your butt off. During my first three years in Poland, I spent forty or fifty hours a week reading Polish like it was going out of style. It was my default state. Plenty of books that you can download for free from the internet.

As for studying in Poland, you are going to get a lot more out of it if you study in Polish. Courses taught in English are nowhere near as good. Get your Polish up to snuff by reading like a maniac first, and then revisit the studying-in-Poland idea in a couple of years. Put aside a nest egg so that you can study and live without working. There's no hurry,
jon357 65 | 13,567    
13 Feb 2018  #32
ou just need to know both languages very well,

More importantly, you need contacts and networking skills.

more importantly, be rather well versed in the subject matter to be translated.

This is something that people pick up as they go along. A skilled translator researches.
SigSauer 2 | 439    
13 Feb 2018  #33
Kind of apples and oranges Jon. Just as I'd expect the same result if they extolled the virtues of Marx or any other inappropriate material not germane to the work being done, lol. The political orientation of most contractors has nothing to do with the inappropriate behavior of one of your former colleagues. What that orientation is and in what percentage is probably something we have our own anecdotal opinions on.
jon357 65 | 13,567    
13 Feb 2018  #34
The OP I think will do very well in Poland. She knows something of the country, has a balanced idea of both the Polishness she knew from family and the fact that there are other kinds to find in PL, she seems thoughtful about the work and study there (and realistic too) and she sounds very positive - something which really does make a difference.

extolled the virtues of Marx

Who at least was a serious thinker. One of the best trainers I ever hired, at a petrochemicals company, had two Master's degrees on Marxist thought, one grom East Berlin and the other from Moscow. He was an ex-RCP man, very sound.

The political orientation of most contractors has nothing to do with the inappropriate behavior of one of your former colleagues

No contracting company I've come across has any 'political orientation'. Most people working for them, if they're educated, tend firmly towards being progressive individuals.

is probably something we have our own anecdotal opinions on.

Indeed, ones that form over many years and in many environments.
DominicB - | 2,627    
13 Feb 2018  #35
More importantly, you need contacts and networking skills.

If you are not a natural at real-world networking, then translating is not an option for you. If you are not totally comfortable knocking on doors, forget about it. Practically all of the good work is advertised solely by word of mouth, person-to-person, face-to-face. Without an extensive real-world network, you are doomed. You might get a project now and then, but you'll never earn enough to butter your bread. Forget about the internet as a tool for finding jobs. You'll starve to death. Internet free-lancing pays peanuts.

This is something that people pick up as they go along.

No. It's something you have to have even before you consider translating, or that you seriously study. People do not "pick up" highly specialized subject matter. They study it for years, and have plenty of experience in writing about it. They know the formats and standards for publication in their field inside out.

If you don't understand science and scientific writing very, very well, then you are not going to be able to translate a scientific paper, no matter how much ad hoc "research" you do. Same with finance or economics. I wouldn't know how to translate a financial or economics paper, and no amount of "picking up" is going to change that. I would have to sit down and seriously study finance or economics for quite some time before I could make an attempt. And then I would have to learn the publishing formats and standards, which are completely different from those in science and medicine.
Dirk diggler 7 | 3,793    :-(
13 Feb 2018  #36
i understood that you kind of need to work in an agency as a newbie until anyone will take you seriously enough to move into freelance work so i kind of understood you have to put a few years

Not necessarily. If you're looking into working in the corporate realm you can find a job fairly easily but if it depends on your work experience - if most of your work experience is teaching abroad it may be challenging, but not impossible. You can still land a customer service or even entry level sales type job and make around the national averages. It depends if you want to go into tutoring/teaching and work at a school, work as a translator for a company, or something else. If you wish to tutor private you don't need anything beyond knowledge of English, native preferred which you have, and be entrepreneurial and promote yourself.

think MA Engl with specialization in Translation studies is better than a degree in Polish....?

