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Getting in-house translator jobs
Thread poster: Lauren Ryan

Lauren Ryan
Ireland
Local time: 23:09
Member (Feb 2020)
German to English
+ ...
Jun 19

Hi everyone. Would love to hear some opinions about how easy or difficult you have found finding work as an in-house translator in translation agencies or even in large companies who require their own translator(s). I've been reading a lot of your advice to new translators, and as someone who is new to the game (I graduated from a BA in Applied Languages last year) I would like to hear some advice and experiences from more established translators.

Personally, as someone living in I
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Hi everyone. Would love to hear some opinions about how easy or difficult you have found finding work as an in-house translator in translation agencies or even in large companies who require their own translator(s). I've been reading a lot of your advice to new translators, and as someone who is new to the game (I graduated from a BA in Applied Languages last year) I would like to hear some advice and experiences from more established translators.

Personally, as someone living in Ireland, I find there are very few translation agencies advertising for in-house translator roles. I've emailed all in my city and almost all in Dublin, but even when they do have suitable roles they are hardly ever for entry-level or junior roles - i.e. always requiring 5+ years experience working as a translator professionally. As well as this, many require translators who translate out of English into my languages, whereas I couldn't guarantee quality unless I'm working into English.

I work a full-time job moderating German job posts for a large job platform but have been trying to get some experience with German or Spanish into English translation. I had lined myself up for an unpaid in-house translation internship but with Covid-19 it was to be offered solely online, which didn't interest me as I think working physically in a translation office is a valuable aspect of an internship and without it, the position didn't seem worth giving up my salary. Messaging Blueboards agencies hasn't gotten me very far and I have received limited paid work, with voluntary work for TWB being how I've kept my translation skills active.

As such, I'd love to hear how people here found their first in-house translation jobs, whether you think a Masters is absolutely essential in getting one, and maybe suggestions of large companies that aren't translation agencies who often require in-house translators.

Any related anecdotes or advice would be greatly appreciated, and apologies if this has been address somehow in the past, there are so many threads to get through [so please be kind ].

Thanks.
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IrinaN
United States
Local time: 17:09
English to Russian
+ ...
Next to zero Jun 19

in today's world. At least in the US.

Lauren, one thing you need to keep in mind: only very large and diversified agencies could be looking for one and spending money on the position, but in return an in-house translator must have a very long and diversified "rap sheet" because no one will be asking h/h if they can or can not translate any given subject. Anything from cookie baking to geophysics. You'll be there to handle most urgent jobs of whatever nature. They are in business to
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in today's world. At least in the US.

Lauren, one thing you need to keep in mind: only very large and diversified agencies could be looking for one and spending money on the position, but in return an in-house translator must have a very long and diversified "rap sheet" because no one will be asking h/h if they can or can not translate any given subject. Anything from cookie baking to geophysics. You'll be there to handle most urgent jobs of whatever nature. They are in business to make money. They will not be experimenting with trials and errors. Should they ever need one, they'd be looking for a ready-to-go working horse with broad experience, good computer knowledge, good productivity and so on.
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Fatine777
Jorge Payan
WS McCallum
 

Lauren Ryan
Ireland
Local time: 23:09
Member (Feb 2020)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bridging the gap Jun 19

That's a valid point, Irina. And quite unfortunate, I find. As someone who learns and improves through practice, it seems a waste that more translation agencies do not offer "graduate" or "entry-level" schemes to build young translators up.

It would be great to avail of opportunities that bridge the gap between university knowledge and knowledge gained from lengthy years of service in the industry - for example, helping budding translators specialise and offering training on variou
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That's a valid point, Irina. And quite unfortunate, I find. As someone who learns and improves through practice, it seems a waste that more translation agencies do not offer "graduate" or "entry-level" schemes to build young translators up.

It would be great to avail of opportunities that bridge the gap between university knowledge and knowledge gained from lengthy years of service in the industry - for example, helping budding translators specialise and offering training on various CAT softwares in a practical way.
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IrinaN
United States
Local time: 17:09
English to Russian
+ ...
:-) Jun 19

Those times existed, and yours truly was one lucky duck to enter the translation world 30 years ago as a rookie.

But those were the times without global outsourcing but instead with huge in-house teams led by super professional editors. It all stemmed from the demand for miles or tons, whichever measurement units you prefer, of pages in a very short time. Still, helping new translators to advance was the last thing on their minds. Volumes, deadlines and money were the only drivers.
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Those times existed, and yours truly was one lucky duck to enter the translation world 30 years ago as a rookie.

