Aren’t we all looking to do something interesting at work? No one likes to sit idle and think about the next step. We all are humans who want to be invested into our careers by doing what we love. A career-oriented person who is looking out for options can consider translation to be his bread and butter. But how? Translation is a job that can be done only if a person has a calling towards it. The simple act of wanting to translate something requires you to learn two or more languages. Learning the language is one, but effectively utilizing the same in order to make a career out of it, is a whole different ball game. There are many approaches to this, and it purely depends on the curiosity of a person.
Translation Services definitely follows a very traditional path in order to maintain the financial benefits and make your work more amicable and interesting. It is never too late to switch jobs and want to become a translator if you are extremely invested in the learning process. Becoming a successful translator not only is an art to imbibe but is also a strong career option to take up for your future. You can join yourself into a translation learning course that can assist you in figuring out various options.
But before you dive into this, get to know how to become a qualified translator!
Basics are your key:
Working on the foundation of translation can help you access the role you might play. It is not only about knowing 2 or more languages and loving it or about being able to translate what you read to your friend in the language of your choice. All this comes down to strengthening your basics. It is about quality translation with the right amount of rudimentary data. The world assumes that knowing just one foreign language is not enough to be a translator.
Well, let us tell you a story: Did you know that Corinne Mckay, who is a French to English translator was demeaned and disregarded that she could not be a translator because she knew only one foreign language? Obviously, she was a strong-willed person who did not give up. She went ahead and made a career and became an ATA certified translator. She eventually became prominent and highly successful in her field. In fact, she is the president of American Translators Association? So, if you are a person who speaks your mother tongue and one foreign language, you can definitely make a career in the translation business. But it all comes down to passion, getting your foot right in the field and being trained using professional help.
You need to work on both your source and target languages, gain vast amount of experience, practice and show perseverance before you call yourself a decent translator.
Cultural awareness is a must:
The foremost responsibility of being a translator is knowing different cultures and being connected to them whether you believe it or not. You will eventually find this job very stressful and challenging if you are not culturally updated and aware. Lacking cultural knowledge can be a huge downside as dealing with languages are more about guzzling individual cultures and beliefs. Since they go hand in hand, creating your path to artistic identity while keeping in mind the context can be simple. The benefit is higher if you have lived in the same country as your second language. To be precise, words in Japanese can easily offend people if not used perfectly. A few phrases or words in French can be spelt the same but mean quite differently in American English. The word Comforter in French is a baby pacifier, while it means a quilt in English.
So, knowing your language is not just it. You need to be aware of the words, phrases, cultural identities and differences while translating.
Read, Write, Translate, Repeat
If you find this procedure to be a tad bit of a pain, then clearly this isn’t the right career option for you. Being a translator also largely depends on the knowledge you gather on various subject matters. Reading and writing is quite an essential part of translation. Yet, the only good thing is that the topics are already written in one language and all you have to do is simply translate it into another. But on the flip side, you must think about the tone of the content that has been presented to you. You cannot change the way it is written; you have to be sincere to the document provided and make sure that none of the essence is lost while translating it to the target language.
It isn’t an easy feat if you are bored about equipping yourself with more and more information. You can be posed with various kinds of translation types and can be asked to translate technical content. Technical translation is extremely difficult if you do not know the actual intent of the document. It is always better to learn more, than to lose out on opportunities to work and earn.
Brand and Market Yourself
Once you are decently equipped with how the translation industry works, you are now eligible to market yourself. Questions on how to become a translator would by now be satiated as you would have gained some experience. Now it is time to market yourself out to the world. It is quite important how you create your brand identity and mainly to whom you create the same. To start off, pitch your talent with a few samples to industries that relate to both creative and managerial sectors. You can start off with advertising companies, market research, information technology industry, Corporate companies, and even language agencies. When you start small, you will gain experience and much needed real time practice. While pitching your work, don’t forget to have a backup of all your samples to show the recruiters.
For example, create a website with your details, policies, transparent pricing system and most importantly, your samples that can be accessed by the clients. Once they see the kind of professional work that you offer, it will be easy for them to choose you based on your proficiency and their expectations. You can also start a blog; join online language portals, active communities, etc.
Be prepared with your rates
The best way to showcase that you are a professional translator is when you can tell the difference between quoting rates yourself Vs. asking the client for their rates. There is a thin line here. When you quote your rates, it shows that you are extremely confident and that you have been doing this on a regular basis. If you show them your weakness of the project being your baby step, then they might question your capability and accuracy in translation. It is always good to keep your rates transparent, ready and fixed.
You must also be sure of showing your accreditation and qualifications to your clients. Having a degree in the linguistic field or a training from a professional college can be an added advantage. For example: If you are in the US and have started your career, you might want to consider becoming a member of the ATA. This will be a huge moral and professional boost on your resume.
Specialize to eliminate competition
The most important way of eliminating competition is to specialize in a particular kind of translation. It could literally be anything – the field that you are interested in, the education you have had, etc. It is a general belief that you might lose business if you specialize in a particular field, but that’s not entirely true. Though this looks like a narrowed down business for you, having a hands-on experience on a particular industry can help you gain benefits for your future. The fact that your target market is much more narrowed down can accomplice as a huge benefit in eliminating multiple translator choices that the client may have. You can be positioned in a faster manner and the focus of your client can be to just hire you, who knows everything about that particular market.
The most important thing is for you to find the sweet spot that alternates between enjoying translation and also delivering what your client asks for. If you are the ‘go-to translator’ for your client, then you need not target a huge market to find a suitable project.
Ignore the naysayers
There are at least 4 people who will tell you on your face that the translation business has its downsides, it isn’t doing great as an industry, it cannot be a long-term career and so on. Firstly, unfriend them and stay away from such naysayers. If that’s how it is, then why do translators in this era make a decent economic background for themselves? We agree that translation is a niche industry to have an interest in. But that certainly doesn’t mean that there are not enough jobs in the field. If you have your mind set on the unique selling point, it is quite easy for you to survive in the business. Don’t let the negative vibes bite you – simply step out of your comfort zone and get started as soon as possible. If this is your true calling, then without a doubt, you can make an amazing career out of translation.
A lot of hard work, creative inquisitiveness and a smile can take you a long way.