Amongst the many blogs related to translations, last week I found by chance Me lo ha contado un traductor, where Raquel Sánchez Alcántara describes her adventures and misadventures in the world of translation.

At the beginning of a new business it’s hard not to get discouraged, so I asked Raquel to share her experience with us. I hope she can help other newbie translators to overcome this hard period. Or, at least, to feel less alone.

Thanks Raquel for sharing your experience. You studied philology but decided to become a translator. Why? This is not the usual career for a philologist, isn’t it?

That’s right, I started studying philology but I was not really sure of what I was doing. Perhaps it was the fact that most of my colleagues at university (I would say nearly 95%) wanted to become teachers that made me feel out of place. I enjoyed literature and cinema but I was completely sure that I did not want to teach, so I had to look for another way of focusing the degree. In my third year of studies I discovered translation and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, there were barely four courses on translation at my university, so once I finished philology I was determined to continue my studies on that field, and last year I started a Masters on Audiovisual Translation.

What major challenges and problems did you face in entering this field?

When I finished philology, the main problem was that I had no information about this career. I think everyone assumes that if you study philology you will end up being a teacher, maybe that is why nobody explains anything about translation during the degree. So, if you study economics or architecture you know where to find a job, but I was completely lost and a lot of questions came to my mind.

The internet became my best friend and I would spend hours and hours looking for information about how I could enter this field. I would read blogs and, through many of them, I became familiar with translation agencies, the term freelance and useful tips for beginners.

Do you think it would be useful to have a mentor (colleague, influencer, professor etc.)?

In my opinion, at the beginning I think it is essential to have a person to guide you and provide you with advices. I would introduce maybe a course focused on professional experience, legal issues, and ways of working within the translation field (in-house or freelance).

The internet became my best friend and I would spend hours and hours looking for information about how I could enter this field.

Have you got any advice for newbies or students?

The most important tip I have read up until now is repeated in every blog I read: be visible. People should know that you are a translator or that you want to become one. That is exactly why I decided to write myself a blog and I have to say that the power of Internet has surprised me.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I do not like to think much about the future, I’d rather work on the present, but hopefully, I like to think that in 5 years I will be a real translator. Once I finish the Masters on audiovisual translation I see myself focused on that specific field. That would be the perfect combination of the two things I love: cinema and translation.

Thank you very much for the interview, it has been a pleasure!

And you? Do you want to share your experience and some tips for other newbie translators? Please leave your  comment below.

Raquel Sanchez

Raquel Sánchez Alcántara

For further information about Raquel, you can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.