But those were the times without global outsourcing but instead with huge in-house teams led by super professional editors. It all stemmed from the demand for miles or tons, whichever measurement units you prefer, of pages in a very short time. Still, helping new translators to advance was the last thing on their minds. Volumes, deadlines and money were the only drivers. Plus, the clients were extremely inexperienced in translation business themselves; initially some have been ready and willing to go to Little Russia, wherever it may have been located, and pick the first bunch of Russian speakers off the streets for 10 bucks/hour. Nobody cared about resumes and experience; many US engineers could not define the difference between translating and typing. We had one character who hit "Select All" in English, selected "Cyrillic" and sent the result for proofreading:-)

Not any more, and a true waste would be hiring an inexperienced rookie and throwing h/h into the meat-grinding machine expecting to profit from it. Why a business that is not an educational institution would care about anyone's advancement from scratch?

They don't care about raising an asset that would stay with them for 10-20 years, they can't even count on it. Big corporations do so for entry-level engineers but their benefits and career opportunities provide a very reasonable hope that company efforts will not be wasted.

I'm sorry but this is the real world.

In any event, best of luck!
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Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Jorge Payan
WS McCallum
 

Rachel Waddington  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:09
Member (2014)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Other jobs Jun 19

Hi Lauren,

I don't really know much about posts in translation agencies I'm afraid (I did work in an agency for a while but it's so long ago my experience is probably irrelevant to you).

What I would say though, is don't discount the value of working in a slightly different job. I worked for a while as a receptionist/secretary at an engineering company with a German head office. Not a high-powered job and not a translation role, but I did get to translate occasionally a
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Hi Lauren,

I don't really know much about posts in translation agencies I'm afraid (I did work in an agency for a while but it's so long ago my experience is probably irrelevant to you).

What I would say though, is don't discount the value of working in a slightly different job. I worked for a while as a receptionist/secretary at an engineering company with a German head office. Not a high-powered job and not a translation role, but I did get to translate occasionally and there was ample opportunity to visit the stores to look at the company's products, talk to engineers, read technical literature, etc. Plus, I learned about things like preparing quotations, tendering, invoicing .. all general business stuff that we need to know about both in our work and in the running of our own businesses.

So, don't be afraid to cast your net more widely if you can't find your ideal in-house position. In translation, you never know what will come in useful!

Rachel
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IrinaN
Marina Steinbach
Kevin Fulton
Dan Lucas
Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
Agneta Pallinder
P.L.F.Persio
 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 23:09
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
@Lauren Jun 20

Why not a EU Institution? EPSO organizes from time to time competitions for Irish-language translators. The last one was in 2018. Competitions are difficult but doable. Besides that they organize 2 traineeships lasting 3 to 5 months and they also have temporary positions. I worked as in-house translator within an EU institution for 30 years.

https://epso.europa.eu/job-opportunities_en
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Why not a EU Institution? EPSO organizes from time to time competitions for Irish-language translators. The last one was in 2018. Competitions are difficult but doable. Besides that they organize 2 traineeships lasting 3 to 5 months and they also have temporary positions. I worked as in-house translator within an EU institution for 30 years.

https://epso.europa.eu/job-opportunities_en
https://epso.europa.eu/job-opportunities/traineeships_en-en
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Dan Lucas
Rachel Waddington
 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 08:09
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Perhaps, banks? Jun 20

Large banks, other financial institutions may also require in-house translators. But, of course, you need to persuade them that you have a solid knowledge of financial and legal terminology.

Fatine777
 

Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:09
German to English
Big banks not hiring Jun 21

Vanda Nissen wrote:

Large banks, other financial institutions may also require in-house translators. But, of course, you need to persuade them that you have a solid knowledge of financial and legal terminology.


Chase got rid of its translation department in the last century. Many others such as Credit Suisse have switched to machine translation for the numerous financial statements they process on a daily basis, since there is a limited lexicon of established financial terms and standardized phrases. Anything requiring human translation is outsourced to agencies.


Jorge Payan
 

Vanda Nissen  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 08:09
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
If you do not know about something, it does not mean that it does not exist Jun 21

Kevin Fulton wrote:

Chase got rid of its translation department in the last century. Many others such as Credit Suisse have switched to machine translation for the numerous financial statements they process on a daily basis, since there is a limited lexicon of established financial terms and standardized phrases. Anything requiring human translation is outsourced to agencies.


