I am new to UpWork, I am a newbie Arabic-English English-Arabic translator, and I do not have any professional experience (I just graduated), But I know I can do Great in this field.
The problem is that I don't have a Portfolio and my Profile is pretty much empty, and I would like to create my own Professional Portfolio..
So, what should I do as a first step in the process of creating my portfolio ?
I am thinking of translating a whole book, is it a good idea ?
Should I write my own original text, and translate it ?
Any thoughts / advice ?
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For your portfolio, go ahead and translate some documents, choose something from various types, such as one general article, one technical translation, one medical one etc.
Further I would respectfully suggest that you don't offer Arabic to English translations.
Translating is much more than knowing two languages, and ideally a translator should only translate into their native language or a language they have a native-equivalent grasp on. That is fairly rare and usually only happens when you have lived in the other country for many years. It's not just the language, it's the culture, the way things are expressed etc. A translation must never read like it was translated, but like it was written in the target language. That is (much to the surprise of many people who are not translators) hard enough when translating into your native language, and infinitely more difficult when the target language is not your native tongue.
Concentrate on gaining experience translating from English to Arabic, especially if you have no professional experience.
Thank you so much Petra, for these precious advices..
Concerning the documents I'm going to translate.. Do I have to choose them randomly, and What should I take into consideration when choosing them ?
what about a book translation ?
Make sure that whatever you use does not have any copyright restrictions to it.
Translating a book just as a portfolio piece is excessive, plus someone (unless you translate something ancient) owns the copyright so you can't use it.
No client will read a whole book translation in your portfolio!
I'd suggest you use things you wrote yourself? That way you can showcase your writing and translation skills in one go.
I'd rather see two very good portfolio peices than one really good one. That way you know the one portfolio item isn't a 'flash in the pan'. And unless you're going for a niche market, then people usually like to see a bit of a variety.
I'd rather see one chapter translated from ten books than ten chapters translated from one book. A mix of fiction and non-fiction would be a good idea.
I am not sure I'd want to see more than a couple of pages of one book in a portfolio. For starters he can't use any text that is copyrighted. That will restrict his translations to books witout copyright.
Then the majority of the clients here don't want books translated, they want their websites, their correspondence, their terms, their user guides, their medical reports, their contracts, their adverts, their apps, their software, their customer service responses, their presentations etc etc etc translated.
When book translations are indeed offered they are at such ridiculously low rates that it's just not worth it.
A couple of pages of one book (non copyrighted) is more than enough!
For variety, you can ask friends to produce documents that need to be translated. I would prefer to see you have some documents up in your portfolio in which the original English version of the document was not written by you, but was written by a native English speaker.
You can ask people for permission to use documents in your portfolio. For example, you can ask for permission to use press releases and articles. Lots of people will say yes.