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Career As Interpreters And Translators

WHO IS AN INTERPRETER AND A TRANSLATOR?

Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work in written language.

There are two main types of translators: translators who work with anything written or published, and interpreters, who listen and translate a voice as it is being spoken. Translators may work on software, internet related materials or a variety of documents, including legal, business-related, technical, or “literary” texts, and are generally paid by the word. Interpreters are normally paid by the hour at business conferences, courts or government proceedings. Simultaneous interpreting is probably the most difficult discipline of translation as the interpreters need to be highly trained and fluent to interpret the voice of the speaker in real time. While interpreters can find their profession very challenging, it can also be quite tedious churning through word after word. Translators, on the other hand, have significant advantages in that they have time to polish their final product revising their translations with dictionaries, glossaries and other reference tools. A variety of working environments exist for translators such as various translation environments for software translation and website translation that include translation memories and glossaries. It can often take significant training for the translator to get fully up to speed with these tools.

WHAT DOES A TRANSLATOR OR INTERPRETER DO?

Interpreters and translators typically do the following:

Convert concepts in the source language to equivalent concepts in the target language

Compile information, such as technical terms used in legal settings, into glossaries and terminology databases to be used in translations

Speak, read, and write fluently in at least two languages, including English and one or more others

Manage work schedules to meet deadlines

Render spoken messages accurately, quickly, and clearly

Follow ethical codes that protect the confidentiality of information.

Translate messages simultaneously or consecutively into specified languages, orally or by using hand signs, maintaining message content, context, and style as much as possible.

Listen to speakers' statements to determine meanings and to prepare translations, using electronic listening systems as necessary.

Compile terminology and information to be used in translations, including technical terms such as those for legal or medical material.

Read written materials, such as legal documents, scientific works, or news reports, and rewrite material into specified languages.

Identify and resolve conflicts related to the meanings of words, concepts, practices, or behaviors.

Check translations of technical terms and terminology to ensure that they are accurate and remain consistent throughout translation revisions.

Refer to reference materials, such as dictionaries, lexicons, encyclopedias, and computerized terminology banks, as needed to ensure translation accuracy.

Train and supervise other translators or interpreters.

Educate students, parents, staff, and teachers about the roles and functions of educational interpreters.

Compile information on content and context of information to be translated and on intended audience.

Proofread, edit, and revise translated materials.

Check original texts or confer with authors to ensure that translations retain the content, meaning, and feeling of the original material.

Discuss translation requirements with clients and determine any fees to be charged for services provided.

Adapt translations to students' cognitive and grade levels, collaborating with educational team members as necessary.

Adapt software and accompanying technical documents to another language and culture.

TYPES OF TRANSLATORS AND INTERPRETERS:

Interpreters convert information from one spoken language into another—or, in the case of sign language interpreters, between spoken language and sign language. The goal of an interpreter is to have people hear the interpretation as if it were the original. Interpreters must usually be fluent speakers or signers of both languages, because they communicate back and forth among the people who do not share a common language.

There are three common modes of interpreting: simultaneous, consecutive, and whispered.

Simultaneous. Simultaneous interpreters cannot begin interpreting until the general meaning of the sentence is understood. Simultaneous interpreting requires interpreters to listen or watch and speak or sign at the same time someone is speaking or signing. It requires a high level of concentration. For that reason, simultaneous interpreters usually work in pairs, each interpreting for about 20 to 30 minutes and then resting while the other interprets. Simultaneous interpreters are often familiar with the subject matter, so they can anticipate the end of the speaker’s sentences.

Consecutive. Consecutive interpreting begins only after the speaker has said or signed a group of words or sentences. Consecutive interpreters may take notes while listening to or watching the speakers before presenting their interpretation. Note taking is an essential part of consecutive interpreting.

Whispered. Interpreters in this mode sit very close to the listeners and provide a simultaneous interpretation in a quiet voice. At least two interpreters take turns.

Translators convert written materials from one language into another language. The goal of a translator is to have people read the translation as if it were the original. To do that, the translator must be able to write sentences that maintain or duplicate the structure and style of the original meaning while keeping the ideas and facts of the original meaning accurate. Translators must properly transmit any cultural references, including slang, and other expressions that do not translate literally.

