What are Translators And What Do They Do?
There are thousands of languages all over the world. A rough estimate of it would be around 6,500. One of the most used languages is Mandarin Chinese which has around 1 billion speakers and in second place is Spanish which has around 400 million speakers, with English landing in a strong third!
Other most commonly used languages are German, French, Arabic, Japanese, and Korean. Now, imagine how would we be able to communicate with people around the world if we speak different languages? It would be very difficult right? Well, that’s where the help of translators come in.
A translator’s responsibility is to decipher one language to another in writing. They should convey the original meaning of the material and make it as authentic as possible. They should remain as faithful to the essence, as well as the nuances of the language being translated.
Translators play an important role in unifying people throughout the world. They provide critical service to companies and various establishments needing their documents, contracts and other vital written forms whenever they need to translate them into another language.
In the medical field, they also make the job of medical doctors, other health care professionals, and staff in translating medical records and jargons to another language should there be a need to do so, especially for patients who are not familiar with the primary language being used. They help spread knowledge, ideas, culture, and most importantly build relationships.
Translators commonly work as freelancers. In other words, they work independently and find their own clients which makes it important for them to have a network and build a relationship with them.
Some big time companies may also maintain a pool of translators especially for servicing a wide array of clientele needing specialized translation jobs. Freelancers commonly work from the comfort of their own homes.
What qualifies a person to become a great translator?
Obviously, the person would need to be fluent in 2 or more languages. Knowing and being familiar with the language is far from enough to become an excellent translator.
There is such a thing as literal translation as well as being familiar with the different nuances and intricacies of the language in focus. To test a translator’s fluency and qualification for the job, it would be best to get certified. There are so many translators nowadays so this can be a great way to get an edge and stand out.
You must also be experienced with the language. Learning a language by the book is very different from having a hands on experience. To be an effective translator, it’s important to have full command of the language as if it is your native tongue. If in case, the language is just a second language, make sure to expose and immerse yourself if you want to be an expert.
Reading a book, magazines, and literature on the subject would help a lot. Watching movies, TV and listening to radio programs is also a big plus. But nothing can replace doing actual conversations with native speakers to become truly fluent and highly knowledgeable on the language.
There are a lot of online communities you can join to practice the language. There are forums, chat rooms, and groups on social media. It’s an excellent way to practice since you will learn while helping other people too.
You should be educated not only with the language, but with the different topics as well. If you’re going to focus on a specific topic or a “niche”, you should familiarize yourself with the technical terms.
You should be knowledgeable to make it easier and faster for yourself to finish the job. It might get a little boring if you work on a topic that you have no knowledge of and it will be difficult for you to understand which will greatly affect the quality of your work.
It would help to be very familiar with the country or region itself. Each country has their own idioms and expressions that could convey a different meaning in other places. Try to learn more about the country, its customs and traditions, as well as its people on how they feel, do, and think. Get as much information as you can on if you really want to be an expert language translator.
How much do translators earn?
The rate for translators varies depending on what language it is, what type of document, the difficulty, and what the topic is. Translators either charge per word, per page, or by the hour. The average rate per word is 10 cents. You can charge more than 20 cents per word if the content you are translating is a medical paper or the level of difficulty is high. The rate per hour for standard content is around $20 up to $40 depending on the language and topic.
You can earn even more when you’re a freelance translator because you will get the full payment for yourself and you will also get the freedom to choose what job you want to do and when to do it. How much you want to earn will depend really on the amount of time you’re willing to invest in doing this job. It will be directly commensurate to the amount of work you can do in relation to the time you put in.
Should you become a senior translator, or one who is doing this kind of work for several years already and has a proven track record of quality translation, this would put you into a more sought after translator category, and therefore more highly paid. It also depends on the level of difficulty and technical complexity of documents, books and contracts that needs to be translated.
Be a translator today!
If you are fluent in 2 or more languages, then being a translator is a good fit for you! You can either apply at different companies or start off by establishing yourself online. Keep in mind that you should be 100% ready before applying for a translating job. You must have the qualities and confidence in order to do the job efficiently.
In the meantime, while waiting for your first gig as a translator, it pays to hone your skills and knowledge toward realizing your dream of becoming a qualified, highly paid, most sought after and expert translator.
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