How Does One Become a Translator?
A translator is a person who transcribes one language into another. This can be done verbally or on paper. People become translators for a variety of reasons. Some decide in college that they want to work with languages and feel that being a translator is the best way to apply their years of learning another language. Others moved to another country, learned the language, and decide to make a career out of what they know. Still others want to change careers to one that gives them more freedom than their current vocation. If you have ever thought about being a translator, here is how you enter the field.
It goes without saying that you have to know at least two languages; your native language and the target language. However, it is not enough to just know the language. You have to be fluent which often includes knowing both the formal and informal, like slang, parts of the language. You can go to school to learn additional languages. However, many experts recommend that you also spend time in the country learning about the culture. This will give you a greater feel for the nuances of the language that you may not get from studying a book.
The next step is to decide on a specialty. You have your choice of making verbal and/or text translations. You can also specialize in transcribing literary, technical, medical, or legal documents. Once you have determined what your area of expertise is going to be, it is important that you get in as much practice as possible. You can do it on your own by taking papers and translating them between the languages you know. Another option is to contact local businesses and schools to see if they have a need for translators and whether they will allow you to do pro bono work to develop your resume.
When you feel you are ready, put together your resume or CV detailing your experience and approach translation companies about employment. Be prepared because these companies will test you to ensure that you know your stuff. If working in an office all day does not appeal to you, you can also go freelance. The internet provides many resources that will assist you in starting a translation business. To give your resume a boost, you may want to consider completing a translation training course that will certify you as a professional translator.
-By Adriana Tassini
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