How to Become a Language Translator

If you enjoy learning new languages and communication then you might like to become a language translator.

A language translator speaks at least two languages fluently, often many more.

They act as a bridge between two parties, allowing fluent correspondence between the two by translating a conversation.

Language translators also work to transcribe books, documents, and films into other languages.

Employment prospects in this field are strong, with much growth predicted.

About one quarter of all translators are self-employed, and many work in this sector seasonally.

Some use the occupation to support them while they travel the world.

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Education Requirements to Become a Language Translator

If you’re in high school and would like to become a language translator, you should consider taking subjects in foreign languages, and also attaining strong grades in English.

Completing a foreign exchange program is a good way to improve your language skills and experience another culture.

There is not specific requirement or degree needed to become a translator, except fluency in languages.

If you are interested in using your skills in a business setting then you will need to complete a college degree.

A good qualification is a four year bachelors program with a major in foreign languages.

It’s also essential to have training in interpreting and translation methods.

You will learn these at college if you enroll in language programs, but you can also learn them as a part of a shorter course, or even at a conference.

When you become a language translator, your job involves more than exchanging the words in one language for another.

You must also give thought to concepts and ideas, as well as be sensitive to different cultures.

Language Translator Job Description

Working as a language translator, your role could be divided into interpreting and translating.

Interpreting applies to verbal communication.

For instance, you could act as a an interpreter for two business people in a conference who spoke different languages.

Interpreters are often required at business meetings, hospitals, or within the court system.

Translating refers to written communication.

You might translate books, letters, documents or contracts into different languages.

Translating involves not just swapping words for words, but looking to the deeper meaning of language.

The translation you create must make sense to the reader, and convey more than simple sentences.

If you are looking for a job within business, when you become a language translator you can look forward to completing both interpreting and translating duties.

When you become a language translator you could find yourself working in many different environments.

Many work within business, other work in hospitals and schools.

Translators that work with written subject matter often choose to work from home.

Here are some of the duties of a language translators:

  • Translating a conversation between two parties
  • Translating literary works
  • Translating letters and documents
  • Providing a translation of speakers
  • Interpreting work in hospitals for doctors and patients

Language Translator Salary and Career Path

About one quarter of translators are self-employed, working as freelancers.

Another third are employed within education.

Many more are employed within business or hospitals.

Some work within the travel industry.

As you gain experience as a translator, you could expect to take on more responsibilities in assignments.

Some go on to work in managerial positions in business, others work as educators.

Some may start their own translation agencies.

The average wage for a language translator is $38,000 a year.

The highest 10% of earners made over $68,000 a year.

Many in this industry work part-time, and often many only work in the industry for a part of the year, and supplement their income with other work.

Many translators get paid a salary.

Freelancers will be paid on a contract basis per job, or other times they may be paid per word.

Some other careers similar to a language translator that may interest you include:

If you have a love for language, then you might like to become a language translator.

Although much work is on a contract basis, there is still a lot of opportunity in this growth area.

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