Nearly all translation work is done on a computer, and translators receive and submit most assignments electronically. Translations often go through several revisions before becoming final.

Translation is usually done with computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, in which a computer database of previously translated sentences or segments (Translation Memories) may be used to translate new text. CAT tools allow translators to work more efficiently and consistently.

Interpretation and translation services are needed in virtually all subject areas.

The following are examples of types of interpreters and translators:

Conference interpreters work at conferences that have non-English-speaking attendees. The work is often in the field of international business or diplomacy, although conference interpreters can interpret for any organization that works with speakers of foreign languages. Employers generally prefer more experienced interpreters who have the ability to convert from at least two languages into one native language.

Conference interpreters often do simultaneous interpreting. Attendees at a conference who do not understand the language of the speaker wear earphones tuned to the interpreter who speaks the language they want to hear. The interpreter listens to a bit of the speaker’s talk and then translates that bit. Simultaneous interpreters must be able to listen to the next bit the speaker is saying while converting the previous bit of what the speaker said.

Guide or escort interpreters accompany either visitors abroad or foreign visitors in the country to ensure that they are able to communicate during their stay. These specialists interpret in both formal and informal settings. Frequent travel is common for these workers.

Health or medical interpreters and translators typically work in healthcare settings and help patients communicate with doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical staff. Interpreters and translators must have knowledge of medical terminology and the common words for medical terms in both languages.

Health or medical interpreters must be sensitive to patients’ personal circumstances, as well as maintain confidentiality and ethics.

Health or medical translators often do not have the same level of personal interaction with patients and providers that interpreters do. They primarily convert information brochures, materials that patients must read and sign, website information, and patient records from one language into another language. Interpretation may be provided remotely, by video relay, or over-the-phone.

Legal or judiciary interpreters and translators typically work in courts and other legal settings. At hearings, arraignments, depositions, and trials, they help people who have limited English proficiency. As a result, they must understand legal terminology. Many court interpreters must sometimes read documents aloud in a language other than that in which they were written, a task known as sight translation. Both interpreters and translators must have a strong understanding of legal terminology in both languages.

Literary translators convert journal articles, books, poetry, and short stories from one language into another language. They work to keep the tone, style, and meaning of the author’s work. Whenever possible, literary translators work closely with authors to capture the intended meaning as well as the literary and cultural characteristics of the original.

Localizers adapt text for a product or service from one language into another, a task known as localization. Localization specialists work to make it appear as though the product originated in the country where it will be sold. They must know not only both languages, but they must also understand the technical information they are working with and the culture of the people who will be using the product or service.

Localization may include adapting websites, software, marketing materials, user documentation, and various other publications. Usually, these adaptations are related to products and services in manufacturing and other business sectors.

Localization may be helped by computer-assisted translation, in which a computer program develops an early draft of a translation for the localization translator. Also, translators may use computers to compare previous translations with specific terminology.

Sign language interpreters facilitate communication between people who are deaf or hard of hearing and people who can hear. Sign language interpreters must be fluent in the native language of the individual with disability and in Indian Sign Language (ISL), which combines signing, finger spelling, and specific body language. ISL is a separate, standardized language and has its own grammar.

Some people who are deaf or hard of hearing lip-read instead of signing in ISL. Interpreters who work with these people do “oral interpretation”, mouthing speech silently and very carefully so that their lips can be read easily. They also may use facial expressions and gestures to help the lip-reader understand.

Other modes of interpreting include cued speech, which uses hand shapes placed near the mouth to give lip-readers more information; signing exact English; and tactile signing, which is interpreting for people who are blind as well as deaf by making hand signs into the deaf–blind person’s hand.

Trilingual interpreters facilitate communication among an English speaker, a speaker of another language, and an ISL user. They must have the versatility, adaptability, and cultural understanding necessary to interpret in all three languages without changing the fundamental meaning of the message.

WHAT IS THE WORK ENVIRONMENT AND SCHEDULE OF A TRANSLATOR AND INTERPRETER LIKE?

Interpreters work in settings such as schools, hospitals, courtrooms, and conference centers. They must sometimes travel to conferences. Simultaneous interpreting can be stressful, as the interpreter must keep up with the speaker who may not know to slow down when an interpreter is present.

