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Translation as a course, dumb or smart?

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Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
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Hi everyone!

First of all thank you for taking your valuable time to reply to my post.

I'm a translator EN/FR with 13 years experience and want to give back by helping others who are starting in the field.
Might sound boring to others, but I love what I do!

So I had an idea:

>> Why not publish a course for translators english to french.

As you know, ideas are worthless if they don't match a need or solve a problem.
-> My course is sort of a niche: translators english to french (Tech/IT or engineers).

My topics include: translation process and techniques | specifics of translation for IT and tech documents (user guides, white papers, I provide numerous examples with guided translations and exercises) | Common mistakes | Glossaries, Stylistic guides | Thematic and boolean searches | Revisions, proofreading, post-editing | Syntax, punctuation, terminology...

Here's my questions:

- Is it solving a problem or not and how can I find out?

- Where could I collect valuable feedback or information to find my potential customers?

- Could you poke my ideas and give me your perspective?

- Is it obeying the CENTS model from MJ DeMarco? Since it's a course I know for sure it's scalable and also not time dependent once I've created it. I worry for the C E and N.

My course would be 10 hours at 19,99eur, allowing me to target more people.
I know this is very broad and means nothing for now, but I've got to start somewhere.

THANK YOU!
 

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Jack Hammer

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Sep 19, 2018
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Going through C, E, and N:

C- Control depends on the platform for your lessons. You could hire a developer to make a website with user login and self-hosted videos if you wanted. It depends on how much effort and money you're willing to invest up front.

E- Your knowledge in the field has been attained through years of hard work. Designing a lesson and recording 10 hours of videos takes a lot of time. I think you have a good barrier to entry.

N- You probably know better than anyone how many English/French tech/IT translators are out there and how to reach them. Like you said, it's pretty niche, so you could probably charge at least 10 times more than you're talking about and get creative with financing for young people starting out without much cash. People will pay good money for career advancement. Furthermore, charging high prices signals quality. Most people tend to undercharge. If the market's still not large enough, could you generalize your content to all translators?

Hope this helps!
 

Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
15
37
Going through C, E, and N:

C- Control depends on the platform for your lessons. You could hire a developer to make a website with user login and self-hosted videos if you wanted. It depends on how much effort and money you're willing to invest up front.

E- Your knowledge in the field has been attained through years of hard work. Designing a lesson and recording 10 hours of videos takes a lot of time. I think you have a good barrier to entry.

N- You probably know better than anyone how many English/French tech/IT translators are out there and how to reach them. Like you said, it's pretty niche, so you could probably charge at least 10 times more than you're talking about and get creative with financing for young people starting out without much cash. People will pay good money for career advancement. Furthermore, charging high prices signals quality. Most people tend to undercharge. If the market's still not large enough, could you generalize your content to all translators?

Hope this helps!
Hi dear Jack,

Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I like the idea of "career advancement" and "high price signals quality". Teaching platforms tend to apply big discounts, so definitely putting a higher price could help with margins but I want to help as many people as possible, especially students or beginners so I don't want to scare them with a high ticket item.

- "could you generalize" -> Yes!
 

monfii

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Mar 3, 2020
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Brussels
Personally, I'd be more interested in a course explaining how to become a freelance translator.

I'd imagine it to be set up this way:

- Translation techniques to know
- How to create your company
- How to get clients and grow
- Basic sales and marketing

Voila.

Yet the only real way to check if your idea is right or not is to test it: EXECUTION - Is this the way to best validate my idea?
 

TheKingOfMadrid

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Dec 14, 2020
92
242
144
Yes but not at a professional level. It's near professional.
Solutions such as Deepl require very little manual editing now for most languages, the neural learning research you can find on the models in progress is fascinatingly complex.

I know many people trying to do what you are doing and they are doing it all for one reason - they have spent years in a field that is slowly dying, where the bulk of work is exported to the 0.01 per word translators salivating for the opportunity on Upwork or agencies that are cutting far more than their fair share.

Translation was once a honed craft, you had to understand a text, feel it's nuances and bring them to life in another language.

Today it is getting harder to sell the need, every translator on LinkedIn appears to be running their own unsuccessful 'freelance' studio that barely profits.

Then translators desperately rush to corner the LQA markets which are also heavily saturated.

With that said, there are also a swath of people that spam the top 20% translators on LI every single day wanting to know how to become a freelance translator as the sum of their skills leaves them with the knowledge of two languages

If you were my student I would advise you to create a lead in video and create a fantasy to sell the top 20% translator lifestyle (in-house F-500 work), create an 'in group', play up the money available in tech translation (booming industry/crypto etc etc) leave out or place less focus on the advanced stuff as many of your buyers really want to know - how do I get money in this field quickly? they want cut and paste freelance messages and places to contact.

Personally I think your language pair and your specialism is too small to captivate a large enough market and you can quickly see this for yourself by going through linked in, contacting current FR/EN translators with opentowork in their profile and asking them if they'd be interested in hearing about how they can make $$$$ learning to translate specialist technical fields.
 

Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
15
37
Solutions such as Deepl require very little manual editing now for most languages, the neural learning research you can find on the models in progress is fascinatingly complex.

I know many people trying to do what you are doing and they are doing it all for one reason - they have spent years in a field that is slowly dying, where the bulk of work is exported to the 0.01 per word translators salivating for the opportunity on Upwork or agencies that are cutting far more than their fair share.

Translation was once a honed craft, you had to understand a text, feel it's nuances and bring them to life in another language.

Today it is getting harder to sell the need, every translator on LinkedIn appears to be running their own unsuccessful 'freelance' studio that barely profits.

Then translators desperately rush to corner the LQA markets which are also heavily saturated.

