How to become a translator? It is relatively easy if you have strong dual language skills. But becoming a professional one that makes a good living takes some work and smart planning.
While interpreting involves real time and verbal conversion from one language to another, translation involves taking text from one language and recreating it into another.
As global industries and international trade continue to play a major role in the world economy, there is more and more demand for translators. The opportunities are endless.
How To Become A Translator – Important To Know
- The preparation to become a translator can be different for different people. Obviously you have to be able to understand your working languages pretty well. A degree in your chosen subject is definitely a plus, or at least some practical hands-on experience.
- While being raised bilingual would give you a real advantage, it is by no means a requirement. There are also many job-specific training programs that can prepare you for entrance into the field.
- If you are looking at a career as an interpreter, you will need to be proficient in both written and spoken languages.
- Basic computer skills are essential as well, given that more and more communication is done through the internet.
- Often you’ll find that the key to getting the translation job you always wanted is experience. Most professional translating services only hire you if you have three to five years experience, a university degree in your language or in some cases, both!
But the good news is that everyone had to start at the same place.
- If you are not interested in working for a big company, or if you want to make sure that you have some experience under your belt before you apply, you may decide that freelancing is the right option for you.
- Most freelancers work for agencies. In fact, it is reported that 70% of the jobs most freelancers have are from agencies. So get to know your local agencies. Work with them. Agencies are often seeking out new people to try out, and through these assignments, experience is gained.
It’s not about how to become a translator, but rather how to become a successful one! Do not rely on agencies for your livelihood – try to find freelance work yourself!
- One avenue is to specialize. Your previous job, your passion, hobby or personal experiences can make you more knowledgeable in certain subjects than others. That’s your field of expertise. Nobody can be a know-it-all. Nor will anyone believe it.
When you choose a specialty, you will gain more trust from your potential clients, and therefore get more work. And most likely they will be willing to pay more for your services.
- Don’t underestimate opportunities that will put you in touch with volunteer organizations or local community groups. Even if you are only doing the translation as practice, you will find that it looks great on your resume and gets your name out there. And there’s always a letter of recommendation!
And when you volunteer for most community organizations, you will not only be meeting new people, but you’ll be helping others who need you. That can often return what money can’t buy!
- When you do get lots of work as a translator, leave some room for your creativity. You are not going to be thriving by just doing translation on a one-on-one base. You need to leverage your time. You need to have a sustainable business model. And this takes some creative thinking.