Translators typically work from home. They receive and submit their work electronically. They must sometimes deal with the pressure of deadlines and tight schedules.

Self-employed interpreters and translators often have variable work schedules, which may include periods of limited work and periods of long, irregular hours. Most interpreters and translators work full time during regular business hours. Working conditions and pay are generally excellent, which can rise significantly with experience and specialization. Self-employed interpreters usually charge per hour or half-day or full-day rates.

KNOWLEDGE AREAS THAT NEED TO BE ACQUIRED:

English LanguageKnowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Foreign/Native LanguageKnowledge of the structure and content of a foreign/native (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.

Customer and Personal ServiceKnowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Computers and ElectronicsKnowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

ClericalKnowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.

SKILLS

Active ListeningGiving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Reading ComprehensionUnderstanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

MonitoringMonitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

CoordinationAdjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Instructing Teaching others how to do something.

Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Learning StrategiesSelecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.

Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Time ManagementManaging one's own time and the time of others.

Business skills- Self-employed and freelance interpreters and translators need general business skills to manage their finances and careers successfully. They must set prices for their work, bill customers, keep records, and market their services to build their client base.

Concentration- Interpreters and translators must have the ability to concentrate while others are speaking or moving around them.

Cultural sensitivity-Interpreters and translators must be sensitive to cultural differences and expectations among the people whom they are helping to communicate. Successful interpreting and translating is not only a matter of knowing the words in different languages but also of understanding people’s cultures.

Dexterity - Sign language interpreters must be able to make quick and coordinated hand, finger, and arm movements when interpreting.

TECHNOLOGY SKILLS:

  • Database user interface and query software — Microsoft Access

  • Dictionary software — Electronic dictionaries

  • Electronic mail software — Microsoft Outlook

  • Foreign language software — AceTools.biz Ace Translator; Adapt It; Smart Link Corporation ImTranslator; Stormdance CatsCradle

  • Internet browser software — Web browser software

  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office

  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint

  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel

  • Web platform development software — Extensible Hypertext Markup Language XHTML; Hypertext markup language HTML

  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word

ABILITIES:

  1. Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

  2. Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

  3. Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

  4. Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.

  5. Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

  6. Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

  7. Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

  8. Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

  9. Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

  10. Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.

  11. Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.

  12. Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

  13. Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

  14. Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

  15. Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

  16. Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

  17. Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.

  18. Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.

  19. Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).

WORK ACTIVITIES:

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Performing for or Working Directly with the PublicPerforming for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Communicating with Persons Outside OrganizationCommunicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or SubordinatesProviding information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Thinking CreativelyDeveloping, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and EventsIdentifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.

a Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Scheduling Work and ActivitiesScheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Coaching and Developing Others Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

DETAILED WORK ACTIVITIES

Translate information for others.

Compile technical information or documentation.

Edit written materials.

Verify accuracy of data.

Conduct research to inform art, designs, or other work.

Train others on work processes.

Confer with clients to determine needs.

Provide educational information to the public.


PERSONALITY:

Work Styles-

Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.

Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values-

Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Interests-

Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Interpreters and translators typically have an interest in the Creating and Helping interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Creating interest area indicates a focus on being original and imaginative, and working with artistic media. The Helping interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counseling, or teaching other people

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

There are 3 types of courses to pursue for a career in foreign languages, i.e.

Certificate course

Diploma course

Degree course

Some institutes offer both basic and advanced level courses such as postgraduate and PhD, some of them extending up to 5-6 years.

The eligibility for certificate and degree courses is 10+2. In most of the places eligibility for the diploma course is a certificate course in that language. Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi is a major institution conducting language courses.

For Japanese, there is a language proficiency test conducted by the Mombusho Scholars Association of India or Mosai and Alliance Françoise is the centre for conducting various French tests like the TEF or Test of Evaluation of French (required by the Canadian High Commission) awarded by the CCIP (Chambre de Commerce et d`Industrie de Paris), TCF (Test de Connaissance du Français) and TEF (Test d'Evaluation du Français).

The DELF /DALF tests and diplomas delivered by the French Ministry of Education are other exams conducted by the French Government. These days there are many websites which assist in learning a new language. Max Mueller Bhawan conducts classes to teach German as does Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi.