I was considering an in-house position with one of the banks in Europe, and it was certainly in this century. Mind you, Russian in Europe is not the most popular language (especially after 2014). I am sure large banks in Switzerland and Germany still use in-house translators in Lauren's pair.

@Lauren, maybe this is something for you:
https://new.astti.ch/web/Swiss_Post_Internship_as_translator_and_reviser_for_English_628_3.php


 

Lauren Ryan
Ireland
Local time: 23:09
Member (Feb 2020)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Lots of great advice :) Jun 22

Hi Vanda,

Bank opportunities sounds like a great idea, the internship you've linked is very interesting, thanks!

Some great advice here, broadening my horizons might be a good option. I love hearing the many different ways people have found their way to translation, as Rachel said, you never know what will come in useful.


Kuochoe Nikoi-Kotei
 

WS McCallum
New Zealand
Local time: 10:09
French to English
Some advice Jun 24

Hello Lauren,

Your instincts about the on-line unpaid internship were good ones: it would be of no value to you at all. The whole idea of an internship is to be "in-house".

This phase of my translating career was in the 1990s, which were different times, as IrinaN pointed out above. It is certainly much harder to find an in-house position in a translation company/department these days, but luck and persistence are the key. The 1990s were far from a golden age and emplo
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Hello Lauren,

Your instincts about the on-line unpaid internship were good ones: it would be of no value to you at all. The whole idea of an internship is to be "in-house".

This phase of my translating career was in the 1990s, which were different times, as IrinaN pointed out above. It is certainly much harder to find an in-house position in a translation company/department these days, but luck and persistence are the key. The 1990s were far from a golden age and employment was not necessarily easy to find then either. I got my job with a large translation company by cheekily applying for a native French translator position in French. I knew I was not even going to be interviewed for that post, but they did hire me for another position because I was multi-lingual.

In terms of qualifications, I think that having a Masters helps, but for those in the translation industry it is ability that counts. While you are faced with a brick wall in terms of experience/qualifications, ability may give you leverage. Again it is all about finding the right moment or opportunity and persistence.

These are just succinct general comments and certain old lags in the industry may wish to fastidiously pick holes in them. In any case, I wish you well in your endeavours.




[Edited at 2020-06-24 01:20 GMT]
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Lauren Ryan
 

Lauren Ryan
Ireland
Local time: 23:09
Member (Feb 2020)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Perseverance may be the answer Jun 24

Hi WS McCallum,

I like your advice about perseverance. I know I have the ability as I have had great feedback on test translations for agencies and on translations during my languages degree, so I will take your advice and persevere with applications and emails.

Sometimes being a bit cheeky goes a long way!


Rachel Waddington
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:09
Member (2008)
Italian to English
The story of my life in 1 paragraph Jun 24

Lauren Ryan wrote:

Any related anecdotes or advice would be greatly appreciated


I went to live in Italy a long time ago. I got a job working for an architecture firm (I'm an architect). That was where I perfected my mastery of Italian as a working language. Then the firm got a big important project working in partnership with a UK firm. I worked on the project and was also the translator/interpreter. I'd never done that before, so I had to learn on the job. Then it just went on like that for about 20 years, working as an architect bilingually. After a while I began to realise that translation is fascinating in its own right, so I decided to look for work not as an architect but as an architect/translator. And that's the story of my life, although I've left out some other stuff.



[Edited at 2020-06-24 15:11 GMT]


 

Veronika Hoffmann
Germany
Local time: 00:09
English to German
Looking in Germany Jun 24

Hi Lauren,

I wonder if you'd have more luck looking for an in-house position in the countries of your source languages? Germany would have plenty of English-German translators but far fewer German-English ones.

When I graduated over a decade ago, I found positions to apply to via the website of the German Arbeitsagentur. I found something relativ
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Hi Lauren,

I wonder if you'd have more luck looking for an in-house position in the countries of your source languages? Germany would have plenty of English-German translators but far fewer German-English ones.

When I graduated over a decade ago, I found positions to apply to via the website of the German Arbeitsagentur. I found something relatively quickly (granted, the job market looked different then) and as I was hired based on my translation test, the company I ended up working for didn't care much that I had no experience.

Best of luck at any rate.
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Rachel Waddington
 

Mervyn Henderson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:09
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Master bait Jun 24

Well, I thought I'd break the pedantry monopoly and jump into the fray myself with some totally unnecessary nitpicking:

How can you "perfect mastery"? Once you've come to master it, you've mastered it. You don't keep on mastering and mastering and mastering relentlessly day and night to perfect that mastery, do you?


Chris S
 
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