How to Become a Specialized Translator?

Learn how you can become a professional translator and build a strong profile for yourself in the translation industry; qualities of a good translator!

Obviously, if someone wants to become an expert translator, they must be fluent in their mother tongue and at least two additional languages. Becoming a professional translator requires excellent skills such as intelligence, objectiveness, and being a fast learner. The level of mastering a language must be high. 

The translation services industry is enormous and rarely affected by the recession. By the end of 2017, the language industry revenue was at $43.08 billion. The number is projected to rise to approximately $47.46 billion by 2021. This shows steady growth and a high potential for jobs in this field.

If you have vast knowledge and can fluently speak another language besides your mother tongue, you could become a translator. Professional translation services are very lucrative and satisfying. Websites such as offer employment chances for people with great interest and proficiency in translation.

The Path to Becoming a Proficient Translator

Becoming a professional translator is not easy. It requires commitment, discipline, and a passion for languages. You will need the following set of skills:

  • Language skills

You cannot translate if you don’t know the language. You must possess fluency and proficiency in the source language and the language you wish to translate into. As an expert, you must first understand the original source text, master the delicate vocabulary, possess a great command of grammar, and express the text accurately and precisely. This set of skills should also apply to the target language so that you translate the specific meaning of a text.

  • Computer skills

 Having excellent computer skills is another important prerequisite for a great translator. You need to know how several computer programs work. For instance, you must know how the MS Office operates. Using the programs will enhance your competence and improve your employment opportunities. Having an excellent typing speed and accuracy is also an added advantage.

  • Business skills: 

Most translation companies employ freelancers. This means that having business insight is crucial. You need marketing and sales skills to create a professional network with a reputable CV for translation jobs. Since there are many other freelancers in the industry, you have to rise above the competition by showing outstanding business skills. 

7 Guidelines for Becoming a Professional Translator

If you desire to become an expert translator, you must learn at least two languages besides your mother tongue. Learning a new language from scratch is not easy. But with the right attitude and dedication, it will be an enjoyable process. Here are the steps to make you a great in this business:

  • Step 1: Learning

Acquire knowledge by enrolling in language courses that will improve your writing, speaking, and understanding of a foreign language. You can advance your skills by taking an undergraduate course that has a major in a specific language.

  • Step 2: The Certification program 

You can apply for accreditation or certification once you have sharpened your skills. When a professional body accredits you, you have authenticity as a professional translator. It also enhances your recognition of being able to translate at an advanced level. For example, in the U.S., the American Translator’s Association (ATA) provides certification for qualified translators. After a recognized institution certifies you, you will be listed in their directory, and clients can easily access your credentials.

  • Step 3: Pass language proficiency test

This will enable you to boost your resume. It will be conclusive evidence that you’re fluent in a specific language. Translation companies, colleges, and other organizations provide language proficiency tests to gauge the skills possessed by translators. Make sure you update all your certificates in a timely manner, since many require re-take after a period of time.

  • Step 4: Gain job experience

You will have a significant advantage if you can show a chain of experience in translation in your resume. You could start by working as an intern in a firm that needs translators. You can then progress by applying for entry-level jobs that will introduce you to intricacies of translation. Such experiences will sharpen your skills and make you a better translator. A great idea to gain experience is to join some of the freelance translating community platforms, where you can communicate with potential employers, get hired to translate some documents, and collect points based on how many you’ve translated. It’s also a great visibility tool. 

  • Step 5: Collect references

A professional in any area will make sure a written reference is left behind by those who hired him, and were satisfied with the outcome of the task performed. According to every serious client will ask for references to be provided, for each job you apply to. Therefore, whenever you can, take the advantage of a satisfied client while his impressions are fresh and ask for a couple of words of praise. Professional social platforms come in handy, such as Linked-in, where a person who you work for or even a colleague can leave a recommendation and add to the increase of your overall professionalism score. 

  • Step 6: Market yourself

By now, you already have the necessary skills as a professional translator. Marketing yourself is essential either as a freelancer or seeker of permanent employment. You can create your own website, develop blogs, join groups in social media, and build a network. When quoting your rates, keep it competitive. You can do a bit of research from your network to know the rates applicable. Networking is an essential part of marketing yourself among professionals. There can be times when people will be asked to recommend a colleague to perform a task instead of them, or to form a team of translators. Take any opportunity you can to build your image.

  • Step 7: Continue learning

Keep yourself abreast with developing translation trends once you have established yourself. Learn new technologies and always look out for new opportunities in the industry. Translators use many tools in their work, such as programs related to certain platforms and software that makes their job easier (such as SDL). Some clients even demand which platforms you have to use and which programs are a necessity if you wish to be hired by them. Never stop learning. Advance your skills, register for other crucial courses that will help your marketability, and make you outstanding.

  • Step 8: Expand your knowledge

If you’re a specialist in a particular discipline, for example, law, keep updated with new trends and terminology changes and always communicate clearly. Always improve your vast knowledge by researching. You should always be aware that language is ever-changing, “alive” sort to say. Therefore, read, listen to music, watch movies, use any tool available to keep up with the pace of language changes.

Qualities of a Good Translator

Clients usually look for specific characteristics from translators to assess their competence.

Firstly, you must be compliant. You must follow all the instructions given by the client and keep all the specifications. If you need accreditation, make sure that you follow all the procedures to be certified. Secondly, be committed to your projects. This is a great way to show professionalism in translation. Ensure that you are responsive, flexible, duty-bound, and dedicated. Treat all the translation jobs you handle with the utmost respect and deliver your final work on time. Lastly, be reliable. Maintain the client’s information and projects confidential. Document security is paramount.

In conclusion, if you desire to become a translator, you can visit translation websites for more details and guidelines. Remember, a good translator must have great competency and mastery in the source and target language. You must possess a deep understanding of the subject matter and have excellent researching skills to complement the proficiency in the language.