I would say so. Polish degrees aren't really internationally respected as much as degrees from western nations. Although if you plan to live in Poland that won't matter as much. If you plan to move to Poland and further your education the renowned state schools with lessons in Polish are considered the most respected programs. A lot of private schools offer lessons in English - those types of degrees aren't generally as respected. Same with English language degrees from Polish state schools although certainly those would be more respected than one from a private polish school. They have this sort of stereotype of being places where you pay, you pass - a for effort... I'd stick with furthering your education in Canada imo because I think it will be more impressive and also will be recognized just about anywhere should you decide not to stay in Poland.
jon357 65 | 13,567    
13 Feb 2018  #37
If you are not a natural at real-world networking, then translating is not an option for you.

This is very true. With the internet, translations are sometimes offered in a sort of Dutch Auction, people underbidding each other on online platforms until the amount is a bad joke. The better paid work needs a good set of contacts, face to face networking, word of mouth and a reputation. Sometimes, I used to do technical, legal and financial translations in PL - which I only got because of existing professional relationships with the clients. To have to hustle (when so many others are doing the same thing) does not sound enjoyable.

People do not "pick up" highly specialized subject matter.

They most certainly do.

I would have to sit down and seriously study finance or economics for quite some time before I could make an attempt.

People with more experience of translation do exactly that. Negotiate the text professionally, giving output in the right register and in the right format. It's what translators do. Remember too, that specialised texts take many many forms (something translators are used to) - for some reason you've chosen academic papers, a tiny fraction of the work that translators actually do.
Atch 16 | 2,594    
14 Feb 2018  #38
I have to say Jon that I agree with Dominic that a field of specialization is very important. My own sister has worked as a translator and would confirm that. Actually there is quite a demand for translators in software localization and information technology related material. Unfortunately most translators don't have enough of a background in computer science to do the job.
DominicB - | 2,627    
14 Feb 2018  #39
It's the same for all specialized fields. The people who have the academic background necessary to translate are generally not interested in translating because they can make much better money working in their fields. And those who don't have the academic background aren't able to translate material at this level because they don't have a clue what they are translating, and never will unless they study it.

Translating is a easy field to get into, but a very difficult field to make decent money in unless you have some serious specialty. Anybody can be a translator; no formal qualifications, degrees or certificates are necessary beyond good writing skills in your own native language and good reading skills in the source language. Understanding the language is the easy part. Understanding the material that you are translating is another matter entirely.

All in all, if the OP aspires to be a translator, the worst approach is to get a masters in English. She should study a technical field to the point where she can easily understand technical literature in that field. But by then she would figure out that she can earn a better living actually working in the field herself. Compounding the error of choosing an unsaleable undergraduate major by piling on top of it an even more unsaleable graduate degree is a recipe for disaster.

And she should go where the money is. There is little money to be made in humanistic fields like art history. People working in fields like that don't have the money to pay a good translator. Those working in STEM fields and high finance, on the other hand, can afford to pay.
Atch 16 | 2,594    
14 Feb 2018  #40
She should study a technical field to the point where she can easily understand technical literature in that field.

I would actually tend to agree with that. With a BA in linguistics and being a native speaker of English, she really doesn't need a further English qualification. If anything she needs to improve her Polish and as you suggest, combine that with a technical subject. However she sounds like an 'arts' type of person, what with the Yoga and the free spirit vibe and all that :) Best of luck to her anyway.
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #41
they don't have a clue what they are translating,

A professional translator knows how to get round this, how to clarify meaning and how to deliver good copy. This is a normal part of the translation process. When translating a technical manual, translators encounter various issues - and manage the situation.

The overwhelming majority of documents that a translator sees (including technical ones) are general enough to be translated by anybodyr
mafketis 16 | 6,200    
14 Feb 2018  #42
A professional translator knows how to get round this, how to clarify meaning and how to deliver good copy

In lots of technical fields the concern isn't 'good copy' but 'accurate copy' and normal translator things that general translators do can get in the way of that.
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #43
In lots of technical fields the concern isn't 'good copy' but 'accurate copy'

In any field, good copy and accurate copy are the same thing.

normal translator things

A professional knows what they are doing.
mafketis 16 | 6,200    
14 Feb 2018  #44
In any field, good copy and accurate copy are the same thing.

