Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an interpreter or translator? It’s more than just having bilingual skills and a dictionary, but that certainly helps! Check out this comprehensive guide on how to become an interpreter and how to become a translator, so you can learn about the languages you need to know, the experience you need to have, and even which practice to perform if you want to follow this career path.
What Do Interpreters And Translators Do?
Suppose you want to become an interpreter or translator. In that case, your first step is getting to know a bit about what these professionals do. While they are often grouped as interpreters and translators, there are quite a few differences between them.
For example, interpreters work with individuals who speak different languages and translate for them verbally during various interactions. On the other hand, translators handle written material and ensure it stays true to its original meaning in another language when translated into English. They use their bilingual knowledge of two languages to create new text in one language from existing text written in another language.
Basics Of Interpreters And Translators
Although there are a lot of careers in which you can use a foreign language, interpreting and translating are two of them that require specialized knowledge. While people often use these terms interchangeably, they aren’t synonymous by any means.
To be an interpreter is to convert one language into another while conveying messages and ideas between speakers.
The translation goes deeper; it’s about taking words from one language and putting them into another such that it still makes sense.
Both fields require good listening skills and strong communication abilities to make your meaning clear to everyone present during a session. Knowing how to think on your feet is also crucial, as you might find yourself having to deliver messages on subjects about which you have limited knowledge or experience.
How To Become An Interpreter
Several factors help to make an effective interpreter. In addition to possessing excellent language skills, a good interpreter must be attentive and possess both verbal and non-verbal communication skills. They must also have an extensive vocabulary and an in-depth knowledge of various subject areas. A strong understanding of medical terminology is important if you’re interested in becoming a medical interpreter. Moreover, they should have excellent written and oral communication skills with a high customer service orientation.
How To Become A Translator
To become a translator, there are several things you need to master. First and foremost, you’ll need to be fluent in both languages involved in your translating jobs. The second most important skill is understanding sentence structure to translate from one language to another language accurately. Finally, it’s beneficial if you know literature and culture in either language that you’re translating between.
How Can I Find Employment As A Translator Or Interpreter?
The Internet can be a good source of work. Finding work as a translator or interpreter is not that hard if you know where to look. Online job sites like Glassdoor, Indeed and Simply Hired post available positions frequently. Even applying directly to a company or government agency is an option. Most larger organizations like One Step Translation (OST) have staff who oversees translation services and interpreters. If you choose to do so, be sure to include both your resume and a cover letter in which you explain why you’re qualified for the position. State how long you’ve been doing it, list any special skills and certifications that would apply. Also, cite your experience with different documents (legal, medical and academic) and include samples of previous work.
Is It Possible for A Non-Native Speaker of a Language to Learn It Fast Enough To Work as A Professional?
Language fluency is not an innate skill. There are many cases where non-native speakers of a language have learned to speak it at the nearly native level in a relatively short amount of time. Research suggests that adults can reach native-like fluency in a language within around two years if they dedicate ten hours per week to learning.
On top of that, you don’t even need to attend classes or move abroad to achieve fluency. Online resources are great tools for quickly picking up conversational skills in another language and professional translation work later on down the line. The important thing is getting started!
Many people are fascinated with foreign languages and want to become interpreters or translators. If you want to know how to become an interpreter or translator, it is not as easy as it seems. Many aspiring candidates don’t get very far because they take on too much.
Becoming a translator requires professional education, something you cannot do yourself. You need to go to school and complete a four-year degree at minimum, or even better. It would help if you got your master’s degree to make it happen in life. On top of your education, you will need some experience translating for a few years before you can work for yourself translating documents for businesses and individuals around town.