How to Start a Career in Translation?


For someone who is fascinated by languages, a career in translation would provide numerous opportunities and be hugely rewarding. After all, being a translator means acting as a communication bridge between two languages and cultures, which provides a significant service to others, while allowing someone to enjoy the benefits of a dynamic career.

Benefits of a Career in Translation

From being immersed in a global role to gaining practical benefits, such as a good salary, there are numerous advantages to a career as a translator, including:

  • Being a part of multicultural experience. One of the most interesting aspects of a career as a translator is being a part of something global in a way that is different from other global job opportunities. Becoming a translator means learning new languages, getting to know cultures, and gaining an understanding about the uniqueness of a region and its dialect. As a result, translators become immersed in a multicultural world.
  • Constantly learning something new. Translation is much more than transferring words from one language to another; it is ensuring that the intent of the message comes across accurately. To achieve this, translators have to continuously stay updated about the language, culture, and society of the region being represented. Additionally, translators who specialize in a specific industry will need to ensure they learn about new developments in their field of study. 
  • Providing a service to others. Because the work of a translator is to foster communication between people, the role provides a vital service to others. Whether a translator is helping patients understand their treatment plans, or they are assisting with a large-scale E-learning translation project, they can feel confident that their work is making a difference in people’s lives. 
  • Earning a good income. Regardless of whether a translator works for a large international corporation, a translation services business, or for themselves as a freelancer, the job pays well. In the United States, a translator can expect to earn an average of $60,118 per year, with the possibility of earning even more over time.
  • Meeting an increasing need. As more companies expand into global markets, the demand for translators is on the rise. This is especially the case for translators who specialize in multiple languages. In fact, employment for translators and interpreters is expected to increase by 20% through 2029, yielding a much quicker growth rate than other occupations. 
  • Gaining advancement opportunities. Because of the specialized nature of the work, translators have many opportunities for advancement, either by getting promoted or by finding new roles with other companies.

How to Obtain the Education and Valid Language Certifications?

To become a translator, there are a number of steps to take, including:

  • Choosing the language pairs. The first step as someone pursues their translation career is knowing which languages they are capable of translating with complete precision; this will be determined by the languages for which they have or will gain native-level fluency. Without complete fluency in a language, mistakes will be made, which will damage the translator’s future work prospects and hurt their client’s reputation.
  • Focusing on becoming a subject matter expert. Along with having fluency in at least two languages, a strong translator will be a subject matter expert in a primary field. For example, a client interested in translation of a financial application will want to work with someone who understands the jargon and terminology in that industry.
  • Pursuing formal training and education. Next, the student would want to attain an undergraduate college degree, as well as possibly a graduate degree. Several universities across the globe offer excellent programs in translation, including Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. Along with college degrees, it is important to take additional courses in written and oral comprehension in the target language.
  • Becoming certified as a translator. Certifications give clients the confidence that a translator has the skills necessary to do the best job possible on their projects. The certifications can be focused in a specialized area or general to the translation field. One of the leading certification providers is the American Translators Association, which offers initial certification opportunities, along with continuing education for translators.

As translation continues to be a rapidly growing industry, now is an excellent time to turn your appreciation for languages into a career. Consider becoming a translator and reap the benefits, while performing a service for others.


For someone who is fascinated by other languages and cultures, a career in translation would provide numerous opportunities and be incredibly rewarding. Learn about the benefits of a career in translation, as well as the steps to take to become a translator.

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