gem Translations
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!