Careers in the Translation Industry

Careers in the Translation Industry

Foreign language skills are a big selling point when it comes to finding a job. Although there have been some technological advances in automated translation, the outlook remains positive for those wishing to pursue a career as a translator or interpreter.

According to, translating and interpreting is forecast to be one of the 50 best careers for 2011, and they estimate that by 2018 employment in this field will increase by 22%.
Starting out

To become established in the industry you need to have a suitable qualification and, most importantly, relevant experience. Many translators start off with voluntary work, translating for charities or institutions. This can be a great way to build up your CV and gain experience in different subject areas.
Alongside the qualification and experience, French translator Phillipe Galinier gives the following advice (in a video presentation you can watch here):
  • Keep your CV up to date
  • Become a CAT tool expert
  • Be flexible
  • Choose your rates carefully
As well as translation, interpreting and project management are both important roles within the industry. Interpreting offers the chance to travel for work and can be very well paid. Project management positions involve liaising between clients and suppliers to ensure jobs are carried out without a hitch.
Which Languages?

Which sectors?

According to CILT (The National Centre for Languages) finance, IT and legal services are the three business sectors from which providers currently have the most work. It is predicted that future demand will remain the same in these three sectors, whereas demand is likely to increase in both the tourism sector and the public service sector.You should work out what your specialism is and really stick to it and hone it. In doing this you will develop a reputation in that field, and if it is something you are interested in then you won’t lose interest or motivation quickly.

Most freelance translators and interpreters are registered with one or more agencies. This provides a platform for employment and over time can develop into a solid and recurrent business relationship. Working in a translation agency can give a good insight into the industry and many offer internships.

Technology currently represents one of the largest opportunities to the Translator. Companies trying to get top spot on Google are creating lots of content and attempting to do multilingual SEO effectively means that online content is proliferating rapidly. The internet is creating huge requirements for translation on a larger scale, and needed faster than ever before.
Post-editing machine translations allows translators to get more work done faster, and if managed well the quality output can be useable where the translation is just for information purposes. Add to this that the introduction of the iPhone has led to an explosion in the number of mobile devices used, and the production of associated apps, which often need translations (see graphic below).

Written by Matt Train
Matt Train
Matt Train is Operations Director at TranslateMedia - responsible for working with clients and system integration partners to advise, plan, and deliver multilingual digital content for international brands and content publishers.

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