Why You Should Become a Translator

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Looking for an exciting career that will make you an essential part of international business? Take a look at why becoming a translator might just be the job for you.

Businesses across the world are globalizing by marketing services and products to foreign customers. As a result, the need for professional translators who can use language to bridge cultures (and help companies reach more people in foreign markets) has skyrocketed.

Starting a New Career: Easier Than You Think

Take some time to read about the translation sector, one of the most in-demand industries today. What’s more, if you are already fluent in two or more languages you can break into the career field immediately.

Expect that working as a translator will require you to put your language and cultural knowledge to work as well as various other skills we will discuss below.

Essential Skills You Will Need in Your New Career

  • Language Skills

Fluency is a must. Today, translators are expected to ensure that all language projects have translation transparency and fidelity. In other words, you should be able to translate so accurately that your projects read like the work of a native speaker. Be able to translate for meaning to ensure that the goal of the original writer is preserved and that you haven’t let anything get lost in translation.

  • Writing skills

You should have great writing skills and have a vast knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Know the various dialects of your languages and be familiar with its different variants and slang terms, but master the core language that is used by native speakers (i.e. formal Arabic, UK English, US English, Spanish, French, Italian, etc.). Some language projects, like trans-creation, require you to translate then write original content that mirrors the original marketer’s message.

  • Computer skills

Software and hardware is a typical part of any job and professional translation cannot be done without some kind of technology. This is why you should have strong computer skills, especially MS office programs, Photoshop, and possibly desktop publishing. Modern translation projects, like translating foreign certificates or long articles and books will require you to input information into a technology program.

  • Communication skills

You are working with clients and possibly other translation or graphic design professionals. Often, you will have to translate marketing materials, like website localization, that might have to be sent to an SEO specialist to optimize for keywords. Other times, you will have to send the language projects to an editor or to a department that authenticates official translated certificates and documents. As a professional, your computer skills will help you market yourself.

Gaining More Experience Fast

Take the time to practice translating various documents to gain experience quickly. This will help you to become a professional translator who is familiar with a variety of translated documents, paper-based and digital. Consider trying out a professional online computer-assisted translation tool. Many companies offer a free trial to check out their product for a week or two.

Become a Lifelong Learner

Familiarize yourself with the technology used to provide media language services, like subtitling and dubbing. Find the transcripts of a video or short film (easy to find these today) then try translating for meaning to match the facial expressions, actions, and body language you see in the video.

Keep in mind that many language services clients want services for specific subject areas, such as IT, medical, legal, education or construction. Familiarize yourself with some of the topic-specific words (business jargon) used in that industry.

Start as a Freelance Translator

Ready to take a giant step into the professional world? Start marketing your language services to various translation companies. Working as a translator in a language services provider agency or as a freelance translator can be a great way to find clients faster.

Freelance vs. Employee

  • The benefits of working as a freelance translator
    • Freedom to work anywhere and whenever you want
    • Manage your time and work at peak hours
    • Choose the translation projects according to your expertise
    • Email submission and digital communication tools make teamwork easier and efficient
    • Work with multiple language services providers
  • The benefits of working as a company employee
    • Get more experience from social communications
    • Expect to collaborate with other departments and managers within your company
    • You may also get the opportunity to correspond with global clients directly
    • Stable monthly salary

In conclusion, the translation professional cannot be replaced by machines that are still not as accurate as human editing and proofreading. There are several ways for you to break into a rewarding career in language services at any stage in your life. You are sure to find translation projects that fit your linguistic, cultural, and subject expertise because businesses across the globe and industries need the service in order to communicate with each other and their clients. 

Consider training as a legal translator or a language service provider in one of more than 100 in-demand industries.

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