What does a translator do?
Translators relay ideas and concepts between languages by translating written words. They translate written materials from one language to another. Their assignments may vary in subject matter, writing style, and length depending on the type of text. To get a solid understanding of the written material, translators first read it thoroughly multiple times. Then they recognize and look up any words that are unfamiliar. If the translator is unclear about anything in the text he or she will conduct research on the subject matter. They often consult with the person who wrote the text or the issuing agency to go over any unfamiliar or unclear words, ideas, or acronyms.
Translators do more than replace a word with another in a different language. They must change the ideas and sentences to mimic the same flow as the original text, but makes sense to the target audience. Translators have to recognize cultural references that may have to be explained including slang, colloquialisms, and other terms that will not translate in a literal sense. The translated text usually undergoes many revisions before the final document is presented.
What kind of training does a translator need?
Translators must be fluent in at least two languages and typically need a bachelor degree in translation, a language, or other field. Educational programs in translation are available at many colleges and universities and through training programs, courses, and conferences. Specialized training in how to do the work is also typically required.
Translators can take many different tests to demonstrate their proficiency in as a translator. The American Translators Association offers certification in over 24 language combinations.
What are the prospects for a career as a translator?
Employment of translators is projected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 24% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Growth will stem from the increasing number of people speaking foreign languages and the increased demand for translation in homeland security and health care settings.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for translators with specialties. Job opportunities will be good in urban intercity areas and rural areas.
How much do translators make?
As of August 2009, the middle 50% of translators earned annual salaries between $38,334 and $52,015. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $58,735 (2).
A career as a translator is a great choice for people who have a genuine interest in translating different languages. Translators need a thorough understanding of the language and extensive knowledge about the intended subject or audience. Great communication, excellent writing skills, sensitivity, analytical skills, and researching skills are desirable characteristics.