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How to become a Translator

avg. starting salary

Tu détestes les lundis parce que tu détestes ton emploi. Tu devrais être un Traducteur… Translators convert text from one language into another. It’s their job to ensure that the resulting material makes sense linguistically, whilst also keeping the messages and meanings of the original text intact. Translators deal almost exclusively with written information, with any verbal translation being the job of an Interpreter. They may also choose to specialise in a certain subject matter, or work in more of a general capacity. Typical duties for a Translator could include:
  • Converting text from the original (‘source language’) to the new language (‘target language’)
  • Researching subject matter and reading around the topic to ensure most pertinent words are chosen
  • Maintaining a consistent style to suit the tone of the original text
  • Proofreading, redrafting and editing all material to meet deadlines
  • Revising translations made by other people, or which may have been formed digitally

To become a Translator, you’ll need to know your languages inside out. That doesn’t just mean being fluent in your new language; it also means having an excellent knowledge of the original. Even if the original language is your mother tongue. You will also need an excellent knowledge of grammar and literary conventions, as well as excellent proofreading skills. A bilingual sense of humour will be helpful, but not essential for this role. Other key skills include:
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Self-motivation
  • Attention to detail
  • IT skills
  • A good knowledge of the culture of your chosen nation/s

"I studied Japanese at University, and absolutely loved it. After a year out travelling, I ended up working in Tokyo and got into translation from there. I work translating graphic novels into English, and it’s pretty much my dream job. Deciphering all the different colloquialisms and translating them into English equivalents can be tricky, but putting it all together and getting a finished story out of my work feels great."

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