Career as translator

Should you consider a translating career?
If you love languages and have the ability to quickly learn different types of tongue, maybe you should consider a career in translating. The main duty of a translator’s job is to convert or transfer text from one language to another. You can translate a multitude of text including: books, software, websites, films, games, and legal documents. The amount of work that can be translated is endless and there is usually always a need for a translator. Most translators work in a company or can even freelance. Freelancing translators have a bit more freedom in terms of what they decide to translate and also their work atmosphere.
Is there a particular language you should learn?
You can learn any language you wish, but it is known that there are certain language combinations that are sought out more than others. If are just beginning to learn a language, it’s best to aim to learn at least two languages with one not being a Western-European language (German, French, Italian etc.). You should also consider where you want to work to figure out which languages should learn. For example, if you want to work in United Nations as a translator, you will need to learn two of their official languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, or Spanish.
Besides learning the languages, it’s extremely important you become as proficient as possible with whatever languages you pick. Most employers want their translators to be able to read, write, and speak as if they were a native-speaker. If you have a weak point in a certain area, make sure you study and practice until you are comfortable.
What is the salary of a translator?
The salary of a translator can vary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual pay in 2012 was $45, 430. Those who worked in government positions and for media and communications earned the highest salaries at $54, 110. Your salary can be based on which languages are in demand and also what level of skill will be required. Those who freelance will usually charge their clients an hourly rate and charge either a rate per word or hour.
What is the schedule and atmosphere like?
Scheduling for a translator can be as varied as their salary. There can be periods of very short work schedules or times where you will have to work long and irregular hours. However, a majority of translators will work full time and hold regular business hours. Those who freelance can make their own schedule.
For the work atmosphere, translators can work in a variety of settings. Some will work in schools, courtrooms, or conference centers. There will be others that can work in hospitals and some may even travel from conference to conference. Some work from home and receive and submit all their work through the computer. Your work setting will be dependent on who you work for and what your specialization is. If you wish to work for certain places such as the UN, you may be required to do some travel.
Sources:
1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm#tab-3
2. http://www.nationalnetworkfortranslation.ac.uk/what-translating

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