With that said, there are also a swath of people that spam the top 20% translators on LI every single day wanting to know how to become a freelance translator as the sum of their skills leaves them with the knowledge of two languages

If you were my student I would advise you to create a lead in video and create a fantasy to sell the top 20% translator lifestyle (in-house F-500 work), create an 'in group', play up the money available in tech translation (booming industry/crypto etc etc) leave out or place less focus on the advanced stuff as many of your buyers really want to know - how do I get money in this field quickly? they want cut and paste freelance messages and places to contact.

Personally I think your language pair and your specialism is too small to captivate a large enough market and you can quickly see this for yourself by going through linked in, contacting current FR/EN translators with opentowork in their profile and asking them if they'd be interested in hearing about how they can make $$$$ learning to translate specialist technical fields.
All things you say make sense to me. Can I ask you what you do for a living? Really smart!
 

TheKingOfMadrid

Bronze Contributor
Speedway Pass
Dec 14, 2020
92
242
144
All things you say make sense to me. Can I ask you what you do for a living? Really smart!
I have run multiple businesses, including translation studios. I was one of the first on the market before all of the agencies began popping up in Ukraine/Russia/India and pushed the margins as far as possible.

It may be true that in the west we sell on brand, but there's only so long you can continue to do that in a field where the margins are so low.

How do you feel about the field? do you feel under pressure to make ends meet or are you content in the top 20%?
 

Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
15
37
I have run multiple businesses, including translation studios. I was one of the first on the market before all of the agencies began popping up in Ukraine/Russia/India and pushed the margins as far as possible.

It may be true that in the west we sell on brand, but there's only so long you can continue to do that in a field where the margins are so low.

How do you feel about the field? do you feel under pressure to make ends meet or are you content in the top 20%?
The "passion aspect" is starting to erode. I've seen revenues plummet and it's hard to remain at the top when AI is a beast and becoming as good as pro translators.

To answer your questions:
- How do you feel about the field?
With AI it's a matter of time until most translators become poor or jobless.

Do you feel under pressure to make ends meet or are you content in the top 20%?
I'm in the Top 20% but I still feel pressure to make ends meet.

If you 1500net / month to 2000/month they already consider you at the top, which I find ridiculous.

What about you? What do you think about the field? What's your take on managing a translation agency as a CEO? Do you think it's still a viable business model?
 

swerving2sucess

New Contributor
Mar 6, 2021
17
4
12
Hi everyone!

First of all thank you for taking your valuable time to reply to my post.

I'm a translator EN/FR with 13 years experience and want to give back by helping others who are starting in the field.
Might sound boring to others, but I love what I do!

So I had an idea:

>> Why not publish a course for translators english to french.

As you know, ideas are worthless if they don't match a need or solve a problem.
-> My course is sort of a niche: translators english to french (Tech/IT or engineers).

My topics include: translation process and techniques | specifics of translation for IT and tech documents (user guides, white papers, I provide numerous examples with guided translations and exercises) | Common mistakes | Glossaries, Stylistic guides | Thematic and boolean searches | Revisions, proofreading, post-editing | Syntax, punctuation, terminology...

Here's my questions:

- Is it solving a problem or not and how can I find out?

- Where could I collect valuable feedback or information to find my potential customers?

- Could you poke my ideas and give me your perspective?

- Is it obeying the CENTS model from MJ DeMarco? Since it's a course I know for sure it's scalable and also not time dependent once I've created it. I worry for the C E and N.

My course would be 10 hours at 19,99eur, allowing me to target more people.
I know this is very broad and means nothing for now, but I've got to start somewhere.

THANK YOU!
What you're doing is not boring at all my friend. I highly recommend you to execute this idea. As a translator (EN-SPA), I think it has a lot of potential.
 

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Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
15
37
What you're doing is not boring at all my friend. I highly recommend you to execute this idea. As a translator (EN-SPA), I think it has a lot of potential.
Would you mind staying in touch so at least I have some people that I can have as a support as I'm building this course. I really appreciate your time and valuable information.
 

Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
15
37
I have run multiple businesses, including translation studios. I was one of the first on the market before all of the agencies began popping up in Ukraine/Russia/India and pushed the margins as far as possible.

It may be true that in the west we sell on brand, but there's only so long you can continue to do that in a field where the margins are so low.

How do you feel about the field? do you feel under pressure to make ends meet or are you content in the top 20%?
Would you mind staying in touch? I'd love to have a support basis, so I'm staying on track with my own progress.
 

Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
15
37
Going through C, E, and N:

C- Control depends on the platform for your lessons. You could hire a developer to make a website with user login and self-hosted videos if you wanted. It depends on how much effort and money you're willing to invest up front.

E- Your knowledge in the field has been attained through years of hard work. Designing a lesson and recording 10 hours of videos takes a lot of time. I think you have a good barrier to entry.

N- You probably know better than anyone how many English/French tech/IT translators are out there and how to reach them. Like you said, it's pretty niche, so you could probably charge at least 10 times more than you're talking about and get creative with financing for young people starting out without much cash. People will pay good money for career advancement. Furthermore, charging high prices signals quality. Most people tend to undercharge. If the market's still not large enough, could you generalize your content to all translators?

Hope this helps!
Would you mind staying in touch? This way I have support. I asked also other people in the forum.
 

Tony Deslandes

New Contributor
May 2, 2016
19
4
15
37
Personally, I'd be more interested in a course explaining how to become a freelance translator.

I'd imagine it to be set up this way:

- Translation techniques to know
- How to create your company
- How to get clients and grow
- Basic sales and marketing

Voila.

Yet the only real way to check if your idea is right or not is to test it: EXECUTION - Is this the way to best validate my idea?
Would you mind staying in touch? This way I have support during my course creation. Thanks!
 

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