Steps to a Successful Translator Career
A Translation degree is not a legal requirement in the translation industry, building a career as a translator with credentials proving your proficiency in the craft is very difficult. Many clients will only hire certified translators nowadays. As the clientele becomes savvier, they are also requiring that the translators they hire have experience. However, if no one will hire the inexperienced, how will they ever get said experience? There are several steps that prospective translators can take in the beginning that can help ensure a successful certified translator career.
Step one is to obtain certification as a professional translator. Certification programs assume previous fluency in at least two languages. Obviously, having an excellent grasp of your two languages and the cultures of their native speakers is essential to a succeeding as a translator. The definition of the role translator is someone who can understand the written word in a source language and rewrite it in a different target language. Certification training courses in translation are offered through on-site institutions, online schools, and combination of both. Certified translator career skills include much more than language ability.
Translators need to be excellent communicators. Essentially, they are multi-lingual, professional writers. A superior grasp of writing grammar and style in their focus languages is necessary. In addition, translators must understand ethics issues and best practices of the translation industry. Certification programs can help instill these in an aspiring translator. Other time and project management skills are also highly valuable because of the self-directed nature of most translation careers. The second step in building a successful certified translator career is building a portfolio. Clients will look primarily at what you have accomplished. A roster of satisfied clients and completed projects is very reassuring to someone who needs a job done.
When starting out in a new translation career, many translators make the same mistakes. Some try to go for large jobs rather than proving themselves with small jobs that are done well and on-time. Others try to pile on projects until they are stressed and cannot do quality or timely work for their clients. It is far better to take it slower in the beginning and build relationships with clients who will return to you again and provide you with word of mouth advertising than it is to blast off and fizzle quickly. Purposefully and honestly building your portfolio and client roster will create a solid foundation for a long-term successful career in translating.
-By Adriana Tassini
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