Are you considering translating as a profession? Project managers will also call you ‘vendor’, ‘linguist’, ‘resource’, and give you tasks more varied than just translation. Here are the reasons I enjoy this job.
- You’ll be writing every day. Some of us enjoy that. Just writing. Keeping your language skills at a good level. The challenge of finding the best wording.
- You’ll be clicking buttons and typing. I can’t be the only one to enjoy that, right? And some of the translation software I have used still fascinates me. With those translation software tools and their translation memory files, you can store entire sentences you have translated before, and if they appear again in a new text, the software will bring them up for you. If they have been modified, you will be shown just which words were changed. Sit back and watch your translation software automatically fill in translations that it remembers… until it gets to a passage that’s new and requires your brain work. You are partners with this machine.
- Your direct interactions with customers will be limited, since you aren’t at front desk. You may occasionally have to come out to give advice or listen to a client’s instructions, however. Not to put down client-facing jobs, but if you’re an introvert, you won’t be bored as a translator.
- Depending on the nature of your work, you may also get to do interpretation and simultaneous translation. I, the introvert, thoroughly enjoy going out and interpreting. The satisfaction with that sort of work is immediate: you see the other person’s face light up the moment you help them understand what their interlocutor is saying.
- You’ll broaden your horizons. Suddenly you will know things about medicine, technology, law or any other area your translations specialise in. You will be able to identify devices and tools both in your language and in the foreign language(s) you work with. You’ll find things out before others – you’ll know about new inventions if you translate patents, about the educational system of other countries if you do diplomas and certificates, about big business deals if you’re in the area of finance Various documents will bring you all sorts of personal stories from all over the world. You’ll have to keep them all a secret, of course, because you’ll be bound by a confidentiality agreement, plus you’re not a gossip. But that doesn’t take the thrill out of your everyday work.
- Your studies will not go in vain. High school, university, courses, certificates… Life is short; we don’t want any of our time or efforts to go in vain. Start using the foreign language you’ve studied… before you start forgetting it.
- You will know what you’ll be doing at work. Some other jobs tend to have very flexible tasks. Yours will gravitate around translating, editing, proofreading, adapting text, assessing other people’s translations. There’s always new types of linguistic tasks and new software to use, but you definitely will not be your company’s Jack of all trades (and master of none).
If you are qualified enough and you’re looking for a place to start, here’s something I learned: translating will not be the dream job right away. You won’t sit at home with your coffee and cookies and work on your laptop at whatever time of day you want. You’ll probably have to start as an in-house translator and get trained. After you’re gained experience and people’s trust, you can think about going freelance.
Lora Dobreva, Editor and translator at Mitra Translations