How to Become a Professional Translator
Do you have a love of languages and you would be interested to turn this into a career? Becoming a translator could be the job for you. But how do you become a translator and also get paid?
What Do Translators Do?
A translator is someone who converts text/audio from one language to another. There are several different types of translation services you can find work including:
Translators can work in a wide variety of industries, for example, helping government / international organisations like the UN, to business, medicine, education, entertainment and more. Most industries that uses languages need translators. You could work on in many different areas, like translating important official text documents for companies/goverments, to doing subtitles for the latest Netflix blockbuster.
Top Reasons to Become a Translator
- Turn a hobby or love of languages into a full time career
- Work for a company or freelance
- Work from home or anywhere in the world - as long as you have access to the internet
- Improve your language skills
Top Tips How to Work as a Translator
Check out our top tips and 4 important steps to follow to become a professional translator below.
1. Improve Your Language Skills
You must know a language to a high level and continue to study it extensively. Also the more languages you are fluent in the more work you will get.
2. Get Certified
Translators usually need a bachelor’s degree, be fluent in English and at least one other language. To make this a full time career it is also important to get certifications and take courses to improve your skills.
If you think that dealing with official documents like marriage certificates or business contracts is nothing special, you must remember that it can be done only by those translators who can provide a relevant language certificate. You can take time to pass any of the numerous language courses to improve your chances of getting the job.
It will help you to get noticed and increase your salary since those professionals who have additional and verified proof of their skills always earn more and represent more value among the clients. Take your time to study what you can earn based on your prior academic experience, and it will always pay off!
3. See What Services Are In Demand
One important step you must take is an analysis of the translation market. You should study what services are the most popular and what is not so common, thus more likely return in salary. Check out the translation services reviews to see what benchmarks make a good translator, what services are usually on offer, and what requirements are set by an average client and the review experts when looking for a professional translator. It will help you to polish your skills and focus on those aspects that must be improved in case they do not represent your strong side.
4. Know Your Target Audience
First of all, you should focus on your target audience based on your skills and the niche that you would like to take. Do not forget that the translation business is very competitive, which means that your services should offer something special and different. If you can handle any technical translation or focus on song lyrics translations, it may place you head and shoulders above the general translation of those routine texts that are also handled by AI-powered translation tools. Think about what you can offer, how much time it will take you, and what pricing scheme you would like to offer if you work for a translation agency or as a freelance translator.
5. Get Familiar With Professional Software
Some of the most popular programs and websites used by translators that you should check out include:
- SDL Trados Studio
6. Gain Work Experience
Like any career, having work experience is vital to future success. Having more experience and jobs on your resume will help you to get more work. Even if it means doing translations for free at first, try to get as many companies listed on your resume as possible.
7. Create An Incredible Resume
Most importantly, you have to create a professional resume that will highlight your academic credentials and work experience. Be sure to detail the soft skills that will tell both HR managers and clients about your accuracy, meeting deadlines, being able to understand what must be done, and more. You should focus on these aspects and combine them with your testimonials if you have any of them available. If not, you should take part in various translation projects and do community work to show the bright sides of your personality. Such an approach will be important both for your future clients and the companies who may be interested in hiring you.
8. Promote Yourself
In addition to keeping your resume polished and updated, it is vital to setup a website, blog and have social media pages promoting yourself and your services. This will let companies find you more easily and result in more work.
Make sure you have links to samples of your work on your website to promote and advertise your services, accuracy, and quality. Remember that the samples of your work may include various literary (fiction books) translations, song lyrics, template documents, or anything that does not belong to anything confidential.
Of course, always share any positive feedback that you may obtain from your happy customers. You can also share interesting translation facts on Facebook to keep your future clients inspired to check for more information.
Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to start out as a translator? Let us know in the comments section below.