OK, so this is a quick note to describe how my “pursuing” activities have been going.
Soon after I decided to focus on translation, the agency that had contacted me with a medical research translation (that I declined) contacted me again, this time with translation of various Japanese business documents to English. First of all, one doesn't get a paid translation assignment without having a much experience or going through some screening and trials. Secondly, what are the chances of getting an assignment that you feel you can do although you technically don't have a comparable experience?
So I got lucky. And for the first time after being laid off, I was thankful that I had actually spent 10 years working in a corporate world, producing business documents after business documents. I mean, I wouldn't have had the guts to accept such a large job if I hadn't already written million various business documents. Life is weird, isn't it? You never know what comes handy. Every little experience counts.
Anyway, this project went on for about a month and half. During that period, I literally worked day and night, almost everyday, in order to keep up with the workload (which would have been normal for experienced translators...but it was, of course, not normal for me..). Whew! It was a boot camp, let me tell you! But I learned a lot. It was great.
And I guess my performance was decent, because this agency is still sending me a small job here and there after the large project was completed.
So I got my feet wet, got some “experience” to put on my resume. Now that the large project is over and I have more time, I’m working to get signed up with other agents so that I'll eventually have multiple agents from whom I can get assignments continuously.
The regular way (as opposed to just being contacted with a project for you to take...) to get an assignment from a translation agency isn't as straight forward. After finding an agency that handles type of translation work that you are capable of doing, you'd need to apply for trial and pass the trial and whatever the subsequent processes that they have, like interviews, to get on their roaster. And then once you are on the roaster (at the bottom of the list), you wait for an emergency situation where no high-on-the-list translators are available that the agency has to call you.
It’s hard. I had this big package of trial that contained two J to E documents and one E to J document which I spend several days researching and translating. I was crushed when I didn’t pass this trial. But I have passed two other trials so far, so I guess I’m making a progress even though it’s slow.
And I still have so much to learn that sometimes it feels overwhelming. But what’s interesting is that this overwhelming feeling is more like an excitement before a big trip or unknown challenge, not like a stress that you get when you don’t know how you’ll complete what you are supposed to complete in a given time. I think it has to do with the fact that I don’t feel this whole situation as some temporary hell that I go through but need to get out of as soon as possible—the feeling that I had with a corporate job. This time I feel that I don’t mind doing this for the rest of my life that I don’t need to hurry at all. In fact, it’s nice to think that I won’t run out of challenges and stimulation for a very long time.
Speaking of learning, I'm still doing volunteer translation work at JFS that I had started back in February. I translate several articles and proofread about a dozen articles per month.
Well, it wasn’t such a quick not after all, but this is where I am at this point.