That depends on how you define 'accurate' a very accurate translation from Polish can be torture to read in English (and vice versa). To make some kinds of texts 'good' the translator needs to be less accurate.

accurate translations

my two cents = moich 6.7 groszy

moje trzy grosze = my 0.8 cents

good translation

my two cents = moje trzy grosze

A professional knows what they are doing.

Tha'ts a meaningless sentence...
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #45
That depends on how you define 'accurate'

I don't define that, and nor do you.

a very accurate translation from Polish can be torture to read in English (and vice versa).

In which case, it isn't an accurate translation at all. You're confusing terms.

A professional translator knows what to do and how to do it; it's part of the translation process.
DominicB - | 2,627    
14 Feb 2018  #46
A professional translator knows how to get round this, how to clarify meaning and how to deliver good copy.

No they don't. There is no way around it. That is absurd. They can't "manage the situation" without intimate knowledge of the subject area, and in highly specialized fields, that takes years of study.

A good translator knows their limits, and steers clear of anything beyond their pay grade. And if they do want to translate beyond their pay grade, they seriously study for it.

Don't pontificate on a field that you know jack $hit about. Your conceptions of what translation involves are ridiculous. It is much harder than you seem to imagine, especially if you want to make a living at it.
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #47
No they don't. There is no way around it. That is absurd. They can't "manage the situation"

Yes they do - it happens thousands of times a day. Professional translators know very well how to negotiate a text.

Don't pontificate on a field that you know jack $hit about.

I was just about to say that to you, albeit in a more articulate and less 'slangy' way. Running an unsuccessful 'conversation club' out in the provinces doesn't make you an expert on translations (or frankly on much). Some of us know what we're talking about and have worked with translators (and done technical translations) for decades.
mafketis 16 | 6,200    
14 Feb 2018  #48
doesn't make you an expert on translation

how often have you been paid for translations?

Professional translators tend to specialize so a translator who's very good at geology (fer instance) will not be able to take on a text in archeology without it taking several times as long (or turning out pure rubbish they should not be paid for)

There is no way that a neophyte can tell jargon from technical terminology from non-specialized language in an unfamiliar field (especially since the 'same' terms can mean different things in different fields) without special study (whether organized or self-taught) or intensive feedback (unlikely to be provided by someone who thinks a professional translator can translate anything).
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #49
how often have you been paid for translations?

Over the years - a few hundred times.

tend to specialize

I specialised in financial, legal and technical. Interesting that the examples you give are both academic disciplines - a tiny minority of the specialised texts that a translator negotiates.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,711    
14 Feb 2018  #50
oh for goodness sake why not just stop bitching at each other and trying to belittle each other and have a proper conversation.
mafketis 16 | 6,200    
14 Feb 2018  #51
oh for goodness sake why not just stop bitching at each other

Where's the fun in that?

have a proper conversation

Should "the lamb of God" be translated "the seal of God" for Eskimos? Should the bread of life be 'rice of life' for East Asians?
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #52
and have a proper conversation.

Some of us want only that. Unfortunately internet deindividuation on the part of some so often becomes a factor here.

It doesn't matter how many years you've done something for, there's always a guy who gets the wrong end of the stick, is convinced they know better and wants to argue.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,711    
14 Feb 2018  #53
Should "the lamb of God" be translated "the seal of God" for Eskimos? Should the bread of life be 'rice of life' for East Asians?@ mafketis

Jeez I don't know, I am not a translator..

I do help a translator 'polish up' her translations sometimes, make them sound more natural.
her English is superb but still ...

