The Process Of Learning How To Become A Translator

The Process Of Learning How To Become A Translator

The job of a translator is basically to translate by interpreting the meaning of something that has been said or written so that it can be understood by others. An important part of their job is to be fluent and expert in two or more languages and have exceptionally good communication skills. In this article, we shall be looking at the things to look out for when learning, or about to learn a foreign language.

What are the first steps to become a successful translator ?

The first step is to study your source language extensively and this is done by selecting a language you’re comfortable with and have a passion for. It should be noted that there is translation work available for almost every spoken language on the planet and the chances are, that you can find a translator for virtually any language that you can name. It goes without saying that there is more translating work available for the most common languages.

However, since more people know these languages, there is also more competition for work. While there may be fewer jobs for less common languages, knowing one could make one stand out from the crowd.

When choosing a foreign language to learn, it is wise to undertake some research to get a feel for the kind of jobs that are available. With ready access to the internet, this can be a very straight forward process. You can also research any specific specialised areas in which you may have an interest, or a desire to work with.

For example, if you’re interested in diplomatic or international work, the official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Learning any of these languages would be a fantastic starting point if you see your career path heading in this direction.

Once you have chosen the language you wish to study the next step is to find a good university with an excellent modern languages department.

Do you need to have a university degree to become a translator?

Most degree courses involve a four-year course, one year of which is normally spent abroad. Fluency and proficiency in a foreign language, does not necessarily mean that one has translation skills.

Therefore, once you have gained your degree, some additional studying is required in your specialised area. Clear, efficient translation can only be achieved if it is that is backed up by required specialised training in addition to language degree course.

Are there any additional steps of becoming a successful translator?

This further specialised training is normally what gives you your certification and is an easy way to show that one has skills necessary to do the work. Other industry-specific translation certifications are available in a field in which one is interested.

Additionally, it is pertinent to target a specific industry and learn industry-specific terms. This is because the moment one is fluent in a language, one will also want to target industry-specific terms for whatever field one is interested in working within.

It should be noted that being fluent does not provide the relevant terminology one will need to translate; therefore, one needs to put some additional focus into learning industry-specific terminology.

For instance, one might consider studying terminologies which are particularly necessary for medicine or business or government or education. There are several ways to do this. This could be done by looking for a course or learning resource that focuses on a specific field. For example. There are a lot of medical Spanish courses and resources available.

Also if one is already familiar with a specific field of interest, one might otherwise consider putting together a list of important terms in English, then one can look up and study the equivalent vocabulary word in the language one wants to translate from.

It is also important to have some basic computer skills. This is because a lot of translating requires using specific computer programs. This is meant to make the translation process quicker and more efficient. The most common computer programs used by translators are Memsource, Wordfast etc. It is also important to get some experience on the use of such programs.

Combining this, with some contract or freelance work is a great way to get started. If you can network and gain this experience through acquaintances or business connections, then it is a bonus. Remember, you can do fun stuff and favours for friends and family to begin with. All experience is good experience, and this allows you to get a feel for the industry.

Finally, to learn a foreign language and become a translator, you are going to be at an advantage the more languages and services you can offer. For instance, if you can translate from English to Spanish, if you add Italian you have another string to your bow, so to speak.

From the many translators that speak so highly of their profession, it is clear, that a career in this industry can be both enjoyable and rewarding.

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