Top Colleges/Institutes for Translator/Interpreter Courses


Language reflects culture & customs and is influenced and shaped by it. The professional language experts must also use the knowledge of the two or more cultures. Translation and interpreting without deep cultural context will be flawed, inaccurate, and dangerous.

PAYSCALE

The average salary for an Interpreter or Translator in India is 4,66,853 Rupees.


Hourly Rate 0 - 4,000 Rupees

Bonus 0 - 25,000 Rupees

Total Pay 27,000 - 10,00,000 Rupees

For a full-time translator, Salaries could range from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 1 lakh a month. You can also work as a freelance, and one can earn Rs. 2,000-4,000 a day in translation work. Long Stretches of no employment as a Freelance is also very common and one of the pitfalls and disadvantages as a freelancer.

The demand for foreign language jobs in India as a translator and interpreter is always high. If you have the experience, referral and a solid résumé in the in-demand languages, or where competition is very less like Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, etc., you will be paid much more than an average interpreter and translator.

Since German, French, and Spanish are the two most spoken foreign languages. Thus, the demand for French, German, or Spanish translator and interpreter is high. There is also an enormous market potential for less taught languages, such as Italian, Portuguese, Persian, Bahasa, etc. Choosing which foreign language to learn is of immense importance.

JOB OUTLOOK

As a translator, you will convert the written text from one language into the target language by writing, analyzing, and editing. With experience, learning, and specialization, Skilled translators always find their services in high demand, and they are paid quite well.

Due to language complexity, Machine Translation can and will never replace human translators. In different languages, there are words with dual meanings, and also, what works in one tongue does not necessarily work in another. The Machine can’t relate words to context. The translation is something when quality matters more than anything. Human translators and interpreters are much more reliable and effective, and the ‘personal’ aspect will always beat technology.

While one can become a translator in 3-4 years, however, to become successful and specialist in various fields like Financial, Legal, Medical, Technical, and Literary, it will take several years.

Those students who are more interested in literature can undertake translations of literary works from foreign languages. There is also a growing market for the conversion of self-help, science, research, and management books. There are also jobs in the publishing industry.

Many companies require translators for their business communication, live events, meetings, and conferences, or documentation in their essential work. There are also many translation service providers which employ people having good knowledge of a foreign language. Due to substantial monetary benefits, rising scope, and flexible working hours, the translator is one of the most sought-after career options in the field of languages.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

As an interpreter, you ’ll need to have a good understanding of what is communicated and be able to make clear and accurate verbal articulations/expressions. Additionally, manners, gestures, and etiquette also play a vital role. The job of an interpreter can be of varied types. They are engaged in real-time interpretation, which is used for meetings, video-conferencing, teleconferencing, speeches, etc. Besides, there is liaison interpreting or consecutive interpreting. In this situation, when a speaker after conveying his/her message stops for a while. And then, the interpreter interprets the spoken speech to the audience in the corresponding language. To become a successful interpreter, one needs to be fluent speakers or signers of both languages. It is because they communicate back and forth among the people who do not share a common language. Thanks to new technology like video-conferencing and teleconferencing, it is now possible to hold meetings and conferences between employees from India and their counterparts in other countries without having to actually travel between the two countries. There are so many opportunities for interpreters in India these days, and thanks to the increasing entry of foreign firms and large-scale projects outsourcing to Indian companies by their European, Asian, and American counterparts. Acting as an interpreter can be very lucrative, depending on how experienced you are. You can also work for Media houses, Tourist centers, sports clubs or any international firm, export house and so on. The career prospect is just endless.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


What is some good advice for Students who would want to pursue this field?

  1. If you are still studying and are interested in pursuing a career as a translator, start early. Identify the language/s that interest you, and start learning them while you are still studying.

  2. After you decide upon the language you wish to learn, explore whether institutes where these languages are taught are available in your city. For example, Max Mueller Bhavan offers courses in German, and Alliance Francaise is the one-stop location for French. Even Delhi University too offers a list of International Languages such as French, German, Arabic etc.

Although, there are no established institutes for learning Chinese or Japanese, with the popularity of these languages growing, several institutes have mushroomed recently. Searching the Internet for these institutes in your city may yield good results.

  1. Practice your written skills in the language as much as possible. While it is important to be able to speak a language well, writing skills are equally imperative in pursuing a career in translation.

  2. Pay special attention to the field you intend to specialize in. For example, if you wish to enter the IT field and work as a technical translator, make a special effort to learn the IT terminology of that language.

  3. Read extensively. This is essential in order to improve your command of the language. The Internet is an excellent resource for books and other material.

  4. Use every opportunity to speak the language with a native speaker.

  5. Cultivate good writing skills in the target language. A translator is first and foremost a good writer. Ensure that you are able to express yourself well in the target language.

  6. Translation Service companies prefer candidates who have exceptional fluency in at least two languages, though; many language combinations can often be off-putting for an employer due to the lack of specialization in a combination they are looking for. This may often also be the case for the field a translator may specialize in. A translator specialized in a particular field and language combination for ten years is often more likely to be chosen over a translator who has several working combinations and fields for the last ten years.

  7. Candidates should be fluent in at least two cultures. Cultural study is an area that potential translators cannot overlook as it is invaluable to understanding the nuances of any work to be translated.

What is the difference between an Interpreter and a translator?

Interpreters and translators convert information from one language (source) into another language (target). Although some people do both, interpreting and translating are different professions: interpreters work with spoken communication, whereas translators work with written communication.

Translation has to do with the written words — that is, changing of written texts. Interpretation is concerned with the spoken words. You have to know what someone is saying in his/her language. Then you have to tell in another language that is entirely different from the language of the original speaker. That is what is called interpretation, which is more complicated than translation.

Can I become a translator in India in the native language?

India has 22 official languages. You’ve likely never heard of most of them, unless you live in India.

  • Hindi – 380 million speakers

  • Bengali – 83 million speakers

  • Telugu – 75 million speakers

  • Tamil – 70 million speakers

  • Marathi – 70 million speakers

  • Gujarati – 6o million speakers

  • Kannada – 44 million speakers

  • Urdu – 52 million speakers

  • Malayalam – 33 million speakers

  • Odia – 32 million speakers

  • Punjabi – 29 million speakers

  • Assamese – 13 million speakers

  • Maithili – 12.2 million speakers

  • Santali – 6.5 million speakers

  • Kashmiri – 5.5 million speakers

  • Manipuri – 3 million speakers

  • Nepali – 2.9 million speakers

  • Sindhi – 2.5 million speakers

  • Konkani – 2.5 million speakers

  • Dogri – 2.3 million speakers

  • Bodo – 1.4 million speakers

  • Sanskrit – 1,000 speakers

In addition to its 22 official languages, the 2001 census in India recorded:

1635 rationalized mother tongues, 234 identifiable mother tongues and 22 major languages.

So nearly 2,000 languages are spoken in India. And that doesn’t even count the non-native languages to the country. Therefore, a very high scope!

Are Translators happy?

Translators rate their happiness average or below average. They are among the bottom 44% of careers in the happy and satisfaction scale. They rate their jobs to be intellectually satisfying, flexible, respectful and collaborative. It is an ever-learning subject. They root their happiness to the ability to make a choice at living a laid back or an ‘on your toes’ life or switch and balance the two. Although it is nerve-racking and a burden sometimes.

Should I become a Translator?

Ideally, you become a translator not because it’s “worth it”, or enormously lucrative, but for the same reason that writers become writers—you feel you have to.

Translation is a fascinating, fun, and fulfilling job. But it is not for everyone. Translation itself is a mind puzzle. It’s not always great being a translator. It can be unstable, with too much work one week and none the next. You’re never going to make millions, and the deadlines can be very stressful. But, the plus points of being a translator are:

1. It’s flexible

2. It combines writing and languages.

3. It’s always different.

4. You make your mark on the text.

5. They find it exciting to bring a message from one language into another.

What are Translators like?

Translators are people who are genuinely curious and intellectual. They mostly like taking things literally and analyze everything they come across. They are very interested in history and the art. They are creative and critical. They usually like to work in their own pace and space. They are observant, innovative and persistent. They hold high integrity and put a lot of effort to achieve the originality of the work they are currently translating.

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