I know Jon, and it's usually you or Dominic..:):)
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #54
I can think of quite a few people in PL who've moved to doing that from ELT - in a couple of cases I know they're people who weren't great teachers, however in other cases people who were fine in the classroom have chosen to do that, due to being able to work from home (and being tired of ELT), and sometimes because they have steady contracts which pay more reliably than teaching.

I know

Indeed, though at least I'm (usually) very nice. And the real thing...
DominicB - | 2,627    
14 Feb 2018  #55
Over the years - a few hundred times.

I highly doubt it. If you had, you would have a much more realistic conception of the field. My guess is that you dabbled in it, and never translated anything that need to be published.

I have translated about 1000 scientific and medical articles and twelve specialist books from German and Polish, and started translating and editing in 1983.

As far as academic translating goes, that is where the money is at. Outside of the upper reaches of the STEM. medical, financial and legal fields, translating rarely pays well, and work is hard to come by. It ain't easy making a living at it if you don't have high-level knowledge of a STEM or high finance or law, or if you don't have ABUNDANT experience in writing publish-ready copy for journalistic outlets on a short deadline.

Yes, that is a small part of the translating work that's out there, but it happens to be the only work that pays decent money. Most of the other "general" work is done by dabblers such as yourself, for a fraction of the pay. Few "general" translators make a living of it. By far most do it as a sideline, or for beer money.

I have translated about 1000 scientific and medical articles and twelve specialist books from German and Polish, and started translating and editing in 1983.
jon357 65 | 13,567    
14 Feb 2018  #56
I highly doubt it.

Feel free.

My guess is that you dabbled in it, and never translated anything that need to be published.

Your guess would be wrong.

And of course, you're still focusing on academic texts (and no, it doesn't "happen to be the only work that pays decent money"). The overwhelming bulk of the actual work translators do (in real life rather than your wild imagination, that is) isn't academic texts, isn't anything to do with 'STEM' disciplines, and isn't for publication.

I have translated about 1000 scientific and medical articles and twelve specialist books from German and Polish, and started translating and editing in 1983.

One day I'll quote in full that nutty PM you sent...
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,711    
14 Feb 2018  #57
Dominic have you ever met Jon? I guess not.
Why do you 'doubt' what a stranger on the internet says he does / has done for a living? Why would he lie?
Why are you always so anxious to prove your superiority?
is it an Amerkin thing?
SigSauer 2 | 439    
14 Feb 2018  #58
This has been an interesting thread, but I am really disappointed with both of you and the way you're talking to each other. We can have conversations about points with which we disagree, without using such blatant condescension and an overall snide and disrespectful tone. The both of you need to quit it, and Jon as well, you are not 'usually' nice, you usually have a kind of arrogance in your posts that is just totally unnecessary. We all are on this board because we have a connection to Poland or an affinity for it. So, with that common thread among us, let us talk to teach other in the same way that we would if in front of that person. Be nice to one another guys.
Atch 16 | 2,594    
14 Feb 2018  #59
Well now I must come to the defence of both Dominic and Jon. They are both intelligent, articulate people with bit of a barbed wit and a sting in tail which I find a delight, quite frankly :)) Pity we don't have more of their ilk on this site. I think Dom is a great example of an American. The usual American vibe here is either your own "America is the greatest civilization in human history' yes you actually said that, combined with Mormon missionary type earnestness or the other side of the coin such as Dirk Diggler/Adrian's 'your mom does it for money' when they're losing an argument.
SigSauer 2 | 439    
14 Feb 2018  #60
Hmm not really sure what your reply had to do with just trying to speak nicer to one another and the commonality we all share by being here. Maybe its a barbed wire wit, but I found it to be rude, and I'm sharing that opinion. I tried to strike a conciliatory and unifying tone in my post to point out we all share at least one thing in common and have no reason to be rude or condescend to one another; so you took that opportunity to take a personal dig at me? Thanks.



Home / Work / Polish Canadian ESL job/student advice
Bold Italic [quote]

 
To post as Guest, enter a temporary and unique username or login and post as a member.