By Ines Alexandre
In this article, I would like to remind you of some key points which are worth considering when you are looking to pursue a career as a translator. In a competitive market like translating, knowing the important steps to take and the key skills you should acquire will keep you ahead of the game and will only bring you more opportunities and success.
1) Education and qualifications
After getting your bachelor’s degree, it is recommended to get certification to become a translator which will allow you to translate professionally. You can join The American Translators Association (ATA) which offers such programmes. Although a qualification in translation is not essential, a Masters in translation or equivalent (like DipTrans), will only be beneficial to you as it would illustrate your specialism and ability to diversify. Once an organisation has certified you, you will be included in their directory, allowing clients to find you. To make your resume more impressive, you can pass language proficiency tests to demonstrate your linguistic fluency.
2) Develop a business acumen A significant percentage of translators are freelancers and therefore utilising business skills in order to market yourself and your services as well as build and increase your contact base. Since competition for freelance positions will be rife, it is essential to be able to network with others to get more information and tips about jobs at firms and organisations and also get to know more people in the sector.
3) Good computer skills
Being able to use several computer programmes confidently will be advantageous. Examples of such programmes include Microsoft Office programmes, Photoshop, desktop publishing and InDesign. Furthermore, you will need to know how to use CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools and knowledge of HTML would also be useful, although it is not essential. Increasingly, clients need translations done directly on their websites and so being a competent computer user is imperative.
4) Gain as much experience as you can
Industry experience is immensely valuable, and the more the better. At each placement or internship, you will learn new skills about translating and business, develop your existing skills and be able to put into practice everything you have learnt during your education and other work experience. In addition, building up more experience will make you feel more assured about your choice of specialism, whether it be legal, medical etc.
5) Continue learning!
Keeping up to date with translations trends, new technologies and industry news is fundamental for any translator. Being part of an industry which experiences changes on a regular basis, you will always be learning and therefore be aware of current news will only improve your employment prospects. The ever-changing nature of this sector is what makes it so interesting and very exciting to be a part of.
Hopefully you found these tips helpful, best of luck!