From TEFL To Translation?

by Katie on August 29, 2007

by Katie | August 29th, 2007  

Have you ever thought of putting the language skills you’ve gained while teaching overseas to use in freelance translating work?

If you’ve ever been involved in translating work, you probably know it takes a lot more than knowing a foreign language. Lifted Magazine has a great post elaborating on the topic of translating, including resources for those interested in getting into it as well as more information on what it is and is not.

I don’t have the language skills which are a necessity for translating, and I suspect few EFL teachers – even those who have learned the local language well – do, at least to be competitive with professional translators. It just takes a huge knowledge of a second language to translate accurately into your own, and an even greater knowledge to translate into that language. There are also many different ways of expressing the same thought, and it’s not just a matter of knowing words to translate the whole of someone else’s work into another language. So while a few people may transition from teaching English to professional translating, my impression is that this is rare.

There may be some people who do it though, and for some reason I associate this with Japan. Or maybe I am just confusing it with the hostess industry.

I have done some amount of freelance proofreading, which I should probably not admit here because I’m sure I make typos and other silly mistakes on this very blog. While it is my teaching and “status” as a native speaker EFL teacher put me in a place to start doing proofreading, I definitely use different skills for that than I use for teaching.

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