Becoming a qualified translator is usually
more involved than people first think. It is not enough
to have a languages degree or to be bi-lingual.
Qualified translators often study for
as long as General Practitioners do in the UK (5-7 years)
in order to enter their profession. Working as a translator
requires a unique skill set. You need an in-depth knowledge
of the language(s) you translate from and the ability to
write fluidly in various styles and registers in your first
language (also known as your ‘language of habitual use.’)
You must be familiar with the culture of the country
whose language you translate from. Studying the country’s literature and media can help achieve this though the best way is to live there for a while. That’s the fun part!
On the more serious side, translators must adhere to the
principles of impartiality and confidentiality. Translations
should always be faithful renderings of original texts whether or not
the opinions or facts expressed in them are to your liking. Confidentiality must
be maintained at all times or your reputation as a professional
in the field will suffer.
For translators it is also vital to be IT literate. It is
now a given that every translator has excellent keyboard skills
and a reliable PC with an internet connection. Typewritten
faxes are a thing of the past.
The market for translation software is huge and there are
many new tools available which translators increasingly have
to be able to use if they are to undertake certain types of work. There is still
resistance to such software among some established translators but
for those with the enthusiasm and commitment, these programs can bring tangible
benefits in terms of reduced workload and quality output.
Recruitment criteria can vary, but many agencies or companies
looking for qualified translators require candidates
to be educated to degree level, to have a Diploma or MSc in Translation
and/or Interpreting and a minimum of
3 years translation experience.
Translation is a rewarding and fascinating
profession. If you’re still interested after taking
on board some of these comments then please visit the resources
page for further reading. GOOD LUCK!