Learning new languages is not only an exciting process but also a great opportunity to improve your professional skills and start thinking about your future career. The ability to speak foreign languages can help you gain the profession of your dreams. If you decide to become a translator one day, there are some important points you might want to consider first. Being a translator has some of the downsides as any other job does and the earlier you find out about them the better.
“I speak therefore I translate” fallacy.
There’s a common misconception that all you have to do to be a good translator is to be fluent in the target language. It’s not true. Translation is an art and requires you to constantly improve your skills. It’s a very complicated task to be able to express the idea of an author without altering the meaning of a text and trying to make it better than you think it is. It’s the words you choose and the tone you use that matter.
It will always be someone else’s work.
This idea can seem a bit frustrating. You spend hours or even months on your translation and all the fame goes to someone else. Is it fair? The thing is, no matter how hard it may be for you to accept it, but the text you’ve translated will always belong to someone else. You have no right to alter it or contribute something to it. Your task is to communicate exactly the same idea and not to add your personal thoughts to it. It’s not your text.
The work of a translator is often underestimated.
This point is a logical continuation of the previous one. Translators are underestimated because people don’t fully understand their importance and the hard work that stands behind a brilliantly translated text. People tend to think that it’s all about lying on a sofa, typing on a laptop, and looking into a dictionary from time to time.
Finding clients and marketing yourself is not easy.
Being a beginner translator will make you realize how challenging finding clients may be. Nobody wants to hire a translator with no experience. There are no guarantees of getting the job done properly and on time. You have to survive through this tough period by gradually proving your professional skills. At the beginning of your career, you won’t get paid a lot. There’s also the problem of tremendous competition and you’ll have to work very hard to stand out.
Be prepared to constantly use your research skills.
You never know what text you’ll be asked to translate tomorrow. It can be a legal document, a short story, a scientific article, etc. There might be something unfamiliar and you’ll need to explore this subject to make an accurate translation. If you are not very good at conducting a fast and effective research on a given topic, you’d better improve your skills before taking the decision to pursue a career of a professional translator.
Knowing several languages is a great asset. The most important thing is to find the best way to use it for your future success. If you think that becoming a professional translator is the best choice for you, there will be a lot of joyful and exciting moments in your life. Now that you’ve found out about the disadvantages of being a translator, it’s time to talk about more pleasant things.
You’ll never get bored.
It may seem that being a translator is not something too exciting as all you do is just sit and translate one sentence after another. There’s much more to it. The variety of texts you can work with and the endless number of subjects to choose from will never make you yawn at a workplace. If you feel that you’ve reached the peak of professionalism translating legal documents and can’t do it anymore, start discovering the world of literary translations, for example. This profession gives you a lot of opportunities for your skills improvement and keeps you in shape.
You’ll communicate with people from around the globe.
A career of a translator makes it possible for you to interact with different people and their cultures without even leaving your house. You get a chance to discover something new and socialize without taking too much of an effort. That is an especially valuable factor for those who consider themselves to be introverted and don’t enjoy meeting people in person.
You’ll get a decent salary.
A skilled professional translator can get a good compensation. Of course, you’ll have to work very hard first to prove your qualifications. There’s a high request for the translators of rare or difficult languages such as Korean, Japanese, Arabic, etc. now and the salaries can be very attractive.
You’ll have a flexible schedule and the possibility to start your own business.
You can be in charge of your working schedule and translate as much as you want. To be your own boss, you need to possess excellent time-management skills and good self-discipline. At some point, you’ll be able to start your own business by opening a translation agency. That would be a logical development of your career.
You Might Get a Chance to Work with the Most Translated Modern Authors
Not only authors get to be famous. There are translators who have shown their masterful skills. Modern authors prefer to cooperate with the same professionals to translate their book for the international public. If you’ve ever wondered which authors got to be the most translated ones in the past, here’s an infographic for you: