Advice for budding translators

17/09/2019 | Jenny Donaldson

As we draw into the new academic year we bring to you some advice for budding translators, whether you are starting college, ready for university or even changing your career path, it is always a good time to think about your long term plans.

The world of translators is ever-growing and it’s great to see so many young people showing an interest in languages. So whether you are looking at pursuing a career as a translator or if you have a son/daughter or friend that is, we have compiled some well-needed information for guiding budding translators to success.

Advice for budding translators

Hard work pays off

Becoming a translator takes a lot of hard work, determination and commitment. It is a career that is definitely not for the fainthearted. You should be ready to take on board criticism and feedback in order to be able to grow. What some people do not see is that translators spend hours upon hours perfecting and working tirelessly on projects to tight deadlines. Taking on a career as a translator is hard work and takes a very precise, organised and enthusiastic individual. So do you think you’re ready for the challenge of being a full-time translator?

Knowledge is key

Get to know your native and source languages and be open to change. Study them and know and understand every aspect of those languages. To be a committed translator you need to invest a huge amount of time immersing yourself and engaging with languages. The language culture of today’s world is ever-changing so our best advice to be successful in your field if to consistently learn and grow as the language grows around you. Apps and other online features are a great and free way to start learning the ways of a new language. Check out our advice for the top language learning apps to start your journey and once you’re ready you can get some hands-on experience by tackling some free translation and transcription tests online.

Immerse yourself in languages and culture

Travel as much as you can, if circumstances permit. It is always better to experience a language and culture first hand. Being able to test your skills and learn from locals will always keep you one step ahead. Getting hands-on experience is guaranteed to boost your knowledge and give you a helping hand in localisation. Whether this is a family or solo trip, test your skills in ordering food, asking for directions or purchasing goods. As they say practice makes perfect.

If travel isn’t a possibility, foreign language films and books are another great way of getting inspired. These are often fun and engaging ways of learning new languages and building knowledge. Try using foreign language subtitles to add variety to your favourite movies whilst learning at the same time. Language games are also a great way to build your confidence in your language skills, you can find lots of different games online that can be adjusted to your language to help lock down your new vocabulary skills.

Getting started

Once you’re ready, speak to your school or university about your interest in becoming a translator. Often career advisors are the best point of call to point you in the direction of where to start. They can provide you with contacts and support throughout the process. Don’t forget to discuss your options for the future and get informed about overseas programmes that can be a great benefit to building your knowledge in additional languages. The Erasmus programme is one of the most successful exchange programmes for budding translators, it allows you to study overseas, trial your language skills and build relationships worldwide.

Now you’re ready to take the first steps into building your future as a translator! Always remember that knowledge comes with time and experience so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get things right the first time. Learning a new language and the skills needed to become a translator can be challenging but with a little determination, you could be part of the Language Insight team one day.

For more advice about your translation career, you can read our tips on how to write the perfect CV, or find out how to get the most out of social media.